Sepilok Jungle Resort makes a handy base in east Sabah

Unfortunately, because of time pressure, I only had 2 nights at the Sepilok Jungle Resort – a handy base for exploring the Sandakan area of  east Sabah I start talking to a woman at dinner and find she was one of the original owners! She and her husband started the lodge some 18 years ago and as well as increasing the number of rooms,  they planted all the magnificent plants and trees. ( it’s still a family business)

Entrance Sepilok Jungle Resort
Entrance Sepilok Jungle Resort

Their rooms range from dormitory to air-conditioned deluxe with balcony rooms and over the years the trees have grown and the Resort is set  in this magnificent landscape – it’s also the first place I saw the bird om my bucket list – the fascinating hornbills.

I also saw many birds, fruit bats and butterflies feeding on fruits and flowers as well as fish feeding in their lakes: it’s the perfect place to relax in tropical jungle surroundings.

This is a great base to visit other places including just a five minutes’ walk to the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary which is on everyone’s to-do list.


I also went to the Agnes Keith House from here, attended the Sandakan Memorial Day ceremony for the Death Marches,  and visited the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary as I’d been told it was the best place to see them up close – this was true but I loved seeing them in the wild albeit a little further away! These monkeys are only found on Borneo making them rarer than orangutans.

Thanks for the great accommodation!

The face of Visit Malaysia 2014
The face of Visit Malaysia 2014


Angus Keith House
Angus Keith House



Angus Keith House tearooms
Angus Keith House tearooms


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The clock is ticking

‘You’re away for 8 weeks? Really?’

People are amazed at the length of time I will be in Borneo … not even all of Borneo but SabahSarawak and Brunei to be exact, the top third of this island, the worlds third largest. But now the clock is ticking, and just as I counted down my days ’til my big adventure, so too is my countdown app counting  down the days until it’s time to board the plane  here in KK and return to New Zealand : and that’s where the second part of my journey starts, writing articles and blogs about it all!

So, as the clock ticks faster and faster I thought it was time to tell you about my  plans for the next 2 and half weeks … my calender is full!

Tomorrow I’m off to Kota Belud … for what is evidently ‘Sabah’s most vibrant market’; the next day, still in the home of  Sabah’s most traditional people, the Rungus, I’m heading further north to Kudat for a couple of nights at Tommy’s Place. This was the areas first capital, and of course I will be visiting the tip of Borneo and spending time on the beach  – and who knows what else!

Back to KK – as Kota Kinabalu is known locally – for a nights rest before I’m off to Brunei for four days, hopefully to get to see the Sultans Palace which is only open 3 days a year … always right after Ramadan ends, perfect timing for my trip. I’m travelling by ferry with about an hour stop-over on the duty-free island of Labuan, Malaysia.

Back to KK for another nights sleep at the Borneo Backpackers, re-arrange my luggage then off to the  much talked about area of the East Coast of Sabah … like most travellers here I’m ignoring the over-conservative travel warnings or advisaries that many western countries have on their websites.

Sandakan means the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, Labuk Bay and the proboscic monkeys, among other things – including the annual Sandakan Memorial Day ceremony  – on the site of the PoW camp. This will be interesting as I knew nothing about this part of WW2 until I ended up here in  ‘Australia Place ‘where cheap accomodtion can be found among the printing works, and where the Australians camped when they liberated KK. More of this later!

Add few more days with a night safari in Sukau and bush walks in the celebrated Tabin Wildlife Resort, and you can see the next 17 or so days are full!

I still aim at producing a photo-a -day and I know there will be very few words to accompany them … saving them until I write the stories and re-live my adventures again . . . what a bonus two holidays for the price of one!

So time to stop writing and head for the night market .. the Hari Raya one where all the special foods of the holiday season are available. No wonder my goal of not putting on weight in Malaysia was doomed to fail!


Ps. Apologies to those of you who got the unfinished, unedited version of this an hour ago 😦

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