I spent the last two weeks of January in Malaysia. It was my first time down there, and man, what a treat. It's got the best of both worlds; cool cities and insane nature. If you're a fan of one or the other, you'll be happy. If you enjoy both, you're going to need a few spare pairs of undies.
Rather than mix all the pictures up, I'll present the pictures in order (sort of). My trip started in KL, and ended in Malaysian Borneo.
I sweated. I ate. I smiled.
KL is a big city. Even coming from SH, I was impressed by it's size. It's home to about 6 million people, moves fast, is cosmopolitan, but the people aren't brash or callous in the slightest. They are ridiculously friendly.
Oh, and the food. My god....
A huge thanks to szehoong from SCC. He was the ultimate ambassador to KL. A great guy and a good friend.
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Generally, I stayed away from the 4 star restaurants, and kept to the mobile street food carts/trucks. I'd been advised to eat as much street food as possible when in KL. Best. Decision. Ever. The ethnic Malay and Indian Malay food was next level.
Yeah, that's a piece of deliciously BBQed stingray.
The recently completed, but not yet open, pedestrian walkway. It winds through the CBD.
It's said that if you venture off of a trail, you'll be lost within the jungle in 30 minutes. If so, prepare to die. The forest in Borneo is a jungle's jungle. 35 million years old. It's not be trifled with. I've been to a few rain forests/jungles in my time, and they all cower in the presence of this beast. Even the varied forests of Costa Rica look timid by comparison. Remember the opening scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark? That's what the Borneo jungle reminded me of; loud noises from every direction, a suffocating amount of vines, a labyrinth of caves. This is the real deal.
Having said that, there are some really interesting cities in Borneo as well. From Kuching to Sandakan, each locale is situated around...you guess it, the jungle. The fight for urbanity continues as the rainforest constantly tries to reclaim what was once hers.
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Our main mode of transport once on the ground was the river system.
Kuching is modern. It (along with Kota Kinabalu) is usually the first place you'll set foot in when arriving on the island.
There's some non-urban stuff coming up, but I think it belongs here. You're never far from it no matter where you are in Borneo.
Time to pack up, and head in to the unknown
A pit viper. Not the kind of snake you want to stumble across.
Every now and then, you'll make your way to some distant outpost; a lodge or hotel. If you're lucky, you'll get to dry out your clothes.
Expect friends on your patio.
Using these places as your home base, you can really start to dig in to the area. We explored some of the most amazing caves systems I've ever seen.
Clearwater Cave was insane.
Deer Cave. It has a 150m/494ft tall entrance. The highest anywhere.
There are beaches in Borneo. We found one that we had pretty much to ourselves in Bako National Park.
The tides get low.
Turtle Island's got some too.
Turtle nesting tracks
Dropping some eggs
We flew a bit. The regional flights through MAS were pretty good.
But mostly we were on boats cruising on the ocean or through the jungle.
Sandakan, a gritty little port city on the east coast of the island.
Killed a few hours in Kota Kinabalu before heading back to Shanghai.
One of my favourite trips ever.
Thanks for staying until the end.