Tanjung Aru Perdana Park

Perdana Park - Tg Aru 20140107

Perdana Park in Tanjung Aru is slowly turning into one of my favourite parks in Kota Kinabalu (not that there are many). I came here yesterday after work for a run, and after that, headed to the nearby beach to relax. Beats getting stuck in traffic anytime.

Officially called Perdana Park at Hone Place, the park was opened in 2011, and was built and donated by Timatch Sdn Bhd (the company owned by the very charitable Datuk Victor Paul), as part of the Chief Minister’s efforts to turn Kota Kinabalu into a world-class city. Most importantly, the park is well-maintained. Even after four years, the facilities are still in good condition.

Perdana Park - Tg Aru 20110228 10

Basically, there is a jogging track surrounding a lake, with two playgrounds for children, and a reflexology path. Also, there are a few restaurants, including one which sells delicious cakes. (So you can pile on the calories after your run?).

Although the jogging track is not that long (It takes me 4 minutes to go one time around the lake), it is a good track. And when they start playing the music, it will just pump you up and make your tiredness disappear. I almost raised up my hands Rocky Balboa-style as I reached my targeted time. And the bonus is that after your run, you can head to Tanjung Aru beach to catch the sea breeze or to watch the sunset. No other park give you that!

Perdana Park - Tg Aru 20110228 01

The highlight of the park is of course the musical fountain in the lake. Starting every day at 7pm-ish for about 15 minutes and repeating every half an hour until 9pm, the fountain dances to the tune of music varying from local folk tunes to classical music to the very patriotic “1-Malaysia” song (The fountain shoots straight up like the number one!). The arrangement of the music is different at different times, and I find the last performance at 9 to be the best (that’s when they stop playing the Malaysian songs, and focus on the classic sentimental tunes). Not a bad spot to take your girlfriend to for a cheap date. (The park is free ūüôā )

Perdana Park - Tg Aru 20110228 02

Perhaps one thing that has not been highlighted too much is that the park is also good for a bit of bird-watching. Not just garden birds, but because of the lake in the middle, there are also egrets and little herons. I spotted 7 species yesterday evening. Come in the morning and you’ll get to see the striated heron baits its prey using bread crumbs.

 

Opening Hours:

Monday¬†–¬†Thursday : 6.00am – 10.00pm

Friday¬†–¬†Sunday : 6.00am – 10.30pm

Musical fountain: daily 7:00pm – 9:00pm (9:30pm on weekends)

Entrance: free. Parking costs RM 1

Links: http://www.sabahtourism.com/destination/perdana-park

Borneo’s Must-see Flora

I’ll be the first to admit that compared to wildlife and birds, plants do not interest me much. But I would definitely make an exception for these spectacular flora of Borneo.

Rafflesia keithii

Rafflesia keithii

1. Rafflesia

This flower needs no introduction. The largest flower in the world (it grows up to 1m), rafflesia species can only be found in South East Asia. Its short blooming period (5 to 7 days) and inaccessible habitat (deep in the rainforest) means that a sighting of this flower makes you a very lucky person. The best place to see one of these giants is around Poring Hot Springs, which has the largest concentration of known rafflesia sites in the world.

Nepenthes rajah

Nepenthes rajah

2. Nepenthes rajah

Another must-see for flora enthusiasts is the Nepenthes rajah, the largest pitcher plant in the world. It is so big that rats, frogs and lizards have been found in its pitcher. Endemic to Mount Kinabalu and Mount Tambuyukon in Kinabalu Park, Sabah, the place to see this is at Mesilau Resort.

Rothschild's Slipper Orchid

Rothschild’s Slipper Orchid

3. Paphiopedilum rothschildianum

The most expensive flower in Borneo, this species of slipper orchid is endemic to Kinabalu Park. Its location in the wild is limited to 2 sites, both of which are kept secret, to prevent people from getting their hands on these beautiful flowers. A cultivated plant can sometimes be seen inside the botanical garden in Kinabalu Park.

Podochilus microphyllus

Podochilus microphyllus

4. Podochilus orchid

Not all things in Borneo are gigantic. This orchid is one of the smallest in the world, and is quite common around the trails in Kinabalu Park, that is if you can find it.

orang utan shovelling sand

Further proof that orang utans know how to use tools.

This orang utan was seen playing with a shovel and using it to scoop sand.

Now if we can only get her to start building a house.

Borneo sunsets

Click on photos for bigger size

Sunset at KK Waterfront 11.7.2010

Sunset at Shangrila Rasa Ria Resort

Sunset at Tanjung Aru beach

Sunset from Kinabalu Park

Sunset at Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort

Sunset from near Nabalu

Sunset at Pulau Tiga

Borneo statistics

1. 3rd largest island in the world

743,330 square kilometres

(Largest islands in the world 1. Greenland 2. New Guinea)

2. Only island divided into 3 countries

Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei

3. 3rd highest island in the world

highest point 4095.2m – Mt Kinabalu

(1. New Guinea 2. Hawaii)

4. 10 largest cities in Borneo (in terms of population)

1. Kuching 2. Banjarmasin 3. Kota Kinabalu 4. Pontianak 5. Sandakan 6. Balikpapan 7. Bandar Seri Begawan 8. Samarinda 9. Tawau 10. Miri

5. Highest mountains in Borneo/Malaysia

  1. Mount Kinabalu 4095.2m, Sabah
  2. Mount Trus Madi 2642m, Sabah
  3. Mount Tambuyukon 2579m, Sabah

6. Longest rivers in Borneo

  1. Kapuas River 1143km (West Kalimantan) –¬†longest river in Indonesia¬†
  2. Mahakam River 980km (East Kalimantan)
  3. Barito River 890km (South Kalimantan)

7. Largest cave passage in the world

Deer Cave (Gunung Mulu National Park, Sarawak)

8. Population

18,590,000 (2009)

Reference: Wikipedia

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary

Proboscis Monkey - Labuk Bay 20081128 13 

Location: Sandakan, Sabah 

Ratings *** up-close of proboscis monkey and silver langur 

Lost Ratings *** 

Not enough of proboscis monkeys? Then go to Labuk Bay to satisfy your monkey-sighting cravings. 

The only proboscis monkey sanctuary in the world, Labuk Bay offers the proboscis fan or avid wildlife photographer the chance to see these monkeys up-close. With no tree branches or leaves blocking the monkeys, this is one place besides the zoo where you can see that all important nose of the male proboscis monkey. 

Located in the remaining parts of a mangrove forest turned oil palm plantation, the Labuk Bay sanctuary is the last remaining natural habitat for the primates in this area. There are currently about 400 proboscis monkeys left, although only about 70 monkeys come to the feeding platform regularly. 

Proboscis Monkeys 

Proboscis Monkey - Labuk Bay 20081128 06 

Proboscis Monkey - Labuk Bay 20081128 16 

Proboscis Monkey - Labuk Bay 20081128 09 

The sanctuary came about quite by accident. Due to the dwindling food supply when the mangrove forest was slowly converted into oil palm plantations, some monkeys made their way into the houses of the workers here and were seen nibbling on pancakes that were left out in the kitchen. Realizing their folly, the owner of the oil palm plantation decided to set aside some land for the wildlife instead of converting them all to oil palm plantations. 

Feedings are held twice a day and due to the intolerance of sugar in their diet, the proboscis monkeys are given cucumber, long beans and non-sweet pancakes. 

Labuk Bay - 20081128 06Labuk Bay - 20081128 05 

Besides the proboscis monkeys, the silver langurs also come during feeding time. The langurs have become so familiar with humans, that they are no longer afraid and would come right up to the viewing platform. 

Silver Langurs 

Silver Langur - Labuk Bay 20091021 01Silver Langur - Labuk Bay 20091021 02Silver Langurs at play - Labuk Bay 20091021 02 

River cruise or sanctuary? 

Some would argue that seeing the proboscis monkey on a river cruise is much better, and I don’t disagree with that. The Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary should not be a replacement for a river cruise along the Kinabatangan River, but rather, it can be something extra. I recommend visiting the Kinabatangan River first before coming here. Otherwise, one can get monkey-fatigued.¬†

Feeding time: 

11:30am and 4.30pm at Platform B (recommended. Silver Langurs also come here) 

9.30am and 2.30pm at Platform A 

  

Getting there: 

Labuk Bay - 20081128 02
 

Labuk Bay proboscis monkey sanctuary is located near Samawang Village at Labuk Bay. It takes about 38km or one hour from the airport in Sandakan and is a bit further up the road to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. If you would like to visit both sanctuaries in one day, it is possible to catch the feeding first at Sepilok before heading to Labuk Bay. It takes less than 30 minute from Sepilok. 

The santuary is located 15 km from the main road, so without your personal transportation, it is not possible to get here on your own. Many tour companies offer tours to Labuk Bay or you can take the shuttle bus service offered by the sanctuary. 

The shuttle service is RM15 per way. 

Departure from Hotel Sandakan is at 9.30am and from Sepilok at 10.30am. 

The shuttle departs from Labuk Bay at 5.30pm 

Entrance fees: 

Malaysian Adult RM15, Child(6-12 years) RM5 

Foreigner Adult RM60, Child(6-12 years) RM30 

Camera fee RM10, Video fee RM20 

Labuk Bay - 20081128 03 

Contact: 

Website: www.proboscis.cc 

Email: labukbay@proboscis.cc 

Telephone: 

Sandakan (6)089-672177, 674880, 674133, 671745 

Kota Kinabalu (6) 088-317316 

Mobile: 019-8534098, 012-8188696

Cute kid in water village

Mengkabong - 20090923

Photo by Sato Atsuko

Mudmen of Pulau Tiga

New tribe found in Pulau Tiga in Sabah, Borneo. I don’t think they are dangerous. Crazy, maybe.

For more information:

Pulau Tiga

Water buffaloes swimming in Garama River

Garama River, Sabah, Borneo - 20090916

Garama River, Sabah, Borneo - 20090916

Jackie, the orang utan

Jackie, the orang utan at Poring Hot Springs

Jackie, the orang utan

Jackie is a 20-year old female orang utan living in one of the national parks in Sabah. Although she is allowed to roam free in the surrounding rainforest, Jackie prefers the comfort of her “house”. She no longer builds nests in trees to sleep like normal orangutans, but prefers to cover herself up with a black cloth bag at night. She loves pineapples, but is fed up of eating bananas all the time. Although many people know about Jackie, many more do not, and I prefer it that way so that Jackie won’t get “people-fatigued”.

Sago Worms

Sago Worms - Koposizon Homestay, Sabah Borneo 20090701 03

Not something that you will find in a normal restaurant in Borneo but the sago worm is a delicacy eaten by some indgenous groups in Borneo. Read the rest of this entry »

Tawau Sunday Market

Location: Tawau, Sabah

Ratings **

Lost Ratings ****  mostly locals, not tourists

Tawau has its own version of KK’s Gaya Street Fair. It is located at the junction between Jalan Kuhara and Jalan Apas.

Compared to the one in KK, the Tawau Sunday Market is shorter, but has more variety of seafood. The market is like a mixture of a wet market and a pasar malam (night market) in KL. Food, fish, plants, flowers, toys, kites and a variety of things  are sold here. Some of the things found here that are not found in Gaya Street Fair (yet) are the cotton candy machines and kites.

Top 12 things to do in Kota Kinabalu

This list only includes places that are within close proximity of Kota Kinabalu, i.e. less than 15 minutes away, and easily accessible to tourists.

1. Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

Visit any or all of the islands in this national park. The snorkelling and diving is nothing compared to the islands on the east coast, but its number one advantage is its distance from the city. Only 15 to 20 minutes away by speedboat. The clear waters are good for snorkelling, the beach for sunbathing, and marine sports are available for the more active.

Mount Kinabalu with 3-layer cloud

Photo of Mount Kinabalu taken from near Nabalu at 6/6/2009 6:09 p.m.

Mount Kinabalu - Nabalu, Sabah

Mount Kinabalu - Nabalu, Sabah

Orang utan swims to save baby

Sourced from New Straits Times

KOTA KINABALU: The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) has captured rare images of an orang utan swimming to safety with a baby on her back.

A WWF field staff recently took the photographs in the Lower Segama area between Sandakan and Lahad Datu.

The orang utan had been stranded on a tree for a week because of floods when the Sabah Wildlife Department sent a team to the area.

They had just set up a rope bridge about four metres to the nearest point of dry ground.

The orang utan, with her baby clinging onto her back, climbed down the tree and grabbed hold of the rope that was thrown to her, said a WWF spokesman.

The orang utan then pulled herself closer toward dry land and swam “like a dog”, the spokesman said.

The mother and baby were fed, and tended for about 30 minutes before being released into the jungle.

It is generally believed that orang utan are non-swimmers because they supposedly fear water.

The pictures proved that if they were desperate enough, they could actually swim.

The Lok Kawi Wildlife Park nearby keeps its orang utan in an enclosure surrounded by a moat.

But there is no record of any of the animals swimming across to escape.

More photos and reports

elongated earlobes

penan-lady-mulu-20050817-01

penan-lady-mulu-20050817-02

Travellers to Sarawak or Kalimantan who travel into the interior area are likely to meet some people with elongated earlobes. Long earlobes were regarded as a form of beauty in the olden days by some indigenous groups in Borneo. In Sarawak, the Orang Ulu (Kelabit, Kayan) and Penan are some of the indigenous people who practised this custom. Elongated earlobes symbolized great beauty among these people and traditionally, parents start piercing their babies ears when they are one-month old. Heavy metal rings, usually made of gold or brass,  were used to elongate the earlobes. As the earlobes extend, new rings are added, and some women have more than a hundred rings which may weigh half a kilogram. Often, the earlobes extend right down to the shoulders.

As with all traditions, this one is slowly dying out. Conversion to Christianity was one of the early reasons. But nowadays, it is the influence of modern culture that defines beauty.

If you are not making a trip into the interior or visiting a longhouse, one place to see the Orang Ulu would be at the tamus (markets) where they bring their produce to sell in town. In Miri, Tamu Muhibbah is one such place.

Longest insect found in Borneo

From http://www.independent.co.uk:

Phobaeticus chani: The world’s longest living insect By Steve Connor, Science Editor Friday, 17 October 2008

insect_61846b

It lives high up in the rainforest canopy of Borneo, its eggs have tiny wings so they can glide from one tree to another, and now it has officially entered the record books as the longest insect species alive today. A specimen of the stick insect Phobaeticus chani measures 56.6cm (22.3in) long with its legs fully stretched, which is more than a centimetre longer than the previous title holder, another stick insect called P. serratipes found in Malaysia. Even without its long legs, P. chani has the longest body in the insect world, measuring 35.7cm, which is 2.9cm longer than the previous record holder, yet another stick insect from Borneo called P. kirbyi. The specimen will go on display in the Creepy Crawlies gallery at the Natural History Museum in London. George Beccaloni, the museum’s curator of stick insects, said: “We’ve known about both the previous record holders for over 100 years, so it’s extraordinary an even bigger species has only just been discovered. “It’s a sad thought that many other spectacular insect species are disappearing as their habitats are destroyed, before we have been able to find and name them. “It’s amazing that such big things are still out there and makes you wonder what else there might be.”

Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre

Ratings: ***** One of the best places in the world to see orang utans

Lost Ratings: ** Can be crowded, but not to be missed all the same.

The renowned Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre has long been one of the top attractions for wildlife enthusiasts from all over the world. Located about 20 km from Sandakan in the Sepilok-Kabili forest reserve, this wildlife sanctuary is one of the few places on earth where the orang utan can be seen in its natural environment.

The oldest and largest orang utan sanctuary in the world, SOURC was established in 1964 in a 43 km² forest reserve to rehabilitate young orphaned orang utans and return them to the wild. Being cute can be a curse as the orang utan has found out to its detriment. In the past, babies have been taken from the wild and sold as pets in countries as far away as Taiwan. What the buyers do not know is that an orang utan can grow up to be many times stronger than humans and can be quite a nuisance inside the house. Returning it to the jungle when it has been living in man’s world since it was a baby is like putting you and me in the jungle. It won’t survive. Although the limbs of an orang utan are more adapted for living in the jungle than ours are, a young orang utan learns all about life in the jungle from its mother who stays with her young until they are about 7 years of age. Deprived of its mother, these orang utans need someone to teach them how to survive on their own. These, and other orphaned or injured baby orang utans found in logging sites and plantations, are the orang utans that you see in Sepilok.

The rehabilitation process

When an orang utan first arrives at the centre, it is given a general health examination, and quarantined for 3 to 6 months. This is to prevent the possibility of the newly-arrived orang utan from passing diseases to those already living in the centre. The check-up includes tests for TB and malaria, urine analysis, bacteriology and chest X-ray.

Healthy young orang utans then go to the nursery stage where wildlife rangers play the role of their mother and encourage the orang utans to find food, build nests and climb properly. The orang utans mostly learn by observing other orang utans. They are also slowly re-introduced to the jungle. Watch the touching video at the centre where two young orang utans hug each other for comfort when they are left out in the big frightening jungle at night for the first time.

After graduating from nursery school, the orang utans are then ready for a period of at Outward Bound School. This is when the orang utan’s dependence on the food and emotional support is gradually reduced. It is not just the orang utans who find it hard to say goodbye, as the rangers also get attached to the orang utans that they have been looking after. However, the orang utans are not totally left to fend for themselves as they are given food twice a day at Platform A. It is here that the visitor to Sepilok goes to see the orang utans.

The last stage is known as survival training. When an orang utan has totally adjusted itself in the forest and shows signs of independence, it is moved even further away from the centre. Here, even less food is offered at Platform B. At some point, the orang utan eventually achieves total independence and the centre has successfully managed to return another orang utan to the wild.

A visit to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre

The Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre is NOT a zoo. The orang utans here are semi-wild and live in the forest. It is entirely up to them whether they want to come to the feeding platform or not. In fact, the orang utans are given the same banana and milk diet almost every day to encourage them to search for more delicious fruits on their own. There is the possibility that one might not be able to see any orang utans at all. It is terrible to come all the way here and not see an orang utan, but that is a very rare occurrence. On average, 5 to 10 orang utans appear at the platform each time. If you just want to see orang utans, there are many zoos around the world where overweight and lethargic orang utans can be seen. But if you want to catch sight of an orang utan swinging in from the forest, Sepilok is the place to go. Before seeing the orang utans, it is better to go to the information centre to learn more about the orang utan and also watch the video show. With a better understanding of the purpose of the centre, your visit will be much more enjoyable.

After the video show, take a 10 minute walk on the boardwalk through the jungle to reach platform A. You might be able to see a snake if you are lucky. Look out for the orang utan nests on the canopy of the forest. If you are lucky, you might even encounter an orang utan walking on the boardwalk. The orang utan is normally not aggressive, but it is very curious, so look after your bags and cameras. Do not touch the orang utan to avoid spreading germs to it and vice versa. Feeding time is at 10am and 3pm. Long-tail and pig-tail macaques will sometimes come to steal the orang utan’s food. Stay away from the pig-tail macaques as they can be very aggressive.

Famous orang utans at Sepilok

The rangers and the tour guides at Sandakan know the orang utans by name. Each orang utan has its own distinctive features and characteristics which are used to identify them. Some of the more famous and infamous orang utans are listed here.

Raja ‚Äď This very cheeky male has become infamous for something it did to a couple many years ago. Ask your guide for the full story. He has since been transferred to another forest.

Jessica ‚Äď A female orang utan who developed a mental problem after her babies died.

Mariko ‚Äď The successful mother

Mr G ‚Äď the stud

Feeding time:

Daily 10am and 3pm.

A morning visit is better as it is not so humid. The ticket can also be used twice in a day, so if none appeared in the morning, you can go again in the afternoon.

Entrance fees:

Foreigner (Adult) : RM 30

Foreigner (Child < 18 years): RM 15

Malaysian (Adult) : RM 5

Malaysian (Child) : RM 2

Read:

The excellent The Natural History of Orang-Utan by Elizabeth L. Bennett is an easy to understand and interesting book about orang utans.

TheRehabilitation of Orangutans at Sepilok by the Wildlife Department is sold at Sepilok and gives an explanation of what happens to the orang utans at Sepilok.

Orang utan related website: http://www.orangutan-appeal.org.uk/

Also in Sepilok

Rainforest Discovery Centre:

https://lostborneo.wordpress.com/2008/07/21/rainforest-discovery-centre-rdc-sepilok/

Sepilok Forest Edge Resort

https://lostborneo.wordpress.com/2008/07/22/sepilok-forest-edge-resort-and-labuk-bb/

Sepilok Forest Edge Resort and Labuk B&B

 

If you are planning on staying overnight in Sepilok or Sandakan, the Sepilok Forest Edge Resort is a wonderful option. Located only 500 metres away from the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, this resort is located in a spacious ground with lots of greenery. This is the place to relax for a few days if you’ve been roughing it out in the jungle for a while. The staff are friendly and the chalets have air-conditioning and hot shower. The best thing is, the resort caters to both budget travellers as well as those who want more luxury. Labuk B&B has dormitory rooms from RM28 while the chalets start from RM180. There is a very popular outdoor jacuzzi pool and farm animals can be seen at the back. On a clear night, don’t forget to look up at the stars in the sky.

website: http://www.sepilokforestedge.com (sometimes doesn’t work)

email: sepilok@sepilokforestedge.com, labukbb@tm.net.my

telephone: 019-8435017 (Annie), 089-223100, 089-223101

Fungus at Danum Valley

Discovered while trekking in the rainforest at Danum Valley, Sabah. Sort of looks like a golf ball from the top. Luminous white colour stands out in the gloom of the jungle.

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