Mulu National Park, MalaysiaMulu National Park, Malaysia

Mulu – caves and bats

Coming from Brunei and getting back into Malaysia was easy – bus starting off directly in front of our hotel, leaving us 30 minutes for the breakfast buffet in the lobby *smiley smiling* However all buses in Malaysia and Brunei seem to originally have been fridges now just with addition of some wheels… *bibber*

Defrosting in Miri was easy with temperatures well above 30 degrees. Overall this city is only a necessary stop over place for us and in general more an oil-industry than a tourist town. We found a nice spot to stay for the night at the Dillenia Guest House and spent the afternoon exploring the city.

Next morning, again a flight because the other option involves hours and hours on small boats with transfers at various places and/ or some serious trekking through the jungle along the “headhunters” trail.

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Bandar Seri Begawan, BruneiBandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Brunei – not a small Dubai

We were quite curious how Brunei will be like so we spent 2 days there… is Brunei another small version of Dubai due to the oil found offshore of this little sultanate? Well, it isn’t really… there is a mosque with lots of gold on the exterior, but some of the houses (especially the traditional water village houses) are still quite basic (although there is water and electricity supply)…

The water village Kampong Ayer is HUGE, we strolled around and found quite some plant loving inhabitants (almost anything makes a good pot for plants) and it is interesting to see that everything seems to exist in a way: schools, school boat, petrol station for the boats (yes, a liter is only 0,5 Brunei Dollar = 33 Euro cent!!!), little restaurants…

Also quite interesting, there was a quite ugly clock tower somewhere in the city which is supposed to be important. Why?

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Sepilok, MalaysiaSepilok, Malaysia

Sepilok – or Orang-Utans up close

Coming from the Kinabatangan jungle area we decided to skip Sandakan city due to some well phrased comments in guide books („light on must-see attractions“) and advise from fellow travellers coming the opposite direction („quite ugly city without anything to see“) and headed strait to Sepilok.

What is Sepilok?

But honestly it is partially a sad story…

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Kinabatangan, MalaysiaKinabatangan, Malaysia

Kinabatangan – Where are the elephants?

We heard that there are pygmy elephants around Kinabatangan – in preparation for our Africa adventure later this year we decided to start small with elephants and go there to see this very rare (1000 – 1500 animals left) and endangered species. But will come back to the topic rare a little later…

To go to the jungle, we had to take a bus several hours through palm oil plantations. Hardly any forest left, what a shame… we could really see what “loss of habitat” means for the monkeys, elephants and other animals…

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Mabul, MalaysiaMabul, Malaysia

Diving off Mabul and Sipadan

Well, just briefly a summary of the city-life before we went to the Semporna archipelago in Borneo… Singapore was about working (Iris), meeting Michelle *smiley smiling* , having some nice food, buying the usual Singapore souvenir (a dress for Iris) and special this time: Getting some proper cough stopping medicine (also for Iris)… KL was again about working (actually for both of us), recovering from the cold and opening an account at a jewelery supply wholesaler (both later tasks only for Iris) *smiley winking*

Then, finally, we took the plane to Tawau where two cool guys with extra stylish sunglasses took us through endless palm oil plantations towards Semporna, the gateway to divers paradise.

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