This week I ventured outside of Kota Kinabalu to Lok Kawi Wildlife Park. While not as comprehensive as many zoos back home, it provided a certain proximity that American zoos lack. I even got to ride an elephant! Enjoy the pictures below:
One of the main things I wanted to do when I came to Kuching was to visit some nice beaches and see some more wildlife that wasn’t contained in a cage. I did some looking online and talked to some people familiar with the area, and Bako National Park seemed to be a good choice. It’s pretty close to the city, has public transport that takes you right to the park office, and somehow manages to be pretty remote. In fact, the only way you can get there is to take a small boat along the coast from the park office. There were always other people at the park in the three days I was there, but it was never difficult for me to find a beach that I could have all to myself. Perfect!
The other day, I went diving at Sapi Island with a friend I met through Couchsurfing. We went on two nice dives and spent some time on an island relaxing and eating some tasty food. The second dive ended at a man-made viewing platform that had a massive school of fish circling under it. It was a very cool experience, so I decided to try something. After we finished the dive, I went back under for about 15 minutes to take some pictures with my water-proof camera. The pictures aren’t the greatest quality, but I still got some fun shots. Enjoy!
In case you haven’t read it yet, the first part of my Salt Trail trek can be read here. Once you’re all caught up on the first two days, jump back over here and read about the last half of the trek.
I woke the next morning in the abandoned church to two distinct feelings.
First: pain. My body hurt all over! I had no illusions about my physical fitness before attempting this trek. I exercise if it’s necessary. I don’t go running for fun, or work on my cardio. I’ll just jump in and play volleyball if there’s a game going on. That whole ‘just jump in’ attitude is how I approached this trek. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the best approach. My muscles, accustomed to a life of leisure and sloth, threw a proper tantrum the next morning. It wasn’t exactly a good sign, since we were only a third of the way through the trip.
The second sensation was a little more out of place than the first. I couldn’t feel my upper lip. I could feel in that area, but it was just a tingling, numb sensation. Never the morning person, it took me a few minutes to figure out that something was wrong. I feel like that’s pretty good for me. My mental faculties are usually firing at about 10% when I first wake up, so a few minutes isn’t too shabby. After realizing the problem though, I realized my lip was not only numb, but quite swollen. Mildly alarmed, I showed it to my guide, but he assured me it wasn’t a problem, so I let it be; resolving to make sure to notice if the rest of my face swelled up and went numb. Luckily, Jolumin was right and the swelling subsided after a few hours. Phew!
These past four days, I’ve really been ‘off the grid’ so to speak. There wasn’t even any cell phone service! And no… I wasn’t in Oak Harbor. I was trekking through the jungles of the Crocker Mountain Range in Malaysian Borneo. It was an awesome, painful, and exhausting experience that I don’t plan on repeating in the near future. It was totally worth it, but once was fine for now. Maybe sometime in the distant future…
The trek is called the Salt Trail; aptly named because of the original and current uses for it. There are a number of villages along the trail. The only way for the villagers to reach the coast/cities, other than teleportation and monkey-back rides, is to walk the Salt Trail. Trekkers leave with packs full of crops and hand-made crafts to trade for salt, spices, and other goods from the coastal area. Often times, their packs weigh in excess of 30 kg. Mine weighed just over 10!
History aside, my primary reason for doing the Salt Trail was to really do something outside my comfort zone and experience a legit jungle. Well… check those things off the list. I can’t remember the last time I did something so physically challenging, and I definitely experienced the jungle.
Kota Kinabalu isn’t a huge city, which makes it relatively easy to navigate around. That said, it’s still the largest urban area in Borneo, so it isn’t exactly small either. After being here a few days and doing pretty much nothing except walk around, I figured I’d put together a map with a few handy places on it.
View Useful and Tasty Places in KK in a larger map