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6 weeks in Nepal, Bhutan, Borneo and more...

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6 weeks in Nepal, Bhutan, Borneo and more...

Old May 9th, 2017, 11:48 AM
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I keep saying the same thing -- I love your report. I have never heard of Railay Beach so its nice to hear about a new place and I cannot wait to google and learn more when I have more time. It sounds heavenly. Was this your first time vacationing on a beach in Thailand? If so, what made you choose Railay Beach? And if not, where else have you vacationed and how did it compare? Thanks again!
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Old May 9th, 2017, 02:02 PM
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Thanks Lolazahra, it's rewarding to get your feedback!

We had traveled to Thailand before with our kids, chartering a catamaran out of Phuket to do some diving and overnited on Nai Yang beach before meeting our boat. We had such fun sidling up to a beach bar, watching the people and the sunset - we never even changed out of our bathing suits, just dug into fresh grilled fish at a table in the sand. I always wanted to repeat that experience. I thought a house rental would be a nice break from hotels, and the only search criteria I put in was walking distance to a beach. I came across a rental posted by an RBC homeowner, was intrigued and went to the RBC website. I'd not heard of Railay Beach before but it looked perfect - unique homes in a beautiful setting and of course, my requisite beach bars, so i was all in! Definitely have a look at their website.
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Old May 9th, 2017, 02:48 PM
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I'm also enjoying your report. It sounds like you found exactly what you were looking for in a beach stay.

I'm looking forward to reading your report on Borneo.
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Old May 14th, 2017, 11:37 AM
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Borneo…a Trio of adventures

After our Pandaw river trip was cancelled, we considered filling the freed up time with alternate destinations but came to realize that we wanted to spend the time in Borneo. So our plan for Borneo evolved as:

-4 days in the Danum Valley at Borneo Rainforest Lodge
-2 days in Sanadakan
-3 days on the Kinatabagan River at National Geographic’s Sukau Lodge
-4 days diving on the island of Lankayan
-2 days in Kuching

Retracing our journey from Railay Beach to Krabi, we took a flight to KL and onward flight to Kota Kinabalu (KK) in Borneo. A little side note – I had booked a connecting flight on Air Asia in KL with a 1hr 40 min connection, not researching whether this was doable, just that this seemed a reasonable window of time. Then I read otherwise – I should allow, according to some travelers at least 3 hours in KL due to congestion, immigration and baggage – as Air Asia does not ticket baggage through to destination even if all your legs are with them. Not wanting to risk a last minute booking if we missed the flight, I decided to re-book our KL to KK flight on Malaysia Air and forfeit the relatively inexpensive AA fare. So instead of leaving KL at 6:30pm, we would now leave at 9pm.

On the day of departure I got an email from Malaysia Air letting me know that our 9pm departure was delayed until 10:30pm. This meant a really long layover and a very late arrival in KK. So on the flight to KL, we decided to try and make the original 6:30pm flight – which we had never cancelled as there are no refunds with AA. We needed to check our bags one hour before departure leaving us 40 minutes to: de-plane, clear immigration, retrieve our baggage, clear customs, find the check-in counter and check our bags. We did it without a single minute to spare but I do not recommend this to anyone!

I had booked a very inexpensive airport hotel in KK knowing we would arrive in the late evening and be returning to the airport for a 7am flight to Lahad Datu for our stay in Borneo Rainforest Lodge. You get what you pay for – a room only big enough for the beds, literally requiring us to walk sideways between and around them, no window, springs poking out through the mattresses. We hardly needed the alarm as it was mostly a sleepless night.

Our flight to Lahad Datu was uneventful other than several passengers on the plane were hacking away with awful coughs, and we all know what airplane environments do with germs….our BRL driver picked us and another couple up from the tiniest airport you can imagine. We had a quick stop at the Lodge’s office in LD and then drove 2.5 hours to the Lodge. The drive is quite bumpy and rough after the first hour, but not so bad that I didn’t doze off to catch up on sleep after our night at the hotel from hell.

The Lodge has a lovely setting, on the edge of a river deep in the jungle of the Danum Valley. The main gathering area – dining, bar, lounging – is a huge open air affair on the second storey of a large thatched roof structure. Shoes are left outside (as they are often muddy from jungle walks) so the barefoot atmosphere is at once casual and relaxed. As we checked in, one of the guides announced that Sian, the resident male orang-utan had made an appearance just outside. We watched him for some time doing his tree antics, hanging upside down, peeling bark and picking berries.

We were kindly upgraded to a chalet which overlooked the river and sported a Jacuzzi on the outdoor deck (perhaps designed for cool down, as its too hot for bathing and takes a long time to fill up!) The rooms are simple and spacious but we and fellow guests wondered at the lack of drawer or other clothes storage space.

The routine at BRL is a guided walk morning and late afternoon, and a night drive or walk after dinner. Similar to safari, midday is for a lazy lunch and a siesta. We arrived, as most guests do in time for lunch and then getting settled in our chalet before the afternoon walk. Meals at BRL are buffet style and very good with lots of variety, both asian and western offerings as well as a cooking station for noodles and a grill. We found it equally easy to join other guests or to eat on our own.

Our afternoon rest was punctuated with a torrential downpour and it was still raining heavily by 4pm walk departure time. We weren’t sure whether the walk would still go, but before we knew it, our guide Helen arrived at our door with umbrellas and quick dismissal of the rain - it’s an almost daily event. We joined our group of just one other couple, which made for a very personal experience.

Our first tour took us to the canopy walkway of which only half is presently open to walk along as an extension is under construction. The rainforest is a miraculous and beautiful thing to observe. The early morning mists, the late afternoon sun on the forest edge and the variety of plant life, large and small is endlessly watchable. BRL is one of the few lodges in Borneo in primary rainforest and it is very visibly different than secondary (re-planted) forest which we saw later on the Kinabatagan River. Trees are significantly taller and thicker and you feel miniscule among these giants.

From the canopy that afternoon, we spotted a female orang-utan and her youngster, quite far off but very visible due to their rust-coloured human-like forms swinging among green branches. The female was nest-building as the orangs do up to 5 times per day for their naps, and the baby was testing his independence, swinging in the branches and pausing to munch on their harvest.

In the evening, we joined other guests in the bar area before dinner, catching up on emails (wifi is not available in the rooms) and then ate our meal at candle-lit tables on the balcony looking into the inky blackness of the rainforest. Afterward, we took a night drive and were lucky to spot a Leopard Cat. About the size of a domestic cat, the Leopard Cat is usually seen around frog ponds on the hunt for dinner. A great first day came to an end.

The next day brought a very special event! Our morning walk was to a high lookout point which is visible from the Lodge and provides a great view of the Danum Valley area. Along the way, we stopped to observe the mostly well hidden life in the jungle – mantises, tiger leeches, tree frogs – as well as the astounding array of plant life adapted to the humid depths of the jungle. From the lookout, we made our way to a hidden waterfall and took a refreshing break. As we did so, Helen received a call that a Clouded Leopard had been spotted on the other side of the Lodge. This was thrilling news because this ancient cat species is exceedingly rare to see. It would be a 45 minute hike to the site, so there was no guarantee it would still be there, but we didn’t hesitate to start our descent at a decent pace.

We stopped only once on the way down, on a suspension bridge on which five red leaf monkeys had set up guard, sitting on the cross wire railing. Helen approached them slowly and they stepped aside but not before we had captured some great close-up photos of their expression-filled little faces.

At our destination, a National Geographic party had set up camp beneath a tree in which the leopard was stretched out along a branch, her legs flopped on either side. She was sleeping off her dinner - a large male red leaf monkey she had decapitated and stored in the branches alongside her for a subsequent feast. Occasionally, she opened her eyes, looking down at us with a drowsy nonplussed expression. We watched her for an hour, soundlessly.

After lunch and siesta, we were eager to return to the leopard who had awoken but not moved from her branch. The NG team leader had been there all day hoping to film some activity. One of the team members had a large telescope with a lens large enough to hold a camera to - which we did, giving us great close-ups of her face as she surveyed her human minions watching her every move. We left her around 5pm and learned that not much later, the NG photographer’s patience paid off. The leopard descended from the tree with the carcass but was immediately spooked by a wild boar which must have been laying in wait for his chance to steal the booty. She retreated up another tree with her meal and by the next day, she was gone. We watched the photographer’s video footage which was great, and he was kind enough to email us some stills of her as well.

We finished the day with a swim in the river which was very refreshing and it is fun to float on the gentle current. The Lodge also arranges tubing on the river if you are so inclined.

The next day’s walk was to a set of rapids that descends into a pool inhabited by tiny fish that nibble your toes - instant pedicure. We trekked past mammoth trees ringed with lianas (woody vines) that climb up to the tree canopy in search of sunlight. The forest is very humid and the paths can be slick given daily rains, so we returned from our walks damp and muddy. We also returned vigilant for leeches which leap from plant leafs onto any exposed skin. The Lodge has cleaning equipment and a dryer for your shoes as well as leech socks for sale. We just tucked our pants into our socks and found this worked fine. However, I neglected to tuck my shirt in this particular morning and while showering discovered a small black leech in my belly button. Yuck. It bled for a good 45 minutes after plucking him off.

That afternoon, I began to feel unwell and developed a fever and cough no doubt from the horrid plane of coughers. I took the afternoon off and missed the next morning’s walk before departure, consoling myself that we had seen so much already. We left the Lodge at midday to be driven to Sandakan about 3 hours away.

Overall, we loved the BRL - it has a very professional feel, great guides, excellent food and lots to see beyond the orangs and in our case, the Clouded Leopard. The guides provide an intelligent and engaging lens on jungle life and adaptation and make it a genuinely fun learning experience.

Next, Sandakan and the Kinatabagan River
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Old May 14th, 2017, 02:04 PM
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Wow! What great sightings you had at BRL! We also loved our time there, and periodically talk about returning, but we have so many places on our list we haven't made it yet.
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Old May 20th, 2017, 03:10 AM
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You cannot leave us hanging! You have two more entries on this fabulous trip report!
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Old May 21st, 2017, 07:16 PM
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I'm just catching up. Your itinerary is nearly identical to our SE Asian bucket list.
We were also recently considering that canceled Borneo Pandaw cruise, so reading enthusiastically.
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Old May 22nd, 2017, 07:02 AM
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I am also eagerly waiting for your next installment. We are doing almost the exact same Borneo portion of your trip in September/ BRL, Sukau, Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu.
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Old May 24th, 2017, 05:55 PM
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Thanks all for your encouragement. Life got in the way of finishing my report but you have spurred me on! All day rain forecast for tomorrow so perfect day to finish last installments.
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Old May 25th, 2017, 08:31 AM
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Sandakan and the Kinatabagan River..

The drive from the Danum Valley to Sandakan backtracked to Lahad Datu and then turned north through an endless landscape of palm oil plantations – sadly replacing what 50 years ago would have been primary rainforest. Malaysian Borneo first gained trading prestige for its lumber, but with rapid deforestation in the 70’s and 80’s began to look for alternative exports and uses for the razed land. The result was palm oil plantations but this required controlled burning to clear the land with the effect of further encroaching on adjacent forests. This remains an issue in Borneo today and many global stakeholders are involved in developing sustainable solutions. Borneo was once the richest province in Malaysian empire, but with forest devastation, it is now among the poorest.

Our stay in Sandakan was to be for two nights - originally we planned to go straight to Sukau Lodge on the Kinabatangan River, and then on to Sandakan which would have been a more fluid routing but the lodge was full so a little backtracking was necessary.

Sanadakan nestles up to the Sulu Sea against a backdrop of hilltops affording great views but despite its attractive natural surroundings, the city itself is a bit shabby. Sanadakan used to be a vibrant trading port and the capital of North Borneo but it was burnt to the ground by the Japanese in WWII after which the capital moved to Jesselton (later Kota Kinabalu). The re-build of the city is uninspired, a mix of squat buildings and generic high rises.

We stayed at the Four Seasons overlooking the Sulu Sea and harbour with floor to ceiling glass in the rooms making for great views day and night. I was feeling decidedly flu-like when we arrived and it was a comfortable place to recover. The only negative to this hotel was the breakfast buffet which we found too large with bland food choices and terrible coffee!

Sandakan has two main tourist draws – proximity to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center and as the site of the infamous POW camp and death marches of World War II. On our full day there, we hired a guide who took us to the memorial for the British and Australian POW’s and the lovely Agnes Keith House, which commemorates the Keith family who lived in Sanadakan during the Japanese occupation and were themselves interned throughout the war. The memorial sits on the actual site of the POW camp and consists of a beautiful garden, machinery used by the Japanese to build the airstrip using forced POW labour, and a museum with riveting photographs and video relating the story of the death marches. Of 2,700 POW’s sent to Borneo from Singapore and elsewhere, only 6 men survived the marches by escaping. I read Sandakan by Paul Ham before we left on this trip and it is a harrowing and unforgettable story.

The day tour also included a visit to the stilt house community and a hilltop Buddhist temple overlooking the city. I finished it with little energy to spare and so took to my bed while my husband explored the fish markets and brought back cough syrup and a light meal to eat in our hotel room. I was worried that a respiratory virus would mean I could not dive in Lankayan where we were next headed. My husband found what he thought was a pharmacy but turned out to be a natural remedies store. He bought me extract of ivy which I doubted would do any good, but it really did the job and next day I began to feel better.

Next morning our guide took us to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center where after our visit, we would join the group being boated to Sukau Lodge. Had we not seen orangs in the wild, Sepilok would have been more exciting; however, one thing grabbed our undivided attention – the nursery. The baby orangs are hilarious with their human-like antics. One youngster allowed himself to be pushed down by his playmate over and over, each fall exaggerated with arms flailed the way children do when they play act at being shot. Others swung from rope to rope, upside down, sideways and with heads peeking through legs. It was truly a circus of energy and fun. When the nursery staff came to take them inside, many of the little orangs had to be taken firmly by the hand and dragged off, just like children refusing to be taken home from the playground.

After the nursery, there was a visit to the adult feeding station which we found crowded and a bit zoo-like despite the animals being free to come and go. Then on to the Sunbear Conservation Center next door - these small black bears are considered a threatened species due to the effects of large-scale deforestation. There were around a dozen bears there during our visit and they lumber about in a huge enclosure.

Around noon, we were gathered in a bus with the rest of the Sukau Lodge guests and driven to the Sandakan boat jetty for a 2.5 hour boat cruise down the Kintabatagan River. A storm came in as we cruised, creating a dramatic tableau of chocolate brown river, bright green forest and lead black clouds beyond. A few of us slipped under the bow cover as the rain started.

After docking at the Lodge, we were shown our rooms (all are the same - simply furnished, windows facing into deep jungle) and directed to meet in one hour’s time for our first wildlife cruise. The continuing rain made it easy for me to decide to hit the bed instead and nurse the tail-end of the flu. Most of the other guests did show up in rain gear and were rewarded with a large group of proboscis monkeys taking cover in the large branches.

Dinner is announced by a gong and served on a covered deck overlooking the river. As with all meals at the lodge, it is buffet and eaten at communal tables affording a nice opportunity to trade travel tales with fellow guests. It was a mixed crowd of Americans, Australians and some Europeans. We were the only Canadians. I can report the food at Sukau is good (not on par with BRL but that’s a high bar!) After dinner, one of the guides did a presentation on the wildlife of the river.

The next day started with an early morning boat ride for wildlife viewing. The mist on the river started out swirling and atmospheric, then gradually lifted to reveal a lovely clear day. We cruised slowly and stopped at various points along the way to watch proboscis monkeys, maques, hornbills, and a large male orang-utan with broad facial flanges, peeling fruit branches off a tree and munching contentedly. There are 8 guests to a boat so it’s always easy to get photos and interact with the guide. Later that morning back at the lodge, we joined a tour on the boardwalk around the property. It’s quite short in length but provides an opportunity to examine the smaller species of the jungle, many insects, spiders, frogs and abundant bird life.

By lunch I am feeling 99% better and looking forward to the late afternoon boat cruise, this time to look for the pygmy elephants that had been spotted by another group earlier. Being in the boat was gorgeous this time of day, warm golden light, jungle noises carried on afternoon breeze. We cruised down a few small tributaries, deep into the jungle but despite seeing tracks and hearing trumpeting calls, no elephant sighting. A drink at the large teak wood bar and a final dinner on the river deck and then we readied to depart early the next morning for Lankayan Island.

The river lodge is a very different experience than the Danum Valley and fits well together to get the full array of wildlife habitat and sightings, as well as a nice mix of walking and boating. The Sukau Lodge is more rustic than BRL and has more of a group herding mentality (everyone checks in and is briefed together, meals served at set times) but we didn’t find it overbearing. As with BRL, the guides were great and amazed us with their ability to spot wildlife so expertly camouflaged in dense jungle.

Overall, experiencing the jungle in Borneo is a fantastic experience. Wildlife sightings aside, it’s cool to think that you are standing in one of the oldest rainforests in the world at 140 million years old, and to feel a small part of helping to preserve it simply by being there a responsible tourist.
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Old May 25th, 2017, 08:43 AM
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I really appreciate your report on the Sukau Lodge, as we opted not to go there.

I, too, found just being in the primary rainforest to be a very moving experience.
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Old May 25th, 2017, 02:42 PM
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Kathie, you had the better of the two experiences if I had to choose. BRL is a very special place.

Best laid plans and all - I'll get to the last instalment in a couple of days - Lankayan Island and Kuching.

Thanks for following!
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Old May 26th, 2017, 04:32 AM
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Thanks for a great report @victoriac.
I'm currently looking at destinations close to Oz for a holiday later this year.
Borneo might work for us, so now I'm really keen to hear about Kuching.
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Old May 26th, 2017, 07:38 AM
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Sartoric, we loved Kuching! I'll also be interested in Victoria's experience there.
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Old May 26th, 2017, 01:29 PM
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Not to leave you in suspense, I also enjoyed Kuching and more so than KK or Sandakan. I'll have some good hotel and dining recos for you as well.
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Old May 28th, 2017, 11:58 AM
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Last stops, Lankayan Island and Kuching

As our trip moves into its final week, there’s a different vibe and my mind starts to alternate between the present experience and what awaits at home. The best part of travelling is the way it keeps you in the present and gently reorganizes your experience of being in the world.

From Sukau Lodge, we are driven back to the Sanadakan boat jetty where we join a group of 10 young Chinese men for a 2-hour speed boat ride out to tiny Lankayan Island in the Sulu Sea. The sea is mostly cooperative today, gentle swells under a hazy sky, warm with humidity, just the occasional wave splashing over the side. We were warned that we could get wet and we do. The Chinese group find this inexplicably hilarious and their raucous laughter continued throughout the journey. Accompanying us along with the Chinese group are two armed guards in camo gear and mirrored sunglasses. We expected this having learned that the waters off Borneo’s east and south coasts are not safe - Filipino pirates have kidnapped tourists in the past, in an attempt to discredit the tourist industry and re-claim what they feel is their heritage land. The guards also patrol Lankayan Island and accompany us on the dive boat each day. Their presence has been effective as the terrorist activity has all but stopped. We get used to it and even have our photos snapped with the guards wielding their rifles.

We are pleased when the captain calls out our approach and suddenly out of the haze appears Lankayan – it is indeed tiny, so much so that the dining and lounge areas as well as the dive shop are built out from the island on long raised walkways, almost doubling the footprint of the island. You can circumnavigate the island in about 10 minutes. All the buildings are attractively built of wood with thatched roofs and the island has a very Robinson Crusoe feel. There is a lovely white sand beach, about 10 chalets along the shoreline and a large turtle haterchery, which is sign posted as to the dates the eggs are expected to hatch. And the sea, only a couple feet deep under the walkways is crystal clear revealing a sea floor teeming with starfish, coral, turtles and fish of every description.

We are checked into our chalet which on first arrival is a bit daunting as all its shutters are closed and through the dark we can discern four beds all made up with mosquito nets so the effect is entering a forest of gauze. We ask why all the beds and they explain it is a family room, and the only chalet available. I ask if it’s possible to remove the extra beds expecting this will be a No, but they do. When we return after lunch, I open all the shutters and suddenly our room is transformed into a huge bright space with the sea bright through teak patio doors. The chalets are all wood rattan, with oversized bathrooms and each has a verandah on the beach.

We were given two signs to hang on our door, one to indicate if we wanted to be alerted for a turtle hatching and another to be alerted for a hatchling release. Unfortunately, neither event happened during our stay (it wasn’t prime season). We have seen hatchling releases in Sri Lanka and it is a moving experience.
If you are a diver, you will know about Sipidan and Mabul islands which are globally recognized dive locations on the south coast. Lankayan is lesser known but has access to coral reefs, ship wrecks and whale shark migrations in the spring. We found the diving to be good but not outstanding as we have experienced in Mexico and Thailand, for example. In part, this was due to at-depth cloudiness affected by recent rain runoff . But this visit was also about being in Borneo and especially on this remote idyllic little island and that made it all very worthwhile.

Each day there were two morning dives and one in the afternoon. The dive masters were very professional and took into consideration our preferences for dive locations. Many of the guests at Lankayan do not dive but everyone was in the water, snorkelling and enjoying the abundant marine life right off the beach. We had good weather with the exception of one late afternoon storm which whipped up high winds and dark clouds that scudded toward us across the sea and then broke loose as we found refuge in our chalets, enjoying the sound of the palms flapping and the rain tapping on thatched roof.

Lankayan resort, like its sister resorts in Mabul and Sipidan is Chinese owned and there is a distinct difference in customer relations from the Borneo-owned resorts we otherwise stayed at. It’s nothing you can really put your finger on, but there is a bit of a robotic quality to the service, and the food, buffet style yet again although fine is not on par with other resorts.

After three days, we returned to Sandakan with a slightly rougher crossing post-storm and immediately caught a flight to Kota Kinabalu for a one-night stopover enroute to Kuching. KK was fine for a night - dinner at one of the many seafront restaurants and a walk through the night market beside them, but it held no further allure for us. We did enjoy a particularly delicious laksa (Malaysian noodles in spicy broth) there.

The next day we flew to Kuching and checked into the Ranee Boutique hotel, which I highly recommend. It is a great location with easy access to the esplanade, the colonial buildings, museums and Chinatown. It is small and friendly and the suites are lovely large rooms with balconies and views of the river. There is a small bar/cafe and breakfast room and they serve the best gelato.

It was very hot in Kuching when we visited, so we tried to do early morning touring, escape the midday heat in the hotel and then venture out again in the late afternoon. Kuching is a bit rundown in the way of most of Borneo’s cities but it has a lot to see, some very good restaurants and the esplanade and backstreets are lovely for walking. Kuching is also an access point for daytrips to an orangutan rehab center, Bako National Part and Sarawak village. We opted to just hang out in town and take in the atmosphere. One worthwhile visit was to the Sarawak State Museum of ethnology which is a taxidermists’ delight but also has a full-size Iban longhouse and a well presented display chronicling Borneo’s tribal (complete with shrunken heads ) and colonial history.

We had several excellent meals (and it was so nice to order from a menu again!). Ling Loong Seafood at Top Spot, the renowned food court on the roof of a non-descript and difficult to find parking garage served up exceptionally good soft-shelled crab, black pepper prawns, garlicky jungle ferns and cold beer, for a very reasonable price (they save on the décor which is pretty non-existent). We had a long lunch at James Brooke on the esplanade, eating satay and laksa and people watching. And a fine dinner at Zinc, a relatively new bistro in Kuching serving Spanish/Mediterranean fare with a great wine list - grilled octopus, moussaka and braised lamb shoulder. We would have liked to try Bla Bla Bla which we visited off hours and looks like fun.

And so we winded down our stay, packed for the last time and flew to Singapore where we had a 20 hours to live in Changi terminal. We had a hotel room at the Crowne Plaza hotel which is connected to Terminal 3. I was actually looking forward to this after reading that Changi is the number one airport in the world, but I made one critical mistake. Most of the things I thought we would spend our time doing – the Butterfly, Cactus and Sunflower Gardens, free massage chairs and certain shopping highlights – are after passing through security! So we toured about the terminals, had sushi at Itacho and dim sum at Crystal Jade. Next morning, we checked in early so we could enjoy the attractions we’d hoped to see the day before (check out the Butterfly garden- it’s amazing), and then boarded our Eva Air flight for home.

What would I do differently? Not a lot, perhaps a bit more time in Bhutan which would have got us to Tiger’s Nest (maybe), and another day on Railey beach but then again, I could have stayed a month there! While Pete and I really like travelling independently, we also like social interaction with other travellers, and easy access to great guides and hard to explore places – hence the ill-fated Pandaw in our original plan. We agreed that next year’s trip (already in planning stages) will have some portion of it in a group setting.

That’s it. Funny, as I finish this report I feel the way I do at the end of a trip – a bit sad that’s its over and already excited to do it again. Isn’t that the best thing about travel?
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Old May 28th, 2017, 12:21 PM
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Thanks so much for a wonderful report! I'm sorry the Pandaw cruise did not happen. We continue to consider their newer Laos cruise for a future trip.
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Old May 28th, 2017, 05:44 PM
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I'd certainly travel with them again. I am intrigued by the trip into China from Laos. Just hope they keep exploring new routes!
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Old May 29th, 2017, 11:40 AM
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Thanks victoriac, I really enjoyed your trip report. Literally felt like I was there! Bhutan is high on my list, as is Thailand.

I go next to South Africa once again (one of my favorite countries) in July and Categena for the first time in August. Trying to get to Paris for a few days this summer as well as a promise to my youngest daughter.

What are your plans for next year's trip? What are you guys considering?

Enjoy Memorial Day.
Lolazahra is offline  
Old May 29th, 2017, 12:54 PM
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Something quite different in the works for 2018...considering a transpacific crossing from Ushuaia to Capetown and then maybe safari, thinking East Africa but will now be checking out your posts on South Africa!
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