It was 4 pm in Semporna. We arrived from a one-day tour to Bohey Dulang and the islands between Borneo and Philippines. We were tired and had salt in every pore of the skin. We walked the few metres between the Dragon Inn Hotel and the jetty were we expected to take the last boat to the paradise: Mabul archipelago.
Tokyo is so big that you can find different cities within it. Asakusa, Shibuya, Ginza, Shinjuku… and Akihabara. What in other cities of the world would be just names of districts, here they get a distinct level of complexity. The luxury of Ginza, the crazyness of Shibuya… and the freak of Akihabara. Do you want any anime comic? You’ll find it here. Any merchandising material of any rare anime series? You’ll find it here. Do you imagine what else you can find in Akihabara?
China is full of incredible mountain landscapes, from some of the highest mountains of the word to the Dragon Ball style mountains in Yangshuo, from the cold mountains of the north to the tropical hills of the south. Close to Guilin, where the cruises depart towards the impossible landscapes of the karst mountains in Yangshuo, there is also one of those dreamed landscapes for any traveler that wants to visit Asia. Bali? Sri Lanka? Thailand? No, China!
I remember the day we arrived at Sukau Rainforest Lodge as one of the best of our trip to Borneo. We got up early in the morning in the small island of Selingan (Turtle Island), in the middle of the Sulu sea. Then, a boat took us back to Sandakan and we changed into a bus to reach the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. After lunch, another boat picked us up again in Sandakan jetty. That boat went up the Kinabatangan river for more than 2 hours.
The Kinabatangan river offers one of the most wonderful landscapes in Borneo. This river is home to a great amount of wildlife. A sacred oasis that fortunatelly survives among palm oil plantations. And surrounded by all this nature, there is the Sukau Rainforest Lodge, which is considered by National Geographic as one of the Unique Lodges in the World. In fact, this lodge is well kwown because it has access to the richest wildlife in South East Asia.
5:30am – Mabul Island – Celebes Sea
The sun was rising behind the windows of our overwater chalet in Mabul. Under our feet, the glass floor allowed us to see some ray fishes. We got dressed, packed everything inside the suitcases and someone rang the bell of the main entrance. A golf car was waiting for us outside to take us through the wooden plaform first and under the palm trees later to the other side of the island for a quick breakfast. Our small boat to Semporna in the Borneo coast was going to depart in less than 30 minutes.
The boat ride took one hour. Then, a small tourist bus (Bas Persiaran) took us during one hour and a half to Tawau airport, where a private driver was waiting for us for a long 6h journey to the remotest and most inaccessible valley in the world, where every week new species are discovered: Maliau Basin, The Lost World.