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Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
October 1998

At the Canadian Association Maple Leaf Ball earlier in the year we won a 3-night stay at the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort in Kota Kinabalu (KK) so we decided to use that as a getaway for our 30th anniversary. KK is the capital of the East Malaysian state of Sabah that is on the northern end of Borneo. I had been there a few years ago when I went to climb Mt. Kinabalu.kk_water_village

The first picture is of a water village as seen from our hotel room and the second is downtown KK, the jungle that surrounds it with the peaks of Mt. Kinabalu in the background. The mountain is 4100 meters high. kota_kinabalu

We were there to relax and enjoy ourselves, not to keep real busy being a tourist so I didfeeding_stationn’t take my diving gear and we didn’t try to visit any of the islands etc. that are close to KK. We did spend one day on a visit to Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary which is a national park where they teach orphaned or captured Orangutans to fend for themselves so they can be returned to the wild.

We took an early morning flight to Sandakan, which is on the opposite side of Borneo from KK. We had arranged for a guide to pick us up at the airport and drive us to the sanctuary that is about 25k from Sandakan. The sanctuary is over 43 square kilometers of rain forest (jungle) and has an information center and a feeding station that is accessible to the public. This time of year is when there is a lot of wild fruit available so sometimes no orangutans are at the feeding station. They feed them only bananas and milk to purposely make it a boring diet to encourage fending for themselves.

orangutanThree young ones showed up for the morning feeding. They spend their life in the trees and have an amazing ability to hang from branches or vines using either their hands or feet or combinations of either. They simply cup their fingers or toes on to whatever they are hangingorangutan from rather than use a full hand grip and appear completely relaxed even when they are upside down, such as this guy. The second orangutan picture is one which had finished his eating and was sitting there amusing itself, and the people who were watching.

The only one who was not amused was a Macaque monkey who wanted to get at the bananas but he was afraid of the Orangutans who gave him a hard time whenever he got to close to the feeding station.

macaque_monkeyThe only other wild life of interest that we saw was a viper that was sunning itself in a tree branch. It was a lime green and just under a meter long.

After the Sepilok Sanctuary, we returned to Sandakan and were given a quick tour of the city (not much to see), had lunch and were driven back to the airport for the flight back to KK.