If you love the outdoors, getting close to nature and don’t mind a bit of trekking, then Malaysian Borneo is hands-down THE destination for you. I didn’t even know Borneo existed until I was about 16 and was reading up on orangutans and palm oil, when I looked it up and knew I had to go there one day. Borneo was definitely my most adventure packed trip to date, it pushed me out of my comfort zone, forced me to challenge myself, and taught me so many new things.
When I arrived in Borneo I had one day to spare in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the state of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo. I spent my day exploring Manukan Island, one of the many islands off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, on a short 20-minute speedboat ride. I spent the day snorkelling and exploring the Island on foot, before enjoying some cheap vegan food when I was back in town.
From Kota Kinabalu I was picked up around 5am and taken to Kinabalu National Park, where I was to begin my 2 day return trek up and down Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in South East Asia. Although difficult at times, the trek was gorgeous, and reaching the top was a good feeling after a day of climbing. We woke up around 2 am on the second morning in order to reach the summit before sunrise, which was so rewarding. I was then able to complete the worlds highest via ferrata, before making it to the bottom of the mountain before dusk.
From KK I flew to Kuching, the capital of the Sarawak state in Borneo. My first trip in Kuching was to Semengoh, to hopefully spot an orangutan. Being semi-wild, there was no guarantee I would see one, but luckily I was able to see two- a mother and her baby. This was such a surreal experience, being able to see the critical endangered orangutans in one of the only 2 places they can be found in the world.
From Kuching I caught a plane to Mulu, in the middle of the Bornean jungle. My first day there was spent exploring the jungle and some of the impressive caves, the Deer Cave being my favourite, as I got to witness millions of nocturnal bats flying out of the cave around sunset. The next morning I made my way up the stream of the river, breaking around midday to explore 2 more caves. After lunch I met the two girls who would be joining me for the rest of my tour, and we continued upstream for an hour. We then trekked 9 kilometers through thick jungle to camp 5, where I spent 2 nights camping in the jungle.
The next day we embarked on the pinnacles trek, a challenging trek up tree roots and rocks until we reached the Mulu Pinnacles, a collection of razor sharp limestone pinnacles in the middle of the jungle.
After Mulu I made my way back to Kuching, so I could visit Bako National Park. I befriended a fellow solo female traveler and we spent the day hiking 3 different trails through the national park. Bako was a great change of scenery from the other national parks, and we even managed to see a few proboscis monkeys.