So Near Yet So Far – Sabah Trip #1

February 25, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Posted in itchy backside | Leave a comment
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Note from Itchyfingers
Dear Readers, so sorry to have gone missing for such a long time and kept you waiting! We have been extremely tied up with our little handicraft business, but we promise to try to update the blog as often as possible!

Sabah is part of Malaysia. But unlike Peninsular Malaysia, where we folks from Singapore can easily visit by driving in via the Causeway, you will definitely need to take a plane to go to this easternmost state of Malaysia – one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. It is quite near to fly from Singapore (about 2.5 hours), and Sabah is definitely one of the to-go places for Itchyfingers. It is so near, yet it took us so long before we finally visited…

When you talk about visiting Sabah, most people would think of Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Borneo. And if you talk about visiting Sabah to Singaporeans, most would think that you are going to climb Mount Kinabalu, otherwise they would wonder what is there to do and see….Well, climbing Mount Kinabalu is also one of our to-do things, but this time, we were thinking more about checking out the flora and fauna, especially the Rafflesia and the many Pitcher Plants found only in Borneo.

From the airport, we drove to our accommodation at Mesilau. As one of the main purposes to visit Sabah was to see pitcher plants, Tisu Boy planned our stay at the Mesilau Nature Resort, approximately 2,000m above sea level on the East Ridge of Mount Kinabalu in Kinabalu National Park. Mesilau is home to the only population of Nepenthes rajah accessible to regular visitors. It is the largest pitcher plant which can grow up to 41 cm high and 20 cm wide! (Look at our masthead! Hahah…)

After checking-in, we were told to drive to Crocker Range Resort, park our car and then carry our own luggage and walk up our resort. We were puzzled why the reception had to kinda emphasize the walking up bit…After parking our car, we saw this…

Witti Range Lodge
Wow! So nice!

But too bad, this was the Witti Range Lodge, not our room….Only now we realised they named the rooms by the different mountain range…

For our more budget rated room at Crocker Range, we had to walk up this slope, all the way to the end to our Room No. 9!!!!

Imagine lugging our backpacks and daypacks to walk up…and Tisu Boy had his big camera bag to carry too! My hands were full and couldn’t take a photo. This was taken later after we settled down in the room and came out for a walk around the resort…

At the end of the path laid our little resort….

There was this path into the forest and a DO NOT ENTER sign. We wondered where would this lead us to. Only after reading the guidebook and later confirming with the staff that we realised this was the path to see the Nepenthes rajah! (Did Itchyfingers find the pitcher plant? Find out from the next few posts!)

A regular visitor at the resort was this little fellow…

A shrew…He was seen rummaging the thrash bags lying around…

Lotsa cute mushrooms along the path

Flowers too…

We also kept seeing a little thrush-like bird hoping around, but the roof of the pathway covered most of the light so it was not easy to identify or photograph it.

Bornean Whistling Thrush
But luckily we had a great view of this Bornean Whistling Thrush the next day at another car park…

We even saw the juvenile…

Just a walk outside our resort or at the car park near the restaurant, we could catch a glimpse of the majestic Mount Kinabalu Range….

Look so near, yet so far!

At times, it would be covered by clouds…

But I have no idea which angle would allow us to see the summit…

While taking photos, we were told by a couple that they just saw some red-coloured monkeys…Could it be the Maroon Langur? Excited, we rushed to the area they were pointing to but did not see any monkeys. We waited and kept a lookout and then we spotted some movement on a faraway tree…Then, we saw something reddish….But they were mostly too far and blocked by leaves!!!

We tracked and followed their movement to the back of another resort. My goodness! So cute!

Maroon Langur, also known as maroon leaf monkey, or red leaf monkey (Presbytis rubicund) is found on the island of Borneo and the nearby smaller Karimata island

Like their name suggests, these monkeys feed mainly on leaves and fruits. Not too sure what was this orange fruit they were munching…

This must be the highlight of our morning! 😀

They stayed a while eating before retreating into the deeper woods…But Itchyfingers were happy!

We were heading back to our room to prepare our stuff for the afternoon when we heard some jumping around on a small tree. To our delight, there were some more langurs hanging around here!

They were so much closer as they were on this low tree, feasting on the fruits. But we were constantly blocked by the roof of the covered walkway! Only managed to snap a few shots before they disappeared again… 😦

This time, we recognized the fruit they were eating was Passion Fruits! Could even smell it as they munched! Hahah….


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