First two days:
In the first week of October I had the opportunity to go to Southeast Asia, to Borneo, Malaysia, to be exact! Another agent from the company and I had the privilege to get to know the beautiful city of Kota Kinabalu and the surrounding area. It was a very educational trip to this part of the world. I learn a lot about the people, the food, the area, the dances, the cultural BBQ, the beautiful sunsets that we were able to experience and take lots of pictures of, and especially the warmth that you feel radiating from the island itself! It was a long flight with a double connection, triple if you count the one from Salt Lake City. We did so many things, including sea walking, where I had the chance to feed a couple of schools of fish. The fish came to my hand and ate from it! Sea walking gives one the opportunity to stay dry from the neck up, mingle with the underwater critters, and get close to the beautiful coral life, all while walking on an underwater platform. All of this can be done in the Borneo Reef World Pontoon.
We departed from Kota Kinabalu and headed to Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, also known as "The Tip of Borneo." We visited a Rungus Longhouse and experienced the locals' way of life. In the afternoon we headed to the the most northern tip of the island, where we witnessed the picturesque view of the South China Sea meeting the Sulu Sea. We enjoyed one of the most beautiful sunsets!
We checked out very early from the hotel and headed to Kota Kinabalu National Park for a scenic countryside drive and a beautiful view of the mountain range. We visited the Kinabalu Natural History Gallery and the Mountain Garden in Kinabalu Park Headquarters, declared as Malaysia's first World Heritage Site. We went on a guided walk on one of the trails in the cool surroundings of the mountain forest. We had lunch at the Balsem Cafe. We continued our journey by land to Poring at 1,500 feet above sea level, exploring tropical jungle trails that led to treetop canopy walkways suspended 41 meters above the forest floor. We returned to Kota Kinabalu for an overnight rest.
In the morning we departed for Mari-Mari Cultural Village. This village is located in the deep countryside about 20 minutes away from the modern and developing city of Kota Kinabalu. This village operates a museum that preserves Borneo ethnic culture, where you can learn the history, culture, lifestyle, and traditions of Borneo's indigenous inhabitants so that these things are not forgotten. In the afternoon we proceeded to Klias Wetlands River Safari for a river cruise. We searched for wildlife such as the elusive long-nose proboscis monkey, the rare silver-leaf monkey, the mischievous macaques, and the many species of birds that inhabit this river environment.
We had a bite to eat with the locals, then returned to the river in search of the mesmerizing flickering light of the fireflies against the dark sky.
With this new adventure that I just went through, I can tell my clients who are wanting to experience something different in Asia that this is a great destination to spend some time away from home. The flights might be long, but the outcome is beautiful, entertaining, and educational.