Borneo 2012

A Joerl Travels Trip

March 10 – April 2


This will be a trip to the two northern Malaysian states on Borneo, Sabah and Sarawak. Most visited places will be wellknown places in Sabah but one site in Sarawak lies outside the normal birding circuit.
The trip will coincide with the end of the northeastern monson (Nov-March), hopefully we will only get afternoon showers, not all day rains. But in March and April many birds are breeding, thus making it easier to locate them by song and call.
About 580 species have been recorded in the state of Sabah, and almost all of the Bornean endemics (about 37 species). The mammal fauna is also very exciting, with species like Banteng, Flying Lemur, Otter Civet, Red Giant Flying Squirrel, Slow Lori, Bornean Orangutan and Proboscis Monkey.

Grading: 3 Turkeys of 4


We fly with Singapore Airlines direct flight Copenhagen - Singapore 10 March (12 hour flight), arriving 11 March in the morning in Singapore (a 2,5 hrs stopover), then a short 2,5 h flight to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo, landing at 11:20.
The last flight today will be a domestic 50 minutes flight Kota Kinabalu - Sandakan, arriving at 15:40. Sandakan lies on the NE coast of Sabah, at the Sulu Sea. We will be picked up by a vehicle which will bring us to our first location, Sepilok Forest Edge Resort, about 10 km west of Sandakan. Maybe there will be some short time birdwatching before dawn at the lodge.
12-14 March we will bird Kinabatangan and tributaries under guidance of Robert Chong, and stay at Kinabatangan Jungle Camp for three night. Videos
14 March we visit Gomantong caves (wiki page) (Sabah tourist page) and in the afternoon a ride to Sukau, were a vehicle from the Bornean Rainforest Lodge will pick us up for a fairly rough ride to Danum Valley.
We have 3 full days and one morning in Danum Valley, with two nights at the luxurious Bornean Rainforest Lodge and then two nights at the more simple DV Field Center. this will probably resuly in a somewhat different bird and mammal fauna.
Around 275 bird species have been recorded in the 438 sq km Danum reserve.

19 March there will be drive to the northeast coast of Borneo, and the small town Semporna (the name means perfect) at the Celebes Sea, were we will stay at the hotel Holiday Dive Inn (good rating!) (more info)
We have a package arrangement here arranged by the hotel, were we will stay for three nights.
We will make day trips by boat the following days visiting small islands (pulau in Malay) in the Sulu Sea, this is how the islets look like; pictures.
20 March a boat trip to Sipadan Island, ranked as one of the worlds top diving spots, (wiki) (more info) , 21 March a boat trip to Si Amil Island (pictures) and 22 March a boat trip to Sibuan Island (picture, one more picture)
There will be good opportunities for swimming, diving and tanning these days in addition to birding.

At 6 p.m. 22 March we leave Semporna for Tawau (108 km), from were we take a one hour flight to Kota Kinabalu, landing at 10 p.m.
A rental from car will be waiting at the airport for driving at Mt. Kinabalu and Poring Hot Springs the coming 11 days. Night at a hotel in KK, e.g. Novotel (situated north of the city centre)

23 March it is time for the second* highest mountain in SE Asia; Mt. Kinabalu, 4101 m, were enigmatic spies like Friendly Bush-warbler occur.
(*the highest mountain in SE Asia is Hkababo Razi, 5881m, in Burma). It takes 2 hrs (88 km) to drive from KK to Mount Kinabalu NP, so we will have almost a full day here, then another two full days, then 3 days at the nearby (i.e. 39 km) Poring Hot Springs , so we will hopefully cover this species-rich area well. In MKNP we stay at D'Villa Rina Ria Lodge (more facts) and at Poring Hot Springs we stay at Kelicap Lodge.
28 March we bird Poring Hot Springs in the morning, or if we still miss some target species, we can go back to MKNP instead this morning. Then we drive to Rafflesia Forest Reserve (map) for several hours birdwatching, until 3 p.m., when they close, then we continue to Kota Kinabalu were we stay overnight, since there is no hotel at Rafflesia.

29 March we go back to Rafflesia (58 km from KK) to get a morning here as well (open from 8 a.m.), then we drive via Lawas into the other Malaysian state on Borneo, Sarawak.
We will stay at a recently opened lodge in Sarawak; Paya Maga Lodge, for three nights and bird this area, were probably only a few western birdwatchers have been before. We have three mornings here, hopefully giving a good species list and specials like Bornean Oriole.
1 April. In the afternoon we leave Paya Maga and drive up to Kota Kinabalu for overnight stay at a hotel, e.g. Novotel.
2 April we go very early 75 km up north of KK and bird at Kota Belud, then we have to hurry back 90 km to the airport before 11 a.m. to return the rented Toyota Innova and then fly back home 13:25, arriving 3 April in the morning in Copenhagen.




Utrustningslista (equipment list, in Swedish)

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Borneo pages created 23 January 2012. Erling Jirle, webmaster at Joerl Travels; "Dina kryss, vår glädje". Updated 26 Jan 2012.