Pat's Diary for Jakarta and Borneo Holiday

November 2005


Bird list

8th Nov

From home to Manchester Airport

Set off by taxi in torrential rain – had to turn round at Knutton roundabouts as road to Milehouse flooded – arrived at airport in good time and spent the wait comfortably in the lounge. Good seats on plane and splendid dinner before we settled down to sleep – we both slept well and woke up refreshed -

9th Nov

Arrive Kuala Lumpur – Shangri La Hotel (2 nights)

But we still had some hours to spend before we had breakfast/lunch and arrived. Booked train – KLIA - and limousine to our hotel and found we had a porter "thrown in" to organise our bags on and off trains and taxis. Lovely hotel and we have an end-on view of the towers from our bed. Rain, wandered around hotel and had supper of 2 different noodle dishes. Slept reasonably well until 8

Thurs 10th Nov

Kuala Lumpur

Good buffet breakfast - walked to see Petrona Twin Towers (had to negotiate road works) – a cool in the huge shopping centre – too late for tickets for the towers, but I asked nicely and smiled sweetly(?!!) and they found us some and we were on the next tour – interesting video on design and building – up in lift to 41st floor (in 40 seconds – the only thing we noticed was the change in altitude) – 10 mins on the skybridge with fabulous views – a great trip - Light lunch in shopping centre below – walk round in the park outside in the sunshine, it seemed very hot! Took train – LRT - to Masjid Jamek – walked round outside of central Mosque (I was lent a headscarf) to Merdeka Square – walked round and rested in the gardens – visited St Mary's Cathedral – bought more water to drink then slowly walked back to our hotel – tea and elaborate cakes in the lounge before a shower and rest – watched terrific storm which blotted out the towers completely – buffet dinner (huge selection)


KL to Jakarta – visit to Michael and family (4 nights)

Up at 5:40 for a buffet breakfast but I didn't eat much – taxi all the way to the airport – a second breakfast in the lounge as we were still travelling business – smooth flight to Jakarta after a third breakfast – Eddy met us at the airport and we picked Nicky up on the way to their house – lovely to see her again – quick swim before a glass of wine and a light lunch – rest afterwards – James and Charlie home from school – Michael home from work early in our honour! – lovely evening eating and talking.

12th Nov

Jakarta – Charlie's Birthday Party

Swam before breakfast – Peter and Mike gossiped over the table-tennis table – Nicky, Charlie and I out to buy presents at rather grotty shopping mall – light lunch and rest for us – treasure hunt for children and then all out to "Beebee Gunning"- we sat and talked with Nicky – all kids back and finished hunt, tea in the garden and then in the pool – we sat quietly and entertained some parents – adults ate later and quieter too.

Sun. 13th Nov

Jakarta – BWA Christmas Bazaar

I went out early with Nicky to help set up the cake stall (British Women's Association) – walked round the ethnic stalls – then sold tickets at the door for the rest of the morning – all of us out to a huge buffet lunch in this new swishy hotel – raw fish and sushi was delicious – rest when we returned – Peter did Michael's backup and we watched "2 weeks notice" – light meal and bed.

Mon. 14th Nov


Swim before breakfast – Nicky out for tennis lesson – after coffee, out to BWA to pack boxes but not wanted so we went off to buy tea at M&S and explored the ethnic carvings – Indonesian lunch out, interesting and mainly delicious – Peter and I both had massages after our rest, lovely – Mike home not too late and after J and C in bed we had steak and salad for tea – talked but all to bed early

Tues. 15thNov.

Jakarta to Kuching via KL – Damai Beach Resort Hotel (2 nights)

Up early and a quick breakfast before going to the airport but we were there very early – in lounge and then outside – long wait at KL but sat in domestic lounge – flight to Sarawak delayed because of thunder storms – met at airport and taken to a nice hotel on the sea out to the east of the city with mountains as a backdrop

Wed. 16thNov.

Bako National Park (day trip)

Drive to Bako Bazaar and ferry boat to the park – as it was very low tide we had to paddle out of the boat and walk along the beach (3/4 hr) to the park entrance – fascinating with odd rock formations and small sand-coloured crabs scuttling across the beach – a short walk along one trail with 2 Australians and our driver and guide Nick – looked at strange crabs with only one large claw, and one or two fluorescent blue ones and noticed the wild pig sauntering along the beach in the distance - back along the beach through the mangroves and as we were nearing the end we heard a monkey crashing in the trees – then he appeared in a tree near to the boardwalk and we had the pleasure of watching him eating and jumping between trees – Proboscis monkey with a huge long nose and long white tail – we had such a good view! – several more of the troop arrived but stayed further away – back to park headquarters after the excitement for a packed lunch and watch the pig and a couple of long-tailed macaque monkeys – ferry boat back, this time from the landing stage – back to hotel, Peter had a swim and I joined him after I had sorted out the suitcases – buffet dinner and walk along the sea front and beach.

Thurs. 17th Nov

Butang Ai Safari – Hilton Longhouse Resort (2 nights)

Long drive today – via Kutching and on to Serian – roads quite good but traffic and rather tedious – stopped to buy presents for our longhouse visit – walked round the market and marvelled at the different vegetables and fish – lunch at Lachau – noodles, chicken and veg – very good – in a tiny open-air cafe – further 2 hrs drive, and rougher, to Hydro dam – ferry to the hotel after a wait – nice room at the end of a modern longhouse, 50 rooms – swim before dinner.

Fri. 18th Nov

Longhouse visit

I was up early for a walk to see the sunrise (we didn't), it was nice to be up – after breakfast we boarded a canoe with Nick and a boatman to go across the lake and up the river (~1 hr) – stopped en route at a fish farm to buy lunch! – to the Iban longhouse at Spyar (together with a boatload of Dutch tourists, noisy but very friendly – walked through longhouse (without shoes), admired the remains from the headhunting era and presented our gifts to the headman – across to the other side to view the arts and crafts of the women (and of course to buy something) – back for rice wine and tribal dancing – presents all laid out in small piles and given to the children one by one – an interesting visit – a blowpipe demonstration (Peter and I both tried, and hit the target) before we all went further up river for the lunch place – we watched while rice, several different vegetables and chicken were piled into bamboo canes and roasted over the fire – finally the fish was laid out on a grid and soon everything was cooking nicely – Peter and the Dutch went swimming in the fast flowing river – then we all ate together with fresh pineapple and later bananas – one of the best meals we had had – packed up rapidly as it started to rain, and heavily – and a swift boat ride back – the rain soon stopped but it was quite hard on the wooden seats in the canoe so we were pleased to be back – swim then excellent buffet dinner.

Sat. 19th Nov

Butang Ai to Kuching and flight to Kota Kinabalu – Shangri La Risa Ria resort hotel (3 nights)

Caught the 8:30 boat to our van and a smoother ride back – lunch at a pepper garden – walked up the path by the side of the waterfalls with lots of people enjoying the cool water - another good lunch at small cafι then on to airport in good time – flight on time and met at KK in Sabah – driven to our hotel - it was outside the town so it was dark when we arrived – light dinner at the restaurant - the hotel looks splendid for the couple of rest days - we will explore it fully tomorrow

Sun. 20th Nov.

Shangri-La Risa Ria Resort Hotel

Lazy day! – great buffet breakfast and wander round the gardens – I did the chores and some washing (and repacked) – Peter on the internet – a game of table tennis (in that heat and humidity) before coffee and cake – I finished upstairs and Peter went swimming in the sea jumping the waves – a light late lunch, a rest and the rest of the afternoon lounging around the pool (actually swimming!) - an interesting and delicious meal at the Indian restaurant wandered around the hotel grounds and along the beach in the dark - idyllic!

Mon. 21st Nov

Risa Ria

Up early for nature trail walk inside the Nature Reserve attached to the hotel – steep climb and trees but not too much to see – late breakfast – table tennis – Peter jumped the waves and I walked along the beach, he joined me, to the rocks at the end – lunch, rest, sorted the packing and enjoyed doing nothing - ordered a small dinner and wandered round the grounds in the evening before bed – what a great place to have our rest days!

Tues. 22nd Nov.

Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan – Sabah hotel (1 night)

Picked up at hotel for airport but arrived so early that we took a taxi back into town to go shopping at the Centrepoint shopping mall – coffee and bought Peter new track shoes (the sole had come off the old ones) – short flight to Sandakan and picked up for the hotel – pizza and cake between us in the lobby – rest, walk on "nature trail", swim and Jacuzzi – good dinner, part buffet, part ordered main course (delicious fish)

Wed. 23rd Nov.

Seligan Turtle Island (1 night in chalet)

Car to ferry port and boat to island (~1 ½ hr) – 8 of us, Kim and Janek, Sandra and Stuart, 2 young Japanese on their honeymoon – basic nice room – Peter and I out to swim but we walked around the end of the island on the coral, hard on the feet! – back for a lazy lunch and talk – then all out to snorkelling and swimming – shallow water over the coral, lots of fish, big, small, brightly coloured – back for a rest before dinner at 6:30 – we must all stay inside now until we are called when a turtle comes ashore – sat around talking, visited the exhibition upstairs until a shout of turtle (10:50, not as late it could have been) – a large green turtle had come ashore and was laying eggs – we had to keep quiet without lights – she was 99.7 cm long and 88.5 cm wide and laid 101 eggs – the eggs were collected up while she covered the hole – the eggs were buried again in the hatchery – we were shown a bucket of newly hatched turtles and allowed to hold one (they are very strong) before taking them down to the seashore to release into the ocean – we all went happily to bed.

Thurs. 24th Nov

Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary - Kinabatangan river – Sucau Riverside Lodge (2 nights)

Up early and left the island – breakfast at the ferry landing stage (2 fried eggs, sausages, baked beans and toast, all nicely cooked – bus to the Orang Utan Sanctuary for feeding time – saw longtailed macaques on the path – 2 orang utans already there waiting and lots more swung in – there were probably about 15 – eating bananas and drinking milk with antics on the ropes! – back by bus to the ferry jetty to collect all our bags – boat along the coast to the mouth of the Kinabatangan river – a riotous ride, we hit a log and the motors stopped, drenching Peter – journey time more than 2 hours – along the river we saw a probiscus monkey – lunch at the riverside Abai jungle restaurant was most welcome, and delicious (run by the same tour company) then further hour to the Sucau Riverside Lodge – a relief to arrive! – small but comfortable room – quick change into dry clothing and out in a large canoe for a cruise up the Menanggul River – tropical rain storm so we all got wet - saw lots of wildlife including a dead pig, killed by a crocodile, which we saw nearby, which was being eated by 3 huge monitor lizards – macaque monkey crossing the river and a couple of glimpses of probiscus monkeys – home and change for dinner – interesting video of Probiscus monkeys.

Fri. 25th Nov.

Sucau Riverside Lodge

Up early to say goodbye to the others who were taking the boat back to the ferry terminal – they were not looking forward to the journey – breakfast and cruise up the river to the Oxbow lake with Jen and another young lady from the company – looking out for birds, monkeys, etc.- see list at end – stopped for a jungle walk – lots of leeches!!! – waiting for us to brush past and had to pick them off each other before we had finished – across to shady side of the lake for tea and biscuits – cruise back home for lunch – Peter found a leech attached to his sock – rest then another cruise down the main river – we were out more than 2 hours and saw lots of wildlife including orang utans in the wild – one mother and baby swinging down a tree – several groups of proboscis monkeys including an all male group – fascinating, this is what we came for!

Huge storm during the night and we didn't sleep well.

Sat. 26th Nov

to Danum Valley –Borneo Rainforest lodge (2 nights)

Up early and set off in a small bus by road – not a comfortable ride for the ~ 60 km!! – very rough road made worse by the huge palm oil lorries in both directions and the wet conditions – at one time the mud was so deep that we were travelling sideways towards a heavy lorry also travelling sideways (we missed him) and the car in front had to be pulled free by another lorry – we finally made the main road after 2 hours and set off at great speed for Lahad Datu - Jen left us here at the tour office - we bought a cup of coffee (strong instant with a layer of condensed milk at the bottom – delicious) – then off again in a rickety taxi for the Danum lodge – another ~ 90 km of gravel road – a little better that the one before but still bone-shaking and uncomfortable – a real endurance test and we were pleased to arrive after 4 hours and find a large chalet room with balcony overlooking the river and lunch awaiting us – rest then out with our young guide Lydia – walked the nature trail and up the hornbill trail – saw odd birds (see list at end of this account) – and then a family of rhinoceros hornbills, one without the horn on top was obviously a juvenile being fed by his mother – a red-leafed monkey - climbed up to the tree canopy walk and along the 2 sections (27 m high) (I did manage!) and finally, hot and sweaty, back to the lodge hearing the black cicadas making their noise (they do this each evening about sunset) for dinner – night drive up the road to the boundary and back around the staff quarters on the back of a open land-rover with 4 Japanese ladies, looking for wildlife – we saw a Malaysian civet (well only the rustle in the grass), a flying squirrel up in a tree, a mouse deer (only its eyes glowing in the dark) and nearly at the end, a huge Buffy fish owl standing on a post, a good view before it flew off, and a group of about 7 or 8 Bushy crested hornbills rousting together huddled in a row high up in the trees

29th Nov

Danum Valley –Borneo Rainforest lodge

Up early and sat on balcony watching for birds while Peter brought me tea – lovely breakfast – on Coffin Lookout trail with Lydia – across the Segama river and up the trail to the cliffs where, after climbing up a steep ladder, we saw the remains of coffins about 250 years old – one coffin of a child, remains of sculls and some bones and further along, a more complete coffin made of ironwood – continued up a steep path with slippery steps only possible with the help of a rope handrail on to the lookout point some 500 m above the river – admired the view of the lodge below us and watched a bright green lizard (can you see it in our picture?) – slithered down again to Jacuzzi pool where Peter and I swam – the water was surprisingly cool – hurried to get dressed as it started to rain – back to the lodge for lunch tired and happy! we had been out about 4 hours – rest after lunch (we needed it) and sat on the balcony – after dinner a night hike with Lydia holding the powerful torch – saw another Buffy fish owl catch a mouse and retreat up a tree to eat it – a Sambar deer and a better view of a mouse deer (very tiny) – and a common palm civet walking into the forest – finishing up with a tree frog we had had an exciting walk

Mon. 28th Nov

Borneo Rainforest lodge to Lahad Datu and flight to Kota Kinabalu

Enjoyed our last day here on the balcony with tea - after a later breakfast, up the Segama trail - noticed elephant footprints – some birds – hot and steamy but lovely to be out – back down the Hornbill trail to the lodge and round the staff quarters hearing the odd call – it was a Gibbon which we saw when we get round the other side of the trees – also another rhinoceros hornbill and to finish, a Crested Honey buzzard eating something on the branch of a tree above us – what a way to finish! – back for a short rest before the last of the packing and our last delicious lunch – a rather more comfortable bus back to Lahad Datu this afternoon, but still a long bump about – waited in the tiny airport for a flight to Kota Kinabalu - met the Dutch group from the longhouse trip who were also on their way home - taken to the Hyatt Regency hotel for the last night – light supper in the inside courtyard – met 2 of the Japanese ladies - and bath before bed

Tues. 29th Nov

Kota Kinabalu to Kuala Lumpur and home to Manchester

Awake before 4 am and then a trolley arrived with the breakfast we had ordered the night before – the works! - ate most and took the croissants to eat later at home – out pickup was late so we took a taxi to the airport and a flight back to KL – sat in the lounge there and had some snacks (a 3rd breakfast?) – before the flight back to Manchester.


The most splendid holiday.

List of Borneo Birds seen.


first sighting

oriental darter

Kinanbatangan River

black crowned night heron


intermediate egret

Kinanbatangan River

chinese egret

Kinanbatangan River

large egret

Kinanbatangan River

cattle egret

Kinanbatangan River

little green heron


Jerdon's baza

Kinanbatangan River

Brahminy kite

Kinanbatangan River

lesser fish eagle

Kinanbatangan River

white-bellied sea eagle (huge)

Kinanbatangan River

crested serpent eagle

Kinanbatangan River

crested honey buzzard

Danum valley


Kinanbatangan River

common tern


spotted dove

Risa Ria resort

Javanese turtle dove

Risa Ria resort

broad billed roller

Kinanbatangan River

buffy fish owl

Danum valley

house swift

Risa Ria resort

white collared kingfisher

Kinanbatangan River

stork-billed kingfisher

Kinanbatangan River

blue eared kingfisher

Kinanbatangan River

bushy crested hornbill

Danum valley

black hornbill

Kinanbatangan River

rhinoceros hornbill

Danum valley

pied hornbill

Kinanbatangan River

black & yellow broadbill

Danum valley

orange bellied flowerpecker

Danum valley

purple throated sunbird

Kinanbatangan River

yellow breasted sunbird

Risa Ria resort

spectacled spider hunter

Danum valley

Java sparrow

Kinanbatangan River

dusky Munia

Risa Ria resort

common coucal

Danum valley




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