Category Archives: Sarawak

At work my colleague keeps saying how she’s getting strong as an ox, because of not eating certain things. It’s a sentence we love to use now and then to get ready for the day and comment on each other’s performance. Oxen can be strong, but every time I see this picture of an orangutan I saw swinging through the trees in Borneo, I think of how strong he is. This ape looks like Tarzan, making his way through the jungle. I love how you can see the speed and the wind in his hair, and the strength, the muscles, with his chest sticking out. I feel weak in comparison.

You can see it in nature documentaries: millions of bats that fly out of their cave for a hunt. At the Mulu national park, you can see it for yourself. Almost daily, 3 million bats fly from Deer Cave in search for food. I had no idea what to expect when I arrived at the viewing area. There are benches, organized in such a way they it’s like a performer could come out any minute now. Slowly the benches filled and people were just staring up into the sky. I expected millions of tiny batmans to fly right at me and that idea didn’t get me very excited. Since I arrived early I had to wait a while for the spectacle to start. At 17.26h they decided it was time. It was truly spectacular and unlike anything I could have imagined. I expected a chaos of little animals flying in…

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It wasn’t until the very end of my stay in Borneo that I finally got to know the monkeys of the island. As soon as our boat arrived at the Bako national park, we diverted our route and got dropped off on the beach instead of the jetty. There was activity in the trees and we all got excited. Even before the tour of the park had officially started, we had seen the probiscus monkey. Excited, we walked around the trees, staring up and following the monkeys. In my enthusiasm I even forget about my shoes and backpack and just left it on the beach. Luckily there were no cheeky monkeys or people and it was right where I’d left it. Looking at the trees it’s just like a man with a really big nose is sitting in the trees. The evolution theory has never made so much sense. My…

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To see orangutans you don’t have too many options in this world. A visit to these endangered apes is something you cannot skip on a visit to Borneo. I got the chance to see these wonderful animals in Sarawak, Malaysia and it was an experience I won’t easily forget. There is a lot of criticism about the rehabilitation centers for orangutans. Some say it doesn’t help, some say it’s even counterproductive, while others say it helps. I don’t know who’s right in this matter, but after seeing the orangutans in the forest, I know we have to do whatever we can to help these beautiful creatures survive. I saw the orangutans in the Semmenggoh rehabilitation center in Kuching. The center is usually in the shadow of the more popular center in Sepilok and before I went there I’d heard it was not worth going there. Imagine my surprise when I…

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The Mulu National park in the Sarawak province of Malaysia has some great features, among which some amazing caves. I am not big on caves, as I am claustrophobic, but I ventured into the wide Deer cave. This cave is famous for the thousands of bats that rest here and fly out almost every night to hunt for food. During the day you can explore the cave, although you will encounter lots of bat guano and the inevitable smell that comes along. Looking back at the entrance of the cave, you can see the face of Abraham Lincoln. The wonders of mother nature!

I love this photo of myself, taken by one of my Borneo travel mates Jenny. You have to know that this is all  genuine. This was my reaction. There is nothing staged about it. If you’re talking about unexpected, this was a moment that came as a surprise to my whole travel group. Just at the moment Jenny was taking a photo, I turned around and it resulted in this awesome photo that captures the core of this adventure. It is so pure and real, full of emotion and excitement and I love it! And now the story. After a stay in the Headhunter village and an adventurous journey in a longboat that left me with this wet bum, we were at the start of the Headhunter trail, a track that leads through the jungle of the Mulu national park. There are no more Headhunters to worry about, but that was…

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Is this monkey stealing a squirrel? No! Here’s the twist: this is mother silver leaf monkey with her child. The young monkey is orange when it’s born, but changes color after about three months. I love the contrast between mother and child. Also, these monkeys just look incredibly cute! This photo was taken in the Bako National Park near Kuching.

My stay at the Headhunter village in Malaysia was followed by a boat trip through the jungle to start walking the headhunter trail. Honestly, I have no clue what the river was called. I only remember the trip. It was a very rainy day. We watched as the locals were preparing the traditional longboats. Plastic chairs with the legs sawed off were placed inside it. Our seats. We had two boats, each operated by a man and a woman. While the woman in the front gave directions, the man was responsible for steering. The woman in front of me was waving her hands from left to right, then waving to her husband to go slower. The water was wild. I am impressed by their skills. Because of all the rain, the water was high, the current very strong, and there was a lot of wood in the cappuccino colored water that…

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For this weeks travel theme, Close-up, I chose a photo I took in the jungles of Borneo. The jungles are full of extraordinary plants and bugs that I’ve never seen before. I love the shot I took of this bug on a big jungle leaf.

After driving through the jungle on a bumpy, hilly road, I saw the big wooden houses of the headhunters. It was a small village and yet it was bigger than I’d expected. I think I’d expected a single longhouse, but this was a village with modern brick longhouses as well as a traditional longhouse. I guess even the Iban headhunters modernise. The wooden longhouse was my accommodation for the night. There was a warm welcome by an old couple of whom only the man spoke a handful of words in English. Upon entering the longhouse you take off your shoes. My feet felt the straws the floor was made of. I walked carefully since with every step the floor bounced just a little. The longhouse, built in the sixties, was a big, long house on stilts with a common veranda. Off this veranda were several doors to equally long houses. The interior was…

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