Danum Valley – The Heart of Borneo

Danum Valley Conservation Area is a vast protected area in Borneo’s interior. At 130 million years old, the rainforest in Danum Valley is one of the oldest in the world. It is a lowland Dipterocarp forest that contains a diverse range of flora and fauna. This includes endangered species such as orangutans, Pygmy elephants, clouded leopards and slow loris. Trees in the Dipterocarp family can reach 60 meters in height or more, with the tallest reaching 89.5 meters!

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Tungog Rainforest Eco Camp on the Kinabatangan

For our time on the Kinabatangan River, we chose to stay at Tungog Rainforest Eco Camp (TREC), which is run by KOPEL, a community-based eco-tourism cooperative of the Batu Puteh community. KOPEL was established to conserve forests and biodiversity, and to support sustainable local livelihoods and Indigenous knowledge. KOPEL has 209 members from all four of the Batu Puteh villages.

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Saving the Bornean Sun Bear

Malayan sun bears are the smallest bear in the world and are only found in south east Asia. The sun bear is classified as a vulnerable species by the IUCN, and is the second rarest bear specie after the giant panda. According to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC), sun bears continue to be threatened by forest degradation, illegal hunting for bear parts which are often used for traditional medicine and poaching to obtain young cubs for the pet trade. Yet before visiting the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sepilok, Sabah, we hardly knew anything about sun bears.

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Kota Kinabalu’s Filipino Markets

The air is hazy with the smoke from burning chicken skewers and the scent of durian. Hawkers shout and wave their menus, drawing you into their seafood stall. Stallholders delicately pile their produce into pyramids, and lay out rows of packaged spices and chilies. The tourists pouring from the tour buses outside barely make inroads into the markets, hanging in clusters and cautiously buying durian from the stalls on the edges.

This labyrinth of stalls is the ‘Filipino markets’ on the waterfront of Kota Kinabalu (KK).

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