Sabah, although in the same country as Sarawak, has many subtle differences to one another through the various cultures and way of life. I started my trip inSandakan, which is at the heart of Sarawak’s wildlife. I only used Sandakan as a stop over to get to other areas of wildlife, although Sandakan is much more than just a stopover. There is more to offer in this town richly filled with history and culture. Check out the restaurants by the harbour, the memorial camp resurrected in remembrance for those who were present in the infamous death march, and the famous literate: Agnes Keith’s house. For my short stay, I stayed at Harbourside Backpackers, which is based in a popular square with clean dorm beds, AC, free internet and free reign over a DVD collection and TV for just 28 ringgit a night.
I headed to Sepilok the next day, to visit the most famous orang-utan sanctuary in the world. Visitor numbers soar even higher each year, and the head count is well into its millions. Excited tourists rush off local buses, air conditioned mini vans and speedy taxis- all in anticipation to catch a glimpse at the orange haired orang-utans. And it is pretty easy to do so with Sepilok’s regimented feeding times, meaning frequent free and easy access to food for these creatures in rehabilitation. Standing amongst tourists from all over the world on a board walk in the jungle, you watch orang-utans of all shapes and sizes swing and loop, jump and dive, play and eat, whilst constantly stopping to smile a huge cheeky grin. Seeing orang-utans with hands for feet and other remarkable human characteristics, was memorizing and made me squeal with excitement.