Tagged: borneo

Sipidan + Mabul Island, Sabah, Borneo

 

I arrived in Semporna at 2pm. I only had one night there before heading out to Mabul Island in the morning, and after 2 early mornings of sunrise river cruises I needed somewhere to really relax. I checked into Best Bunk Beds, which is newish but had great reviews online. The hostel is one of the nicest I’ve stayed in. The girls dorm is spacious with 8 bunkbeds in a massive room. The attached communal bathroom is modern, and the dorm has floor to ceiling windows facing the water. There’s a communal space and big kitchen with a lot of Asian condiments to choose from, although I didn’t cook there. It cost $13, which is a lot, but other than a really crappy hostel this was the next cheapest. I was the only non-Chinese backpacker staying there but for my night of relaxing that was perfect.

I walked around the town, grabbed lunch at Restoran Bismillah, an Indian spot. I had a roti and a vegetable soup, which were both tasteless. I ended up pouring the roti dipping curry into the soup. 

I then went to my dive shop to pay. I signed up for Sipidan two months ago. Only 120 divers are allowed per day and there’s a long wait list to be able to dive there. I signed up with Billabong, the cheapest company to dive with. I paid $330 total for 3 days/ 2 nights, which included diving, equipment, accommodation and meals. I got 6 dives: 3 Sipidan, 2 Mabul, 1 Kapelai. Billabong was far from horrific; however, it’s definitely a backpacker place and not somewhere I would stay if I was on holiday. It was also full of big groups or Chinese tourists who were loud, and Muslim Malay’s; so that put a damper on the mood.
The one terrible thing about diving in South East Asia is all the Chinese divers. Every single one I came across should never have been given a license. They’re incredibly disrespectful of the nature and of other divers around. I got kicked and pushed repeatedly and more often than not it was so they could take a picture. They also touched and kicked all the coral and sea life, which is a no-no. It’s not safe to have divers like that around and I actually had my first under water panic attack because of it.  
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In the morning I had breakfast in my hostel then headed to the dive shop and then the shuttle ferry. The ride to Mabul Island took an hour. As we approached be island we slowed down and took a mandatory scenic route along the water hotels until we got to ours. Almost all the dive resorts are housed on stilts on the water. The fancy resorts look just like the glamorous pictures we see back home, and the cheap resorts look run down but still pretty incredible in the sense that they’re on the water. Billabong is a lilac color towards one end of the resorts; it was actually a great spot. 

When we arrived at the resort there were local gypsies selling crabs and shrimps on the deck. The crabs came in a chain, 4 for 20 rm (approx. $6,) and the shrimps were extra large in plastic bottles. I got crab with a Malaysian brother and sister who I shared the ferry with. 

I checked into my own private room which had an attached bathroom. The toilet didn’t have a seat and the shower was a mandy shower- a bucket and ladle. I actually like this method because it’s better than a shower than slowly drips water. There were two twin beds and a fan. The electricity on the whole island only works from 6pm-6am so each morning at 6am I woke up sweating from the heat. 

I settled in then headed out for my first dive of the day, which was at Kapelai House Reef off Kapelai Island. The site had bunches of man-made structures that looked like skeletons of houses. They were covered in moss and full of fish. On the dive I saw big turtles, the face of a moray eel hiding under a structure, trumpet fish, hornet fish, lion fish and stone fish, which look like a rock. The dive was 21 meters deep. 

Sometime when I’m diving I kick with my fins together, like a fish, because I can get places faster. During this dive I lost my hair tie and apparently when I did my fish kick I looked like a mermaid. I was then nicknamed the mermaid.
The second dive that day was Panglima Reef off Mabul Island. There was a slight current at the end of the dive and the visibility throughout was bad. Here I saw lion fish, nudibranch, stone fish, trigger fish, and big colorful cuttlefish. The cuttlefish looked like massive colorful caterpillars with black tentacles coming out of one end. The dive was 22 meters deep.
After diving I walked around the island with a few girls who were on holiday from Kuala Lumpur. The entire walk took us about 45 minutes but that’s only because we stopped a few times. There are two really nice resorts, one of which we stopped at for Magnum’s. Then there are some local shops and a big local village area before the cheaper dive resorts start-up again. 

When we got back to the resort I did the initiation and jumped off the resort bridge into the water. For over an hour guests (the non-Chinese,) dive masters and locals jumped and swam around our area. The sun set in the clouds but the colors were still incredible with the water village setting. 

That night was a bunch of people’s last night and we all drank local rum and listened to music on the bridge. I called it an early night because I wanted to be fresh for Sipadan; however, I ended up being wide awake for a few hours in the middle of the night listening to the rats on the ceiling.
In the morning I had breakfast then we left for Sipadan for the day. The boat was me, an English boy, a young unfriendly Russian couple, two Chinese men, and Otto and Oneal, the two dive masters. Since the British boy was only open water Otto was my dive buddy, which was awesome because he regularly took my GoPro and filmed for me.
First we went onto Sipadan Island to register for our permits. The island is incredibly small and while it used to have two resorts now those are gone and all that is there is a registration shack and a wooden shelter with a picnic table for each dive resort. When we arrived there was a big group of Chinese divers ahead of us. They had two flags and were doing karate poses and large group pictures in the check-in area.
Our first dive was at South Point. I saw an eagle ray, barracuda, white tip shark, black tip shark, gray reef shark, and turtles. We went 40 meters here. I had my first panic attack ever on this dive. I had been having trouble with my mask and it was continuously fogged even after cleaning it. We were in the blue at 40 meters and working with a slight current that was pushing me down and out. I was exhausted from continuously kicking, I couldn’t see a thing and all of a sudden one of the Chinese guys kicked me in the head because he wasn’t paying attention. Luckily I have my rescue training and did not completely panic but I did grab my dive master and we went up to 10 meters where I was able to breath again. I knew I’d be fine since I know what to do but it was terrifying being in darkness and not being able to breath in the moment.
I came up from the dive with a terrible headache from the depth and lack of oxygen. I’ve done that depth before but not in years. We relaxed for an hour in between dives and I put myself back together. 

Our next dive was at Barracuda Point, ranked one of the top dive sites in the world, and it did not disappoint. It was the best dive of my life. We saw huge Napolean fish, schools of humpheads (large fish,) massive schools of jack fish in tornado form (from the currents,) big turtles, and white tip sharks. Otto took my camera and filmed almost the whole time which gave me the chance to fully enjoy the dive. We went 21 meters but most of the dive was near the surface which also meant the light was amazing. I did the signature Sipadan move and swam inside the tornado of jackfish which was surreal. The fish move if you come near and they will reform around you. Otto shot a great five minute film which captures everything the dive offered. 


  

The most shocking and yet not so shocking part of the dive was seeing all the Chinese divers underwater with their massive cameras. I’m talking huge professional cameras with two large arms for flashing. The divers were standing on the sandy bottom of the water holding their cameras like walking sticks. It was the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen in a long time. 

We were all all smiles after that dive. We had lunch and I rested on the beach and I still couldn’t stop smiling.  For the last dive we went to Hanging Garden, a wall dive. Here we saw gray reef sharks, white tip sharks, big turtles and most amazingly a leopard shark. Otto found it sleeping in an alcove and called me over to come next to it. I was almost there when all of a sudden one of the Chinese guys pushed past me with his huge camera knocking me into the coral. For the first time the dive master took charge and signaled at the Chinese guy to get back and let me through. We were about a foot away when it woke-up and swam around us to escape. Another incredible experience. 

  

I went 40 meters on this dive too and although my breathing was affected I practiced on controlling it. Halfway through the dive I was hit by jellyfish particles and got stung on my legs, arms and face. 

Almost all the guests had left while we were in Sipadan. The only westerners left were me, a British girl who I had become friendly with, and two Danish girls who I kept thinking were Spanish. The British girl and I took a walk around the island. We stopped for chocolate strawberry Magnum’s and ate them on the fancy resort porch. We then went to a local shop so that I could buy a seashell chandelier I had seen the day before- I hope it survives the journey. 

 

It was a quite night of staring at stars on the bridge and listening to a local play the guitar. The next morning I slept in and then went snorkeling at 10:30am with the Brit. I only lasted about five minutes in the water. I was stung by sea-lice and bored; it’s hard to snorkel the day after diving at Sipadan. I relaxed on the boat for the rest of the time and watched all the Chinese snorkel, which was like watching the tv show were Chinese do obstacles and people laugh when they get hurt. 
There were five snorkel boats in the area and me and the Brit were the only non-Chinese and the only ones not wearing bright orange life jackets, or matching striped snorkel wetsuits. They all can’t swim, or at least think they can’t, plus are terrified of the water. Two women on my boat refused to let go of the ladder, and one boy refused to let go of the safety ring even though he also had a jacket on. One family held onto two rings and ropes while they all kicked to the coral area where they then proceeded to stand and walk around on the coral. Some of the them were walking on the coral under the resorts in their snorkel gear. I’m not entirely sure why the workers don’t stop them from doing this but it’s terrible how they are ruining the natural habitat. To top it off on the boat ride back one of the Chinese reached into the water and grabbed a starfish and all of a sudden a bunch of cameras were out. A few of us started screaming for them to drop the fish and they did, however, they did not understand why.
When we got back to the resort I checked out of my room, had lunch, and chilled out until 3pm when the ferry came. Brit and I went down the road to pick-up pastries from a local bakery, a window in her home. We bought four pastries for 50 cent rm each, about $.15. 
The ferry back was an hour, then we took a shuttle to the airport which was another hour and cost 30 rm each. I then waited at the airport for 3 hours until my flight to Kota Kinabalu. The flight was 30 minutes. When I got to the terminal I found a money exchange place to covert my Malaysia ringgit to Philippine Pesos. The lady at the counter asked me what airline I was flying before doing the exchange. After it was done she informs me that the terminal my flight is leaving from is actually a 15 minute (30 ringgit) taxi ride away that is not walkable. Cebu now flys from Terminal 1. I then had to exchange back pesos for ringgit. She tricked me so that I would have to pay the exchange rate and agent fee twice.
When I got to Terminal 1 I went to check-in to my Manila flight and I was told that I needed to show proof of a flight leaving the Philippines. I had not yet booked my flight home and was waiting for early week for prices to drop but now I had no choice. I booked the cheapest flight home, which is a day later than I wanted and over $100 more than it will be in a few days. 
My flight to Palawan left at 7:25am, and landed at 8:30am. I then waited for almost an hour at a restaurant nearby the airport for a shuttle bus to leave for El Nido. It was a 6 hour roller coaster journey north, part of which the driver had a friend sitting on his lap.

Kinabatangan River, Sabah, Borneo

 

 At 12:30pm four of us from Borneo Sandakan Backpackers were picked-up by a minivan to take us to Kinabatangan River. The drive was 2.5 hours. There was me, an Aussie girl, and two German guys.

The 2 night package with Asia Green Travel cost 371 rm ($100) and included meals, lodging (basic lodge dorm,) 2 jungle walks, 2 night jungle walks, and 4 river cruises. Our guide was named Aloy and came from the town across the river bank.
We arrived at the lodge and and were shown our room, a 6 bed dorm with about 6 inches of space in between each, and a bathroom. Luckily there were only four of us because the space was incredibly tight, although it was the nicest basic outdoor lodge I’ve stayed in. It even had AC and hot water. 

 It’s green beetle season right now and there are literally thousands of lime green beetles all over the place- the floors, walls, air, etc. There were also massive lime green grasshoppers and cicada’s.  Our schedule for the first day was snack, afternoon cruise, dinner, night jungle walk. For our snack we had roti’s and curry sauce which was delicious. It heavily down poured before our cruise which I think scared a lot of the animals away. On the night walk to saw a Blue-eared Kingfisher, a bright blue/pink/yellow bird.


Aussie and I stayed up late hanging out with our guide. The lodge is going to be town down soon because the owner is building a resort in its place. We were given a tour of the new lodges and at midnight Aloy and Elvis, the lodge host, took us into the massive restaurant under construction on the waterfront. The design is wooden and upscale.
The next day we left at 5:45am for the morning river cruise. Then had breakfast and left for our daytime jungle walk. We used the boat to cross the water bank then trekked for an hour to Lake Oxb Lake. Here we threw bread into the water and immediately tons of tilapia babies starting fighting over it. On the walk we saw tiger leeches, millipedes, a black squirrel, pigmy squirrels, and a big daddy long legs. There was a bunch of pigmy elephant poop with mushrooms growing out of it, but we didn’t see any elephants. 

           We walked back to the boat and went back to the lodge. We had lunch then played cards with our guide. It started to downpour again but at 2pm it had stopped and we left for our village walk. The village nearby, Bilit Village, ended up being a few houses and a school with a convenience store. We bought drinks, visited our guides family’s house, and played with newborn puppies.  After the village walk more people arrived at the lodge. Two older British couples, a young couple from Vancouver, and a young Swedish guy. We all snacked on fried shrimp bread balls then headed out for our cruise, which was by far the best one yet.


On this cruise we saw a big older orangutan making a nest high up in a tree. We also saw 5 elephants feeing along the water. On the way back we stopped and watched two Proboscis monkey families fighting over tree space. In total their were eight groups of monkeys in that tree, and the surrounding ones. The monkeys were jumping around and actually hitting each other; I thought I was watching National Geographic. 

     After dinner someone spotted a 2.5 meter long Yellow-ringed cat snake on the exterior wall of the outdoor bathroom. It was black with yellow stripes. Me and Aussie ran when a guide attempted to pick it up by it’s tail, and Aussie actually broke the floorboards when she sprinted off.


The next morning we woke up early again for another sunrise river cruise. This trip I noticed all the old used orangutan nests throughout the trees. Apparently they only use a nest for one night then move on.

On the four river cruises we saw Proboscis monkeys, long tail macaques, pig tail macaques, silvered langur monkeys, black hornbill birds, Oriental Pied hornbill, black hornbills, Wrinkled hornbills, a red hornbill, purple herons, great egrets, osprey, white-bellied sea-eagles, crested serpent-eagle, stork-billed Kingfisher, a 4m crocodile, a foot long baby crocodile, 2 orangutans, and 5 elephants.


After breakfast I was dropped off at a junction 35 minutes away to grab a bus driving from Sandakan to Semporna. I paid 40 rm and the bus took 5 hours. All the land we drove through was Palm oil plantations. Imagine a corn farm but Palm trees instead.

Sandakan, Sabah, Borneo

 

In Sandakan I stayed at Borneo Sandakan Backpackers, which had great reviews online and a modern website. I stayed in the dorm for 30 rm a night including breakfast. The hostel was in a great location right on the backpacker tourist street and a block from the sea. The breakfast was proper with eggs, and the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful. 


I arrived at 2am. At noon I woke-up and had scrambled eggs with real coffee- none of the Instant stuff I have every morning at the other hostels. I then walked around the city a little but stayed in the same general area. The city is very small. The waterfront has a few restaurants but they are overpriced so I skipped them. I walked inside the new mall in the Four Seasons but it hasn’t been finished yet and there isn’t much there now. 

    For lunch I ate at Selera Sri Keniogan downstairs from my hostel. I ordered an apple juice and chicken noodle soup. Before my meal came I was brought a cup of ice cream, very bizarre but I definitely didn’t question it.   After lunch I checked out the tourists shops. I had decided before hand to skip the Orangutan Sanctuary since I already went to one on Sarawak. Also, although the one here in Sepilok is more famous it is also more controlled and expensive. I’ve been told it feels more like a zoo than a sanctuary. 


I also decided to skip Turtle Island once learning about it. One goes to Turtle Island to watch mother turtles lay eggs and then also to see eggs hatch, which sounds interesting but this only happens late at night and early in the morning and therefore it’s an overnight trip. The accommodation at the island is very expensive as is the trip in general. Again it’s something that would be more affordable if I wasn’t alone.

I did sign up for a 3 day 2 night Kinabatangan River tour, which someone recommended to me.

Across the street from the hostel are two spas both offering promotions. I chose Lynn Beauty Center, which offered an hour foot massage and ten minute back massage for 48 rm ($13.) The foot massage room faced out towards the sea so I had a nice view while I relaxed. 

 After the massage I went to the grocery store to pick up some fruit, veggies and snacks for the river trip. I then headed back to the hostel and relaxed for the night.

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Borneo (Part I & II)

 The last hour of the flight into Kota Kinabulu we flew over lush green mountains which got me more excited for all the rainforest time I have ahead of me. KK is located in the north east part of Malaysia Borneo. I took the public bus from the airport into the city getting off at the last stop near Gala street, where all the hostels are. I wanted to stay at Akinabalu Youth Hostel, but it was full, so instead I stayed down the road at Stay In Lodge for 20rm ($5.50) a night. The hostel is a dump- a dirty walk-up with a slow drip shower, dirty sheets and a loud bar next door; but I’m trying to save money after expensive Indonesia so I have nothing to complain about.

After checking in I went for Chinese food downstairs at 5 Star Hainanese and had mixed vegetables with pork. It was the first Chinese I had in a long time and it was delicious. Not as cheap as I’d like though- the dish cost $4. It was 9pm by then so I just headed back to the hostel to plan out my Borneo schedule. 

 I woke-up in the morning and spoke to my hostel director as well as a few guests and quickly learned that there’s not much to do or see in Sabah (the east section of Malaysia Borneo where I am now.) The two main attractions I have already applied for permits and am not scheduled to do until later in April. I had thought Kota Kinabalu was going to be a major city but was wrong about that too and there’s actually nothing to do here. So unfortunately I made a mistake by coming and booked a flight to Kuching in Sarawak (the west side of Malaysia Borneo) for tomorrow morning.

After scheduling I walked towards the water and saw all the fishing boats, then walked towards the town center which all together took less than 15 minutes. 

   Sabah is mostly Muslims but there are also a handful of Chinese and Malay on the streets. At the center of the city is a large mall. It is old, outdated and dirty like the city. I decided to see a movie at Growball Cinemax just to kill time; I saw Cinderella, which was one of the three movies in English. After that I walked back to the backpacker Gaya street where my hostel is. I stopped at Yee Fung Laksa, a local crowded Chinese restaurant, and ordered the chicken wonton noodle soup. The restaurant only has six things on the menu so I figured it’d be good but it was a bowl of fish broth with noodles and bland chicken wontons. No garnish.

Later that evening I walked back to the waterfront for a seafood dinner. There are two rows of outdoor street food restaurants. Tables are lined up full of fresh seafood and grills. Most of the vendors and shoppers were Muslim. In general the area was pretty quite and I wonder if it’s any busier on the weekends; the whole city seems quite. I ordered mini-squid and sautéed greens for 17rm ($4.50.) It was alright but not worth that much money. 

     The next morning I headed back to the airport for an 8am flight. The public bus doesn’t run that early so I had to pay $10 to get there by taxi. KK ended up being a huge and expensive mistake.

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I returned back to Kota Kinabalu and this time I stayed at Asia Adventures Lodge also on Jalan Gaya (Gaya street.) Vermont and I stayed in an AC dorm. This hostel was much nicer than Stay Inn across the street and I paid the same price. We met two boys from Australia in our hostel and ended up spending our next 24 hours with them.
We went to the waterfront market for dinner and chose to eat at Glam’s station which was full with customers. We joined a communal table and I got up to choose my fish. I picked out a seabass and had it grilled with chili sauce. 

After dinner we stopped at Upperstar for beer. We got two large Tiger’s for 19rm ($5,) a steal for Malaysia. The Australin’s paid for my beer as a birthday treat. On the way home I bought a chocolate strawberry Magnum ice cream bar as my Bday dessert.

The next morning the four of us woke up and headed to the ferry terminal to spend the day on one of the islands off the coast of the city. We bought a ticket for one island to save money. We waited in the waiting area for 30 minutes and finally realized they were never going to tell us when our boat was there. After complaining and refusing to sit back down we were put into a boat.  We arrived on Manukan Island around noon, giving us four hours on the beach. The island is small and can easily be walked in twenty minutes. We spent our time snorkeling and laying out. We took a walk around and I found a bunch of beach glass. It’s nice searching on a beach where no one else cares to look for it.   

   

   We got back on the pier at 4ish for our 4pm ferry back. It wasn’t until 4:30pm and two phone calls later that a ferry actually arrived. We learned never to book through Borneo Ferry company again.    When we got back to land we rushed back to the hostel through the market, which was actually open this time. The Central market was also open and the streets were crowded. This was much different from the last time I was here. This time I actually liked Kota Kinabalu. 

 

I showered and then sprinted with all my stuff to the public bus station in front of the Shangri La Hotel, almost a mile away from where I was. I was told I had less than 15 minutes to catch the last bus to the main bus station. I was dripping wet with sweat when I got there but at least I made it. I boarded the bus and it didn’t leave for twenty minutes. I easily have walked there if I had known.

The public bus went through the suburban towns of Kota Kinabalu. The houses were a mix between modern and rundown but the area was clean and western for the most part. I got to see a beautiful coral sunset on the way. 

 

I arrived at the North Bus Terminal in Inanam and bought a ticket for the next bus to Sandakan at 7pm for 43 rm. The bus ride was a riot. There was a young driver and three of his friends in the front, one of which sat next to me in the front row. They blasted clubbing music and were dancing and occasionally flicking on and off the bus lights to the beat. I will never understand why bus drivers in Asia sometimes have their friends join. And I wonder if they get paid or not too.
On top of the constant noise the bus was ice cold. All the boys were wearing winter puffer jackets but all I had was my zip-up and elephant pants. I asked if they could turn down the air but they refused. They were in their own world and disrespectful of everyone else who were freezing and trying to sleep.
The ride took 6.5 hours instead of 5.

Miri, Sarawak, Borneo

 

Miri we stayed at Dillenia Guesthouse, which is located downtown. Miri is the destination for Brunei locals to come on the weekend to party. The city is pretty small but there are plenty or bars and restaurants to keep entertained. It’s relatively clean (except near the water) and the locals are friendly. 

 

Vermont and I checked into our dorm then headed out for a walk. We went down towards the water, which we thought was going to be a beach, and it ended up being a dock covered in garbage. There are a few seafood restaurants on the waterfront and a massive construction site. We had wonton soup and much needed iced coffee at one of the restaurants, then kept walking around. On our way home we stopped at the spa below us and got a massage. It costs $9 for an hour, which is expensive for Asia, but it’s the cheapest I’ve seen in Malaysia.

A friend from our hostel in Seminyak arrived and we’re now officially three people traveling together. He’s British but works in Gibraltar and lives across the border in Spain. 
The three of us went out and had dinner at local street restaurant. The restaurant didn’t serve alcohol so we grabbed beers across the street. We then walked across the street to a massive bar complex and started at the first bar on one end, which also was the only bar that had people. It was a Monday night and everywhere was dead.
After there we headed towards the water to Hangover bar. We stayed here for the night playing pool and darts. I loved the darts and I wasn’t bad.
The next day we slept in late because we were all exhausted from a lack of sleep the night before. When we did get up we went for lunch and had chicken roti’s. We then grabbed a cab to take us to the main temple in Miri.  

San Ching Tian temple is the largest Chinese Taoist temple in all of South East Asia. The temple has an archway, a courtyard, the main structure and smaller gazebo’s around. Inside the temple are three buddha’s and cushions to kneel on for prayer. There are floral candles available for purchase and some were lit already. The temple is incredibly colorful (bright rainbow colors) with intricate detail and carvings. 

  

  

  

 Down the road a new Taoist temple is currently being finished. This temple is also colorful with two large dragons  boarding the entrance. There’s a koi fish pond and large red wooden doors to enter the actual temple. The temple is closed but we were able to see inside by the side windows.  

     After the temple we came back downtown and checked out Imperial Mall across the street from us. I was hoping it would have some of the cheap Malaysia stores I found in west Malaysia, but it was filled with regular western stores.

At 9ish we went for a late dinner on the waterfront at Yi Hah Hai Seafood. The restaurant had fish tanks and Gibraltar and I picked out what we wanted to eat. We chose shrimp, calamari and oysters. We were served butter shrimp, steamed oysters with garlic and fried calamari. We also got sautéed vegetables. The shrimp was absolutely delicious.  


 

 In the morning we took a public bus to the long distance bus terminal and boarded a bus towards Sibu for Lambir Hills National Park. It was a 30min ride, so an hour trip total to get there. Lambir Hills, which is a rainforest, has multiple hiking trails and waterfalls throughout. 

We first walked from the park entrance to Pantu Waterfall which was almost 2km. The waterfall wasn’t that big but the freshwater pool was Cleese turquoise and the mountain sides were completely covered in moss which gave made the scene fantasy-like. We all swam here and the water was cold and refreshing. [first image] 

We then walked backwards .34km and to Pantu Mountain (1.4km.) It was a gruesome hike up to the top with steep climbs. It started to rain on our way up which made it slippery but felt amazing in the over-heated forestry. The view was foggy when we got there but it cleared over the next ten minutes.   

 

The trek down wasn’t as long or slippery as expected. We walked the 1.4km back then 2.2km to headquarters. 


 

Along the way we stopped at Nibong Waterfall, which we couldn’t reach because it was through a pool. Then we passed Latak Waterfall, which we had to cross over a bridge to reach. There was a beach and a massive freshwater pool below the fall. I didn’t swim here because I was still wet from the rain.  

We hitchhiked for a private bus back to the main bus station, then headed to the public bus stop. While we were waiting a man pulled up and asked if we wanted a ride to town for 2rm each, only .50 more than the bus. We said yes and crammed in. I told him the street we were staying on and he said he knew it but once in town he drove far in the opposite direction. He then stopped to let two other people out and told us it’s 3rm each and to get out. After refusing to exit and yelling about money we finally got him to turn around. He had absolutely no idea what we were saying and I had to guide him all the way there- keep in mind he’s a private driver and it’s a tiny city. We had him drop us off a block away and I gave him 6rm (for the 3 of us) quickly and jumped out. I’m completely sick of locals trying to trick me, and this one was definitely trying to take advantage of us.

For dinner we went to The Workshop Grill for pork burgers. This trendy hole in the wall restaurant is funny because it’s a Muslim country and most restaurants have window signs saying they don’t serve pork. This place only serves pork. We sat at a table outside and I had the classic burger, which was a grilled fillet of pork covered in onion chutney. I added some chili and it was delicious.
 
After dinner we ran some errands (aka stocked up on alcohol for Brunei) and went home to chill out. It had been a long day and we had another early morning to look forward to. At 8:30 we got picked up by a mini-shuttle and rode 4 hours to Brunei.