Kinabatangan River 2.0 – Sukau – Borneo – Malaysia – April 2015

PSX_20150410_024709We were greeted by a friendly looking guy named Mr Aji.  He has been a tour guide for over a decade and doubles up work as a wildlife photographer and studies animal behavior for the  Sabah government.  The coolest part about his tour: We're in a group of 6 people which is   less than half the size of our group with the Nature Lodge.  
We are shown our rooms and given about 45 minutes to settle in and have a coffee before     going out on the boat.  With Mr Aji, we do less tours but they are longer so the tour time  works out to be about the same.  
PSX_20150410_090955While hiking in the jungle, we didn't see much.  In the daytime the only exciting thing we  saw was a black cobra.  Which is actually more scary than exciting.  We're just walking     calmly and I'm looking up in the trees hoping to spot an orangutan or something cool when MrAji screams at the top of his lungs and jumps backwards into me.  I nearly shit my pants.   If he's scared, I'm really scared! Later he explained that with aggressive snakes it's      important to scream out loud and make noise in attempt to scare it away.  
PSX_20150410_030933Hiking at night, I was looking forward to seeing sleeping birds and hopefully a slow loris  or western tarsier.  Before going out we had to tuck our socks into our pants. 

Instead of seeing what I wanted to see, Mr Aji was very good at finding different insects   including some poisonous jumping spiders.  Some of the insects were cool looking. Others    were what nightmares are made of like this cave centipede.  
PSX_20150410_011536Out on the water we saw all kinds of action.  Though we didn't see any orangutans, we did   see lots of monkeys
PSX_20150410_040224We also saw some proboscis monkeys up close and personal.  This here is what's known as the "Borneo Chili Pepper" 
PSX_20150410_014347The coolest bird out here is by far the hornbill. There are 8 species of hornbill in Borneo.  
PSX_20150410_030539The scariest thing we saw was a 4 meter + crocodile running into the water to hide from us. We never saw any crocs last time we were here. 
PSX_20150410_025929Another new bird we spotted this time exclusively found on Borneo: Black & Red Broad Bill! 
PSX_20150407_200922Mr Aji is a really cool character and very easy to chat with and get information from.  I   thought it would be cool to compare the 2 tours that we've done here but really there's no  way to compare because they were both so different.  It depends on what kind of experience  you want. 
With the Nature Lodge, groups are around 16 people.  This is a lot but it's also a great way to meet people.  We still saw a lot of wildlife despite being in such a large group.       Because there's large group sizes there is also a large variety of food and because the chef used to work at a high end hotel in Kota Kinabalu the food was great.  You do a bunch of   short tours: 4 boat tours, 1 day jungle trek and 2 night treks with everything going for    about 1-1.5 hours.  The guides are knowledgeable and teach you basic things that you hear on every jungle walk.  At night, they are good for finding sleeping birds and really worked   hard to find that western tarsier one night.  
With Mr Aji our group was 6 people and I don't think they get bigger.  Because of the small group size, menu options are slim. The food was still good but not a lot to choose from. As I said above, you get less but longer tours.  We spent about 8 hours on the water in our 2  boat trips.  Our night walks were 2 hours each and our morning trek was about 2.5 hours as  well.  Then we went near the Gomantong Caves.  You don't go in the caves because they smell awful but you walk for for 2 hours looking for wildlife about 5km into the park.  Mr Aji is very knowledgeable and offers an interesting insight on animal behavior and how to get good photo angles.  At night, Mr Aji is great at finding small things under leaves and in places you  would normally avoid looking.  
PSX_20150407_201014I personally had a great time with both tours for different reasons.  This place is easily  my favorite place to be in Borneo. The wildlife here is amazing.  A total of 6 days on the  Kinabatangan River and we've seen more wildlife here than the rest of southeast Asia        combined.  Tomorrow we are back on a plane as we fly back to Kuala Lumpur, enjoy a 2 hour   layover, then fly to Langkawi: [cue excitement] an island that Kristi and I skipped last    time we were here.  

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