borneo’s secret ingredients

borneo organutanSabah’s ultimate taste-bud sensation is the famous hinava tongii. A combination of Spanish mackerel, chilli, ginger and shallots in lime juice, with grated bambangan seed. This indigenous variety of mango is the secret ingredient, and Intrepid Express reader Gay Everitt lifts the lid on more local delights in Borneo

“The bustling markets of the capital of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, are crammed into acres of waterfront warehouses bursting with exotic foods and artefacts, all competing for space in the dimly-lit, but thankfully cool, interior. Street hawkers from nearby villages pursue you on the fringes and families watch with amusement from the decks of their fishing barges tied to the wharf.

Every evening open-air barbecue stalls sell skewered chicken, prawns and mackerel at trestle tables adorned with floral plastic tablecloths. Coke is the preferred drink, as the multicultural population includes many Muslims who shun alcohol. The city mosque appears as a pristine wonderland alongside the highway, a space of charm and serenity amidst the fumes and noise.

Escape into the hinterland to Mount Kinabalu, a towering peak which hosts an annual mountain run, and take a dip in the mountain spring-fed swimming pool at Poring Hot Springs to cool off after your trek.

On the eastern coastline bordering the Zulu Sea, at Palau Spidan marine reserve, scuba dive with giant parrot fish and greenback turtles, under the protection of guards whose job it is to deter poachers and pirates. You will manage to sleep in a bungalow on stilts above the water, even on nights when a hurricane blows rain sideways, after three dives and as many sumptuous meals a day.

Finally, visit the orangutan refuge to see these gentle giants hanging onto their very existence in the only home they have, the tropical rainforest of Borneo, the ‘land beneath the wind’.”

Tour Borneo with Intrepid on trips like these great small group adventures:
Sabah – land beneath the wind – 13 days
Sabah Discovery – 10 days

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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Although Borneo is in the tropics, it can still get quite cold up there, so make sure you have some thermals or thick jacket, it can rain so get a poncho or something.

On my trip up Mt. Kinabalu I took my soft shell jacket (fleece with water resistant outer) and a thermal so I didn’t ‘freeze’ as much. The wind chill factor is probably what gets you.

The first day’s trek is only to base camp, then the guide will wake you up about 2am next morning for the second half of the trip up to the summit to see the sun rise.

Get fit by walking up stairs, bring a head lamp with you, and good luck!

Hi Gail,
thanks for your question and in regards to trekking Mt Kinabalu, check out this recent blog article that will shed some light on it for you
It’s tough, but generally travellers manage the climb because the pace isn’t too rushed and the guides are with you all the way.
Happy travels,
Sue, Intrepid Express editor'

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

i’m going on this trip in nov and wandering how hard is tghe climb on the mountain

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