I’ve never been to Borneo! Or Malaysia, for that matter, but my hubby, his cousin, and her husband are going for 2 weeks in a few months! WOO HOO!! I’m super excited. It’s only taken me and H-Bomb (That’s what I nicknamed his cousin cuz she’s a super cool and awesome chick) 2 weeks to plan and book every detail. I got SUPER DUPER ANAL with my “Number’s” Mac spreadsheet. It’s a pre-made template with itinerary, schedule, packing list, reservations, contact info, etc. etc. The only things I added were a few columns for currency conversions and split costs for things we have to pre-book.
One of the highlights of the trip is going to be climbing Mt. Kinabalu. It is around 13.5K feet elevation, which if I compare it to something I’ve seen in CA. is a little smaller than our Mt. Shasta, which is 14K elevation. (I can’t think in meters yet, but I’m going to work on it!) It is one of the most accessible mountains in the world and you can climb to the top without gear. There is a section where you can climb with cables (Via Ferrata), but we are not going to do that.
We are doing a 2night/3day package tour which gives us a lodge the first day to hang out in the park, 2 days to climb with a rest-house stop before the final ascent. As we are only going to be in KK (Kota Kinabalu) for the climb, then flying onto Kuching to explore and go to Baku National Park and enjoy the sights there. As I’ve researched, the past years have made the Mt. Kinabalu very tourist driven and a little harder to climb without first booking a rest-house stay. The fares look inexpensive online, however, not being Malay, you pay an “International” fee as a tourist so things end up being on the pricey end no matter what. I’ve read numerous blogs that convince me it is possible to do things at about half the price we are paying, but we don’t have the luxury of time. Time is $$ rings true everywhere. Either you have time and don’t need so much money or you spend money so you don’t waste your time. I’m a frugal person, but there is a limit to what I will haggle over.
So, Mt. K will be chilly, and that’s why I’ve been researching Alpine climbing jackets. Yup. They are insanely expensive for the super lightweight Gore-tex or Schoeller fabric stuff, but hey, the price of dry comfort is pretty darn sweet when you’re sweating in freezing temperatures. That’s what the ascent will be like at 2:30am. . . in December.
Post Mt. K, we are flying to Kuching where we will meet up with my business partner’s tour guide from a dozen years ago! That’s how I got the idea for this ENTIRE trip! My partner, Chuck (I’ll call him) invited me and my husband to dinner. He shared a Sarawak Laksa and I fell in love. Anyway, Borneo has always been a destination in my mind, so I get to check this spot off in my bucket list of places to eat before I die! We are planning to take a 2 day trek through Bako National Park and visit the Orang Utan sanctuary sometime in the first day or so. We are thinking to do a longhouse home stay for a night and maybe even learn how to cook something from one of the guide’s friends. (YES YES YES!!) Authentic Sarawak curry, here I come!
We are ALL mountain bikers, so what’s amazing about this trip is that it’s the world of bikes that helped me find these like minded adventure guides. If it’s not raining cats, we can probably go for a short ride. 🙂 Crossing fingers for that!
Unfortunately, we will not be doing any caving or kayaking because Dec. is the heaviest rain season and it’s just dangerous. No thanks for being underground in a potential flood zone, thanks! Maybe we can just see the outside of caves! 🙂
Before we get to Borneo, we will be flying into Hong Kong to meet up with our cousins. I lived in HK, so at least booking hotels and itineraries there was easy! I still have a Hong Kong agency I book my hotels through, so the fares were about 15% cheaper than going through American agencies. Plus, I know what hotels are in the Central area and not taking taxis everywhere will save me money even though I spent a little more on the hotel. Accessibility is key in HK!
Then, after one night of party-ing in HK w/ dim sum and shopping the next morning, we will head to Macau to visit our cousin’s new home! This is their first year of teaching in a foreign country and they love it! We are excited to see them and we will be the first family members to visit since they moved at the start of the school year. 🙂 I remember waiting and waiting for my family or friends to come visit me in HK. . I was a bit sad and disappointed no one came running to stay for free, especially since I was a lot younger then and no one was married or had obligations. I did have 2 friends visit and my mom came to see me, so that was great!
I feel so much better now that everything is booked. Flights, hotels, itinerary, contacts! I can now rest through the month of November since I have big plans for Thanksgiving that will pretty much occupy my life. 🙂 Vegan & Carnivorous Thanksgiving!