When you leave your wife the majority of the task of organising the wedding, it is only fair that the groom gets to organise the honeymoon, right!? So what credentials do you agree??? A little bit of adventure and of course some relaxation. So that excludes 05:30am starts and mud trekking through the jungle, of course not, but to be fair I didn’t quite know exactly what I had subjected us to at times!
The first day of the rainforest tour started with an early morning get up in Kota Kinabalu traveling to Sandakan Airport where we were met by our guide. We swiftly went off to Sepilok rehabilitation centre for Orangutans to see the amazing work being done to protect these graceful men of the forest. After a much needed coffee, we started our journey through Sepilok, starting with a talk showing the tremendous and important work of The Orangutan Appeal UK which helps prepare displaced Orangutans for re-entry into the wild where possible. Just across the road, there were also Sun Bears which had been rescued and were equally fascinating. After an inspiring visit to Sepilok, it was time to head deep into the rainforest, which meant a two hour boat journey to our eco-lodge.
Along the way, there was so much fascinating scenery, barely a human footprint in sight and surrounded by the canopy each side of the river. There were crocodiles bathing on mud banks, hawksbill birds crossing the river, monkeys swinging from the trees, this truly was an exciting introduction to the rainforest for both of us. But as the name suggests, there was a lot of rain, lucky we brought our anoraks! When we arrived at The Sakau Eco Lodge we were pleasantly surprised by the warm welcome by all the staff and the beautifully crafted setup they had just off the river. The Villa rooms were amazing and beyond the facilities, you would expect for being in the middle of the rainforest.
That very afternoon we set off on a boat safari to search for wildlife, this is where we saw Orangutans in the wild and macaque monkeys playfully enjoying their habitat. The next day included more boat safaris looking for different wildlife, namely Pygmy Elephants. First thing in the morning at 6am we set off in the boat only for it to start pouring down the moment we left. After an hour our guide arranged to meet us earlier in the afternoon when he knew we would have a better chance at seeing the elephants and sure enough just across the river from the restaurant there were Pygmy elephants.
We set off on our afternoon safari and followed the elephants in their tracks whilst they were walking along the river bank amongst the jungle. We were so thrilled to get this incredible opportunity and can safely say our time at the Sakau Eco-lodge was one of favourites. The next morning having spent two nights in Sakau we moved on to Tabin, the land-based jungle experience.
This is where we were required to bring hiking boots and leech socks and it didn’t take us long to realise why! We arrived in Tabin just in time for lunch and in the mid-afternoon, we met our new guide who said you need your leech socks and a pair of wellingtons. This was after being told we couldn’t do the long walk because of the rain. Yes, it was absolutely pouring down and had been all day! So we did the ‘short’ walk of three hours. The moment we set off into the jungle with our leech socks high, clothes tucked in and raincoats on, I turned to see a very unimpressed look on Sam’s face, I think this may have been a little bit out of her comfort zone! Wading through mud, rivers and jungle where you can’t touch any tree in danger of it being poisonous and having leeches launch themselves at the warm-blooded species before them. You don’t notice at first until you realise that suddenly you have ten leeches on you trying to suck your blood. Sam’s face got even more impressed as we waded through this incredible, different and somewhat discomforting experience as leeches continue to find their way on you, the rain kept pouring and the mud kept sucking you off balance. This one was definitely a one-off for Sam as when asked if we wanted to join the night walk, she reacted quicker than the words could come out of our guide's mouth!
After the rainforest, although unimpressed at the time, Sam was proud that she did it, but would maybe not do it again! To be fair, after all the moaning I am not sure I would take her either 😉.
What a perfect way to start a marriage than with some team building and successfully getting your wife through the unknowns of the rainforest!