My last journey in Asia this year was in Borneo.  A trip I made by myself.  I had always been very wary of traveling alone but when I separated for a couple of days on other trips I was on my own and found that I had a lot fun flying solo.  I went to the Malaysian half of Borneo, flying in from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu.  I stayed in Kota Kinabalu for a couple of nights, there isn't much of a nightlife outside of some bars along the pier, a club called Bed, and pricey hotels.  Maybe I didn't have an "in" or whatever, but the most fun I had were taking speedboats out to the National Park marine reservation islands.

The most tourist filled ones were Sapi Island which I only recommend going to as a scuba diver rather than a sunbather.  The accessible parts of the island are overcrowded with disrespectful tourists who were trying to catch the fish in nets (illegal) or feeding the fish (illegal also).  People were standing on what remained of the coral near the shallow shores and collecting shells as souvenirs also illegal.  Although the water is beautiful and turquoise my time there was a bit ruined when I saw a diaper floating around in the water.  The islands I do recommend going to are Manukan and Manuti.  On both islands you can stray far right or left and be away from tourists and feel like the stretch of sand and crystal clear water are your own.  I only snorkeled in these areas and saw beautiful rainbow hued fish, poisonous blue ringed stingrays, little clownfish, and even a turtle!

I went scuba diving my last couple of days and I was wholly unprepared for how unnerving the experience would be.  I really loved the experience but found myself out of my comfort zone at times.  Scuba diving was unlike anything I'd ever experienced.  When I was swimming over the coral, I felt like a bird flying over a garden.  It was like seeing a Windows 95 screensaver in real life.

I flew to Sandakan to go camping in the jungles of Borneo.  I stayed at Uncle Tan's the tagline for which is "for hardcore backpackers only" it really isn't that HXC.  It just doesn't have running water, electricity after midnight, or wifi.  You stay in these little sheds with mosquito netting.  While everyone complained about showering with water from the river since it looked brown, it was really not a big deal.  I really enjoyed camping because the little sheds you stay in are built on stilts and you access them through runways on stilts.  You're right in the middle of a swampy jungle, fulfilling whatever David Attenborough fantasies you may have.  At night you rely on weak beams from your liquor store flashlight to guide you around.  After midnight when the electricity is cut the beautiful phosphorescent mushrooms and fireflies shine throughout the night.  You can hear animals and amphibians, like a real life "jungle" sounds app to lull you to sleep.

The days mostly consisted of cruising up and down the brown freshwater river to scout for whatever animal was around.  This way we were able to see a lot of monkeys, crocodiles, and birds.  My favorite experience had to be the night river cruise to see nocturnal animals and ride out under the stars.  After living in an LED lit city, seeing stars was an absolute joy and novelty.  My unresearched impression from the cruises were that most of the forest area we were around had been cut down to clear the land for palm plantations.  When I was flying on the plane, I was so shocked to see neat grids over the land instead of velvety looking jungles.  I went on several hikes, got bitten alive by mosquitos, and saw some wild animals.  Our guide was incredible and was able to find a slow loris just by tracking its scent.

Uncle Tan was a very well done camping experience.  The guides are very friendly and nice, the camp is also very "green" with minimal impact on its surroundings.  There are other programs that are not situated in a swamp and are more inland away from the river so that you have more close encounters with monkeys etc. that also have wifi.

So I missed my flight because I am a moron who didn't understand that the rest of the world uses the 24 hr clock and stayed in KUL for a day.  It was lovely, I wish I had a little more time to explore but I had to rush back to Seoul to leave for Europe.

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