Memorable Experiences from Borneo Trip
The school year finished for most students at Chevalier College on 2nd December last year, but the very next day an adventure was just starting for 21 Chev students and 3 staff members who set out on a 21-day expedition to Borneo, Malaysia. The very excited team had a brief stopover in Singapore before flying to Sabah, Kota Kinabalu where they would begin an experience of a lifetime.
The team spent a few days acclimatising in the city and exploring the sights before a short boat trip offshore to do some volunteer work on Mantanini Pulau. Mantanini is a picturesque island about a 45 minute boat trip off the north western shoulder of the main island of Borneo. The island has a small and very poor population of permanent residents. The Chevalier College team worked closely with residents and a commercial company ‘Blue Life’ to assist in the building of an aquaponic ‘Eco-House’ which aims to improve water quality and sanitation and generate more fertile soils for healthy food production.
After an incredible experience on Mantanini the team returned to Kota Kinabalu for some rest days. The team was fortunate to be staying in the heart of town where an enormous annual Christmas festival was being celebrated, including markets, entertainment, food stalls, activities and swarms of people in the festive spirit.
After sampling the best of the city’s food and entertainment the staff and students began the long-awaited trek to Mt. Kinabalu. Mt. Kinabalu is the highest mountain in South East Asia at a touch under 4100m. The testing two-day climb was an incredible experience for all as the team climbed from a tropical base, through eco systems, craggy igneous peaks, to a frigid, sparse granite summit. To summit on sunrise the team had an early 2am start from the incredible mountain hut ‘Laban Rata’. The team approached the summit, very blessed by the weather, to a breathtaking sunrise at over 4000m above sea level. Mt. Kinabalu is UNESCO world heritage listed, and with its imposing ridgeline ever present it is easy to see why.
The team completed their time in the Northern province of Borneo by traveling to the jungle camp ‘Lupa Masa’ which translates to ‘Forget Time’. Lupa Masa is located in the jungle out of Poring. The camp is aptly named with its stunning waterfall plunge pools and rivers winding through the jungle’s lush vegetation. It was an incredible way to complete this section of the expedition before a brief internal flight South to Kuching, Sarawak, on the mid-western shoulder of Borneo.
Kuching was a stunning final destination for the final leg of the trip. During the time in Kuching the team had a tour of a traditional long house and were introduced to the infamous history of the ‘Head Hunter’ tribes of the past, along with some traditional dancing to impressive indigenous instruments. A memorable and very lucky trip to an Orangutan sanctuary saw the team blessed by the company of four wild Orangutans. This is an extremely rare occurrence during fruiting season and the team was very lucky to have seen an adolescent male, a young mother with a one-year-old baby, and a mature male Orangutan. An experience that will not easily be forgotten.
This trip was an outstanding experience for staff and students alike and has forged some memories and shared experiences and relationships that will stay with every member of the team for a lifetime.