Several day trips into the wild of Borneo are available from Kuching. We decided to spend our first day visiting Semengohh Wildlife Centre to hang out with wild orang-utans for an hour before rafting down a river on a bamboo raft and foraging in the jungle for our lunch. Well technically our guides foraged and we just did our part by eating the most amazing meal of our lives. A girl’s got to do what she does best.
Semenggoh Wildlife Centre and Nature Reserve. There are many plants and animals to see at Semenggoh but unfortunately it was only open to the public during orangutan feeding times. There were previous incidents where people were attacked by the orangutans so there is no longer unsupervised visits at the nature reserve. The orangutan feedings happen twice a day. There’s no guarantee they will show up as these are wild orangutans but we were lucky to see five of them.
This mother and child didn’t disappoint
Showing her/his agility
He found the snail more interesting than the orangutans
And insisted I take this close up of the snail
The pitcher plants were cool and found all over the forest
And here’s a video of a really bored baby orangutan. I completely understand when the mother gets irritated by the baby’s antics and tries to move away:
From Semenggoh, we headed towards the river where our bamboo rafting guides were waiting for us.
Putting together the bamboo raft
Off we go!
River through Borneo rainforest
Periodically we had to get off and our guides had to haul our raft over rocks
Peeling a bamboo shoot gathered from the forest (with a machete of course!)
Fresh bamboo shoot for lunch
Jungle grocery shopping
Preparing the ferns to cook
Our guides also made the children some toys from bamboo gathered from the forest. Dominic’s blowing a bamboo horn and Isabella is shooting red berries from her bamboo shooter.
Almost everything used for making our lunch came from the forest, including the firewood and “stove”.
Packets of food wrapped up in leaves stuffed inside bamboo tubes ready for cooking.
Our lunch cooking. Everything you see came from the forest.
The only items brought in by our guides was the meat and the metal grills to hold it.
Our incredible lunch spread served in homemade bowls made from palm husks.
One of the rare times I actually took a photo of my food before gobbling up the deliciousness.
Swim up dining
We even had tea (or coffee if you wanted), served in fresh bamboo tubes of course.
Our rafting adventure ended at the homestay that ran our tour. The homestay was built based on a traditional Biduyah longhouse complete with a bamboo footbridge. Biduyah is one of the indigenous tribes of Borneo that our guides belonged to.
A little taste of what it was like on the river:
This trip was arranged through our hotel with a group out of Peraya Homestay who runs day trips, multi-day tours and survival camping for those who are so inclined. I don’t normally give a tour operator so much coverage but we loved our experience with Valentine the owner and his exceptionally experienced and professional guides. If you want to experience Borneo as it should be, you should definitely give Valentine a shout.