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e-Newsletter: Back Issues



This Issue is specially dedicated to the memories of
Terry, Mambo & Marrie...

(Refer News Report: http://www.e-borneo.com/orangutan.shtml  )



In This Edition...

1. Raj's Corner: 'Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!'
2. Advice Article: "Sepilok or Semenggoh?"
3. Short Tips I: 'Niah Caves, Miri, Sarawak'
4. Short Tips II: 'Air Accessibility to KK/Kuching'
5. Interesting Events in September
6. Important Bookmarks and Closing Remarks

[ Disclaimer & Removal instruction at end of this message ]


1. RAJ'S CORNER: Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!


Hi there,

Raj here! Wondering what I am so excited about? Merdeka! (Merdeka in Bahasa Malaysia means Independence). It's not what you think though. Yeah..., Malaysia will be celebrating its National Day on 31 August. My gosh, it had been 46 years since the then Malaya gained independence and 40 years since Malaysia was formed. Hey, I was told that last year's Merdeka editorial by our ex-editor (tough luck pal!) was well received by you guys. I'm not gonna go into that or he may be recalled. For those who missed it, check out briefly (just very briefly ok?) the back issue at the webpage below:


Alrite, The merdeka I am referring to in this issue is really about good ol' Raj declaring INDEPENDENCE on this two-year old 'irregular' e-newsletter. I know, some of you'd asked what happened to the July edition. It was not released coz I was not happy with it. I wanted to add my kinda stuff. I wanted more say, period. I felt the old format was really out-of-date as the website is focussing almost completely on Borneo travel nowadays. Don't you think so?

Well, I told the people at e-borneo.com that if I was really taking over this e-newsletter (as so-called announced in the June issue), I must also take over the content. Of course they did not agree. After all, I'm only an orangutan they said. So, I made a bet with them. Give me one shot at it this month, and if there's not a single complaint, I should be allowed to continue with the new format, my own format.

And the rest they said..., is history. (:@}

Help me make history today by letting me have complete INDEPENDENCE over this e-newsletter. Just don't sent in a negative feedback please, or else, I'll be history. Nah..., I believe you will give me a chance. Ok, so what's the new format like? It's not really a 'wholesale-change' new format. Just that I'll be focussing more on Borneo travel tips and advises as I'd hinted in the June issue. I'd recently went through most of the correspondence files of the site's custom travel service. Although they'd only introduced this innovative service a year and a half ago, I found that there were tons of invaluable advises on travelling to Borneo as well as some useful tips and recommendations. Its a shame really if some of these were not shared with you. So, I guess, this e-newsletter may be more beneficial and useful (and original too) if it focuses on this subject, especially, since its objective is to sell Borneo to the rest of the world.

Anyway, just be patience and read on..., till the end, will ya? I know you will enjoy it. If not, just sent an email to..., wow, I guess this excitement is getting to my head. I'd forgotten the email addy for this e-newsletter. Ahh..., never mind.


2. Encounter with the OrangUtans: Sepilok or Semenggoh?


For my first proper advise/tip, Its not really surprising that I am going to touch on something that I know better than most humans. Well, if you are an orangutan lover and like to pay us a visit/observe what we are really like close-up and personal in our natural habitat, the tropical rainforest, there are two popular destinations where you can do just that in Malaysia Borneo - at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sandakan, Sabah, and at the Semenggoh Orangutan and Wildlife Sanctuary in Kuching, Sarawak.

However, one of the most common queries a visitor would ask is which is the better place to visit. Simple really, if your trip only allows you to stay in only one state (either Sabah or Sarawak), then you don't really have much choice, do you? Both has its own uniqueness. But, if you have the luxury to choose, hmmm, I would personally recommend Sepilok. Not that I'm bias since it's my little hometown but it just that you will be more likely to meet at least one of us there compared to Semenggoh.

Firstly, Semenggoh is not as visitor-friendly and well developed as Sepilok - the feeding platform is not as sophisticated as the ones at Sepilok. The sanctuary is actually a temporary home for various endangered wildlife of Sarawak, especially the Orangutans which have been rescued from captivity. Secondly, there is not that many Orangutans nowadays there compared to Sepilok. Maybe my cousins in Semenggoh are much more evasive than us here in Sandakan? Maybe, we are simply not as shy as them? Nah, I think this shows that they are adapting very well to the wild habitat of Semenggoh nowadays and have left the sanctuary into the deeper rainforest.

And contrary to how it used to be, there is no more scheduled feeding time for them (supposedly the highlight of this type of tour), so now they only come to the centre when wild foods are scarce, for example during the low-fruiting season. With the inconsistent visits, there is no more guarantee that visitors will see orangutans mingling about in the centre. Anyway, during the high-fruiting season, you will be lucky to see even one orangutan at Semenggoh although you can still hear them 'sing'. Apparently, according to Sibangau, my second cousin there, although they would have like to come down to the feeding station when they are lots of tourists (normally during their normal feeding times), they have had so much to eat already that they just couldn't move. Don't quote me on that. That's what Sibangau told me!

Sepilok is different. During the fruiting period, I remembered that although we were pretty full, we still put on a show for the tourists..., with some fake bananas. After all, Sepilok is a world-famous rehabilitation centre for goodness sake. Hence, it is better organised for tourism purposes. But, I must mention that in recent times, the number of Orangutans there have declined. Like Semenggoh, many of us have graduated, or like what you humans like to say, rehabilitated. Hey, I'm one of the success product of the centre you know. I'm the first orangutan to be 'employed' as a virtual guide to an Internet website, and now, an editor of its newsletter. Ok, enough about me. At Sepilok, you can walk along a raised wooden platform to witness my mates swing in from the jungle on to the specially-designed feeding stations during feeding time. There are two standard feeding time daily at 10:00am and at 2:30pm. Sometimes, it feels more like a zoo than anything else before and during the feeding, but if you wait until the centre is less crowded, you might get a surprise visit from my curious friends. This seldom happens at Semenggoh.

Sorry Semenggoh..., I guess I'm just plain bias after all (:@P

Anyway, both Sepilok and Semenggoh are interesting places to visit. Sepilok may be more 'sophisticated' for tourists, but Semenggoh allows visitors to be right in the middle of the forest to catch a glimpse of my kind and to witness their feeding. More info refer to the webpages below:

* Sepilok: http://www.e-borneo.com/travel/tours/eb-sdk02.shtml

* Semenggoh: http://www.e-borneo.com/travel/tours/eb-kch04.shtml 

For hardcore orangutan lovers, I know of a one-of-a-kind package deal where you will have the rare opportunity to get real close to an orangutan - that is if they don't outsmart you. Check out the following URL for the "In Search of Borneo Wild (huh?) Orangutans at Jingin, Sarawak" special package:


Hey, I've not forgotten Kalimantan, the Indonesian Borneo. The best spots if you happen to be there is likely to be at Wanariset Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in East Kalimantan, Gunung Palung Orangutan Conservation Project in West Kalimantan, and Nyaru Menteng Orangutan Rehabilitation Center in Central Kalimantan. For more info at the URLs below:

* http://www.orangutan.com/theprojects/theprojects.htm

I seriously don't think these places are part of any tour packages as they are essentially projects/centers for orangutan research and reintroduction run by an independent US non-profit organisation called BOS-USA. But you probably can do a self-guided tour there and pay them a fee/donation. This is just my idea, ok? Better email them first ( cmallar@orangutan.com ). For your info, BOS-USA was formed to support orangutan conservation and to raise awareness of the plight of the orangutan. They also support the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Project (Project HUTAN) in Sabah. Bless them. So, if you do go there, make an effort to dig deep into your pocket and give them something. Tell them 'Raj' sent you, ok? Better still, you can actually donate online at their website ( http://www.orangutan.com/ ).


3. SHORT TIPS I: Niah Caves, Miri, Sarawak


For the standard ex-Miri Niah Caves tour (either full-day, 2-day or longer), the tour ideally departs around 8.30am as it takes roughly 1.5 hour drive (sometimes up to 3 hrs depending on the weather and traffic conditions) to reach Niah from Miri, and tour should end around 6.00pm (i.e., reaching Miri town). Similarly for a 2D/1N tour, it departs around 8.30am on the 1st day (with overnight at park chalet) and ends about 6.00pm on the next day. It is advisable that you stay overnight in Miri prior to the start of the tour early in the morning on the next day. If you can't, it is better to opt for a 2D/1N or 3D/2N tour. Similarly, you should spend a night in Miri after the tour and take the next day flight out. This is definitely less hectic. And you don't have to worry about missing the next flight home if on transit at another airport. Flight delays can really cost you a lot compared to staying an extra night in Miri.

Some Niah Caves Sample Packages:

* FUll-Day: http://www.e-borneo.com/travel/tours/eb-myy03.shtml

* 2D/1N: http://www.e-borneo.com/travel/tours/eb-myy04.shtml

> Do you have a Borneo-related travel tip or advice of
> your own? Feel free to send us your own article (less
> than 150 words long) for this column. If we use your
> piece, we'll include your name, state/country, a short
> bio, and a link to your website (where advised). Just
> send your content to newsletter@e-borneo.com and put
> "Borneo Travel Tips and Advices" as the subject. Your
> chance to gain more exposure, either for yourself
> personally or for your website.


4. SHORT TIPS II: Air Accessibility to KK/Kuching


Kota Kinabalu or Kuching can be reached by air directly from either Singapore (SIN) or Kuala Lumpur (KUL). However, if you want to save further cost on your total travel expenditure, a suggestion is to utilise the no-frill low cost Malaysian 2nd airline, AirAsia. However, it only operates from Kuala Lumpur at present, and not from Singapore. Depending on practicality (on whether you will be visiting Singapore or only on transit), you can save some flying cost (and time) by using AirAsia - flying direct from KUL can save you more than 50% of a normal SIA or MAS airfare. AirAsia airfare can be booked online at their website ( http://www.airasia.com/ ). A point to note though, AirAsia flight schedule may not be as reliable as MAS or SIA (well, that's expected since they have not been in operation for that long), and sometimes, booking online can be a headache (I think they should seriously look into improving this to be on par with those online-centred airlines in the US).


5. Interesting Events in September 2003



* 5th BIMP-EAGA Orchid Show and Exhibition, Sabah
01-30 September 2003
Refer: http://www.compserv.sabah.gov.my/orchid

* Pesta Kelapa (Coconut Festival), Kudat
02-04 September 2003
Email: pt.pd.kdt@sabah.gov.my for more info

* Tour de Borneo, Sabah
21-27 September 2003
Refer: http://www.tourdeborneo.com


* Sarawak Regatta 2003 - Kuching Waterfront
06-07 September 2003
Refer: http://www.sarawaktourism.com/Regatta03/Regatta03.shtml

* BIMP-EAGA Tourism Mart & Conference 2003 (BETMC 2003), Kuching
18-21 September 2003
Refer: http://www.betmc2003.com/




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Do hope that you have enjoyed this edition of my newly 'independent' e-newsletter and found it to be both informative and entertaining. Any error, please let me know. On second thought, just don't email me, at least for this time round or I'll lose the bet. Anyway, please forward this email to any of your friends or colleagues who might be interested in our e-newsletter's content. Have a nice month ahead. See you next issue. :-)

Jumpa lagi,

Raj (:@D
and the e-borneo.com e-Team


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