Category Archives: Borneo

Orangutans and Luxury at Borneo’s Hidden Gem; Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort

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Proximity to orangutans is one of the primary reasons Diane and I chose Malaysia as our destination for early retirement. Among the most fascinating animals on earth, their quickly diminishing natural habitat lies in small swaths of the Sabah province in Malaysian Borneo, about a two-hour plane ride from Penang.  Volunteer opportunities involving orangutan conservation always piqued our interest so we dedicated our annual Expat Destination Research Vacation to orangutan encounters in the wild, Excursions to The Borneo Rainforest Lodge and The Kinabatangan River Valley did not disappoint, providing several amazing sightings and educating us immensely about habitat destruction.

 The Shagri-La Rasa Ria Resort

The Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah province, Malaysian Borneo

Needing some R&R after trekking through the jungle, we needed a little pampering and a couple of good night’s sleep before continuing to Singapore. Normally we’re prudent travelers but early retirement still seemed distant since I had no vision of being laid off, so we investigated a more luxurious option and discovered even the world’s best hotel chains have an undiscovered hidden gem. Along with the beauty of The Rasa Ria Resort Resort, one last adventure with orangutans on the resort’s private reserve solidified the entire experience.

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Monkeying around in Malayisan Borneo’s Kinabatangan River Valley

We made our first friend in Malaysia. No, not the monkey.

The expat destination research vacation of 2011 continued after our amazing adventure at Borneo Rainforest Lodge. Still a current Facebook friend, our guide at The Bilit Adventure Lodge in the Kinebatangen River Valley enhanced our adventure with a personalized style not found in a tour guide manual. Unlike the college educated and company trained professional staff we’d met at the luxurious lodge, Loy is a local resident from the village that just happens to work for the lodge. Sharing local knowledge, a few rounds of guitar and some cold beer it was more like hanging out at a friend’s house. Continue reading

Malaysia’s spectacular Rainforest: a must-see

Honestly, we had no idea we’d ever step foot again in Malaysia, even if was the Peninsular Mainland. The expat destination research vacation of 2011 was actually intended to fulfill our insatiable desire for a close encounter with Malaysia’s best endemic animal in the wild: the orangutan. The Borneo Rainforest Lodge met and exceeded our every expectation and then some. Continue reading