Back to top

Dave Scores Big in Borneo


I’m not sure it was possible to be any more excited when I was told my next destination was Borneo. Quite apart from being somewhere I’ve not visited before (always a winner in the holiday feel-good stakes for me as I love trying anything new), there were a couple of firsts I knew were coming my way, and some even I couldn’t have planned!
Decorative torn edge

Bamboo rafting on the Sirin River

This was my first time on a bamboo raft and needless to say I was excited. It’s a great experience and couldn’t have ended up more off the beaten track. To top it all we had the best BBQ ever, all cooked in Bamboo. Absolutely one of the most superb eight hours of my life…

Travel specialist Dave bamboo rafting Borneo
Borneo bamboo bbq

The day tour puts you in the heartlands of the Bidayuh tribe, famous for their knowledge and use of bamboo. It has simply been their lifeblood as they use it for building, plumbing, irrigation and cooking and, historically, for transport – the humble bamboo raft was their means of navigating the tinier rivers as they made the Padawan region their own. To experience this traditional mode of transport for yourself will open your eyes as the tour winds through rainforest and bamboo groves, passing farmland and Bidayuh villages – you’ll leave a spare set of clothes at one of these and don’t forget to take a waterproof bag to take what you need for the trip – the water splashes through the gaps in the raft so expect to get wet, if you don’t get caught in a tropical rainstorm!. (passport, money, phone – all the important stuff!

Whipping up the World Cup fever

What can I say, I love football! But this was something else. Always welcoming, accommodating and hospitable, connecting with the locals through something which is a genuine passion of mine, and clearly theirs, was just incredible. I was watching them having a kick-about on the beach at Permai Rainforest Resort and didn’t even have to ask if I could join in – no more than a few minutes later they were insisting I made up their numbers. I don’t like to blow my own trumpet but they nicknamed me Messi, what can I say? Scored 1, assisted 1 and hit the post!

Borneo locals with Dave Travel Specialist
Borneo beach football

No ordinary turf, this was all surf, and in stunning surroundings – the Permai Rainforest, which I was calling home for a night in a treehouse, was our backdrop! Playing footie on the beach with the local lads is a memory that is still making me smile.

Tracking the proboscis monkey…

… Among other wildlife! Bako National Park was fantastic and it was almost impossible to contain my excitement. Literally buzzing, we met the guide after getting the boat from Kuching to the port (half an hour) then the little longboat to Bako (40 minutes) and then hiked for the afternoon in the rainforest. We found bearded pigs (I’m pretty sure the females had the biggest ones!) and they dig little trenches in the ground as they’re searching for food which is very funny, and makes them easy to track. Our guide pointed out a poisonous snake which I wouldn’t have spotted as it was almost completely camouflaged. He then pointed out that if one bites you, you have around three hours to get to a hospital – so basically do not touch a tree!

Really though, the wildlife is just amazing. We also saw orangutans, stick insects, a flying lizard, silverback monkeys, long-tail monkeys, crocodiles and loads of bird life. Staying the night in the rainforest was just magical, and the accompanying soundtrack awesome. The best part of this is that you do a night walk, not for the faint-hearted as there are a lot of bugs! In the morning you’re simply surrounded by it all so you’re free to explore solo – this cheeky proboscis monkey walked right past me while I was chilling at the water’s edge!

These are just a few of the highlights from my trip, please feel free to ask me more about it and if you have the time I’ll give you all the details!

Orangutan Borneo