19 July 2007

Getting Adventurous in Sukau

I had heard a lot about river cruising in Sukau from a tourist guide friend, but never really got there until recently when I made my time driving all the way from Sandakan to spend a weekend at the famous tourist destination. It'd be my very first trip to Sukau.

Well, I wasn't really attracted to the animals there because most of them might not really be as attractive as they are to the tourists then to locals like me. You know, tourists might spend hours to watch a bird when the bird can actually be found easily in the backyard of my house. The only animal that really got me excited when I got there was the pygmy elephant. At least I don't have them in the backyard of my house.
But what attracted me most were the beautiful sceneries made out of rock formations and limestone riversides along the Kinabatangan River. I mean, I had no idea that the Kinabatangan district was a sprawling stretch of limestone that has some of the most beautiful natural rock formations in the country.

Staying at Sukau Tomanggong Riverview Bed & Breakfast, it was built in a strategically-located area where you can just sit and relax on its veranda and have a view like this.

FYI, Sukau has over the years grown into a prime tourist spot in Sabah with resorts, chalets and B&Bs mushrooming all over the area.
But just like any other touristy areas in the state, it has not been spared from the over-commercialization trend where prices for accommodation can be unbelievably expensive. I was first recommended to stay at Melapi Resort only to be told that a tiny room like this can easily make me RM 230 poorer in just a single night!

A visit to Sukau would never be complete without taking the river-cruising. I decisively took the morning cruise (they've got evening and night cruises to choose from). It had proved to be a bad choice because we didn't get to catch even a single sight of 'those bigger animals'. Instead, I had almost become a laughing stock to a bunch of stupid monkeys when one of them tried to pee on me.

Jeez. Din ya momma teach ya any manners??

But cruising along the river of Kinabatangan in the morning is such a relaxing experience. It was just cool to watch the mist lifting off the surface of the river.

If you asked me if it is worth to spend some money experiencing Sukau, I'd say YES. In fact, that was the same question I had asked to the man with the errr, complicated-looking photographic equipment in the picture here.
He is a professional photography from Oregon, USA who had spent 1 whole week trying to get as many good captures as possible in Sukau. That was 3 days longer than his original plan of 4-days stay. He claimed he had had some of his photos published in some National Geography magazines. He found out about Sukau in the interent and had preferred it over all the animal hubs in Africa because he wanted to go to somewhere that was 'not too famous'.
Fine. Sukau is not that famous but sometimes, the most interesting things can be surprisingly found in the less-known places.

I intended to come back for more to Sukau some other day.

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