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Thursday, 23 August 2012

Seeing Sabah’s Orangutans - Page 2

Written by Brian W Fisher
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The hotel's staff outnumbered guests by three to one and delivered impeccable service, no matter in what area a guest happened to be  whether by one of the three pools,  near the beach . working-out in the gym, partaking in a morning routine of Tai Chi, or lounging on one's own balcony sipping a G & T. For the golf fanatics, the hotel's minibus can deposit them outside the entrance to the Dalit Bay Country Club (belonging to the hotel) in less than three minutes. The eighteen hole course is sited among the most beautiful scenery, the backdrop to its signature hole for example, being where the azure blue of the sea, meets the gently flowing green of a river is truly stunning! The Director of Golf (and head coach) Aaron Johnson—an Australian, is an ex-professional. Having witnessed at close quarters his style, manner and demeanor; I can vouch for the comments made to me by players of all categories. Aaron prides himself on being able to offer the absolute novice, the perfect way in which to fully enjoy even lesson number one. Yours truly just watched, not wanting to demonstrate a life-long total lack of hand and eye coordination.

Three swimming pools are on offer. A large (three section) one to the front of the hotel's ocean wing, another of equal size but furnished with an array of water slides for adults and children alike near the garden wing, and a smaller (semi-hidden) one shaded with an overhead translucent sheet and sited in a manicured lawn for those who seek seclusion. A fully equipped gym with expert staff is large enough for the most nervous of patrons to exercise without being constantly overlooked by the more adventurous and pose conscious; those with bulging biceps and a rippling ribcage. Mini golf, tennis and water sports are available too. Constantly evident was space, in fact acres of it. This meant whatever activity (or otherwise) one chose to indulge in, there was a feeling of freedom. 

DSC 0065From the Rasa Ria one can devote a day to visit the Mari Mari Cultural Village for a glimpse of times gone by and try their hand at Blowpipe Shooting  or travel deep into the Forest Reserves to seek out the world's largest flower, the Rafflesia or venture a mile or so off shore to visit one of the islands located in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (one of which, Manukan, offers guided ventures on underwater scooters where the rider breathes naturally without a mask or mouthpiece). A word of caution and advice: do ensure that the companies/owners that offer boat transfers to and from the islands are licensed and maintain all safety procedures, such as the provision of approved life jackets. Some are (Sea Quest) others are not. Choose wisely. 

The highlight and real benefit of being a guest at this hotel is it has its own Orangutan Sanctuary located in the forest, which borders its northern edge. The jungle, its paths and canopy walks are maintained by full time hotel staff and inspected and certificated annually by the Malaysian Wildlife and Forestry Department. From the building where an introductory film is shown, followed by expert advice from the Senior Ranger, guests (for the meager sum of £10) are then led onwards and upwards into the jungle. The trails are not beyond any able-bodied person to walk along. They lead in a number of directions: one to the highest point atop the hills. another to about a third of the way up leading to the canopy walks, or the third and by far the most popular, to the viewing platforms where, twice daily, people watch the acrobatics and antics of the Orangutans in amazement; all of whom have been rescued and saved from certain death by those who, without conscience, slash and burn the very jungle habitat of these graceful and human-like apes. An hour passes very quickly indeed and a sense of disappointment can be felt as a Ranger ushers the guests back down the trail. 

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Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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