Archive for » November, 2012 «

A pseudo jungle experience in Borneo

After spending five days in the Peruvian jungle a few years ago, we thought we were prepared for the jungles of Borneo.  With visions of wild orangutans, herds of pygmy elephants and troops of proboscis monkeys dancing in our heads, we made our way to the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge where we planned to spend 3 days and 2 nights exploring this natural wonderland.

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Meeting the man of the forest in Borneo

After exploring the underwater world off the coast of Borneo for three days, we were ready to discover the natural wonders of the jungle.  Our first stop was the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre where orphaned Orangutans are rescued and then nurtured to maturity in a 23 sq km protected area at the edge of the Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve.  

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Playing with sharks and turtles in the Celebes Sea

Sipadan Island is reputed to be one of the best diving spots in the world, some even say it is one of the top three, but as we found out, it can be hit or miss during monsoon season.  When we learned that Sipadan Island is in the center of the richest marine habitat in the world, the heart of the Indo-Pacific basin, teaming with more than 3000 species of fish and hundreds of coral species, we weren’t going to let a little rain get in the way of our fun.

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Shopping and eating our way through Malaysia

It took us 24 hours to travel from the Middle East to Malaysia which included a 7 hour stop over in Jeddeh, Saudi Arabia  one of the dirtiest airports we have been in.  However, our carrier, Saudi Arabia Airlines, was top notch and provided service we don’t see in Canadian airlines these days, including plenty of free food and drink, cozy fleece blankets, pillows with soft cotton covers, and toiletry packs which even included a pair of socks.

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A new low in Israel

During our week in Jerusalem, we squeezed in a couple of day trips that we organized ourselves using public transportation which is very easy to use, affordable, reliable and comfortable.  We spent half a day exploring the ruins of Masada which is Israel’s most popular paid tourist attraction, we indulged in an afternoon floating 423 metres below sea level in the Dead Sea, and we ventured over  the border to Palestine to spend a few hours exploring Bethlehem.

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A visit to the Holy Land

Jerusalem is a holy city to three major religions (Judaism, Christianity, and Islam), and is one of the oldest cities in the world.   It is the holiest city in Judaism and the spiritual center of the Jewish people since the 10th century BCE, the third-holiest city in Islam (next to Mecca and Medina)  and it is also home to a number of significant and ancient Christian landmarks.  

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The wonders of Petra

We made the long, arduous journey to Jordan with the express purpose of visiting Petra, one of the world’s most famous archaeological sites. Recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1985, it was also named one of the Seven New Wonders of the World in 2007.  

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