Among the Clouds
“See that shiny little speck down there?”
I asked my sister, pointing at an arbitrary point in an endless mass of tree canopies as we looked out into Southwest Kalimantan.
“That little speck is gonna grow bigger,” I made a soft whizzing sound as my fingers portray a rapidly approaching metallic object, “Whizzzz.. Arrrgg!” I poke myself in the neck, tongue out, in great pain — imitating getting hit by an arrow.
“As I fall thud on the ground,” I continued “You’ll hear drums from afar. ‘Dum… dum.. dum.. dum..’ and the wailing of celebrative tribesmen.”
I glanced over expecting to see a very terrified sister, only to be greeted by a set of eyes rolling almost out of their sockets. “Yeah, right!”
The Southwest Kalimantan Border Lookout point was by far the best view I’ve seen all my life (photos won’t do any justice) and the best part of our 3-day Borneo Highlands trip.
When it was apparent that the rain wouldn’t stop three days into the Chinese New Year, we thought it’d be a good idea to flee to the mountains before all of Kuching gets submerged under ten feet of water. The nearest highlands we could reach were the Borneo Highlands, sitting more than 1,000 feet atop the Penrissen Range, an hour and a half’s drive away where no flood could reach us. Safe.
Okay, that was obviously a joke. We pre-booked our room but seriously it was raining so hard it made the trip up in steep, wet roads rather scary.
A lot of friends were rather skeptical of our trip up though, warnings of the lack of things to do since ‘there’s nothing up there but flowers’, and ‘you’ll only find yourself chasing butterflies’ were in abundance. The fact that so many people had so much to say of that place also meant one thing — everyone’s been up there except us.
Warning: Large post laden with tonnes of amazing imagery ahead.
We didn’t think it would rain that hard when it rained for a good two out of the three days we spent there, forcing us to stay indoors. Fortunately the Jungle Cabin where we stayed had a large shaded balcony that allowed us to still savour the surroundings despite the rain.
So we spent time watching TV, movies on the laptop (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, anyone? Bloody good movie!), take naps, and meals. Stuff we wouldn’t have done as a family back home. And when our chirpy little neighbourhood friend decides to make a visit, Dad and I would rush out, camera in hand and snap away. I’ve never had a problem with my kit lens until I realised I couldn’t zoom in enough to shoot a freaking bird!
But I’m not really into bird spotting anyway so a telephoto could wait.
The sky proved it still had mercy when it stopped raining on the evening of the second day — not until there was only a few hours of daylight left though. We headed out immediately for a walk to a plateau nearby.
The air had a fresh after-rain scent, and was cool à la Cameron Highlands or Kundasang Valley if you’ve been to either one. The clearing mist surrounding the landscape around us added to that mystique feel. There’s nothing like nature I’d say.
Two rivers run down along the two sides of the plateau, complete with waterfalls and hanging bridges, all in their after-rain full of gushing water glory. I took the chance to try out long-exposure shots of water — kind of like those smooth feathery-like photos of rivers and waterfalls you see in poster calendars.
Although those that I took were far from ending up anywhere near posters. It is one tick off my list of dSLR photography technique’s to-do list though.
Anyway, on the morning of the 3rd day, we signed up for the Kalimantan Border Viewpoint tour for which you have to pay an extra of 40 bucks per head. The weather was good — it had to be — so Dad thought why not? We were taken to the border viewpoint first, which was where the first photo above was taken.
The second stop was the Resort nursery which had this huge collection of annual plants.
After quite some time at the nursery where Dad bought a few plants, we were dropped at the final stop — a garden right above the plateau we explored to a day earlier.
I know my sis is poor in her poses, no need to tell me that. xP
I found out that there aren’t just flowers in Borneo Highlands, contrary to what everyone’s been saying. It’s so much more. I mean, there’s the breathtaking Kalimantan Border Viewpoint with a view to die for; some flowers, yes; a heavenly garden right above a well-landscaped plateau with flowers — lots of ‘em; a huge nursery of uh, flowers; swan lakes; flowers; waterfalls; flowers; a golf course and many more flowers. And did I mention there were flowers up there?
Seriously though, what else did you expect? =P
It was definitely more than a giant flower exhibition in the clouds. For those of you who haven’t made a trip up yet I’d definitely recommend you to.
As for me, I spent a really great time up there with my family. Not to mention three days in a photographer’s heaven! =D The photos shown here are really a small fraction of a those I took within 3 days — some 3.4GBs worth. Don’t worry, I’ll try to get some of them up on Flickr or Facebook.
Whew! Finally managed to get myself to complete this long-overdue mammoth of a post. More than enough to show how big of a procrastinator I am.