Borneo is a great place but I imagined it very different to how it actually was. I thought there is more jungle, that you feel the spirit and the wild nature of this country, exactly as I thought it would be but instead…. it's the same like reading a good book and then watching the movie. If you liked the book then there is no way the movie will be as good, most the details are missing and your mind just paints a different image as the one you see in a movie. There is no way that the movie gets close to all the words that describe the feelings and thoughts and everything you drew in your imagination. Books are so much better then the movies and that's how I feel about Borneo and the time before I got here. Now that my trip comes to an end, I think, even it was a good time and I had fun seeing it and meeting all the amazing people here, my image of it before I got there was better. And I'm glad reality hit me in the face once more.
Don't get me wrong there is still something special about this place but it's just tragic how our human kind changes nature in such a bad way, that so many wild animals struggle to survive and loose their home.
The bit of rain forest that they still have looks nearly like small parts of Australia's national parks but instead of spotting koalas, it's Orang-Utans,…. if you are lucky. Well I saw them in the wild on a river safari, that was the upside but the downside are these massive amounts of palm oil plantations.
All the palm oil plantations destroy the feeling of the real Borneo. They are just everywhere. Next to the cities, close to the streets as far your eye can see, you could spot them from parts of the river cruise, next to the places I stayed just around the corner. Big farms left and right and to top it of some plantation owners make money with the fact that they kept a small part of rain forest to "protect" wildlife and now charge entrance fees to tourists to show of the monkeys they "rescued" and feed them with…. muffins. Yes exactly muffins, that's how much they care. I haven't seen this myself but that's why I didn't visit this so called "sanctuary", I got told first hand and didn't want to support it.
And apart from palm oil, the cities that I saw are dirty and there is nothing cultural to do. A big amount of the population is absolutely poor and all the stuff you can do that makes it special (climbing Kota Kinabalu mountain or diving) is kind of expensive. I don't mind to pay for it though, it's just sad that most of the money not even goes to the people or the country, it's foreign investors.
But on the other hand side, I don't think you should ever avoid going here. No, this should not be a post to scare people off, but instead encourage you to see for yourself and to realize that we all have to change the way we living. Because this country gets stripped of its beauty and wildlife because people in first world countries and greedy companies make cheap money with their lives and living ground. Also the few animals that are still here and companies that really work to protect them need your support and help.
I hope that we all wake up soon and protect what slides through our hands right now. We will not be able to see the beauty and variety in the world if we keep destroying it for the sake of buying cheap products. And even if you are not interested in traveling don't you like watching it on your TV how green and nice everything still is. Don't you dream of paradise too?
Well I do every day and I'm fortunate to see the beauty of this planet but I realize that not all is like it was anymore and that makes me realize that traveling is the best teacher and education you can get.
Because life is a journey and you decide in which direction you want to go every day.
Have you been to Borneo?
What are your thoughts about this?
I would love to know 🙂