I'm going to Borneo! Any advice?

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I'm going to Borneo! Any advice?

Post by Entomancer » May 29th, 2019, 9:23 pm

I haven't posted here (or even lurked here) for quite some time, mostly because I went back to school a couple years ago to finish my degree.

Recently I was accepted into a study abroad class in Borneo; the class is two weeks long, and I've added an internship to it, which means I will be there all summer (about 2.5 months total).

Most of that time is going to be relatively structured, but I'm arriving early and I want to go explore Mt. Kinabalu if I have time. I know that there are people here who have a lot of travel experience in Borneo, so I thought this would be a good place to ask the following questions:

- Has anyone been to the Nepenthes rajah site near the Mesilau Nature Resort? I really, really want to see Nepenthes rajah; my study abroad course is heading to Mt. Kinabalu first, but there may not be time to go to the "Nepenthes trail" unless I go there myself. I am arriving a bit early (about 1 day early), so I might have some time to try to get there, but I have no idea how to make that happen. This is my first time traveling internationally and I'm a bit overwhelmed.

- Any general herping tips for Southeast Asia? My internship is taking place near Penampang; I don't really know how much time I will have to explore on my own, but if I do end up with time to do so, I will be using it for herping and botanizing.

- Dealing with venomous snakes; what should I just avoid altogether? What should I do if I encounter a spitting cobra? I'm not really afraid of these snakes, I'm more worried that my fascination will overcome my common sense just enough to cause a problem. The only noteworthy venomous snakes I've dealt with are rattlesnakes, so I sort of know how to behave around pitvipers, while elapids are uncharted territory that I feel nervous about. I'd love to get a photo of a king cobra, etc., but I'd also like to live to show it to people.

- Anything else I should know/do/avoid while residing in Borneo would be much appreciated.

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Joined: March 19th, 2013, 2:04 am

Re: I'm going to Borneo! Any advice?

Post by weigi » June 4th, 2019, 5:37 am

Hi Entomancer.

A couple of things that may help

I attempted to get to the N.rajah site at Mesilau in Dec 2017. Mesilau was closed due after the earthquake and looked like it would not be opening any time soon. Sadly this means no access to rajah except at Mount Tambuyukon. There are other speccy Nepenthes on the main Kinabalu trail though.

As for the snakes, if you are not comfortable with ID and or handling then you certainly shouldn't be doing so in the field. In saying this I have found most encounters with spitter to be totally fine though I do wear glasses or use camera as a shield. Learn your krait and calliophis identifications also.

If you have time consider going out for a night or too with Kurt Orion out of Kuala Lumpur. He is a fantastic herp and photography guide he will certainly help you find plenty of cracking species.

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