Trip to Peninsula Malaysia and Borneo

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Trip to Peninsula Malaysia and Borneo
From: "Roger McGovern" <>
Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 19:07:46 +1000
Louise and I recently returned from our first birding trip to Malaysia where
we had a fantastic time. I will not post a full trip report here since there
have been quite a few Malaysian reports in recent months but, if anyone
would like a full report when I have finished writing it, please let me
Our itinerary was:

March 29-31   Kualar Selangor on the west coast of Peninsula Malaysia

March 31- April 4    Frasers Hill north of KL in the Highlands

April 5    Travel from KL to Kota Kinabalu, with about 3 hours birding
around KK in the afternoon

April 6    Day trip up to Mount Kinabalu Park

April 7    Travel to Lahad Datu and Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Danum Valley

April 7 - 13    Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Danum Valley and travel back to
KL on the 13th

April 14     Morning birding at FRIM in KL before flying home

In our 16 -17 days of birding, we recorded 266 species of which 176 were
life birds. We saw 165 species in Peninsula Malaysia and 148 species in
Borneo (there were species seen in both locations of course). Birding
highlights were many with maybe the best being marvellous close  views of a
male Great Argus in the rainforest at Danum Valley before he just
'vaporised' from sight never to be seen again. The six species of Broadbills
that we saw were all unbelievably stunning birds, particularly as we hadn't
seen one before. Three pitta species were all lovely particularly a Garnet
Pitta which just sat quietly on a log and called for us. Six species of
hornbill at Danum was another great highlight. Other than birds, to see 11
species of primate on the trip, including two orang-utans at Danum Valley,
was a real buzz.

Our impression of each location for those contemplating a trip to Malaysia
was as follows:

Kuala Selangor        Very hot and humid but very productive and 'easy'
birding.  Good place to start a trip.

Frasers Hill    We loved the place. Beaut climate, terrific birding and just
a lovely place to be.

Kota Kinabalu       Not an interesting birding location but worth half a
day's exploration. We saw the biggest grassbird we have ever
seen  there     (Striated at 26cm !!)

Mount Kinabalu Park   Very dour birding but a lovely spot. We saw only 18
new species there in long day.

Borneo Rainforest Lodge       Fantastic spot although pretty expensive. The
birding was spectacular although it slowed down a lot once the heat got up
at 10.30 to 11.00 o'clock. One big snag there to be wary of is that they
have increased the amount of accommodation to cater for up to 70 people but
are losing guides to other eco-tourism places in Sabah. When we got there,
there were 5 guides and about 60 guests (and we were the only birders). You
are not allowed onto the trails without a guide so we were put with a group
of non-birders for the first day, which just doesn't work. When I spoke to
the manager about our problem, he offered us his best guide on an exclusive
basis for an extra 150RM (A$75) per day. We took the offer but felt a bit
ripped-off - and the other guests only had 4 guides between the lot of them!
Having said all of that, we wouldn't have missed Danum for anything (and the
guide was terrific).

FRIM     Probably not a place to go at the end of such an intersteing trip,
but a pleasant place to spend a morning, and we got two new trip birds

We rented cars in Peninsula Malaysia and Kota Kinabalu. Although a bit
expensive by Aussie standards, it provided us with good flexibility and
Malaysian driving conditions, direction signs, etc were generally pretty

Roger McGovern

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