THE LAND THAT INSPIRED THE MOUSE
If there is one thing we’ve learned from our Taming Borneo adventure in Sarawak, it’s that when in Borneo, always expect the unexpected!
Talking about what’s unexpected, we’ve come to learn that Sabah’s rainforest is in fact the prime inspiration for the environment setting of Disney’s 2016 live remake of The Jungle Book? True story.
So the story is that one of the main VFX artist (Visual effects, fyi) for the movie, Helen Brownell, went on a 10-week expedition trip in Sabah 10 years ago.
10 years later, Helen was instantly transported back into the heart of the Sabahan jungle upon hearing her involvement with The Jungle Book remake. She said;
“I can still vividly remember the sounds, colours and the textures of the Borneo jungle. The gibbon’s constant calls, the constant humming of insects and birds” #tbt
It’s wonderful to think that Helen’s short stint in the Sabahan jungle 10 years ago, could still immensely inspire her when she brought the jungles in The Jungle Book to life. In her words;
“Nothing can compare to the real experience of being in the jungle. But having the challenge of re-creating such an amazing environment in CGI was a real joy. So many things during the project would spark up memories of my Borneo adventure. I was excited to re-create some of the beautiful and unique environments from my trip, and let my adventure influence a lot of the work I did towards the jungle in the film.”
It’s pretty cool that Sabah had contributed its magic of the jungle to the magic of the house of mouse.
So, coming to Sabah, the bar was pretty much set high and we couldn’t wait to see what it was installed for us.
THE ONE WHERE WE MADE IT TO SABAH
Let us start by saying Sabah is home to some of Borneo’s best attractions. Like Sarawak, it’s one of the best places in the world to immerse yourself in the wild and see rare primates like Orangutans, both in vast forest sanctuaries and out in the wild. But Sabah offers so much more than that to keen adventurers like us. So this time, in our blog and video series, we are going to tell you the best of the best that Sabah has to offer.
Situated at the northern tip of Borneo, Sabah is also fondly nicknamed The Land Below the Wind for its relative distance from the typhoon belt. First, let us tell you the 3 initial attractions that gravitated us towards this part of paradise;
*speechless*. Kinabalu Park, Sabah
Like Sarawak, the state itself has an impressive diversity of culture, 32 officially recognized indigenous tribes. But comprising of two groups with 40 sub-groups, Kadazan-Dusun is the largest indigenous group in Sabah. Here we got to see the beautiful handicrafts made at the Rungus Longhouse, learn how they harvest honey in Kampung Gombizau and the handcrafted gongs at Kampung Sumangkap. Seriously, if you want to know more about the traditional arts and culture of Borneo, Sabah is your destination.
If you’re following our video series, you’d also be excited to know that Sabah is also home to the Bajau Laut people, some might recognize them as “Sea Gypsies” or “Sea Nomads”, popular for their seaborne lifestyle.
With its national parks, wildlife reserves, and pristine untamed Bornean jungle, Sabah is truly the place to be if you want to root yourself back to mother nature (Besides Bako National Park). Pun intended. There is more than one way to enjoy the tropical beauty of the land. As for us went for a trek on Gunung Kinabalu to see the breathtaking mountain view of the land, but others who might want to have a more laid back trip can go for a gentle cruise on the Kinabatangan river. Other than that, one of the main star attraction here is Canopy Walk at Danum Valley which stretches across the tree canopies where we enveloped ourselves yet again in a sea of green, this time with the view of the jungle wildlife below. Whichever how you choose to view the land, Sabah’s natural beauty will leave you in awe the same.
End of the world? Tip of Borneo, Kudat, Sabah
For all birdwatching enthusiasts, Sabah’s Danum Valley is also home to half of the bird species in all of Borneo. That’s approximately find 290 bird species including 8 species of rare Hornbills. But other wildlife lovers would also be satisfied with its 92,400 hectares of virgin forest, that habituates rare and some even endangered animals like Sumatran Rhino, Sun Bear, Benteng and Pygmy Elephants, primates such as Orangutan, Proboscis Monkey, Leaf Monkey, Tarsier, Slow Loris and Macaque, highly secretive cats such as the Sunda Clouded Leopard, Bay Cat and Leopard Cat.
On a last note, we’d really say that Sabah is a haven for all eco and thrill seeking tourists out there so we definitely urge you to plan your trip a head of time to make sure your itinerary is in check and is booked ahead of time. Just so your trip would go as smooth as possible. Trust us, with everything they have here, you’re going to want to turn yourself into a scheduling freak so you’d get the most out of your time here. Cause if you do plan your trip well, it’s going to be an adventure of lifetime!
Not worried about piranhas! Sepagaya Reserve Forest, Sabah
If you have more questions regarding our Taming Borneo adventure, please do leave a comment in the comment section below, or start a discussion; tell us your personal Taming Borneo experience!
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Catch up with the latest episodes of Taming Borneo by clicking on the thumbnails below: