Dis­cover your chi in re­sort city

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - CRUISE -

IT’S hard not to be en­chanted by Bor­neo from the mo­ment you lay eyes on it. The South­East Asian is­land is split into three na­tions – Malaysia, In­done­sia and Brunei.

Malaysian Bor­neo is then split into the states of Sabah and Sarawak, with Kota Kinabalu Sabah’s cap­i­tal. And KK, as it’s col­lo­qui­ally known, puts on a show from the get go.

The city’s air­port backs right on to the turquoise ocean, tempt­ing you to jump in.

Just a 45-minute shut­tle ride from the CBD is Shangri-La’s Rasa Ria re­sort, one of the chain’s two ho­tels in KK, and a place of rest and re­lax­ation. We start our visit to the lux­ury re­sort by hang­ing out with its most pop­u­lar at­trac­tion – the baby orang-utans.

Rasa Ria is sur­rounded by 160ha of rain­for­est and within its grounds is a 25ha na­ture re­serve, a joint project with the Depart­ment of Wildlife.

The re­serve is home to four or­phaned orang-utans Ten­ten, It­in­ban, Ko­lapis, and Wu­lan. There, the an­i­mals are trained for even­tual re­lease into the rain­for­est.

Guests can watch the young orang-utans feed twice daily for a fee. Hu­man con­tact is kept to a min­i­mum to help with their re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, but be­ing in the pres­ence of the rare crea­tures was still an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Af­ter­wards, it was to the re­sort’s spa, Chi, for a one-hour tra­di­tional mas­sage.

I’m go­ing to be hon­est – I’ve never had a mas­sage be­fore be­cause the con­cept felt a bit weird to me.

How­ever af­ter this ex­pe­ri­ence, I’m a con­vert. The mas­sage was re­lax­ing and soothing, and I wish it went on for­ever.

The evening only got bet­ter with a sun­set river cruise be­fore din­ner at the re­sort’s In­dian restau­rant Naan. Word of ad­vice – try the lob­ster masala, it’s out of this world.

As com­fort­able as the king­size bed was, there was no rest for the wicked and at 6.30am the next day our group is hik­ing up a hill for break­fast.

The ex­er­cise is worth it. We reach the peak for our sum­mit break­fast, in awe of the view of the sun ris­ing over Mt Kinabalu and of the tales our guide Adrian Zeno Uloi tells us of head hunters and wed­ding tra­di­tions while we dig in to fresh fruit and pas­tries.

Our wildlife adventures don’t end there. It’s then into town to catch a ferry to Sepang­gar Is­land for snorkelling and scuba div­ing.

Dubbed “Dis­cover Scuba”,

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.