Malaysia and Borneo World Challenge 2019
After a yearlong build up, fundraising and an acclimatizing trek in Daylesford, 12 students, Ms Darling and Ms Edwards and a World Challenge Leader left for a month long, once in a life time experience.
We first found ourselves in Kuching, the capital of Borneo, where we explored a different culture and foods, visited a historical site and also had the amazing opportunity to see the endangered orang-utans up close.
Our next stop was the Niah Caves National Park to see the gigantic limestone caves and native wildlife.
Then we boarded a tiny 19-seater plane to the rural village Bario. This is where our week long trek began. We had to sleep in hammocks, cook on an open fire and walk hours with very heavy packs. These challenging conditions certainly pushed us to our limits. Unfortunately, our trek was cut short due to a health issue with one of the students.
We then caught a plane and travelled to the busy city of Kuala Lumpur. We rested there for a day before heading to the turtle conservation. For many this was our favourite destination as we were able to get our hands dirty helping the locals to check nesting grounds and eggs. We were also taught how to cook traditions foods and play traditional games such as Chongkak which was a big hit for the rest of the trip. We also helped out with a beach cleanup.
In Malacca, we visited many different historical sights and buildings. This was a very educational place for us all. The night market on Jonker Street was a very big hit. We all bought many things for ourselves, friends and family.
After an 8-hour bus trip and ferry ride, we finally made it to the island of Penang. This was a very beautiful city. We travelled to the top of Penang Hill for a day. There were incredible views and we all had our portrait done by a cartoonist. We were also lucky enough to have a rooftop jacuzzi at our hostel which we used late at night.
Cameron Highlands was a high-altitude town where we visited a strawberry picking farm and had a tour of the Mossy Forest, the 15th highest mountain in Malaysia and the remarkable tea plantation.
On our way to Kuala Lumpur, we had a detour to experience the thrill of white-water rafting. This adrenalin fuelled activity was so much fun and pushed some of us outside of our comfort zones.
The big city of KL was the last destination of this amazing trip. Our first day was jam-packed with tourist attractions. We hired a private bus and travelled to the Batu Caves, two art galleries, a butterfly garden and visited the Petronas Towers. The second day we went to the movies to see ‘Frozen 2’ and went to one of the biggest markets in KL, Central Market, for some last-minute shopping.
Overall, this was one of the best experiences in both of our lives. We learnt so many life and travel skills that will last a lifetime. We made so many new and unexpected friends and memories that we will never forget. We definitely recommend this trip to everyone who has the opportunity to go.
By Katelyn Lord and Celeste Canals-McInnes