Thursday, January 5, 2012

BORNEO HEIGHTS


As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at Che Det on January 04, 2012

1. Most Malaysians know Cameron Highlands and Genting Highlands. Their principle attraction is the coolness of the climate. They also know of Mount Kinabalu not so much because of its coolness but being, at 13,000 feet, the highest mountain in Malaysia.

2. Not many know of Borneo Heights, one of the most beautiful hill resorts in Malaysia. Situated only one hour slow drive from Kuching International Airport, the heights have retained much of its original tropical rain forest.

3. It is literally at the border between Sarawak and Kalimantan, Indonesia; literally because the border is a cliff which plunges 600 meter (2000 feet) from the southern boundary of the resort, to Indonesia Kalimantan. You cannot miss the border. One step over the rope marker you would be in Indonesia sans visa. The drop would not be pleasant.

4. The view from the top of the cliff is breathtaking. From the foot of the cliff, the thick tropical forest of Kalimantan spread to the distant mountains some 20 – 30 miles away (my guess – could be much more).

5. There appears to be no human habitation. But I was told the Indonesian Dayak shifting cultivators live there, though their long houses cannot be seen. I know of no other place where one can view a huge green tropical forest seemingly untouched by human habitation. Kalimantan is bigger than Sabah and Sarawak put together but it is very sparsely populated.

6. The resort has an eighteen hole golf-course laid out beautifully between thick forest. But more interesting to me are the beautiful temperate climate flowers which grow well there. They come in all shapes and colours. But deep purple seem to be the dominant colour.

7. I have a house there but have not been using it much. Not knowing where to go for my year end holiday, I decided to go there. I spent three restful, quiet days without air-conditioners.

8. The heights are as cool as ever. I was driven up in a 4WD to the vantage point to look down the cliff at Kalimantan and as usual it took my breath away. Our vantage point is 3,600 feet above sea level.

9. Borneo Heights was developed by Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, a close friend of mine. Maybe this article will benefit a “crony” but if more tourists, domestic and foreign visit this beautiful part of Malaysia, tourism Malaysia will also benefit. And what we earn from tourism will benefit all Malaysians. It would be selfish of me to avoid writing this bit simply because I am afraid of being accused of cronyism.