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Back from Borneo – Our Competition Winner’s Story

Back in March, Libby Palmer won our competition prize: a nine-day trip to the Malaysian Borneo. Now she’s back from her Malaysian adventure, having experienced the sights, sounds and tastes of South East Asia. Libby had never been to South East Asia before winning our competition – her only taste of the region’s food was at our Malaysian restaurant in Maida Vale. Not a bad introduction to this incredible cuisine! Here’s what she got up to on her South East Asian jaunt.

After a 15-hour journey, Libby began her trip among the natural beauty of the Kota Kinabulu National Park. 

Her time in Kota Kinalubu gave her the chance to experience everything that the region has to offer: from Kota Kinabulu city itself, the capital of Borneo, to rainforest trails through the park. You can also take a hike up Mount Kinabulu, although our intrepid adventurer gave that one a miss (and who can blame her – with so much else to do and so many excellent meals to sample). 

At the Mari Mari Cultural Village she was provided with an insight into traditional Malaysian steaming techniques, which use bamboo to steam fish and rice. She also learned how to make rice wine and honey mead, and had plenty of time to sample Malaysia’s copious street food, including her favourite dish – Rendang Curry!

But there was still much of Malaysian Borneo left to experience, so after 6 nights she travelled on to Sandakan and the stunning natural beauty of Sepilok Nature Resort. Nestled in a protected rainforest, the resort’s cabins provide the perfect spot from which to watch the wildlife go about their busy days. It also provided the opportunity for even more delicious Malaysian food, from Prawn Sambal made with locally sourced king prawns to bananas served in filo pastry for dessert. 

While in Sandakan, she also made a visit to the orangutans at the nearby sanctuary. We’ll be telling you all about her orangutan encounters in an upcoming blog, so keep an eye out for the full story! 

The 9 days of her trip were nearly up, but there was still time for one last stop before the gorgeous scenery, wildlife and mouth-watering Malaysian cuisine had to be left behind. Next, she travelled to meet the bears living at Sun Bear Reserve, a sanctuary and recovery centre for the sun bears found across the tropical rainforests of South East Asia. 

So after bears, orangutans, sandy white beaches, tropical rainforests and countless amazing meals, it was time for our competition winner to return to England. It may have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Libby, but we’re sure she’ll be back to our restaurant to recapture some of the South East Asian flavour from our Banana Tree Menu – and maybe keep her eye out for another golden ticket – very soon.