Danum Valley, Borneo

- Sunrise drama with jungle vampires

When breaking dawn I have four “vampires” sucking blood from my body. Our guide peels them off with a knife – and the drama begins.

We had started our hike in darkness at 4 a.m to reach the viewpoint for sunrise. And the scene that unfolds beneath us is pure magic. The mist dances through the treetops like veiled fairies in shimmering light. Watching the jungle wake up like this is one of nature´s most breathtaking performances.

Danum Valley on Borneo houses the oldest pristine rainforest in the world, a staggering 130 million years old, and one of the richest intact eco-systems on the planet. This means we have the privilege to take part of a piece of earth as it once was created and in a way, to touch the beginning of time. And such a mind blowing experience it is.

What strikes and surprises me the most, is how intense and intrusive the jungle is. The heat and humidity, everything is constantly wet. The neverending cacophony of sounds from monkeys, birds and insects. Plants that burns, insects that stings and not the least – the leeches. These “vampires of the jungle “sways like tentacles from the dense vegetation scenting blood and claiming donations every hike.
A bit uneasy at first, but harmless and after a while I feel they actually add to the venture and the hypnotic spell of the jungle fever.

• On assignment for travel magazine RES.