Travellers in Sunny Singapore now have another option to make their way over to the Land Below the Wind as Malindo Air inaugurates their Singapore (SIN) - Kota Kinabalu (BKI) direct flight on the 10th of August 2018.
I booked a #GetLucky Mount Kinabalu climb with Amazing Borneo in which solo travellers or a small group of people can meet fellow travellers and summit together!
SeaTango's Discover Scuba Diving trip gave me the perfect opportunity to put on my first scuba diving gear and explore the marine underworld of Sabah.
It only took me a couple of minutes after landing in Kota Kinabalu for the first person I met to tell me about the beautiful sunsets in Sabah.
"You landed just too late, you missed the spectacular sunset tonight!" said my Grab driver, "You should definitely go check it out tomorrow, most of the time it's incredible!"
Upon arrival at my hotel, I took a couple of those activities leaflets and fell upon a two-hour last sunset cruise, North Borneo Cruises. This was it! What better way is there to admire a sunset than up-close on water?
When visiting a new destination, I would always choose to rent a bike as it's a great way to move around and absorb a new culture and its environment. When I heard of a 3-hour cycling tour through abundant nature trails and authentic experiences which included meeting with the locals of Sabah, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to join in!
Only an hour's drive away from Kota Kinabalu, you won't have to suffer through a butt-numbing drive to Bukit Perahu, a hiking location tucked away in Tamparuli. From then on, I knew that it was a match made in Heaven!
If plane tickets are out of your budget, you’re probably thinking, “Where can I get the cheapest staycation this holiday?’’
Polumpung Melangkap View Campsite is a unique, family-friendly spot set against a New Zealand-ish backdrop with jaw-dropping view of Mount Kinabalu!
Take your sunset-chasing escapade up a notch by going on a sunset cruise! Amazing Borneo offers not one, but TWO Kota Kinabalu city sunset cruises for you to choose from; the SeaTango Sunset Cruise or the North Borneo Crusies Sunset Dinner Cruise.
Which one suits you best? Read on!
Most of us crave an adventure. A real, exciting, unscripted, truly memorable adventure. No doubt you’ve seen one of those movies where the lead character travels to some isolated, incredibly scenic place and has a wild, fun, life changing experience which makes you enviously crave your own. However it’s getting harder and harder these days to find that ‘authentic’ experience or adventure that so many of us desire.
From World's largest cave system, endangered baby-faced dwarf elephants, to the world’s tallest tropical tree recently found in Maliau Basin-- Borneo tempts you with a beckoning blend of equal parts strange and splendid. It's alot to digest, especially if you're trying to whip up an itinerary that'll give you the best bang for your buck. So fret not, we did much of the homework for you by narrowing it down to these 5 hotspots :
Love the outdoors? Looking for something different to get that adrenaline fix? Borneo has so much to offer to get your heart racing!
Whether you are on your honeymoon, anniversary or looking for the perfect romantic getaway, Borneo really has you spoiled for choice.
By January next year the state of Sarawak will open a new department of national parks and wildlife in a landmark action. They are already in the process of adding several new totally protected areas (TPA’s) to the list to make up around 3.3 million acres.
It's called Wanderlust. and it's contagious. usually incurable. Our guests travel thousands of miles for something Special, Raw, & Unfiltered. Because truth be told, Borneo is a pretty epic venue for that, and it delivers with a photogenic tapestry of spiritual cloud-high mountains, expansive river vistas and ancient rainforests not only beckoning your gaze but also teaching you to live the #NoFilter life. Don't believe us? we've got evidence from our gutsy guests grammin all across Borneo.
Now for something truly wild, in this part 4 of our UNESCO SEAsia blog we visit the home of the fearsome Komodo Dragon, Komodo Island, Indonesia. Also we will be taking a look at the only UNESCO site in SEAsia that is classified as critically at risk: the incredibly biologically and geologically diverse Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra.
Snuggled between sun-dappled coastlines and a forested mountain range, there's plenty of reasons to stick around Sabah's state capital Kota Kinabalu. From fantastic waterfront seafood feasts to tropical island-hopping to a steam train ride back into the bygone era, whether you prefer to be spontaneous, follow your noses or intuitions, here's an extra nudge to get you started on your day-tripping agenda :
Considered a delicacy by some and gross to others, durian fruit is one of those things you either love it or hate it. Most south east Asians absolutely love it, for the rest of us its kind of hit or miss. Ignore the smell, you really have to try it to know if you like it or not.
It’s now cheaper than ever to take a trip out to the tropics and save yourself the misery of putting up with another dreary winter at home! Still not convinced? Here’s 10 reasons that might just change your mind!
Man has walked on the moon, yet we know less about the depths of our own ocean… the same could be said for our subterranean cave systems buried deep below the earth’s surface. One of the largest cave systems in the world is here in Malaysian Borneo, hidden in the vast interior of the Bornean jungle...
The Borneo rainforest is estimated to be an amazing 130 million years old, even older than the Amazon rainforest is presumed to be. In one 25 acre section of Bornean forest there has been 750 different species of trees recorded compared to only 700 species in the whole of North America. And with over 1600 known species of animals, birds, amphibians and reptiles it is little wonder people flock here from all over the world to experience this unique Eden-like paradise. It is a shame that with over 80% of Malaysia’s forests already cut down and replaced with oil palm, most of the countless undiscovered species here are being forced into extinction faster than we can identify them. Supporting Sabah tourism and visiting these jungle trails is a great way to make sure these areas remain protected and keep poachers and illegal loggers out.
Welcome to Scuba Tiger, your gateway to all the splendorous dive sites of Sipadan, Mataking, Mabul, Kapalai, Mantabuan , Bohey Dulang and Timba-Timba. Straddling both the Celebes Sea and mainland Semporna, Scuba Tiger is your one-stop beach resort that’s as manicured as it is naturally stunning, offering adventure and all the exotic trappings of restorative serenity.
The say the clothes make the man, and when it comes to doing sporty activities such as mountain climbing, this saying rings truer than ever. If an activity involves five to six hours of trekking, comfort should be your utmost priority. Check out this list of clothing and equipments you should have on your expedition to conquer Mount Kinabalu
2016 is the year to revive your sense of adventure, a little differently. Borneo is synonymous with ‘Adventure’, and when paired with the very best of highland scenery…. The journey is not across, but rather, UP!
From the symbol and pride of Sabah towering above all at 4,095m to eye-soothing views from the peak of a mountainous island formed by the remnants of an ancient volcano —Adventure-seekers, you best gear up for mad-beauty at great heights :
Sabah is a ginormous adventure playground just begging to be explored! From rolling hills and verdant rainforests to white sandy beaches and rustic villages, every inch of Sabah is tailor-made for fun and exhilaration. Check out these five adventurous things to do when in Sabah
In a place like Sabah, everyday may feel very much like a weekend. However, one still needs to get away from the hustle and bustle of the daily buzz to recharge and recuperate from the demands of modern life. So, here are our tips on how to spend a glorious weekend is Sabah. Are you ready?
As the new year settles in, so does our list of resolutions for this year. While getting in shape, eating healthier and earning more money are some goals to top the new year resolutions list, new places to travel is also a worthy resolution to make. As the famous St. Augustine quote says, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page” -- make 2016 the year that you read voraciously!
We just ushered in 2016 a week ago and soon, we will be ushering in the new Lunar New Year -- year of the Red Fire Monkey. If you’re looking for ideas on how to spend your Chinese New Year holidays, read on as we serve you ideas on how to welcome the lunar new year red hot and fiery!
The most frequently asked question from anyone interested to visit Sabah would be, “when is the best time to visit Sabah?” While the most popular answer is “the month of May -- due to the celebration of the month-long Harvest Festival”, the end of the year is also a great time to visit! Read on as we show you how you can spend your Christmas holiday in Sabah.
The best thing about staying in Kota Kinabalu is that the city is basically less than an hour away from all the major attractions, such as Tanjung Aru Beach, the Sabah State Museum, Gaya Street Sunday Market (open only on Sunday) and the beautiful islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) Marine Park.
Category 4 on the ‘Thrill-o-meter’, Padas River was one dose of adrenaline to be remembered. Here’s why:
A 5:30 wake-up call ushered me through the Sabah country-side heading towards the Beaufort train station. Upon arrival, I hopped on not just any train, but a steam locomotive from 19th century Borneo… an antique piece of machinery, say what! We browsed through the rural outskirts, saw some villages and got a glimpse of the Padas River peeking through the dense jungle foliage.
The words ‘Pulau Tiga’ is forever paired with ‘Survivor Island’, all from degree of fame it gathered from the filming of the Hit Reality Game Show ‘Survivor’ during their 1st ever season on the island itself, for those who don’t already know.
Like all hidden gems far-flung from the city with a promising all-embracing scenery, the journey starts with a 7AM wake up call. By 7:30AM, I was already in a van being whisked through the rural interiors of Sabah heading to the Kuala Penyu Jetty.
Send your loved ones (or even yourself) a postcard, Mountain high... Ocean deep!
We all know about posting letters from up above Mt.Kinabalu, right? Been there, Done that? How about posting letters from the country's deepest underwater postbox? Only in Layang-Layang Island, Malaysian Borneo!
Suit up, grab a mask and a pair of fins… because the plain old experience of sending mail this time round will be a fascinating one, embraced by schools of hammerhead sharks, amidst spectacular varieties of reef species, Manta Rays, Gorgonian corals, Parrotfish, Batfish, and even the elusive Sunfish!
Gomantong Caves is located at the lower Kinabatangan area--about two hours away from Sandakan town. The Gomantong Caves is a complex caves system that lies inside the Gomantong Hill, which is the largest limestone outcrop in the area. The caves are situated within the 3,297-hectare Gomantong Forest Reserve, which is a class IV forest reserve.
One of the biggest attractions in Sandakan--apart from its raw, untouched nature and glorious food (!)--is its wildlife (read our Kinabatangan blog here). Speaking about wildlife, the most talked about place that is synonymous to Sandakan is Sepilok, which is famous for the iconic orangutan: the wild man of Borneo!
Situated 56 kilometers northwest of Kota Kinabalu--one-and-a-half hours away from Kota Kinabalu via speedboat--is the awe-inspiring Mengalum Island. Once only renowned amongst anglers and deep-sea fishing enthusiasts, Mengalum Island has recently become more popular amongst tourists and holidaymakers thanks to its dreamy tropical beauty.
For all first-time visitors to Sabah, the number one must-go-to tour to get them acquainted to the Land Below the Wind would definitely be the the 2D1N Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Spring Tour. Not only will you be presented with Sabah’s best offerings--its immaculate natural surrounding--but you will also be educated with some of the most valuable lessons in geography and plant biology.
If you’re an adventure lover or someone who simply enjoys watersport and nature, then white water rafting ought is the one to scratch on your bucket list. Depending on the level of adventure that you crave and your time allocation, you can choose between Kiulu white water rafting (level 1-2; reads: super easy to easy) or Padas white water rafting (level 3-4; reads: medium to hard).
For beginner white water rafters who are just testing the waters (no pun intended), Kiulu white water rafting is recommended.
Sepilok has been long known to be the place to go if you want to see orang utans in their habitat. But what if you’re only in Kota Kinabalu for a couple of days and have no time to spend for an excursion to Sepilok, which is located all the way in Sandakan?
We departed from Sutera Harbour around 9.30 to go to the first of two Islands – Manukan. As soon as we got there we got our snorkeling equipment and went into the crystal clear water. For me, this was my first time snorkeling. It was really cool, it’s a total different world under the surface. Just beautiful! Among all the fishes we saw, with all kind of colors you can think of, we saw “Nemo” fishes and a puffer fish (not puffing though).
We stayed in the water for about one hour. It is very tiring to be under the water snorkeling. So we got up and bought some refreshments at the store. Then we just hung around in the water until it was time to get on the boat to go to the next island - Sapi Island.
The alarm went off at 4am. Packing our last things we got on the bus at 4.50am to pick up the rest of the people coming with us on the fast track on mount Kinabalu. The bus ride were longer than we thought but the waiting made us even more eager to start the climb. The walking started at around 8 am and though we had loads of energy it was a tough start with lots of high steps uphill. And as it turned out, it wasn't going to be any easier. For me, this was physically the most challenging adventure I've ever done (and I would say that I have a moderate level of fitness). Pia has tried this kind of climbing with steps before in Sri Lanka so she had a clue what was about to come. I'm happy I came down with both of my legs, shaking but still standing. During the climb there are some spectacular views of waterfalls, exotic plants, trees and you are surrounded by all sorts of jungle noises from insects and birds.
It was the first time I was trying river rafting and since I'm not a big fan of water sports, the first level suited me just fine. The location to where we got started is about 1.5 hours away from Kinabalu City. We were 5 people and one guide in each boat. Before we started we got security information e.g how to act if we fell into the water. After just 100 meters our guide told us to jump in the (surprisingly cold) water to get the hang of it. We proceeded along the river and the waves were small but much streamed. At one point our guide told us to jump in the water and just float along with the stream. We had to be careful because some of the rocks are very close to the surface. Later on, we parked the boat and got the chance to ride with the waves without it once again. We also got to swim in the nicely cooling water by the end of the tour if we wanted to and it was really nice. When the tour was finished, we washed up and changed clothes before we had local dinner. Nice rafting, but if you are the more adventures type when it comes to water, I would suggest you move up a grade or two.
I was picked up at 2pm for the wildlife river cruise adventure at Kawa-Kawa by the tour bus, hopeful to see the proboscis monkeys. The guide, Tim, told us the drive is approximately 2 hours to where we would get on the boat. On the way I was enlighten with the view of the country side of Sabah. Cows and dogs running loose along the road is definitely something you won't see in Sweden, where I'm from. We arrived to the house from where the boat would depart and we had some Hi-tea and other refreshments like fruit and local sweeteners. Ready with my camera I got my lifejacket and got on the boat. We cruised along the river close to the trees to get a view of the Proboscis monkeys but sadly we didn't see any. Tim did tell us that we might not see the monkeys because of the heat. He said that when the sun is too hot, they hide under the branches and leaves to cool off. We went the other direction to walk along the beach by the end of the river, in perfect timing to see the sun go down by the horizon of the ocean. Our guide was optimistic about seeing monkeys on our way back to the house. And so we did! As the sun went down the Proboscis monkeys came further out from the tree trunk and branches and I got to see 5-6 of them playing in the trees. First time I ever saw monkeys outside from the zoo. It was really cool.
On our way to the Poring hot Spring we made a few stops along the way. The first stop was in a town where they still have these historical shops and houses, all built in wood in the older days. Some of the guests did not have their breakfast yet, so we stopped by one of the local restaurant. Then we proceeded to the Jambatan Tamparuli Bridge. We walked across and our guide talked about the village on the other side. We spotted a special plant that closed its leaves as we touched it.
This adventure started at 6.30 in the morning when the Amazing Borneo bus picked us up at our hostel. We picked up 3 other guests before heading towards the mountain where we were going to spend our day. We started with the Butterfly Park where they were flying around here and there and up and near.
Now it was time for me to discover one of Borneo's many beautiful islands, Mantanani. Early in the morning my driver, Oswald, picked me up in front of my apartment. Then we picked up some more guests at the Best Western Hotel. After an almost two hours' drive from KK to the Kuala Abai Jetty it was time to switch from van to speedboat.
At 06.45 in the morning Ryan our guide picked me and two guests up from the hotel. After some more pick-ups from the hotels, the bus was full. I must say that Amazing Borneo has really comfortable busses, considering that we were supposed to sit in a bus for almost 6 hours.
The trekking started from the Kampung Kiau village. It took our group 1.5 hours to get to the camp. If I was to compare this trekking with the fast track on the mountain, this is a piece of cake. But for the others guest who were joining, it was a bit harder because they just had finished the climb to the summit of Mt. Kinabalu the day before. Their legs were very sore. But anyhow, the trek was nice and the view was beautiful. At some parts it was very steep! So I always had to be alert in where to put my feet. Along the way the guides showed us some plants that are edible and which ones that are filled with poison. When we got to the camp we had lunch. Unluckily, it started to rain heavily so we couldn't really do anything for about 2 hours.
If you want to try the most adventures rafting that Amazing Borneo can arrange for you Padas River is the place. The rafting is a grade 3-4 but can under some circumstances get up till 6, but then it’s too dangerous to do rafting. The only way to get to the starting point for rafting at Padas river is a 2 hour drive to Beaufort and from there to take a train for almost 90 minutes.
We got picked up at 5:30 just near our apartment and the driver and also our guide Moos told us that we had to speed up to not miss the train. In our car there was a family of 4 from the Philippines, a couple from China and three guys from Hong Kong. A good mixture!
It was nice to drive thru the landscape and see the sunrise over Mount Kinabalu. To see people wake up and start their days. And to know that we are going on an adventure. Luckily for us we made it in time for the train. It was a lot of people on the train and not seats for everyone. The standard on the train is a little bit different than what we are used to in Sweden. To start with, the trains in Sweden go on time, not 20 minutes late. And there will be air-condition or heat on the trains in Sweden. But this is the charm with traveling, that things are not what we are used to. It’s fascinated to go by train in the jungle and see small houses in the middle of nowhere. You started to image how their life looks like and what they do for a living, and how your own life would look like if you were born in that family.
One of Amazing Borneo Tours trips we wanted to do the most was the Rasa Ria Orang Utan Encounter. We have never seen Orang Utan in real life and really wanted to do that. We don’t have monkeys in Sweden (except for in the zoo) so for us this is very exotic. First they told us that we would not be able to see them because no one had booked the tour for the day that was fitting out schedule. But after a few days they told us that someone booked the trip and if we still wanted to go we could. Of course we still wanted to see the Orang Utan in real life so we did some changes in our schedule for the next day. Something that is good to know is that you have to book the trip at least 2 days before because there is only a limited number of guests that are allowed to visit the center in one day.
Our guide and driver for today was Leo and Lerond, they picked us up outside our apartment and we drove to 1Borneo to pick up an American family. We continue to Rasa Ria Resort, only 50 min drive from Kota Kinabalu city. The resort have a nature club were they rehabilitate Orang Utan to get back to a life in the wilderness. To get to the nature club you walk thru the whole resort. This is not just a small hotel, the have like their own world. On the way in to the hotel you pass a golf court. We stopped outside the reception and walked thru go get outside to the “backyard”. The staff are very welcoming and greet you very politely. The resort have their own beach and a pool area and everything is so well organize, you will feel very tempted to stay at the resort and don’t go back after you have seen it.
The last kilometer from 3 until 4 km felt like the stairs would never end. Soaking wet and hungry we finally reach Layang Layang after 5 hour of trekking. We ate our lunch in one of the shelters to get away from the rain. The guide once again told us that some of us needed to turn back and walk the same way down instead of walking 6 km to Mesilau. Only the ones who are able to walk in a fast tempo were allowed to proceed to Mesilau. We didn’t want to leave the group we started the walk with so we decided to walk the same trail down against Timpohon Gate.
Our last advise from the guide was “Go straight down, don’t take breaks and if you must then only for a minute. Other vise it will be dark before you will get to the finish line.” And after the vise words we started our trekking down, still in pouring rain.
Today we went to Mari Mari Culture Village, the bus picked us up around 9:00 o’clock and the journey took 30 min. The local guide welcomed us and walked with us the whole day. Mari Mari is a village with five different authentic houses which represents five tribes from Sabah. You visit the houses and learn about the history and about how they lived.
To get in to the village you have to cross a suspension bridge over a small river, they must love suspension bridges here. They are everywhere. We think it’s fun because we don’t have those back home in Sweden. The sun was shining and the park was beautiful and blossoming. It was a very hot day and thankfully we got to try both drinks and food from the tribes. During our visit they had a role play and to get into one area the leader of the tribe wanted to meet our group leader. So first we had to decide who was going to be the leader so we could be allowed to enter the area. The leader of the tribe called our leader to a meeting and they went through a ceremony and when they accept each other the group was allowed to enter their home. They thought us to use a blowpipe which was both for hunting and killing, back in the days this tribe was very violent and if you would meet them in the forest they would certainly kill you. Luckily for us we were accepted.
The water in Kota Kinabalu have been very sunny and hot the last week so when we heard that we were going to Mantanani Island we were very happy. It is pretty far from the city, you will go by car for 2 hours and then you switched to boat for 1 hour. Today there were no tour guides to join us so our task was to interfere with the guests and talked to them and make sure they had a good time. Luckily for us the group was 5 friends from Singapore and very easy to talk to. We understand them and they understand us. When we talked to them it appeared that one girl had been to Sweden for 6 months and one guy had been to Finland to work for 6 months. Once again we notice how small the world are.
The first journey with the car was a bit bumpy and along the road we passed both cows and goats that was walking or resting on the road. Fun to watch from the car window. When we arrived to the jetty of Mantanani Island we took the speedboat to the island. It went really fast and it felt good to have the wind in our hair and smell the sea. The weather condition was good so the sea was pretty calm. Which made the boat ride less bumpy.
Both of us use to fish when we were kids but now it was years ago. So we looked forward to get out of the city and fishing and visit Manukan Island. We met up with the group and the guide outside Klagan hotel at 9 o’clock. We went to Marina Jetty which is inside a big resort. It was really beautiful and brought our minds to Europe. Our guide Luq told us that inside the resort they have a golf court, a tennis court, a cinema and their own beach, basically everything you need.
This week we started our familiarization-trip. Tee Chung was planning our trip and asked us which tour that Amazing Borneo Tours offers we like to go on the most. We are both adventures and like challenges. Hanna have never done a rafting before but Josefine had once when she was traveling in Australia a few years ago. So we told Tee that we were interested in trying rafting.
So our first day on the fam-trip was rafting! We started around 8:30 from Kota Kinabalu and the drive to Kiulu River took us 1 hour and 45 minutes. To join us there was a Singapore family that also liked adventures and wanted to try the easiest rafting. The parents told us that they had tried rafting before in Australia and really liked it. But that was before they had their kids. We small talked the whole journey and they were interested in us and to know more about the Malaysian lifestyle. Our guide Luq is very good with the guest and are more than happy to tell them how everything works in Sabah.
We started in the early morning from KK and went with bus towards Kinabalu Park. The winding roads took us to our first stop on the way, Nabalu, a small village with a local market. Nabalu is a great place to take photos with the magnificent Mount Kinabalu in the background, but unfortunately it was cloudy when we were there. But we still got an amazing view over the valleys and a bit of the mountain, its special feeling to stand on the edge of the platform and look out over the flourishing landscape. As we mention before Nabalu has a small local market with handicrafts, fruits and souvenirs. Hanna is a big fan of fruit and bought fresh pineapple from one of the stalls. The fruit and vegetables grow in the local area and therefor the taste is as fresh as it could be.
After two weeks in the city we were longing to get some sand between our toes and to cool off in the water. We went out to Borneo Reef World for snorkeling and sea-walking. You don’t have to go far to get here, only 20 minutes boat ride from Kota Kinabalu city. When we first heard about Borneo Reef World we didn’t know what it was but we understood quickly that it’s a pontoon just nearby a few islands. When we arrived we got welcomed but the crew and they told us about the pontoon and what they do. The main reason is to protect the reef and also educate the visitors. The pontoon has facilitates like toilets, showers and changing rooms. We were lucky that the group we went with was the only group that day, the crew told us that the pontoon is capable to take up to 500 people at the same time. Our group was only 6 people including us and that gave it a very luxury feeling to have the place and the staff just to our self. It felt like the pontoon was ours!
Borneo Reef World is the largest Reef Pontoon in South East Asia. For those who want adventure in a safe environment, I suggest you to go to Borneo Reef World and enjoy Para-sailing, Snorkeling, Underwater Observatory, and also Ocean Walker or as known as Sea Walking.