Kota kinabalu or Sandakan
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Mar 5, 2013 12:38 PM Last Post By: Lyndy
Jan 31, 2013 6:36 PM
I am landing in Kuala Lumpar at the end of March and plan to fly directly to Sabah Borneo.
My ideal stay would involve 3/4 days on beautiful white sand beaches (i love island hopping) and 3 days really seeing the wildlife of Sabah. As I only have 7 full days, time is of the essence but of course budget is limited.
My question is should I fly K.L to Sandakan and go to an island or 2 possibly off the east/south east coast and then Kinabatangan River/Danum Valley or fly K.L to K.K and base myself there between island hoping and Kinabatangan River/Danum Valley or is a day trip to wildlife sanctuary and K.K Natioanl Park more realistic if not ideal......
I want to do it all and wish I had more time but this is the time frame i have to work with.
Any advise will be greatly appreciated.
If it were you with this time frame and on a backpacker budget what would you do?
Thank you so much in advance for
Jan 31, 2013 6:42 PM
Jan 31, 2013 9:42 PM
2I would love to tell you that Borneo has beautiful white sand beaches. Unfortunately I did not see one during the month I visited Sarawak and Sabah in 2010. I loved Mabul island but the litter on the beach there was horrid. Water was clear and magic off shore, though. Turtles, fish, coral. Let me know if you find someplace beautiful. Good luck!
Feb 1, 2013 12:42 AM
3Agree with Lyndy in part....Borneo is not full of beautiful white sand beaches,though there are nice beaches..particularly in the TAR National Park and the islands off the KK side.
Having said that the snorkelling etc. is better on the Sandakan side,and so is the wildlife access.
As you said,you haven't got a lot of time...and you can't fit both in on that timetable.
If you like snorkelling I'd go with Sandakan side...somewhere like Mabul plus the Kinabatangan (or Danum if you have the budget) would be a nice week for me.
Feb 1, 2013 6:47 AM
4There are such beautiful islands off Semporna:
Only a few have accomodation, which usually is very expensive unless you stay on Mabul. But indeed Mabul sucks a bit, both for what concerns the beach and the seawater.
The alternative is to be based in Semporna and to do daytrips to the islands.
Feb 3, 2013 4:36 PM
Thank you all so so much for the advice. It has helped me to no end.
I have decided to fly into Tawau, taxi to Semporna (about an hour/100MYR approx) and then go with a 3 day 2 night snorkelling trip -
It will be myr500 for the package inclusive of 3 days accommodation on Mabul island with all meals/day, 24 hours coffee and snacks, 2 ways boat transfer of Semporna- Mabul- Semporna, snorkeling at Mabul and Kapalai island, snorkeling set and guide.
Then stay in Semporna for 1 night,(dorm approx 25myr for bed and breakfast)
Then take bus to Sandakan for Kinabatangan river cruise (myr50)
3days 2 nights in Kinabatangan - still confirming this
Then heading to Kota Kinabalu by bus (around myr 100 - 4 hours bus journey)
Check out kota kinabalu at night.
On my last day I hope to spend 1/2 a day on an island nearby and then fly out that night from KK.
I posted the approx costs and transfer times I have found just to give others an idea in the future. hope it helps. Thanks again guys. I cant wait to be there!! :)
Feb 3, 2013 11:24 PM
6Snorkelling at Mabul is not good (poor visibility, strong currents) and at RM 500 for two days you are overpaying IMHO, because a daytrip by boat costs RM 120. Most likely the accomodation on Mabul will be basic with no A/C. Better staying in Semporna and doing daytrips or booking things individually (no package).
Feb 4, 2013 11:47 AM
7Snorkelling on Mabul was perfect for us. Depends on the weather however couldn't have asked for clearer water. Prices quoted here are much more expensive than the 300RMwe paid in 2010. Did you check other places? If you are staying at Scuba Junkies dorm in Semporna, be security conscious. They were a pretty sloppy bunch we thought.
They did not have our booked and confirmed room available. We wouldn't bother with them again. Lots of others to choose from. Have fun!
Feb 25, 2013 1:55 AM
8Thanks so much for all your advise guys, I really appreciate it.
I have just been quoted 500RM for 3 days 2 nights Kinabatangan river cruise, does that sound about right?
Feb 25, 2013 7:27 AM
Mar 4, 2013 4:25 PM
10Hey, sorry I'm only reading this now.
It includes 3 days 2 nights, 3 meals a day and river cruise.... thats all the info Ive been given.
The guy I'm in touch with was recommended by a friend and I don't mind paying that amount its just I hate being 'over charged'. If it sounds about right I'm happy not to push it. What would you be looking for for that amount?
I really appreciate your response :)
Mar 5, 2013 5:23 AM
11You can spend probably less if you stay in a guesthouse. In 2008 a night was RM 40, meals were less than RM 10, a boat trip was RM 80 (boat could be shared with other travellers). The transportation to Sukau is the biggest cost (if you charter a taxi), but also here there are inexpensive options (bus+shared taxi).
Mar 5, 2013 12:38 PM
12We booked a transfer for 3 of us from Sandakan Backpackers to Greenview at Sukau. Cost was 30 RM each in 2010. Night at Greenview was around 90RM for a twin room (from memory). A boat trip for 3 of us was 90 RM for 2-3 hours. Taxi from Sukau to road junction 50 RM. We went onwards to Lahud Datu in a public van for 25 RM each. Do it yourself if you want to save money otherwise be prepared to pay for someone's logistics management expertise. Have fun!
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