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ronellevan Sabah - A travel report by Ronelle
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Sabah,  Malaysia - flag Malaysia
2479 readers

ronellevan's travel reports

Adventures in Borneo

  19 votes
Sabah is one of the smaller provinces of an already small Borneo, but it is packed with adventure, charm and enthusiastic locals. There is so much to see and to do, two weeks was not nearly enough.

Sabah travelogue picture
I went to Borneo to learn how to Scuba dive in warm waters in October 2005. Luckily we decided to extend our trip to include some more of the province of Sabah. We climbed Mt Kinabalu, the hightest mountain in South East Asia. We went to see the Orangutans in the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. We stayed with a family on the Kinabatangan River. And then we went diving on the beautiful island of Sipadan. Two weeks of hot and humid fun and excitement.

Favourite spots:
Sabah travelogue picture
We stayed at Mabul Sipadan resort on Mabul Island and dove around Sipadan island at least twice a day. The place is geared for divers, there is not much else to do or organised. They would take us out after breakfast to a dive site near Sipidan Island, we would dive for an hour or so, then they would take us onto the island for mornign tea. After another dive around the island, they take you back to Mabul for Lunch. There is one more dive after lunch, usually somewhere closer to Mabul. We saw turtles and white tip reef sharks on every dive. We saw a large school of barracuda hunting on one dive. And on every dive there was the usual array of one hundred million different corral/fish/sea life. Our instructor was a most enthusiastic ambassador for his country, not to mention a sterling instructor. What a place to learn to dive!

What's really great:
Sabah travelogue picture
The people of Borneo are the most tolerant people I have ever met. On one street corner you could find a mosque, a buddist temple and a christian church and everyone going about their business without any hassles. Our dive instructor informed us that they have over thirty public holidays, including all the religions, and everyone celebrates them all, to varying degrees.

Sabah travelogue picture
I highly recommend you climb Mt Kinabalu. Even if you are not in the greatest shape, but have determination, you can do it. Rather than "mountain climbing" it is more like walking up stairs, a lot of them. The walk through the forests up to the halfway station are amazing, and once you get to the peak at sunrise the next day, you will know it is worth it. There is a warm springs close to the base of the mountain where you can rest your wary bones afterwards.

We stayed with a local family on the Kinabatangan river. It was an eyeopening insight to the way of life of the Malasians, and we were touched at how welcoming they were. before sunrise and after sunsete, they took us on their boat along the river to see the forest and the wildlife. We saw some amazing birdlife and there are always a lot of monkeys to be seen. An experience not to be missed, unless you are very dependant on airconditioning.

Our accomodation throughout the trip was varied, but I will say that we were very lucky and were upgraded a number of times due to over booking. The one thing that struck us as odd was the questionaire every place gave you at checkout to find out what you thought of their accomodation.

Since we were so active most of the time, we didn't go out too much. I will say though that alcohol was more expensive than we thought it would be, probably due to the large Islamic population and the fact that we were there during Ramadan.

Other recommendations:
Sabah travelogue picture
The Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary is a place that should not be missed. These old men of the forest need to be protected and every person that walks through the gates contributes to that.

Published on Tuesday October 31th, 2006

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Wed, Nov 01 2006 - 12:25 AM rating by rangutan

Well done!

Tue, Oct 31 2006 - 05:58 PM rating by eirekay

As a diver, I would love to hear more! This is a solid start! Thanks!

Tue, Oct 31 2006 - 05:39 PM rating by picasso

Interesting,but not a lot of detalis,and images to this report would increase the informations and also rating

Tue, Oct 31 2006 - 04:37 PM rating by davidx

I'm sure we can look forward to many good reports, built on your experiences and members comments on the first three.

Tue, Oct 31 2006 - 12:11 PM rating by marianne

Interesting to read, but I wish there were more detail and photos.

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