Borneo Vacation
July 29, 2009 3:18 PM   Subscribe

Looking for great tours/ in Sabah, Malaysia Borneo?

I've been to Sabah once before. So I am trying to find tours that don't include all the stuff I've done already and some things that are a little further out.

I only have about 7-9 days and I'd like to go to Danum Valley AND Tabin (not one or the other!), as well as 2-3 days of scuba diving at Sipidan/Mabul.

It seems like I should be able to do this. But having a hard time booking things - as they all seem to include city tours and many things I've done already.

I don't want to drive anywhere myself or rent a car.

Let me know if anyone has been/has any good suggestions.
posted by ChloeMills to Travel & Transportation around (1 answer total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Danum Valley is pretty good, we didn't go to Tabin. You don't need to buy the leech socks or special water proof boots. Just wear your regular long knee socks over your pants. You don't need to book a city tour of Lahad Datu. For DV, we just emailed them and told them what hotel they should pick us up in. We stayed in Grace, which wasn't in the (English language) guide books last summer, and was very good. Three days was about right for that leg of the trip - the rain is like nothing else and the leeches get exhausting. Don't count on being able to "dry clothing" - take enough for changing clothes twice a day. And take lots and lots and lots of plastic bags for your camera gear. Oh, and don't book the hotel from the airport - the Lahad Datu airport is too small to have a telephone.

Are you in the habit of traveling with a cell phone? Finding a working pay phone in Sabah is a miracle.

Did you do a homestay yet? We had an awesome time with Misompuru in Kudat. They were modern Rungus (no goofy longhouse fake jump on a trampoline thing) and just wonderful people - it was hanging out with the family for a while. They're set up to do multi day visits, too. They want you to rent a car to go up, but you can take the combis from Kota Kinabalu and ask them to let you off at the Rungus homestay before you get to Kudat town. If you do that, make sure you get your travel agent to write down *exactly* where to drop you off. Not too many people speak English up that way.

FWIW, we just showed up in Kota Kinabalu and spent a day talking to travel agents. We had tried to book from the states and from Bangkok, but kept getting the runaround. There's a line of travel agents in a mall running along Jalan Haji Samen (I think) maybe two blocks south of the boat docks, cattycorner to Hotel Capital - we just went up and down the line and went with our gut. Everything worked out great, we didn't get touted, the prices were cheaper than anything we could book from out of country, and everyone we met was genuinely kind.

Did you go see the modern art museum just over the hill from KK yet? It's easy to get there by taxi or bus. It'll only take an hour but we quite liked it.

Sorry, can't help you out with Sipadan. Our plan (made with the advice from other people who had done this) had been to show up and find a scuba guide, but an ill-timed bout of giardia required a change in plans.

Everyone, everywhere we went in Sabah was just so willing to be friendly and help, it's probably the easiest place I've ever traveled without a hard plan.
posted by arabelladragon at 6:41 PM on July 29, 2009

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