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Help with where to base ourselves!

London, United...
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Help with where to base ourselves!

I'm hoping someone can help because I am getting absolutely nowhere with planning my time in Borneo, even after hours spent online and trawling through the forum. My boyfriend and I have a full week and will be travelling from Singapore where we spend a few days.

We want to get some beach time and most of all enjoy some of the nature, I definitely want to visit the sanctuary to see the orangutans and sunbears, I understand with the limited time it is unlikely we'll get out and see them in the wild. Plus not forgetting getting some good food!

Could someone please recommend where we should base ourselves? I understand KK is the easiest place to fly to from Singapore.

Thanks so much, I'm determined to get hotels booked and an itinerary sorted.

5 replies to this topic
United Kingdom
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for Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan
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1. Re: Help with where to base ourselves!

cmck123,

Here are a few basic points to help you decide.

Singapore fly to hotel in Kota Kinabalu and visit Sandakan later?

or

Singapore to Sandakan and stay there to see the wildlife for your five days? Very Important do your flights in and out of Sandakan match up with your return flight from Singapore to the UK.

If the flight timing are problematic fly into KK stay there and fly over to Sandakan for a days visit.

There are plenty of good hotels to stay in at KK only three have a beach. Not so important as the marine park is about ten minutes off shore so there is sandy beaches and swimming areas there.

There are plenty of good tour operators in KK city centre who can arrange your day visit to Sandakan, transfers, city tour etc. It is not expensive we used Borneo Trails includes driver/guide very good was £150 for the two of us including return flights. They will collect you from your hotel and collect you from airport on your return then back to hotel. It is a long day but worth it.

There are more than 71 places to stay in the city centre or within one mile of the centre. Do a search using the T.A. tab to find one you like. If you want something different you can stay on Pulau Manukan in the marine park overnight. If you stay on a island resort be aware careful planning of the boat transfers is need to match your incoming and exiting flight, if you cannot align the two it will cost £150 for out of hours transfer so be careful there.

If you want a resort with a big beach Shangri-La Rasa Ria maybe for you, its 45minute drive North of KK, they have an excursion shop to arrange your Sandakan visit.

Hope that is a little clearer and enough to get you onto Sabah time.

Stuck, just re-post here.

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2. Re: Help with where to base ourselves!

Thank you so so much, this is really helpful. I think we’ll do Singapore to KK and then to Sandakan. I’m going to work it out a bit further and then post my itinerary back on here. I might see if we can do an over night at the Kinabatangan river too and squeeze in a river cruise. We have 6nights and 7 days to play with so we might manage.

Thanks for your help :)

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3. Re: Help with where to base ourselves!

cmck123,

Turtle island is worth an overnight stay, the down side is you may not see any turtles, we did; I really liked the isolation and the star scape. Do as much as you can fit in, you can sleep on the plane, you don't want to miss the wildlife. You are probably aware of this, just try and not double book hotels, while you are sleeping in another at Sandakan. Most hotels will store your luggage and then put you in a different room when you return. Consider moving to another hotel if you need to there are plenty comfortable 3* and up to choose from.

Thank you for thanking me.

Kounsikou miagal nopo (Thank you your welcome)

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4. Re: Help with where to base ourselves!

Thank you for your useful tip about leaving luggage, we’ve enquired and a few hotels have said they will store luggage, so we’re going to stay in KK then venture off to Sandakan. I’ve popped my loose itinerary below. We’ve booked a 3D2N overnight in the bilit area of the Kinabatangan and I’m just left to organise our time in KK. Do you have any recommendations on the islands for island hopping? We are both snorkelers not divers. I’ve read of the plastic rubbish, which is sad but I guess will be a huge eye opener! I’d also like to see if we can squeeze in an o/n at turtle island if money and time allows.

Now I need to pick a hotel in KK and start booking our flights, it’s all coming together and I’m very excited! Not long to wait at all :)

Sunday 24th June - thurs 28th - Singapore

Thurs 28th -arrive in KK - explore

Fri - KK - Island hopping

Sat - KK - ? - possibly another day on the islands

Sun - Fly KK to Sandakan. Early morning visit to sun bears. Transfer to Bilit, Kinabatangan river overnight.

Mon - Kinabatangan river overnight, river cruise and treks.

Tues - checkout. Sepilok orangutan sanctuary for both feeds if possible. Fly back to KK 18:45

Weds - Checkout and back to Singapore

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5. Re: Help with where to base ourselves!

cmck123,

Well done it is nice to see people come into the forum and create their own holiday plan.

Overall it looks good.

Starting from the top.

Don't organise anything for KK except maybe your hotel booking. The city is compact easy to walk around taxi's with the central city area are only RM15/£5 cheaper if you are using grab or uber. Let the heat hit you and relax somewhere the waterfront enjoy a meal etc etc. If the heat if too much there are plenty of a/c shops and malls to cool off it. KK is more lively after dark compared to say the UK where is predomiently busy during the day. Pick a restuarant and come back later in the early evening. Don't forget KK is the same as any city so don't flash cash and be aware of your surrounding/ dark alleyways etc, your all be fine.

Walk around KK and recce the Jesselton Point for the boat trips you wanto take to the islands, it is easy to find it sounds strange but it really is in the top left corner of the waterfront.

It is of course your desicion, but we have found two island hops is enough for the one day, often we only go to one per day. trying to fit three or more it is a waste of cash. In very basic terms your visiting a beach but just on another island.

Haven't been here yet but cannot wait Sepangar island is in the middle entrance to the main KK harbour and they have opened it up to just 15 persons/tourist from what I have read on TA this just may be the secret escape for the day, the other islands have lots of tourists and they cater for that so a little busy. Have a look via TA and make a note of details if it is something your interested in, a fall back alternative, my choice would be Manukan.

You mentioned turtle island it is not near KK it is out 45minutes boat ride north of Sandakan, just in case you were expecting to visit it in KK.

I have said this often, how long are you spending in your hotel should relect the price you pay.If you only sleep there, won't a good 3* in KK centre do the job? Of course there are three 5* if that is your thing.

Sepilok the afternoon tends to quieter. You will need a wide hat or a brolly it can be shockingly hot if your from the UK and just flown in. You will need cash if you just turn up somewhere and want a meal or water etc. We have found RM200 £40 is enough unless your buy extras or alcohol or you away for long ie turtle island. Alcohol is allowed but tax by government so a small tinned beer is £5, ladies drinks are similar about £4-£5, soft drinks are a lot cheaper. If you visit any mall hunt around for the food court this is where the Sabahan's eat all the prices are set and it is cheaper but just as tasty. Some malls have western junk food, we avoid that, KK eveniing food court near the water front is the place to get the best quick food at a fair price.

That should hel fill in the gaps and create a lot more, if your overwhelmed by gaps repost here

.

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