Friday, June 05, 2015

World class diving….Sipadan Island & Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia

One month in Borneo. And then its over.

After 275 days in Asia, we will be flying back to Zurich.

It’s nice to have an end date – gives us more structure, but having talked to many people on similar trips, it will be weird to leave.

Reverse culture shock we think it’s called. And then what? Good question. We’re taking suggestions.

We flew from Singapore to Borneo, arriving in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia late evening.

We checked into our hotel and then went in search of food at the waterfront night market.

But first, we were summoned to a Carlsberg beer festival of some sort, where we watched a lady in skimpy clothes sing at the top of her lungs under flashing lights and lasers.

Not exactly how we expected to find Borneo, a rather conservative place.

We spent the next few days holed up in the Hyatt, taking advantage of the free cocktail hour and breakfast spread, as well as the bathtub.

Why so excited about a bathtub? Well, we haven’t even seen a bathtub since December.

And they make it infinitely more easy to wash our backpacks.

Riki’s backpack in particular had become quite foul-smelling.

After a long soak, and probably some strange comments from the cleaning crew, we were smelling fresh and ready for our next stop, Semporna, to do some diving on the famous Sipadan Island. Sort of a Clampett’s moment.

(You’ll notice there’s not much info on Kota Kinabalu. Because there’s not much to do. I got my hair cut. We did a little shopping. But mostly we went to the hotel gym and pool, and watched movies. It was nice not to be moving around for a few days. Oh, and they called us Sir Richard and Miss Catherine – they get confused by middle names everywhere we go – it was lovely.)

We took an hour flight from Kota Kinabalu to Tawau for $21.89 (for both of us). Plus $7.50 for a bag.

So much better than the 12+ hours we would have endured on the bus.

Tawau is about an hour and a half from Semporna, the gateway to Sipadan Island.

We ended up in a shared car with a speed demon driver.

The drive was primarily through palm oil plantations, which this area is full of.

Unfortunately, it is very detrimental to the wildlife and rather unnerving to see just miles and miles of palm trees in straight lines.