In school, I have a vivid memory of doing a presentation on Borneo’s rainforest and being completely absorbed by a place that seemed so full of nature and adventure that it was almost too good to be true, never mind being over 7000 miles away from my doorstep.
This place has always seemed like a far off dream from my childhood, but moving to Asia quickly put it on the map as a very reachable paradise.
Borneo exceeded every single one of my childhood expectations in every way and I’ve barely even scratched the surface – This island is home to culture, nature and adventure that are second to none and you could easily spend months exploring.
Borneo is the world’s third biggest island and has states belonging to Brunei, Malaysia and Indonesia. You’ll therefore find that it’s much quicker to use the domestic airlines to fly between the various areas on the island as travel on the roads can be long and the opposite of smooth.
Currently, I’ve only got any experience of Sabah and the area surrounding Kota Kinabalu, towards the North of the island. Sabah is one of the Malaysian states within the island of Borneo.
For me, its allure was none other than the 4095m Mount Kinabalu, which shouldn’t be missed, even if you’re just going to have a look with no intention to climb. Whilst Kinabalu is by far the pride of this territory, there are lots of other things you can do to occupy yourself.
Kota Kinabalu has an international airport that welcomes flights from all over Asia, and gives you ease of access to other parts of the island or back to mainland Malaysia. From here, you can jump on the airport bus into the city for 5MYR or get in a taxi.
Top tip: Taxis don’t tend to be metered here so agree on a price before you jump in the car. Bare in mind that the airport is only about 20minutes away from the city centre. Also consider that uber is in full working force around here and will charge you about half the price of the hail and jump in cabs.
Admittedly, the transport system around Borneo is pretty dire. There are taxis, obviously, or various buses. Most people seem to use tours to get around, and whilst this is easy, it’s about triple the price of what you would pay if you’re doing it by yourself, so my recommendation would be to try and work it all out for yourself.
What to do.
Kota Kinabalu and the surrounding area offer a variety of things to do no matter what you’re looking for and who your travel partners are.
Borneo isn’t just home to dense jungle, you’ll also find yourself confronted with some pretty sweet coastlines.
From Jesselton point, which is within walking distance from anywhere you stay in the city, you can get on a boat to a handful of islands.
Labels: Borneo, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah