We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

First Time in Malaysian Borneo

London, United...
Level Contributor
2 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
First Time in Malaysian Borneo

Hello All,

I am planning a summer adventure in South-East Asia (and I have to admit that this will be my very first oversees trip, so tips are much appreciated) and one of the stops will be Malaysian Borneo - Sabah area in particular.

I am traveling with my partner and we'd like to stay between 5 to 7 days in Borneo starting from Sandakan and visiting Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, Seligan Island, Kinabatangan Region and finishing in Kota Kinabalu.

My first question is if 5-7 days is a reasonable time to see all this and secondly, is it possible (for 2 not really experienced travelers) to find our way easily there without using a tour operator. We have a very limited budget and I am afraid that we won't be able to afford what I've seen as prices offered by tour companies.

Any advices are highly appreciated!

Thank you for your time.



Level Contributor
90 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: First Time in Malaysian Borneo

Dear Anastasiya,

Here we go the link can be useful for traveling around Sabah.


5 or 7 days is more than enough

Just go and found yourself enjoy to meet 32 ethnic communities.



Maui, Hawaii
Level Contributor
128 posts
48 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: First Time in Malaysian Borneo

Returned from a similar itinerary in April.

I had a general guideline of what I wanted to see.

I only took flights. Was not impressed with Air Asia and made many errors. Be sure to read up on every rule and restriction, it costs you! Malaysian Airlines was fantastic and my flights were not much more than Air Asia.

I booked each hotel online after reading reviews. I got great deals by booking in advance. Even if you are on a budget best to book in advance since you have limited time.

NOTHING is self evident in Malaysia. What I mean by that is if you go on your own be sure to come armed with information and a smart phone with WiFi, you will need access to information.

Highlight by far was the Kinabatagan Portion in Sabah. Stayed at the Nature Lodge. Booked directly with them and it was very inexpensive. It included pick up from Sepilok Orangutan sanctuary, 2 hr ride to river, 4 river wildlife trips, 2 evening jungle hikes, 1 morning hike and a tour of the Gomantong caves to see the collection of birds' nests, meals (very average) and private room overlooking river for 2 nights. This is a MUST DO.

I also recommend a local boat ride while in Kota Kinabalu. There are many nearby islands.

Here is my take on your itinerary and goals. It is doable but be very clear what is important to you. No need to spend time wandering the cities (very undesirable for most part and HOT). Get to the destination, see what you want to see or do. Do not try to save money by taking busses (too much time). Do your research carefully and have a rough plan.

When I arrived in Sandakan I immediately took a cab to Sepilok, got picked up by Nature Lodge transport, stayed for 2 nights. & 3 days, took a tour of the caves and was dropped off in city for a quick lunch before taking a cab to the airport for my next flight. Efficient and wise use of time.

I had 2 weeks and went to Sarawak, Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi. Single traveler and planned trip on own with extensive use of internet & TA.


London, United...
Level Contributor
2 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: First Time in Malaysian Borneo

Thanks so much for the info guys! I did my research and after reading all travel guides/forums I completed our schedule in Sabah. We have many things to see in a limited time and of course we went over our budget... but...OK...can't have it all :)

4. Re: First Time in Malaysian Borneo

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 1:20 am, August 03, 2014