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Piracy in Palau Gaya and malaria in Kinabatangan

Warrington
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Piracy in Palau Gaya and malaria in Kinabatangan

Hi, I have two big concerns about my forthcoming visit to Borneo.

I have booked myself onto a boat headed to Palau Gaya for some light trekking and beach relaxtion. Then I heard that there is a high alert for this island and there is a risk of priacy and terrorism. However, of course, the tour company says there is no risk. Should I take this with a pinch of salt?

Secondly, I'll be staying in Bilit for 2 full days and 2 nights. Kinabatangan has an ependimicity up at around 16%. Is it therefore foolish to visit, even if I do get anti-malarials? Would i be 100% protected with malarone? I'm thinking is it worth it for 2 days in the forest?

Any advice on these matters?

Many thanks

Martin

KL
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1. Re: Piracy in Palau Gaya and malaria in Kinabatangan

This is the 1st time i hear about piracy and terrorism in Pulau Gaya. Where did u hear it from?

Wangaratta...
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for Kota Kinabalu, Wangaratta, Sandakan
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2. Re: Piracy in Palau Gaya and malaria in Kinabatangan

Where are you getting this wierd information. There has never in at least the last 100 years been piracy anywhere near Palu Gaya. I went to Kinabatangan in June. I didn't get malaria, no tablets or anything, and I sure did not meet anyone with malaria or who has had malaria. As for medications, ask your medical practitioner. Don't rely on unqualified people on a travel forum for information.

Warrington
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3. Re: Piracy in Palau Gaya and malaria in Kinabatangan

I sought professional advice on malaria today but it turned out to be very unprofessional. They suggested that I take an anti-malarial drug that is known to be ineffective in Borneo according to offical health sites - not forums.

The philosophy is, always reaserch in addition to seeking advice. I've heard conflicting reports about mosquitos in Kinabatangan. Extremes of all out attacks and no mosquitos at all. It's hard to know what's true or if we are seeing something which is very time of year dependent.

Any info on a possible time of year dependence?

As for piracy, it's not a weird rumour but a recognised concern. It was heightened in May 2012.

fco.gov.uk/en/…malaysia

travel-insurance.com.au/advice/Malaysia.html

worldtravelguide.net/malaysia/travel-advice

…freemalaysiatoday.com/fmt-english/news/gene…

Best regards,

Martin

Petaling Jaya...
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4. Re: Piracy in Palau Gaya and malaria in Kinabatangan

Pulau Gaya is located directly opposite the state capital of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu on the west coast of Sabah. The likelihood of piracy is remote to next to non-existent. It is not located in the back of beyond somewhere.

All those links that you post are referring to the eastern coast of Sabah in the waters of the Sulu sea adjacent to the Philippines.

Johor Bahru...
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5. Re: Piracy in Palau Gaya and malaria in Kinabatangan

Geography...

Pulau Gaya is on the mid-western coast of Sabah, very close to KK.

The first 3 links provided mentioned travel warnings for EAST Sabah, coastal areas and islands.

The freemalaysia link mentioned piracy in Kudat which is northern part of Sabah and more than 100 kilometers from Pulau Gaya and KK.

So the title 'Piracy in Palau Gaya' and 'high alert for this island' seemed off target :-)

Warrington
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6. Re: Piracy in Palau Gaya and malaria in Kinabatangan

Yes you're right,

I was mixing up Mataking with Manukan and got the wrong archipelago. Okay my mistake, I'm still learning about the geography.

I guess 100km is not far though and there's no reason why they wouldn't target Gaya - remote, exclusive, Western tourists. I'm thinking if there is intel that's gone public in far Eastern Sabah, it's reasonable they will look for other targets. I'll exercise caution.

Martin

North Coast, N...
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7. Re: Piracy in Palau Gaya and malaria in Kinabatangan

We used malarone for anti-malarial tablets.

We visited Gaya on a day trip and spent 2 nights on Lankayan island which is on the eastern side. We had no problems and as others have said the information on the website relates to incidents from a long time ago and was relevant to the east coast of Sabah. What's the risk - I'd be more worried about a terrorist attack in the UK to be honest!!

KL
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8. Re: Piracy in Palau Gaya and malaria in Kinabatangan

Once 21 people were kidnapped from Sipadan Island by Phillipines Abu Sayyaf gtoup but that was 12 yrs ago. It led to the closure of resorts on Sipadan Island. Since the abduction on the island some time back, the security have been beefed up.. sea patrol rounds the area is very frequent.... so, there's peace of mind when visiting this magnificent island.. no worries!

Very unlikely they will strike in Gaya which is close to KK and within easy reach by the security with very regular patrolling here which make their escape impossible.

Wangaratta...
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9. Re: Piracy in Palau Gaya and malaria in Kinabatangan

Any piracy or terrorist incidents in Sabah occurred around the islands off east coast of Sabah over 12 years ago. I have been travelling to Sabah for 10 years and I feel safer there than I do at home. The people are wonderful. The whole lot is turning into a "boy who cried wolf" situation.

You have more chance of being run over by a car at home in UK.

Melbourne, Australia
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10. Re: Piracy in Palau Gaya and malaria in Kinabatangan

Martin, I’ve copied an excerpt from last week’s edition of an excellent Australian news weekly cunningly titled The Week (of which I have no affiliation, just pick up a copy when I can) written by its editor Alison Wright. It references the recent, tragic death of Jill Meagher on Melbourne's normally safe streets, but therein lies a simple message I hope you find useful:

"I almost met an untimely end on the way to work this morning. A split- second difference and I'd have smashed my scooter into the car that inexplicably shot out from a side-street. But if I had met my maker today, at least I remembered to kiss my man goodbye beforehand, and give our dogs a pat. We never know when the day will come when we don't make it home. There's a poem written by our chairman, Felix Dennis, that sums up this fear about the myriad dangers lurking outside. It's called travel advisory, and it goes:

'Parachutes tangle; brake pads fail; seat belts strangle; and trains derail. Motorbikes main you; ships collide; new boots lame you; stay inside'.

Sage advice, if a little impractical in the real world. In this line of work I read every day the stories of people who set out in the morning and were lost forever - as a result of accidents, or war or, in the case of Jill Meagher, at the hands of a stranger intent on evil. The reaction to her death, and the huge turnout of people who marched through Melbourne's streets, speak of a recognition that we've all been there, a little drunk and vulnerable on a darkened street. Jill's horrific fate is the stuff of our worst nightmares, but it's not only women at risk: how many young men have lost their lives late at night, simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time? We none of us know what lurks in our path, but we can only really live if we look our fears straight in the eye.

Be thankful for each new day, but don't be afraid of the dark"

All credit of course goes to the author, Alison Wright of The Week.

Now on a side note, my girlfriend's mum is from Kota Kinabalu but moved overseas some years ago, we visited back in 2010, and will be there again in November (so I’m by no means a local expert but hopefully can provide some cursory advice). You’ll be glad to know we survived Kinabatangan in the wet season with no malaria to speak of - we did take doxycycline. I can’t quote any stats nor research but I think you’d be silly to forego an amazing few days trekking in the rainforest because of, what is probably, (with adequate precaution) a very, very slight chance you may catch Malaria. There’s some remarkable wildlife, you’ll see proboscis monkeys and orang-utans, lots of bird-life and maybe if you’re very lucky an Asian elephant. On the drive there you’ll also see a lot, and I mean a lot, of palm oil plantations too – so you’ll be even more impressed on arrival! Possibly already on your itinerary, I definitely recommend going to the Sepilok orang-utan sanctuary near Sandakan whilst you’re there, it does get very busy at feeding time but it’s still very cool to see and you’ll be supporting a great organisation.

Swing back to KK, yes on Pula Gaya there is a well-known community of (supposedly mostly illegal) Filipino migrants and it’s probably not best to be walking around the stilt-houses late at night. But as long as you’re not planning on some late-night-travel-photography-come-slum-tourism you’ll be fine. In fact, stay away during the day too, but lucky for you the community only takes up a small part of the island (or should I say sea?), there’s even an upmarket resort and spa on the other side which I think does quite well. If you’re eating out in KK regularly you may well get talking to a waiter who happens to live on the island, and if you’re lucky you may get a first-hand report of what the daily struggle just to live there actually entails. Now, if you’ve time and you’re feeling fit and energetic, climbing Mt. Kinabalu is not too difficult and entirely worth the sore legs you’ll have on the next day (or the for next week!)

Sabbah is beautiful and most of the people are lovely, don’t worry too much, and, more importantly, just enjoy yourself.

If you still want something to worry about I suggest you visit one of the places listed in the link below:

foreignpolicy.com/articles/2008/09/28/the_li…

DM