Many of you will know the score already. You've travelled round Vietnam, Thailand, west Malaysia and Indo, staying in cheap beach huts, mucking about on the beach and in the sea by day, and eating delicious fresh seafood washed down with a few beers by night - all for bargain prices.
In Sabah, an amazing state in Borneo, you have Mount Kinabalu and Sipadan that attract all the backpackers and tourists, via the gateway city of Kota Kinabalu. Unfortunately, after these two highlights, there are no cheapy beaches to stay on. Yes you can visit some for a day, and perhaps camp, but other than that, and the mega pricey 5 star resorts, there is nothing established for the backpacker market.
About 6 months ago Yan opened Manana-Borneo - a few years in planning and in the making, and his dream is ready. A very experienced beach worker / beach hut proprietor, Yan, a Malay national, has this secluded paradise sorted. Along with his uber friendly staff, they will do anything they can to make your stay the best ever. If you want to go snorkelling (see the 'big brain'), surfing, trekking, up the river to see the probiscus monkeys etc., they can arrange it. Apparently they will soon have a dive school also, for those of you wanting to get deeper under water to see the insane variety of marine life. If you want to experience Sabahan village life, that can also be arranged, with the very friendly locals at Kampung Pitaru Laut.
You can visit their website (google manana borneo), laterooms.com, asiarooms.com or facebook page to book accommodation, and they can pick you up from KK or wherever really - it couldn't be more simple!
The accommodation is sweeeeeeeeeeeet. Roomy bungalows right on the beach, with handmade comfortable wooden beds, mosquito nets and attached bathrooms. All 'balcony' areas have two hammocks so you can chillax, watch the world go by, read a book or have a kip. I'm told there will soon be cheaper rooms set back further from the sea, as well as a bargain budget 'house of hammocks'.
The restaurant serves delicious curries, the freshest, tastiest seafood ever, noodles and western fayre, and you can pick what tunes go on the sound system. There are always plenty of Tiger beers available, and soon to be a more established bar serving beers, wines, a massive variety of spirits as well as some seriously refreshing cocktails.
The main boys - Yan and Awi - can even put on a fire twirling show for you in the evenings, and teach you how to do it should you wish to give it a go.
After your stay, your new friends will be more than happy to take you to the airport or KK, and you will more than likely become a regular, dreaming of the next time you can visit Manana.
I absolutely loved my stay here, and I'm sure you will to. It is an absolute paradise, with utterly breathtaking sunsets, and the staff are experts at delivering that all important, unique to Sabah, backpacker beach vibe.
E N J O Y
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- Also Known As:
- Manana Borneo Hotel Kota Belud
- Manana Borneo Resort Kota Belud, Sabah