Hello everyone, today we will take all of you to open new experience in "Sabah state, Malaysia" in the aspect that most of Thai people have never seen and experienced at Borneo island, Sabah state, Malaysia.
This trip we have been invited from The Tourism Authority of Sabah, Malaysia to go exploring the sea travel route at Borneo Island, Sabah State for 4days and 3nights. As I myself a kind of person who love traveling to the sea and diving, thus I reply their invitation back very quickly, no need to think twice Lol.
However, in this trip we need to do a scuba diving, thus I need to rush to go doing an exam with DiveDD where I have learned and went on a trip with them from this review https://goo.gl/CvZ8ga. From the examination this time, I have got a license from the diving institution, Bsac Thailand, the license is issued just in time as my departure flight.
Now, as the license is in hand, heart is ready and the bag is well prepared, it is a time to take off, yet I am still worried a bit for my poor speaking skill. Lol.
Preparing information before traveling to Borneo island, Sabah state, Malaysia.
• Passport and Visa •
Thai people no need to apply for the visa and are allowed to stay for 30 days. However, please check your passport expiration date, to be valid more than 6 months.
• Getting there •
Thai Smile airways has a direct flight from Suvarnabhumi airport, Bangkok- Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia in service, which makes our journey easy and convenient, no need to connect the flight. For more information, Please visit https://www.thaismileair.com/
• Currency •
Malaysia use "Ringgit (MYR)" currency, which average calculation equals to 7.88 baht to 1 Ringgit.
• Charger •
Malaysia use 3-pin charger, the charger is flat square head, hence we need to carry an adaptor with us.
• Time •
Time at Sabah State, Malaysia is 1 hour faster than Thailand .
• Phone and internet usage •
I choose to use Travel Sim Asia from Trumove H which costs 399 baht that comes with 4G internet for 8days. It is more than enough for me and the signal is pretty alright, not have any problem, just only some area that has a bit unstable connection. Well, before traveling, you have to go open the service at their shop, it is easy and convenient.
And this sim card could use in all 13 countries, if you guys interested, you could find more information here at http://truemoveh.truecorp.co.th/news/detail/679
• Camera Equipment •
This trip we carry 4 cameras with us for 2 people.
- On the land, We use Canon 1100D , Sony Rx100 Mark4
- Underwater, We use Gopro Hero 4 , Olympus TG-Tracker (For Olympus, it is our first time using it)
Day 1 • Take flight from Bangkok – Kota Kinabalu / Eat local foods/ Check-in the hotel/ travel a traditional tribal village of Borneo Island at Mari Mari Cultural Village
Day 2 • One Day Trip : do the scuba diving at Gaya Island / Eat a tasty food around the accommodation
Day 3 • One Day Trip : Tiga Island National Park
Day 4 • Buy souvenir at KADAIKU souvenir shop before heading back
- Take flight from Bangkok - Kota Kinabalu
- Eat local foods
- Check-in the hotel
- Travel a traditional tribal village of Borneo Island at Mari Mari Cultural Village
We start our journey with Thai Smile Airways, flight WE421. Since Thai Smile airways has a direct flight from Suvarnabhumi airport, Bangkok- Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia in service, which makes our journey kind of easy and more convenient, no need to connect the flight. For more information, please visit https://www.thaismileair.com/
The flight time takes approximately 3 hours from Bangkok to Kota Kinabalu. The pro for flying with Thai Smile Airways that I prefer is there are meal serving and free 20kilos baggage allowance.
We reach at Kota Kinabalu international airport around noon and we start to feel hungry, thus we ask our tour guide to take us to eat some tasty food before. Well! forget to mention that our tour guide for this trip, his name is "Bobbie" who will take care us throughout this 4 days and 3 nights trip.
Bobbie takes us to eat a local food at D' Place Kinabalu restaurant in Plaza Shell. We have a set of main dish, dessert and lemon grass water. Lemon grass water is served hot with a herbal smell. As for the set menu will combine with rice, stir-fried vegetables which tastes like our hometown, moreover, there are salted egg, chili paste, spicy salad, salted fish, fried fish and boiled fish, although the taste is kind of new to me, but it also tastes good. And the dessert that they serve is similar to Saku (sweet tapioca pearls) in our country, they serve it hot but not sweet.
The accommodation throughout 3 nights for this trip is at Grandis Hotels & Resorts. The hotel is located right at the heart of the Kota Kinabalu city, next to the mall and near the restaurant and shopping center. It is 15 minutes away from the airport and most importantly it closes to the sea where you can have a sea view right from your room, it is pretty awesome!
The room is equipped with full facilities with free wifi and breakfast is also included.
At the rooftop, there are restaurant, pool and fitness in service for hotel guests.
Hotel contact information: Grandis Hotels & Resorts
Website : http://hotelgrandis.com/
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/HotelGrandis/
During the evening, we travel to traditional tribal village of Borneo Island at Mari Mari Cultural Village. It takes approximately 40 minutes journey from the hotel.
The word "mari mari" means "come come" or "come here". The village is located at the foot of the mountain which surrounds by the beautiful abundant nature. It is a simulated village that displays the way of life of 5 tribes.
Before going further inside, the tour guide of this place will introduce some information to tourists by arranging a tour group to visit the village, it kinds like a join trip with other groups.
Inside is divided into many spots to display each tribes' lifestyles include living demonstration, cooking, see the living of ancient people, show the lighting by bamboo, hunting, cultures and traditions.
And at the last stop, is the award tradition from the head of village to warriors that go to fight in the war. They will bring the award to hang on the high crossbeam and let the warriors jump to grab it which there is a spring plank (kind of spring board) on the ground to help them jump. At that time, the reward might be cigarette, horn or metal that could be taken to make a weapon.
After finished this activity, there is a spot for tourist to paint body, and then wait to watch the folk performance of the village.
The performances of the village, there will be rhythmic music and various dance performances. Moreover, there is performance of "Lao Kratop Mai" (a bamboo clapping folk dance play) which is similar to the performance in Thailand, and at the end, they would invite tourist to join in the dance as well.
After finish the last round of the performance, there is a buffet provided for tourist to dine before heading back to the hotel.
Contact Information: Mari Mari Cultural Village
- One Day Trip : scuba diving at Gaya Island and Borneo Reef World
- Find tasty food around the hotel
In the morning of our second day, we need to wake up early to have a breakfast at the hotel before, which there are a lot of kinds of food to choose from.
After breakfast, we walk to the Jesselton Point pier which Gradis Hotels & Resorts is located just 5 minute away by foot.
At the pier, there are a lot of tour companies in service, thus whichever islands you would like to go, you could purchase the tour here.
Today we will go boarding the boat of Borneo Reef World which is located near to Gaya Island. It takes only 15 minutes journey from the shore to board the Borneo Reef World's boat. Today trip is a One Day Trip style which we will spend the whole day doing the activities around Gaya Island.
In the boat of Borneo Reef World, has many activities for tourists to do whether it be Sea Walking, Scuba Diving, Jet Ski, Banana Boat, Parasailing, Snorkeling, Kayaking, Fishing, and underwater walking to watch the corals and fishes.
First, we will take everyone to walk in the tunnel to watch the underwater world.
Wow!!!This is really awesome. We have seen a big shoal swim around that make me feel overwhelmed with a scene at the front. I think it is pretty cool as if you don't want to swim, you also could see this kind of beautiful scene.
And now it is time that we are waiting for with the first time scuba diving abroad. We feel pretty excited and expect what we will see underwater. Now, not waste anymore time, Let's see the underwater world scenery of Gaya Island, Malaysia.
Only at the beginning of diving, we are surprisingly thrilled with an enormous shoal which swim around to invite us. The picture might seem unclear as the sea water is turbid and sunless, yet the real thing is pretty nice.
The coral here has various kinds and there are a lot of exotic things to be seen all the time.
Another highlight that I really love it from diving here is a clownfish (Nemo). There are many kinds of clownfish here, and some kinds we just have seen it here for the first time which I think some kinds probably don't have in Thailand. It is a pleasant time doing a scuba diving here!
There are a lot of exotic kinds of fishes as well which some I could take photo in time, and some I just miss it. Lol. This is some part that I could take photo back.
I feel pretty satiated to do the scuba diving here, there are a lot of exotic things to be seen along the way, yet just feel a little regret that the water is a bit turbid.
Nudi or Sea trout could be seen all the way as well. The photographs are not very clear but the real one really cute.
Let's see for yourself that how pleasant it is to dive here, we dive till the oxygen is left only 10 in the tank Lol.
After diving, we take some rest and having some lunch which is served in buffet style.
Then after lunch, our last activity which we will take everyone to see is Sea Walking .
And this is the picture from Sea Walking activity.
For those who cannot do the scuba diving, I think just do the Sea Walking activity is also great enough. There are coral, sea flower, sea fan, clownfish and a lot of shoal that swim around. the Sea Walking activity will take approximately 10-15 minutes walking, then go up to sit back for a while, when reach 3.00pm, we will head back to the shore.
We like the tour guide and the service here, they are friendly, funny and take good care of us.
Contact information of Borneo Reef World
Website : http://www.borneoreefworld.com.my/
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/BRWKKS/
After we get back to the shore, during evening our guide, Bobbie takes us to eat a popular delicious local food here at Sin See Bah Kut Teh. From outside, we could see there are a lot of people in the restaurant. Here they sell Bah Kut Teh menu similar to our country.
There are other menus such as stewed pork, meatball, crispy pork, shrimp, stir-fried vegetables and many more. From what we taste, we could say that it tastes pretty good, very delicious, especially the one with stewed pork and meatball. Stir-fried vegetables here is also delicious. As for the signature menu of this restaurant is the pot that has shrimp with white wine in it. Anyone who come to Kota Kinabalu, I would recommend that you should not miss out to try it!!!
- One Day Trip : Tiga Island National Park
- Wondering around the hotel to see the way of the local life in the city.
In the morning of our third day here, we need to walk up early again to go to the Jesselton Point pier once again. We will spend time traveling from the pier to Tiga Island National Park for around 1.30hour - 2 hours.
Before arrive at Tiga Island, they will stop by at snake island for tourist to watch snake, bird and nature. Well! we haven't seen a snake on the island, we just see the falcon.
Next stop, the tour will take us to the neighborhood beach to take some photos. The beach is beautiful and the sea water is clear, although the sky is not quite open, yet I still think the scenery here is pretty nice. We stop here around 5-10 minutes, then we continue our journey for a while to reach at Tiga Island.
Upon arriving, the tour will take us to keep our stuff and then take us to do the snorkeling around the island, after that we will take a rest and have lunch on the island.
Let's see picture from the snorkeling at Tiga Island, we will dive in 2 dive styles.
In this area, the water is considerably clear and not too deep which probably around 2 meters that we could clearly see the coral and fishes. There are various kinds of coral whether it be staghorn coral, leaf coral, hard coral and sea flower.
While we are watching the clownfish pleasantly, suddenly there is a kind of long fish emerges from the ground under the corals, we feel startled a bit as we don't expect it, Oh! this is a moray eel, its mouth wide open that we feel a bit scare that it might bite us. Lol.
However, in order to take a nice photo for everyone, we dive down to take a photo of it once again. It is the first time that we are diving and see this moray eel, feel quiet awesome!
We take around 30mins - 40mins diving and it is a time for us to get back to the shore and have some lunch which they will serve in buffet style, grilled seafood and other food all inclusive in the tour package that we bought.
What does it taste like? I would straightly say that it's sooo good!!!! I don't know whether I feel hungry or it is really delicious Lol, yet I finish it all.
After we finish our lunch for a while, Bobbie comes to take us to see another unseen place of this island.
And that is to take a dip in a mud volcano which is believed helping scrub skin to look better. It takes us around 800 meters walking into the forest. On the way, there are trees and wild animals to be seen, the forest here still keeps the abundant nature with it very well.
How is it? After dipping in a mud volcano, our skin looks better or not? Let's find the answer from the picture Lol.
There are bathroom for take a bath and change the clothes in service on the island, no need to be worried as the bathroom is pretty clean.
We spend time on the island until around 3.00pm and then we travel back to the mainland.
If there is an open sky and bright sunlight, we could see the beautiful and clear sea water of Tiga Island in the high aspect like this.
Upon reaching at the shore around 5.00pm, then we keep our stuff and go out to wonder around the hotel area. We find a street art corner, so we take some photos a bit before having some dinner.
We also check in at the place and take a picture with O KM Kota Kinabalu for keeping as a good memory that we once had been travel here.
This restaurant is not far away from the hotel, it is kind like food-to-order restaurant in our country, they will open during evening, the restaurant names Kedai Kopi Fatt Kee. Since yesterday we have seen that there are a lot of people inside, thus we would definitely come to try it today, to find out how does it taste?
And we don't feel any disappointed at all, it tastes delicious. At first, we feel that the soup might not taste good, yet it tastes pretty rich and the stir-fried vegetables is also delicious, the highlight dish that should not miss out, yet I don't know what it called, it is kind of chicken cover with red sauce, this dish is fantastic.
It is another restaurant that we would like to recommend to you guys, the food is delicious and the price is reasonable.
Our fourth day in the morning and it is our last day of this trip, we go to do some shopping at KADAIKU souvenir shop. It is located not far from the hotel which takes only around 5 minutes riding by car.
There are various kinds of souvenir to choose from such as doll, handicraft, key ring, cloth and many more. After shopping, we head to airport which take us only around 15 minutes from the shop to airport, and now we are ready to head back to Thailand.
At last, we travel back to Thailand with Thai Smile Airways during afternoon. We take a direct flight, and the flight time is just right for us, no need to be hurried, it is pretty pleasant and convenient.
To summarize the sea trip at Borneo Island, Sabah State, Malaysia, this trip is regarded as the trip to greatly open new experience for us. Moreover, we could see many exotic things here and there are still only few Thai people that have been here. From the information that we have asked, we probably are a second group of Thai people to do the diving at Gaya Island.
If thinking of sea diving, most people would think of Sipadan, yet this trip that we travel to is also beautiful and really exciting. There are a lot of strange corals and various kinds of fish to be seen and make us feel thrilled throughout the trip. Although the sky is not quite open, however, we also could see a lot of beautiful things.
Another thing that we have to say is the highlight of Kota Kinabalu town that you guys should not miss out is the food, it is really awesome!. For both of the restaurants that we have tried, we feel really like them. Firstly, I think we might loose our weight here because of the food, but in the opposite, we gain more weight Lol.
Finally, we would like to say thank you to The Tourism Authority of Sabah, Malaysia for taking us to open new experiences.
We hope that this review will more or less be useful for you guys. If you have any questions and would like to ask for more information, you could contact us at
Thank you and Sawasdee Krub!