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Accommodation suggestions

Perth, Australia
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Accommodation suggestions

We have rough itinerary idea.

We are thinking a couple of nights in KK before flying to Sandakan and staying in the Borneo Nature Lodge for 3 nights. We are then thinking of overnighting in Sandakan before flying back to KK for a few more nights.

Now comes a few questions -

1) there will be 4 of us (2 couples) and we are after accommodation suggestions in KK - i noticed that there are a lot of condo/apartment type places. Are these located in good areas or are we better staying in a hotel? Not really into big beachfront resort style accommodation.

2) accommodation suggestions in Sandakan, we are interested in exploring the history here.

3) has anyone stayed at the Borneo Nature Lodge and have reviews.

Thanks in advance andbwould also love to hear of any other suggestions that anyone has about our proposed trip.

9 replies to this topic
uk
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1. Re: Accommodation suggestions

Borneo Nature Lodge is not in Sandakan, its on the Kinabatangan River.

Best suggestion for staying in / around Sandakan is not in Sandakan itself - probably better off at Sepilok area as its more of what you would expect to find in Borneo (at Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve).

BNL is by Sukau Rainforest Lodge, so its quite a popular stretch of the river - to be honest most of the resorts along the river are similar, wake up early, 6am - Morning boat safari, afternoon at leisure - 5pm / 6pm Night Boat Safari, afterwards, Night Walks, wake up early, repeat - so rooms / accommodations are basic.

If you are going for nature, then my suggestion would be to stay on the east coast longer, and cut down the number of nights in Kota Kinabalu, its pretty uninspiring.

Include Danum Valley (3 nights) or Tabin (3 nights), and do Kinabatangan (2 nights), and just a night either side in KK.

Netherlands
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2. Re: Accommodation suggestions

Hi Tracy,

You said you want a few nights in KK before going to Sandakan area.

Good idea to cool down after your flight. I would recommend Jesselton Hotel or Horizon hotel, in the city center.

Then, after flying to Sandakan, stay at Four Points hotel. I know there is a history museum and memorial park here which you would want to visit. The city itself is not interesting for tourists.

Now Sandakan is a place to look at more closely when you start planning.

-there is Sepilok and the Sun Bear Conservation Centre. A short visit is included when you book a 3 day package to the Sukau Rainforest Lodge (pick up at your hotel). You can also combine it with Turtle Island in a 2 day package, so then you could skip it and start the 3 day package around noon.

But you can also visit this as a day excursion from Sandakan.

-there is the Kinabantangan river, with a few lodges alongside. I only know the Sukau Lodge which is wonderful. The (3 days/2 nights) package includes your stay there (choice between rooms and villas), full board and river excursions to see wildlife.

Question is: what do you want to do after finishing the Kinabantangan trip?

Yes, you have Danum Valley and Tabin (they ate quite different!) , both are not cheap options but impressive. It's all about experience here. But Sabah is bigger; trekkings, walks, visit local villages, Mount Kinabalu and the Kinabalu Park, the islands before KK's coastline, quad biking, river rafting, cycling.......

If you need more info please PM me, I hardy read replies to my posts here..

Edited: 21 October 2017, 00:11
uk
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3. Re: Accommodation suggestions

Good advice from DutchTravelagent but note that Australian government have "Reconsider your need to travel" to Turtle Island - so your insurance would be invalid.

United Kingdom
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4. Re: Accommodation suggestions

Traceyvk,

Do some hotel searches here on TA for KK so you are seeing what you get before booking, the Budget" Eden54", Hotel sixty3, Dreamtel, Jesselton hotel are mentioned often but TA ratings will give you a good guide as well.

I agree with DutchTravelagent, Sheraton Four points hotel on the waterfront at Sandakan is the tallest building in Sandakan so you will still find it if out for a walk. As mentioned not much to see in town.

If you stay at the Four points make sure you are on , in or near the pool for the 15th sunset views over the harbour for 1700hrs.

The hotel is about 200m from the waterfront dinning area, watch out of distraction beggers while his mate steals you bag/camera etc.

If you like history while in Sandakan apart from the airport, memorial and the Sandakan to Ranau march visit Agnes Newton Keiths re-built house over looking Sandakan bay, English tea house right next door it feels like 1939 sitting there drinking tea.

She wrote three books about her time in Sabah.

Land Below the Wind Pre WW2. ISBN978-983-3987-36-8 (Highly Recommended)

Three Came Home WW2.

White Man Returns Post WW2. ISBN978-983-3987-29-0

Have a look at my previous reply to similar Q in this forum that will save me saying it all again.

Sabah Museum and the book shop, just keep in mind you air luggage weight before buying!

While on the West Coast (in KK) there is the, Kota Kinabalu mountain Park. (Gunung Kota Kinabalu Tamen)

Not far away is the trail of the Ranau death march which you can walk a short piece of.

Also is the Ranau war memorial.

KK to Ranau is 3hrs each way, use a tour operator for the visit.

Keep in mind your departure times for this trip.

enjoy your Sabah time.

10-10 memorial at Petagas just south of KK near the Airport on Jalan Kepayan(Road Kepayan).

The double 6 monument on Jalan Mat Salleh the road that leads to the Pertama Pantai (First beach) in Tanjung Aru district south of KK.

In KK in Kampung Air district(in city centre) is the small city park and the North Borneo Monument.

The next district is Bandaran Berjaya which is nearer to Signal Hill, here is Padang Merdeka (independence Stadium) and nearby is Atkinson Clock Tower one of only two structures/building to survive the bombing of Jesselton in 1945.

From the clock is a trail/walk up to the observatory platform on signal hill , time your visit for the 1800hr sunset, over on your left.

I agree with signprint, check your insurance if visiting Pulau Selengin.

Apart from the turtles(that you may not see) Agnes Newton Keith visited here with her husband and then promptly took the boat over to the neighbouring Pulau and stayed the night!! In the 1930's that was like women travelling to the moon.

The Pulau also has a small museum/historical account on the second floor of the lodge accommodation. Oh! and a marine police security section on the Pulau.

Edited: 21 October 2017, 04:57
United Kingdom
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5. Re: Accommodation suggestions

Jessica R

Post is the one I eluded to Traceyvk.

Netherlands
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6. Re: Accommodation suggestions

I would like to tell more about the 'don't go there' status of Turtle Island (officially called Selingaan).

Because of Philippine pirates, things get a little noisy now and then. Governments (also the Dutch government) tend to overreact. This happens maybe 3, 4 times per year.

Whenever things get excited, police and army will make sure everyone is safe and stays safe.

I talked about this with my Sabah incoming agent. They said: "we are not going over there when things are not safe. People will be refunded and we'll try and offer alternative programs" One of my colleagues went to Lankayan Island earlier this year, and he got military protection on the boat back to the mainland.

So this is where the "negative travel advice" comes from.

Governments are supposed to take care of their civilians, and when they don't (give advice on safety), people will take them to court when something do happens (especially in the US, hahaha).

This tells me that it is what it is: an advice. No one would benefit from getting you into danger because it would also ruin their name and endanger their own staff.

Keep that in mind when thinking about going to these islands, and more importantly, make your own decision.

United Kingdom
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7. Re: Accommodation suggestions

Reference my entry above about the "Double Six" monument location it is in Taman Grace off Jalan Coastal before you reach Sutera Harbour resort.

Batemans Bay...
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8. Re: Accommodation suggestions

Just back from 3 weeks in Sabah - ist timers.

We had a couple of nights at Horizon in KK and found it central, clean, well appointed with good dining area and

buffet breakfast was included and offered plenty of options. As someone said KK is pretty uninspiring.

Good museum, interesting wharf and local markets.

We had a couple of nights at Sepilok Nature Resort - brilliant! Approx 15 klms from Sandakan and easy access to Orang Utan Rehab centre and Sun Bears. Maybe a 3rd night would have allowed us to do more.

We then had 3d 2n on Kinerbatangan River - must do. Lots of different tour options here see TA posts, We googled Mr AJi tours - basic but clean accom. and meals but passionate wildlife guide and saw lots of wildlife including Orang Utans, monkeys, Pigmy Elephants, and birds.

Then 3d2n Danum Valley - opposite end of scale $$$$ but amazing resort with brilliant guides in pristine primary forest with lots of wildlife. Well worth it.

Hope this helps - we had an amzaing holiday and all Sabah people we found friendly and helpful.

United Kingdom
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9. Re: Accommodation suggestions

Kevin G.

Thank you for your feedback, it will certainly help other Sabah travellers.

We hope you enjoyed your Sabah Time.

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