Going to Sabah, Borneo. Anything I should do or see?

This Friday me and my girlfriend are travelling to Tawau in Borneo, the plan involves 4 days of diving in and around Sipadan island which leaves us a few free days to roam the place.
So, globetrotting dopers, any suggestions on what to do there?
At first we were planning to go to the north western side of the Sabah province, to go up Mount Kinabalu and dive around Labuang and/or Layang Layang. But the Kinabalu fees are a bit expensive and for the last month my knees feel like they are falling apart so no mountain climbing for the time being.

After Sabah we go to Kuala Lumpur for two more days, I’ve been there twice already so I can get my bearings. Let’s see if this time I finally get to go up the Petronas Tower.

First off, the diving at Sipidan is awesome - some of the best of the south Pacific IMO. So you’re sure to enjoy that. Which resort are you staying at ? I stayed at Kapalai when I was there.

As for Sabah, we stayed at Sepilok and seeing the orangutans was pretty cool. These are orphans that are cared for, and as part of their re-orienting to living in the wild, they have them take this “rope trail” to this feeding station. Lots of people, but very cool to see. We also did a night hike through the same (raised) walkway, and it was pretty cool to see all the stick-like insects and stuff.
We also visited this Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey sanctuary. Apparently this is one of a very few places where the Proboscis (think Jimmy Durante :wink: visit on a regular basis (to be fed). Unlike the orangutans which follow the trail from their cages, these monkeys are coming from the jungle to be fed. They’re pretty cool to see.

We made arrangements with the people from Sipadan.com, we stay at a longhouse in mabul. Very basic accomodation but we only need a place to sleep while staying there.

This place, Sepilok, is it far from Semporna? I know I could look it up in a map, but I bet geographical distances won’t give a good idea of how long it actually takes to get there. The rope trail thing seems very interesting, exactly the sort of things I’d like to do.
Not so sure about the long nosed monkeys, there won’t be no end to the ribbing my GF will subject me to. :stuck_out_tongue:

Please take with you my raging jealousy, and send me the jobs pages from the Kota Kinabalu Express and the Bangkok Post.

Sepilok is outside of Sandakan, so I think it would be a ways to get there from Sempurna. The proboscis monkey place was about an hour drive from Sepilok.
There was more to the monkeys than just their noses to keep you entertained - after eating a bit, it was time for a little “pro-creation”. The dominant male of the tribe has full reign over all the females. And he decided to do his duty, while all the young, bachelor males huddled off to one side - all they could do was watch.

Diving on the reefs on Sipidan is awesome, but I’d also recommend doing some “muck diving” off Mabul. We only did a couple dives on Mabul, and I really enjoyed them - tons of beautiful nudibranchs. We also did dusk/night dives off Kapalai (to see the elusive Mandarin fish. After 3 tries, we finally saw them). I would highly recommend dusk/night dives as well - saw big cuttlefish, lots of octopi, lots of lionfish (more than in the daytime).

Hmmm, should raging jealously be in the check-in luggage or can it be in the carry on? Perhaps there’s a limit of 100ml of raging jealously per passenger or something like that. Please let me confirm that first.

Cormac, I think diving at Mabul is in the schedule; my GF loves nudibranchs so it would be very good for her. Not so sure about the night dives, maybe just in case I’ll pack our torches too… if jjimm’s raging jealously doesn’t take too much space.

Packing two metric tons of stuff right now…

In Mabul island right now, this place rocks!


Did you check my jealousy in, or carry it in hand baggage?

Did you get your girlfriend nudibranch? :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye: (I like them too - they’re so cute!) ETA: nudibranches, not your girlfriend! ETA2: though I’m sure she’s cute too! ETA3: Jim when you’re in a hole, stop digging…

Thinking of selling up here and going to Sabah myself in a few months. What’s it like? Is it cheap?

We are at Kuala Lumpur right now, making a stop in the touring circuit.
Sorry, I had to drop your jealously at Suvarnabhumi airport 'cause it was in the hazardous material list. Sorry.

We saw more nudibranchs at Mabul that you can shake a stick at, wonderful macro stuff there.
Sipadan itself is fantastic, it’s a pitty we only did three dives there but they were great. I took several hundred pictures so I’ll be posting a link to an album after we sort them out.

As for Sabah, we didn’t really see much of it, only the road from Tawau to Semporna were we took the boat to Mabul, so I couldn’t tell you the cost of living there. It should be quite low by all appearances though.

Here’s a video I shot over Mabul.

It’s a pity I dunked the camera in the lagoon after that, so I couldn’t do the same over Sipadan Island.