Kota Kinabalu for the day

Dec 12th, 2018, 02:49 PM
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Kota Kinabalu for the day

My spouse and I are going on a 2 week cruise in Jan. of Malaysia and the Philippines. We will be in Kuching, Brunei, Boracay, Puerto Princesa and Busuanga Island. I have every port planned except for Kota Kinabalu. I just canít seem to come up with what to do to get the best of this port for the day (8a - 10p) and need help. From what I have read that the Lok Kwai Wildlife Park is a bit underwhelming. I read that the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park has a lot of complaints about the snorkeling visibility and trash in the sea. Taking the long (2 1/2 hr?) transfer to MT. Kinabalu seems to draw a lot of complaints that it the hike is super hard and not worth the views. Our interests are seeing the Orangutangs (we are seeing them in Kuching), any other wildlife, snorkeling/diving (we will be doing some in the Philippines) and just the culture of Borneo. Any ideas would be appreciated to make the most of our visit.
ccarlson is offline  
Dec 12th, 2018, 03:12 PM
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Whoever said the view from summit of mount Kinabalu is not worth the effort clearly has not done it. The views are magnificent! That said you are not going to do the summit climb in one day. It requires an overnight on the mountain and it is pretty tough going mainly because of the altitude.

We returned a few years ago and did a few of the trails around the base of the mountain which were very enjoyable. Some photos of those on our blog @ https://accidentalnomads.com/2015/08...kota-kinabalu/

It is a fair old drive there and back in a day but you should have time to get back hand eat some pretty good seafood at the Filipino market in the evening.

I agree that the marine park is a bit underwhelming, especially in the context of the other places you are visiting. We dived there on another trip and the visibility was pretty bad andalthough that can obviously change with the seasons etc. It is never going to be good anywhere near a river or urban area.

The only other think I can think of is a train ride on the north Borneo railway to Papar but you would need to check the timings and that it runs on the day you are there. I haven’t done it but it sounds like fun!
crellston is offline  
Dec 13th, 2018, 12:44 AM
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Forget climbing the Mt. Kinabalu,not possible in a day. Its also booked months in advance,Laban Rata the mid way up the summit has limited beds.Limited permits are therefore issued for the climb. I did this a few years ago and its absolutely exhausting and bitterly cold up there,but very rewarding as when you summit at the break of dawn,the sun rises over a blanket of clouds well below you. Awesome !!
Further, you'll probably need a day to recuperate,for your legs wouldn't simply listen to you.
One a fit few who enter the annual Kinabalu climbathon make it up and down in a little over 4 hrs.More often than not, the the winner is a Kadazan Dusun from one of the many villages at the foot-hills.For these hardy hill people altitude and thin air is no sweat.Its their backyard.
A very colourful people and culturally very interesting,worth a visit.

I would recommend hiring a taxi in KK to take you aroud for the whole day, which I did.
Alternatively, book a tour from any of the many travel houses.
It could be done in a day, although a little rushed would be to visit..
Mari Mari Cultural village to get a taste of Kudasang lifestyle,their traditional home and the food can be experienced. Monsopiad Heritage Village ,followed by the Klias river cruise spotting Proboscis monkeys and the beautiful fireflies display then dinnerin the rain forest and back at the docks.
inquest is online now  
Dec 14th, 2018, 07:33 AM
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Let’s talk about Sandakan. I see that the flight is inexpensive. We are going to Kuching and seeing Bako and Semonggoh. Is this a better experience to see the Orangs in Sandakan than in Semonggoh? It looks like there is a flight that gets us in at 11:15am and a flight that leaves at 6p. I really want to see the Orangs in as natural state as as I can. I know that might be difficult on a day trip.

ccarlson is offline  
Dec 14th, 2018, 06:52 PM
Join Date: May 2004
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Not a lot of difference between Sepilok, near Sandakan and Semongoh, both are rehabilitation centres and you won’t see orangutans in their natural environments in either. Sepilok visting hours are 10 am and 3.00pm so you would miss the first session anyway There is also the Sun Bear conservation centre next to the Orangutan sanctuary.
It is a long day even if the flights all work to time which is a big if.
crellston is offline  
Dec 15th, 2018, 09:59 AM
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I often say to people that a cruise is not a great way to see SE Asia. And this is a good example of that. If you were traveling independently, you could opt to visit the Danum Valley, the place you are most likely to see orangutans in the wild.
Kathie is offline  
Dec 16th, 2018, 07:02 PM
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Actually the idea was not to go to Borneo but to go to the Philippines. When researching the Philippines it looked like I was looking at splitting it into two islands anyway. THEN I found this cruise. I have been wanting to go to Borneo for 30 years so we jumped on the cruise idea because it fulfilled multi desires. Although it is not perfect, we will have to deal. But that is what travel is all about right? - rolling with the punches and doing what you can do. It is about the journey.
ccarlson is offline  
Dec 17th, 2018, 06:28 AM
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IMHO Mount Kinabalu is a unique site, probably unlike anything else you'll see on the trip. At the time I was there Malaysia billed it as the highest mountain in SE Asia, which is true only if you have a restricted definition of SE Asia. Nonetheless it's quite impressive if the weather is at least partially clear.

The trails by the base of the mountain near the visitor center are easy and enjoyable, full of fascinating plants, flowers, butterflies, and great birding. I saw pitcher plants there, kind of cool. The 5 hour RT drive is tough to consider, but could be worth it. Maybe keep it on the list and make a decision based on weather when you arrive.

Agree the crellston, whoever said the views were not worth must have done it in the fog, but as noted you can't go up anyway. Good luck.
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