Category Archives: Sabah

I can be an adventurer and at the same time I can be a very cautious person. Would it have been just me, I would have never thought of taking a shared taxi to a random place, but together with a fellow traveler, I found myself driving into the jungle. At the street in Kota Kinabalu stood several shared taxis, waiting for passengers. One was going to a place called Tambunan and was about to leave. It was quite luxurious and there were four others on board. The drive took just over 1,5 hours and I really didn’t have a clue in which direction we were going. It was a long, winding road, surrounded by dense jungle. We left KK in bright sunshine, but now the weather turned, clouds coming in rapidly and heavy rain putting the ‘rain’ back in rainforest. We’d planned to get out somewhere and do a…

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I was walking around Kota Kinabalu, looking for things to do. I’d ended up spending a lot of time in KK after cancelling a trip in the eastern part of the Sabah province. I hadn’t planned on being here for a long time, and I was running out of affordable options. So I took my camera and started walking. In between all the green surrounding me, this red fruit stood out. The lone red one in between the greens. Every now and then we all feel like the red one.

I was at the airport in Sandakan. I’d come to Sandakan full of hope and with a sense of adventure. When I arrived I heard about the uproar that had been going on in the areas of the province Sabah that I wanted to travel to. Instead of preparing for the adventure, I spent my first day considering my options. The trip I had planned involved activities in dangerous areas. There was a negative travel advice from my government and my insurance wouldn’t cover me there. After a lot of thinking and some freaking out I decided to cancel my plans. This photo is taken the next day at the airport. I was about to fly back to Kota Kinabalu, the safe zone. I saw other travellers that had done the trip I wanted to do and had arrived in Sandakan safely. I couldn’t help but think I’d made the wrong…

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My scuba adventure started on a sunny Thursday. The Dive DownBelow dive center had sent a van to pick me up from my hostel in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. In the Sutera harbor I transferred to a speed boat and was taken to Gaya Island, where the dive center was located. I started out with a day of discover scuba diving.

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Maybe April isn’t the best time to be on Borneo. It is bloody hot in the city of Kota Kinabalu. It is so hot that every person I meet feels the urge to make a remark about it. It is the perfect day to go to a museum. Too bad I planned on walking to it. Walking to the Sabah museum turns out not to be a great idea. I walk along a busy road, cars chasing past me. There is not much to admire so keep your eyes on the ground, otherwise you might just drop into one of the holes in the pavement.

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The few sights in Sandakan are quite spread out. But a walk around the center gives you an idea of the town. It is more about letting the culture sink in. As a white girl you’ll notice that people are yelling at you at every corner. As if the stares aren’t enough! I can deal with the “Hello taxi?’, but does every man in this town, especially those in groups, have to say something. Being in a place where you don’t look like the natives you already feel insecure. But it doesn’t matter how much you try to adapt, you will feel different and people will treat you differently anyway. On the central market the fresh fish comes straight from the boats. There are baskets and benches with fish. Every now and then you hear the bang of a knife hitting the bench. People sit around looking bored. Next to…

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On my first day in Sandakan I took a quick look around and then started planning my trip around Sabah. There was turtle Island, uncle Tan’s jungle stay and a PADI diving course in Semporna. I was so excited. I skyped with my parents to tell them my great plans. A couple of hours later I was on Skype again, devastated. I’d learn I was in an unsafe area and was in a state of panic. The hostel was empty. The one girl in my room told me something was going on on Sabah, but she didn’t know what. So I started googling. I never expected the website of my government, and many other governments, to say that travel to this area of Sabah was not recommended. In fact, they advised to leave immediately. I’d never thought about checking the travel advise. This wasn’t a war area as far as…

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I am in Kota Kinabalu in the Sabah province of Malaysia, on the island of Borneo. The easiest way to get to Sandakan is to simple take a plane, but the most adventurous and cheapest way is to find your way by bus. Taxis are cheap in Borneo. If you’ve got a few Ringgit to spare, save yourself the trouble of walking to the minibus stations. I can tell you from experience that this is a pain in the ass in the humidity of this country. The minibus station is in the north of KK. It is not just a tiny bus station, but a station for minibusses. I can’t find my way around and ask for some help. The old man starts shouting: “Inanam!” He walk to a few guys and directs me into their minivan. I really hope this thing will take me to the right place. The driver…

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