Kuala Lumpur: after travelling for two months in Indonesia, showing up in KL was like going back to normal. It’s a big city but it’s super clean and super modern. The shopping is amazing and getting around the city is so easy. The Petronas Towers and surrounding area is actually really nice as well! The food is plentiful and you can get whatever your heart desires. After travelling a while, KL felt like home.
Islands off Kota Kinabalu: KK itself isn’t much, but the islands located a 20 minutes boat ride from the city are surprisingly beautiful! The waters are clear and warm and if you walk around to the other side of the island, it’s deserted! We went to Sapi Island.
Sipadan Diving: the diving in Sipadan was so unreal that I don’t think I’ll experience better diving. Swarms of barracuda, sharks and turtles everywhere you look and amazing corals and colorful fish made the dives anything but boring. It seems to really have paid off that they only allow 120 divers per day to dive at Sipadan as you aren’t bumping into other divers while underwater and everything isn’t ruined.
Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre: we visited three orangutan centres like this while travelling, and Semenggoh was my favourite. It had a really nice, new viewing platform and had lots of information and signs. It probably helped that the orangutans were the most active here than the other places! It was also the cheapest.
Georgetown: Georgetown is a food lover’s paradise. The town is easily walkable and there are a bunch of markets and areas in town (eg. Little India) to hunt down and try different foods. The atmosphere in town is nice and relaxed and is a great way to spend a few days.
Bako National Park: it takes a bus ride from Kuching and a boat ride to get over to the park, and the isolation makes it a prime spot for w88 spotting wildlife. There are some great treks around the park and you can even stay overnight (which I totally regret not doing) where you can hear animals and the deafining sound of crickets and cicadas. The beaches here are beautiful so don’t forget swimming gear!
Niah Caves: we couldn’t afford to go to the Mulu Caves so we opted to visit the Niah Caves instead and we’re glad that we did! There was pretty much no one there when we went and had the entire place to ourselves. They have a small museum with lots of info about the caves and area as well. The caves are super creepy and you’ll definitely need a torch to navigate through as you walk in pitch black in parts! You can also stay here overnight which I regret not doing.
Uncle Tans: when in Borneo, one has to do some kind of jungle trek and for one with lots of variety, Uncle Tans is a great choice. You spend many hours on the water looking for orangutans, crocodiles, birds and other wildlife and also some hours in the jungle both during then day and at night. Roughing it in the jungle isn’t some people’s cup of tea, but it’s exciting and you get to see lots of creatures!
Mount Kinabalu: the crisp mountain air is a welcome relief after spending time in the hot, humid jungle. Mount Kinabalu is massive and while we didn’t take on the actual trek (too expensive), we spent an afternoon just walking around the trails at the base of the mountain. It reminded me of home in Canada being amongst the mountains and I regret not staying at a guesthouse close to Mount Kinabalu.
Kuching: Kuching was our first taste of the Malaysian Borneo and we were surprised by how modern the town was. Kuching is a great base for visiting the Semenggoh Reserve and Bako National Park, and the town itself is cute and easily walked. They have a nice boardwalk along the river that lights up at night and has some food stalls. The locals here were also rediculously friendly!