This year which also happens to be my birth year – year of the Wooden Horse, I decided to set my travel soles on my birthday to a place that’s not so often visited, a place whom I could compare myself to – simple, not that into elegant & fancy fashion statements & accessories like that of a city, but a suburb with a hidden beauty inside. Perhaps more of the countryside part of the town.
Every year on my birthday it seems that this foot wanders into the mountainous side of the world – 2 years ago I spent in trekking the province of Bukidnon, and last year I hiked Mt Pulag in a freezing zero degree temperature.
And this year, it will be a trip to Kota Kinabalu crossing the boarders to Brunei.
Borneo is the third largest island in the Malay archipelago. This landmass is shared by Sabah and Sarawak states of Malaysia, Brunei, and Kalimantan provinces of Indonesia.
There were many awesome nature trips, outdoor tours and places to travel in Borneo. Six days wasn’t exactly enough to experience everything Borneo offered.
Overview: Kota Kinabalu and Brunei Itinerary
- Day 1 (January 29, evening): Departure from the Philippines
- Day 2 (January 30 *Happy Birthday to me!): early morning arrival to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, East Malaysia – then nature trekking to Mt Kinabalu Park & Poring Hot Springs
- Day 3 (January 31 *Happy Chinese New Year!): Went on an Island Hopping adventure at Taman Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, then a walking tour around Kota Kinabalu city center
- Day 4 (February 1): Crossed Kota Kinabalu to Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei
- Day 5 (February 2): City tour around Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei , late night flight back home
I started my trip with a flight from my hometown in General Santos to Manila, where I was even accompanied by my family to the airport (thanks much!). Then followed with a flight from Manila to Kota Kinabalu via Cebu Pacific air, a promo fare that I purchased for only 700 Pesos.
A Birthday on top of the Clouds
One thing that I really looked forward to is that this will be my first trip outside the country on my birthday – not just that I’m also excited to have my birth date stamped on my passport. Haha!
- January 30, 1:00am – Arrival at Kota Kinabalu International Airport – Terminal 2
- Pass Malaysian Immigration
- Free Visa on Arrival for Philippine passport holders
- Pass Malaysian Immigration
Getting out of Kota Kinabalu Airport Guide
- Flights from the Philippines – whether with Cebu Pacific or Air Asia, arrive in the evening, during which the buses are no longer available. The only option, therefore, is to take the taxi, which costs RM 30 (around 420 pesos), to sleep in the airport, or to sleep at a nearby hotel within walking distance.
Being a budget traveller, guess which option we took? At first we thought it might be better to just sleep at the airport however since their terminal 2 is a small airport, sleeping might be difficult – luckily we found out a nearby budget backpacker hotel – Borneo BeacHouse (Backpackers) which have a dormitory type room for only 380Php (forgot the amount in MYR).
Borneo BeachHouse Backpackers: A Buget Hotel near the Kota Kinabalu Airport
From the airport, the hotel’s within just walking distance, around 10 minutes. The Marketing Manager, Nick, had also been very kind & accommodating in replying to all my queries via email. They’re also providing affordable tours around Kota Kinabalu in case you need one. I availed their Poring Hot Spring & Kota Kinabalu Park tour (190MYR) and 3 Island Hopping (90MYR).
Guess I was feeling lucky on my birthday, apart from a surprise when I saw my face on one of travel tips corner of the inflight travel magazine of Cebu Pacific, Smile Magazine, I even won their inflight games!
Not just that, to our luck when we arrived during the night at Borneo BeachHouse Backpackers, it turned out there were no more vacant beds in their female dormitory (the one we originally reserved) so admitting it’s their fault, they just provided us with a free room upgrade to a private room. Better I guess! =)
So off we slept at around 2am in preparation for the morning’s tour.
I’ll be posting the remaining travelogue of our travel tomorrow so stay tune!