| Part 1: Introduction
19.8: Kota Kinabalu -> Lahad Datu -> Semporna
20.8: Semporna -> Bohey Dulang island -> Semporna
21.8: Semporna -> Mataking -> Semporna
22.8: Semporna -> Pom Pom island -> Kuala Lumpur
23.8: Kuala Lumpur
24.7: Kuala Lumpur
25.8: KL -> Dubai
26.8: Dubai -> Munich
In 2012 I spent a bit over a week in Malaysia, travelling to Sabah and
spending a few days in KL before flying back to Munich via Dubai.
Arriving from Jakarta I travelled via Kota Kinabalu to Semporna to
explore a bit the area. This has been my third trip to Semporna, after
a first one in 2000 and a second trip in 2008.
my last visit in 2008 the touristic infrastructure in Semporna has
further developed with the addition of a number of hotels and
Accomodation on the islands off Semporna remains
limited to very expensive resorts on a few islands with the exception
of the budget huts of Uncle Chang on Mabul.
This makes these
islands (and there are plenty of islands off Semporna) still not
suitable for backpackers or people unwilling to pay high prices for
accomodation. In other words these islands are still not an alternative
to Perhentian, Langawi, Koh Samui etc. Part of the problem is that many
of these islands are very small and have no own water sources. The
bigger islands, Bodgaya and Bohey Dulang, have a dearth of good beaches
and are in a marine park. So for the moment, the only option for
travellers who can't afford to stay in the expensive island resorts, is
to stay in Semporna and do daytrips by boat to the islands.
it's possible that the tourist infrastructure will continue growing
over the next years, because the area has a lot of potential.
At the time of writing spending a holiday in Semporna was moderately
expensive or very expensive, depending on the location of the hotel.
Staying in Semporna means a hotel cost starting from 80-100 RM for a
double room + a daily expense of 100-120 RM for the boat trip to
the islands. Staying on the islands means spending RM 1000+/day for
accomodation in one of the resorts. Other expenses are in line with
prices in Malaysia.
Taxis in Kota Kinabalu are expensive for Malaysian standards.
are not too many restaurants in Semporna, and I visited during the Hari
Raya period when the city was full of visitors. However after the first
night I discovered a few new restaurants I wasn't aware of.
KL is full of restaurants of every type and budget.
Semporna I stayed in the same place I stayed in 2008, the Sipadan Inn,
which is not bad. There are however a few new hotels in Semporna, which
probably are worth trying out.
/ Exchange rate (August 2012)
1 Euro = 3.85 RM
1 Euro = 1.25 USD
ATMs are everywhere, so that you can easily get cash with a
Cirrus/Maestro ATM card.
phones and prepaid cards
time I used a Celcom SIM card for the smartphone (voice calls and
Internet access). Celcom have a 900MHz network better suited for remote
areas than 1800MHz networks such as the DiGi one for instance. Prices
are quite low, with Internet flat rates going at RM5/day.
I used the WLAN network in the hotel and the smartphone to access the
Sunny and a blue sky in the islands, less good weather in the cities
(Semporna, KL). Overall however quite dry and not too hot.
The usual set of tropical vaccinations. I didn't refresh any
immunisations for this trip.
visa on arrival allowing a three months stay is available for tourists
of most western and developed countries. It is no longer necessary to
fill out an arrivals form.
Overall Malaysia is a very safe place.
- The islands off Semporna are great.
did daytrips by boat to the islands off Semporna and otherwise relied
on a combination of taxis, shared taxis and flights to get around.