Taxi Fare in Borneo Expensive?

There’s one thing about taxis in Borneo, particularly in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah — the fares are more expensive than what you normally pay for the same distance in Kuala Lumpur. For instance, taxi fare from Kota Kinabalu International Airport to the city, which is less than 10km away, could set you back about RM30 (or about USD9.52). For the same distance in Kuala Lumpur, you’ll pay only about half that amount.

Part of the reason for this is that, unlike taxis in Peninsula Malaysia which run on natural gas, taxis in Borneo are running on RON95 petrol which costs a lot more.

Kota Kinabalu General Market

Kota Kinabalu General Market

The fare charged by airport taxis are based on standard price. For city taxis, you can expect some variations in the manner taxi drivers calculate their price.

Most taxis in Borneo are not metered. In Malaysia, taxi fares are regulated by the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board, a Federal Government agency. According to the information available on their website, taxi fares in Sabah are set at RM10 for the first 3km and 12 sen for the each 100 metres thereafter.

Whether taxi drivers will actually charge you at that calculation is another story; as they seem to have a standard fare guideline of their own.

This is not to say they had the tendency to fleece their customers; it just that they would not go all the way calculating the fare against the reading on their odometers.

And speaking of Borneo taxis, here’s an interesting article about how taxi drivers in Phuket, Thailand, may benefit from learning a thing or two from their counterparts in Borneo. The article, however, is about taxi drivers in Kuching, Sarawak.

Anyway, here’s a list of transportation fares for Sabah, in case you want to know. I’d be happy to transliterate them in English if you want to know what is written in the Malay-language document.

Tip of Borneo Beach – Crystal Clear Water

I recently came across an article over at TripAdvisor about a list of 12 beaches with crystal clear water. From the Caribbean to Greece, England to the Philippines, I half expected to see a beach in Borneo making it to the list. Alas, there was none; but yes, the beaches shown in the list are indeed marvelous.

If I had my way and add a 13th beach, I would surely list Tanjung Simpang Mengayau Beach, located at the Tip of Borneo.

Crystal Clear - Tip of Borneo Beach

Crystal Clear – Tip of Borneo Beach

Here, you can have the beach virtually all to yourself. Though easily accessible, the beach is seldom crowded with picnickers. If you want a beach with clearest water in Borneo set in a tranquil location, Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, about 160km from the state capital of Sabah, is definitely the place to go.

Sorry Folks, No Giant Serpent In Borneo

When I look at the some of search results that have led people to come to this blog, I noticed a pattern — many of them reach this blog through searches for giant snake in Borneo. Sorry folks, there are no giant snake in Borneo. All the stories or pictures of serpent-like creature swimming up some Borneo river that are posted online are all fake. If there is indeed a giant snake on this island, we would have already seen it and make a selfie with it with our smartphones.

Do You Like This Blog?

I shouldn’t have asked. How could people like a blog that is seldom updated. But really, do you find the information on this blog useful to you? Does it give you a glimpse of what Borneo has to offer? Do the stories wow you? I know. A lot of things about this blog still need improvement. But if you do like some of the entries here, go visit Borneo Blog on Facebook and perhaps hit the Like button. Muchas Gracias!

Go Sabah App Short Review

The Go Sabah app was launched officially today at the World Islamic Travel Mart-Malaysian Association of Tour & Travel Agents Fair 2013 in Kuala Lumpur. The app, available for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets, has been online for the past couple of months and has so far clocked 1,000 downloads. A word of caution though, don’t confuse it with another app, the Turkish “Sabah” app or else you’d be left wondering why there was no reference about Borneo.

Anyway, the app is about 8MB and once downloaded and installed, it stands out among your other apps with its cute Orang Utan icon.

Go Sabah app interface

Go Sabah app interface

Tapping on the Orang Utan will open up the app’s interface (right picture, above) where you will be able to access general and specific information about getting around in Sabah, accommodation list, where to visit, travel ideas, places near you, year-round event listing, weather information as well as useful contact details such as Customs, Police, Sabah Tourism Board and so on.

“The app offers quick information of tourism attractions, facilities and a global positioning system-enabled features that guide users to the nearest facility or outlet within a 2km radius,” the Sabah Tourism Board said in a statement.

Overall, Go Sabah is a neat app. It has all the necessary information on visiting Sabah, the Malaysian Borneo. A giant Kudos for Sabah Tourism Board for developing the app. One feature that is missing though — a search function. Perhaps this can be added in future updates.

Download Go Sabah app on Google Play and iTunes.

CNN Travel Picks Top Borneo Destinations

CNN Travel describes Malaysian Borneo as a 20 vacations in one, and named Mount Kinabalu, Sipadan, Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, Kinabatangan River, Kuching Cat Museum and a number of other places as destinations that should give tourists a taste of what Borneo has to offer.

Other in the list are places to experience rainforest and national parks as well as Mabul island resorts and the Islands off Kota Kinabalu.

Mother Elephant Rescues Calf From Drowning in Borneo River

Intelligent and caring. Watch this video of how a mother elephant helps her calf climb on slippery river bank and rescues it from drowning. Both the mother and calf were earlier crossing the river when the younger one run into difficulties upon reaching the river bank. According to a report by Daily Mail, the touching incident was recorded in Sabah’s Danau Girang Field Centre, located in the lower Kinabatangan in the east coast of Sabah.

The report says two other adult elephants came to help rescue the baby which finally managed to get on its way again half an hour later.

A word of caution: in case you encounter a similar situation in Sabah, or anywhere else for that matter, and are tempted to offer help — don’t! You might endanger yourself and the very animal you want to save.

Swimsuits In Borneo

The search for South African Swimsuit Model 2013 reached the coast of Borneo last month where the contestants took part in a photo-shoot at Gaya Island, off Kota Kinabalu. Hmm … how could everyone in Borneo — save for the host at Gaya Island Resort — not aware of this?

Nevermind, to cut the long story short, it was Cape Town model Careen Truter who emerged the winner of the inaugural SA Swimsuit model search.

Other videos of the swimsuit photoshoot in Borneo:

Read all about the competition here.

If You Only Have 7 Days In Borneo, Where Would You Go?

There is a new discussion going on over at TripAdvisor regarding a question posted by tanewman of England. She says she only has seven nights to be spent in Borneo during which she wants to see orang utans, sea turtles, experience culture, relax and sunbath.

Malaysian Borneo’s Sabah could be the best option to do all these. Of course, I’m saying this because firstly, I’m from Sabah, and secondly, I haven’t had the opportunity to explore the neighbouring Sarawak, or Indonesia’s Kalimantan, to be able to suggest other options. That is a disclaimer, by the way :)

So here is an itinerary which might fit this requirement. I would say there are three areas to visit to see all those — Kota Kinabalu, Kudat and Sandakan.

Day 1 — Go to Bavanggazo in Kudat to see the Rungus Longhouse in Kampung Tinangol, about 140km from Kota Kinabalu or about two hours of driving away. Return to Kota Kinabalu in the afternoon.

Kota Kinabalu - Rungus Longhouse in Bavanggazo, Kudat

Kota Kinabalu – Rungus Longhouse in Bavanggazo, Kudat

While in Kudat, why not go further north to the Tip of Borneo, about an hour away from Bavanggazo?

Day 2 – Visit the Monsopiad Cultural Centre in Penampang. Located about 20km from Kota Kinabalu, the centre is named after the legendary headhunter Monsopiad. Here you will be able to see a glimpse of Sabah’s headhunting past… there is a skull house that houses these trophies. After the visit, fly to Sandakan in the afternoon.

Monsopiad Cultural Centre, 25km from Kota Kinabalu, named after the legendary headhunter

Monsopiad Cultural Centre, 25km from Kota Kinabalu, named after the legendary headhunter

Day 3 – In Sandakan, visit the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, about 25km from the east coast town. It is the biggest such facility in the world. However, to make the trip fruitful, visitors need to be there during the feeding time at 10 am or 3 pm. After the feeding time, visitors will be able to watch a movie about the rehabilitation works done at the centre.

This can be followed by a visit to the adjacent Rainforest Rediscovery Centre nearby.

Sandakan is 40 minutes of flight from Kota Kinabalu

Sandakan is 40 minutes of flight from Kota Kinabalu

Day 4 — Still in Sandakan, visitors can proceed by boat to Langkayan Island or to Turtle Island see sea turtles and relax and sunbath.

Day 5 – Still at Langkayan or Turtle Island – more relaxation and sunbathing.

Day 6 — Take the 8.15am flight back to Kota Kinabalu (it’s a 40-minute flight), arriving by 9 am. At noon, proceed to one of the nearby islands at Tunku Abdul Rahman Park for more sunbathing and relaxing.

Day 7 – Fly out of Sabah to via several direct flights available (source: Wikipedia) namely to Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei on Royal Brunei Airlines; Angeles, Philippines (Clark) located 2 hours north of Manila on AirAsia, Hong Kong on Dragonair, Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia; Jakarta, Indonesia on AirAsia; Shenzhen, China on AirAsia; Manila, Philippines on Cebu Pacific Airlines and Malaysia Airlines; Seoul, Korea on Asiana Airlines, EastarJet, Jin Air, Korean Air and Malaysia Airlines; Singapore on AirAsia, Silkair; Taipei, Taiwan on Malaysia Airlines, AirAsia (Taoyuan), Mandarin Airlines (Songshan); Tarakan, Indonesia on MASWings; and Balikpapan, Indonesia on MASWings.

Borneo Catepillar

A Borneo caterpillar that looks like it is part of the shrubs it is crawling on, is the latest creature to be featured in National Geographic’s “Photo of the Day”. The photograph of the lichen-colored caterpillar was taken in Sarawak, Borneo.

Slow-moving and vulnerable to attacks, camouflaging itself to match its surroundings is the most effective means of defence against predators.