We spent about three weeks exploring the eastern coast of this beautiful country, and wow, what an untouched paradise! Whether its watching the sunrise from a mountain top, snorkeling deep down in the crystal clear waters of the sea or seeing a orangutan swing past in a tree this island is just like a fairy tale! It was very chilled vibes and not too touristy and Borneo surprised us with some of the bluest waters and prettiest snorkeling.
No visa required
Our thoughts beforehand was to travel both the east and west coast but ended up liking the place we were at so much so we sticked only to the east coast for this time. On the west coast you can see the wild orangutans and rain forest, and some of the islands there are has some of the snorkeling in the world, one island even have a postbox installed 40 m deep where you can dive down with your new written letter and post it to the other side of the world haha! West coast is definitely on the list for when we go back, but for now, let´s go through the highlights and secret treasures of the eastern coast!
The main city of Borneo, here you will find shopping, beautiful beach resorts and restaurants. There is not so much nightlife but there is some waterfront bars where you can enjoy some night time beers. If you are an adventurer like us, you should definitely climb the mighty Mt. Kinabalu thats reaching 4000 m above sea level to get some spectacular views over Borneo.
Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park
This is a beautiful marine park that consist of 5 islands that are located just off Kota Kinabalus shore and its perfect if you´re looking for a paradise day trip getaway, and some islands also have resorts if you feel like staying for a night or two!
You can get here easily, fast and very cheap from the main ferry terminal Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal. Visiting one island only costs €5, return! And if you choose to visit maybe 2 or 3 islands in a day the price drops even more. Spend the day in the water snorkeling, jet skiing, BBQing on the beach, kayaking or stroll along the beautiful beaches.
We visited all of the islands multiple times, but the best ones was the two biggest ones, Gaya & Manukan.
Paradise? Or with another word, The Mantanani islands. A few hours journey from KK you will find three tropical little island which we definitely recommend everyone to visit that´s passing through Borneo. The islands offer beautiful turquoise waters with prestige white sand beaches with absolutely stunning snorkeling spots, although its mainly beautiful coral reefs and not too much fish, but it´s absolutely gorgeous!
We took a day trip here from Kota Kinabalu. We spent our day relaxing under the palm trees and dipping our toes in the white sand, or snorkeling around the different spots they will take you around the island. In pretty much all the tours they pick you up from your hotel and once on the island theres locally cooked lunch buffet and snorkeling gear included.
Total time - 10h
Price - € 50-60