Please note, the list serves as a guideline and much depends on your personal needs. Here are some general suggestions:
- Recommended 2 photocopies as backup
- Daypack/small backpack
- Rain protection outerwear w/hood
- Baseball or wide-brimmed hat
- Shorts, t-shirts, pair long pants, long sleeve top(s)
- Recommended quick-dry material
- Layered clothing
- Comfortable running or hiking sneakers
- Hiking poles (collapsible)
- Bathing suit
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Light jacket
- Camera gear
- Body and lenses, tripod, memory cards, extra batteries or recharging gear, etc.
- Cash (See ‘Currency, Credit Cards…’ section below)
- Money belt
Toiletries & Other Essentials
- Sunglasses and prescription glasses
- Earplugs (especially if sharing a room)
- Reusable water bottle
- Quick-dry towel
- Insect repellent
- Anti-bacterial hand lotion
- Dramamine/Bonine if you get travel sickness
- Toilet paper
- SheWee (For women) (https://www.backpacker.com/gear/the-complete-guide-to-female-urination-devices)
- First aid kit
- Tiger Balm (for headaches)
- Prescription medicines
- Mosquito repellent
- Antibiotic cream
- Ace bandage
- Pain reliever
- Lip balm
(Kota Kinabalu, Kinabalu NP, Kinabatangan River, Danum Valley, Sepilok, Gaya Island, Lankayan & Selingan Islands, Mabul & Sipadan Islands)
February: The north-east monsoon winds continue to blow across Sabah, however February sees a marked reduction in average rainfall from the previous month. Gaya Island, Lankayan Island and the beaches close to Kota Kinabalu are enjoying the best weather conditions, with relatively dry days (especially as the month continues). Heavy rainfall though is still to be expected in the more eastern areas of Danum Valley, Tabin and the diving haven of Sipadan Island. Visiting towards the end of rainy season does have its benefits, with verdant countryside and rainforest, bountiful rivers and waterfalls.
Avg daily temp: 28°C; avg monthly rainfall:150mm.(https://weatherspark.com/m/130286/2/Average-Weather-in-February-in-Kota-Kinabalu-Malaysia)
March: Across Sabah, the rains start to subside in March and dry days begin to outweigh damp days and overcast skies. After months of rain, Borneo’s forests and jungles are lush and green. March is a good time for trekking in Borneo without the crowds. It is also an excellent month to spot whale sharks, especially around Lankayan Island.
Avg daily temp: 28°C, avg monthly rainfall:155mm (https://weatherspark.com/m/130286/3/Average-Weather-in-March-in-Kota-Kinabalu-Malaysia)
Currency, Credit Cards, Budgeting, and Tipping
In Malaysian Borneo, the local currency is the Malaysian Ringgit (MYR). Though USD are often accepted in most tourist locations, it is usually advised to pay in local currency to obtain the best rates and prices.
Exchange Rate: 1 USD = 4.08 MYR
It is recommended to change a small amount of money (maximum $75) at the airport. The rest can be exchanged in major cities & our tour director will assist finding the best exchange offices.
ATMs & Credit Cards: ATMs are widely available & credit cards are accepted in most hotels and restaurants.MasterCard and Visa are the most widely accepted. You can make ATM withdrawals with your PIN, or banks such as Maybank (Malaysia’s biggest bank), HSBC and Standard Chartered will accept credit cards for over-the-counter cash advances. Many banks are also linked to international banking networks such as Cirrus (the most common), Maestro and Plus, allowing withdrawals from overseas savings or checking accounts. *If you have any questions about whether your cards will be accepted in Malaysia, ask your home bank about its reciprocal relationships with Malaysian banks.
A general travel rule is to consider budgeting $40-$60 per person per day.
Tips and gratuities to hotel, lodges, guides & drivers: Budget approx. $2.00 – $4.00 per person per day for lodge and hotel staff, $1.00 per bag for porters, $5.00 – $10.00 per person per day for guides, and $2.00 – $3.00 per day for drivers. Tips are optional but we highly encourage them if you feel the service deserves it. *Tipping guides and drivers is an expected practice, similar to tipping waiters and waitresses in the USA.
In general, it is crucial to be mindful when eating raw fruits without peels and vegetables as these items have the highest likelihood of possible contamination; items like undercooked meats, seafood, street vendors, and unfiltered water should be carefully considered or avoided. Drinking water should only be from bottles or filtered through your own device and you should avoid any drinks with ice unless our Tour Director gives the OK.
IMPORTANT: We are not doctors and do not have the authority to give medical advice, including vaccine recommendations. Please consult your doctor and the website below and do as you see fit.
No vaccination proof is “mandatory” in order to get through customs however for your own personal safety the general recommendations are Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, & Typhoid vaccines. Malaria pills are also recommended. Please consult your physician for more information and recommendations.
CDC recommendations: https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/malaysia
The areas of Borneo we are traveling throughout are, in general, safe destinations but there are areas that should be avoided and sometimes pickpocketing can still occur (though rare). Hold to a few basic rules, and you should not have any problems.
- Leave your passport, airline tickets, and other valuables in the hotel safe whenever possible
- Take a copy of your passport with you and only a day’s worth of cash at a time
- Wear your backpack on the chest and keep shoulder bags close to the body if in a crowded area
- Be modest in your appearance, do not display valuable jewelry, etc.
- Avoid crowds in public spaces when possible
- Take special care and be aware of your surroundings after withdrawing cash from ATMs