Home | FAQ’s – Answers to your questions when considering an adventure with Borneo Dream in Sabah, Malaysia

FAQ’s – Answer to your questions when considering an adventure with Borneo Dream in Sabah, Malaysia

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

At Borneo Dream, we focus on providing a fast, responsive and personalised service to our customers. This means for or Sales Team, your first point of contact when emailing or calling us, providing expert advice and answering any questions you may have about coming on holiday to Sabah, or for the trip or tour you want to join.

There are some questions our customers regularly ask so to help you get ahead we have provided below our most ‘frequently asked questions and shared our expert, local advice to help answer them.

  • What is Borneo known for?

    Borneo is the third-largest island in the World and is known for a range of things that help make it a special place to visit, and on the bucket list for many travellers. From it’s an amazing range of wildlife including the Bornean Orangutan, it’s ancient rainforests (some of the oldest in the World), world-class diving at Sipadan through to the highest peak in South East Asia – Mount Kinabalu. Borneo is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, being home to an estimated 15,000 different plant species including the World’s largest flower – the Rafflesia. Borneo is also famous for its rich culture and is home to > 200 tribes each with their own traditions, dialect, dishes, type of home they live in etc. The most famous tribe from Borneo are the headhunters (Murut tribe). 

  • Is Sabah a country?

    Sabah is a state of Malaysia located in northern Borneo. Borneo is home to four political regions: Kalimantan belongs to Indonesia, Sabah and Sarawak are part of Malaysia (often referred to as Malaysian Borneo), and the sultanate of Brunei.

  • Can you fly direct to Borneo?

    To fly to Sabah, Borneo you need to fly to one of three airports – Kota Kinabalu airport (BKI) the main gateway to Sabah, Sandakan airport (SDK) on the east coast and Tawau airport (TWU) on the south coast. Which airport you fly in to/out of depends upon your itinerary and your flight route to Sabah. There are currently direct flights to an airport in Sabah from a range of airports in South East Asia with most direct routes being via Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Hong Kong. More recently you can fly direct to Kota Kinabalu (BKI) from South Korea, certain cities in China, Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines. For other parts of Borneo, you can fly to Sarawak’s Kuching airport and Brunei’s Bandar Seri Begawan airport.

  • What language is spoken in Sabah, Borneo?

    Bahasa Malaysia (Malay) is the official language spoken in Sabah. Other widely spoken languages include a range of Chinese dialects (such as Mandarin), Tamil and English. All the indigenous tribes also speak their own language – in Sabah the indigenous people speak Dusun and Kadazan, Bajau, Murut, Lun, Bruneian, Rungus, Bisaya, Iranun, Bawang, Sungai, Suluk, and Sama. For travellers visiting Sabah, you will find English is fairly widely spoken and understood in most areas you would visit, although if you tried to speak a few words in Malay it would go down a treat.

  • Which currency is used in Sabah?

    The Malaysian Ringgit is the currency of Malaysia. The currency code for Ringgit is MYR and the currency symbol is RM. We will quote all our prices using RM.

  • Is Malaysian Borneo expensive?

    Borneo may not be as cheap as some other countries in South East Asia, however, you can still have an affordable holiday here and experience some of the best Sabah has to offer. There are activities and accommodation for those on a budget, as well as more luxurious options for those wanting the 5* experience. The same goes for eating out you can eat very cheaply at a local cafe or food court, or you can choose to eat in a more expensive restaurant catering for the tourists coming here. Sabah, Borneo can be as cheap or as expensive as you want to make it means it is still a travel destination most can consider visiting.

  • Is it safe to go to Sabah?

    Sabah in general is a safe place to visit. There were over 4 million visitors to Sabah in 2019 and the vast majority of these visitors enjoyed trips to Sabah without incident.

    In recent years Sabah has put in place enforced security practices, via ESSCOM, to ensure Sabah remains a safe location to visit – these are focused on the south of Sabah (Semporna area) and the islands off the south and east coast of Sabah including those located near Sipadan. You can read the latest Travel Advice from Sabah Tourism.

    At Borneo Dream, we put our customer’s safety first. We ensure a safe environment is offered to our customers during their holiday in Sabah – whether it be suggesting restaurants to our customers, visiting the Kinabatangan River, white water rafting along Padas Gorge through to trekking in the jungle. We still suggest our customers take extra care if they go off exploring independently – this is the same for most other safe countries you could visit in the world.

    We do recommend you also read your country’s FCO Travel Advice for Sabah (Malaysia). You can also email the Borneo Dream Team with any questions or concerns you may have about visiting a specific location in Sabah and we’ll provide honestly informed feedback.

  • Will we still go diving or snorkelling if it is raining?

    The quick answer is “yes”. The longer answer for why rain does not ‘stop play’ when scuba diving or snorkeling in the tropical waters of Sabah:-

    • It is still safe to snorkel and dive when it’s raining.
    • You get wet in the sea when snorkelling or diving, you are not going to get any wetter if it rains.
    • You won’t get cold if it rains as the sea temperature, for most of the year, is a toasty 28C – 30C and even the rain is warm. Nice! We also provide all our divers and snorkelling customers with 3mm tropical wet suits for thermal protection.
    • The marine life doesn’t care if it rains and will still be there to see as you enjoy your scuba diving or snorkelling activity.
  • What will the weather be like when we are on holiday in Sabah / on my trip?

    Sabah has two seasons – The ‘Dry Season’ and the ‘Wet Season’. However, during the whole year we have a fairly constant temperature and humidity level – Sabah has a tropical hot and very humid climate. Most days normally start off with blue sky, sunshine and a calm breeze. Most days throughout the year we have a chance of rain typically later in the day, evening or night time – this is due to clouds building up during the day on the Crocker mountain range which rolls down into Kota Kinabalu normally during afternoon or evening.

    Online weather reports for Sabah will always say there is a chance of rain or thunderstorms every day in Sabah. This is true I that later each day we could get some tropical rain. But no-one can predict accurately what exactly the weather will the next day, the next week or the next month. All we’d say is don’t let weather reports rule what activities you choose to join. As long as you come on holiday prepared for a hot, humid and sometimes wet tropical climate you will have a great time!

    Find to more about Sabah, and Sabah’s climate, on Sabah Bah web site

  • Is it safe to visit Sabah, Malaysian Borneo?

    At Borneo Dream, we put our customer’s safety first. We have been operating in Sabah, Borneo since 2007 and all of our customers have experienced safe, enjoyable holidays. We ensure a safe environment is offered to our customers – whether it be suggesting restaurants to our customers to eat at in Kota Kinabalu, staying at a lodge along the Kinabatangan River, white water rafting along Padas Gorge or staying at an Island Resort. There are a small number of areas we suggest our customers take extra care if they go off exploring independently – this is the same as most other safe countries to visit in the world.

    Sabah itself has put in place enforced security practices over recent years to ensure Sabah remains a safe location to visit – these are focused on the south of Sabah (Semporna area) and the islands off the south and east coast of Sabah including those located near Sipadan. You can read the latest Travel Advice from Sabah Tourism

    We do recommend you also read your country’s FCO Travel Advice for Sabah (Malaysia). You can also email the Borneo Dream Team with any questions or concerns you may have about visiting a specific location in Sabah and we’ll provide honestly informed feedback.

  • Should I take malaria tablets for my Borneo holiday?

    Borneo typically as a whole is classified as a ‘high risk’ area for malaria. In reality, there will be areas in Borneo that are higher risk – like inner rainforests and rural areas – and areas in Borneo that are a lower risk which typically includes most of the places tourists visit in Sabah e.g. Kota Kinabalu, Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary etc. We would always recommend you seek your Doctors advice on what medical precautions you should take when coming on holiday to Sabah, Borneo. It then comes down to the level of risk you want to take when coming on holiday regarding your health.

  • Can I book when we arrive in Kota Kinabalu?

    You can choose to wait until you arrive in Kota Kinabalu to book your trips. However, we’d always recommend you book your tours in advance if you are travelling to Sabah during a peak period, joining a specific tour really matters to you or you have limited time in Sabah (so little flexibility to join a tour on other dates).

    All the trips/packages we arrange for our customers in Sabah will be subject to availability. Some tours do tend to get fully booked in advance throughout the year as there is limited capacity and they are very popular e.g. Turtle Island, Resorts near Sipadan and climbing Mount Kinabalu. During peak periods in Sabah other tours/activities can also get fully booked e.g. Kinabatangan River packages and our own diving and snorkeling trips.

  • Which currency is used in Sabah, Borneo? What is the difference between MYR and RM?

    The Malaysian Ringgit is the currency of Malaysia. The currency code for Ringgit is MYR and the currency symbol is RM. We will quote all our prices using RM.

  • Can you look after my child/children while I join an activity?

    We help many families come on holiday to Borneo and organise tours that the full family can enjoy together. During activities, our guides and PADI Professionals are there to provide advice, tuition and supervise the activities they are running. We do not employ qualified childminders. As a parent, you are responsible for the child or children in your care and are required to supervise and be with them during all activities. This is for your child’s safety and protection, as well as helping you enjoy your time together as a family.

  • Best time to go to Borneo to see Orangutans?

    During the period of March to October is the best time to visit Borneo and see the Orangutans. This is when the weather is at its hottest but more importantly driest. The daily air temperatures range from 27°C to 32°C with humidity hitting 80% often. Orangutans can be sited at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre or on one of our many Kinabatangan River cruises.

  • What is the weather like in Borneo?

    Borneo is a tropical destination located approximately 6 degrees north of the equator. Let’s look at three destinations located in Sabah. Sabah is the northern Malaysian State of Borneo. On the west coast of Sabah is it’s capital Kota Kinabalu and on the east coast, we have Sandakan they are approximately 180Km apart. 125Km South of Sandakan is Danum Valley.

    Kota Kinabalu – The rainfall of 85 to 317mm per month with the wetest months being September till January. Temperatures are prerty steady at 31°C to 32°C.

    Sandakan – The rainfall of 120 to 450mm per month with the wetest months being August till February. Temperatures are prerty steady at 29°C to 33°C.

    Danum Valley – The rainfall of 165 to 220mm per month with the wetest months being October till January. Temperatures are prerty steady at 27°C to 29°C.

  • Can I cancel or postpone my Snorkel or diving trip due to bad weather?

    I wish to cancel – If you wish to cancel then you will need to follow our cancellation policy laid down in the Terms & Conditions. Any booking for diving or snorkelling that is below our normal rate or discounted has no refund.

    I wish to postpone – The simple answer to this is no. As your booking was made for a particular date and everything has been put in place including staffing booked. To now move it the staff will lose money as they have already committed that date to Borneo Dream and often it is too late to get alternative work or booking.

    When the weather is very bad or extreme the company (SCHB Engineering SB) controls the jetty where our boats depart from Jesselton Point Jetty often temporarily closes the jetty. If the jetty is still closed at 11:00 we will then cancel the dive or snorkel trip. And offer everyone a full refund or move to another date.

  • If you have any ‘Borneo holiday adventure related’ questions that are missing please let us know and we would love to add them.

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