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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to your questions when considering an adventure to Sabah, Borneo

When you are planning a holiday to somewhere new, especially a ‘far-flung’ location like Borneo, it is normal to have questions about the place you are wanting to visit. This is the same when planning a holiday to Sabah, Borneo.

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.

We do our best to give you all the information you need to help you plan your trip. If you can’t find what you need here, just contact us and we will get back to you with some answers.

Frequently asked questions | Sabah | Borneo Dream

  • 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.

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