Sabah Borneo, Malaysia – August 2000

Selamat Datang ke Sabah! (Welcome to Sabah)


For those of you who are fascinated by history, Sabah has a colourful past of Head hunters and Sultans, Raja’s, Princes and Pirates.

Start here and I will try and find more.

Tattoos & Head hunters

Borneo Island

History of Malaysia 35,000BC – 1957

2000 Visit Sabah Updates
The breaking news is for the Eco-Challenge 2000. On the 20th of August the Eco-Challenge will start in Semporna, and will finish around the 2nd September in Semporna.

Semporna has received a lot of press in the last few months and not for all the right reasons. The famous dive Island of Sipadan where the unfortunate guests and staff of one of the resorts were taken hostage by a group of armed rebels from neighboring Philippines.

This has definitely put Semporna on the map but unfortunately it has also resulted in a lot of cancellations for the major resorts as people believe the area to be unsafe.

This is not the case. As a matter of fact, the area is probably safer now than at any time that I have known. One thing to also remember is that this was a very organized attack by these rebels.

This incident hasn’t helped the reputation of the Semporna area of course, but then I don’t think in the long run it is going to hurt it either. I have noticed that it has not stopped the independent travelers from arriving. If anything, their numbers have increased. As they tell me, “Well, we were coming anyway, so anything short of a full scale war would not stop us!”.

Well it would also appear that very few people know that the Eco-challenge is going to be starting here and from what I have observed around town not many of the locals have any idea of what is about to happen. This seems incredible since I thought eco-challenge would bring a lot to the community, but from what I have observed so far very few of the local business have been involved in any way. Leads me to question their motives and the use of the eco bit???

This will probably only get to press as the event starts so next month I will make an effort to give you all a post event report. At present I don’t have an exact list of the competitors, who the favorites are, etc. As a matter of fact, I have very little info on it at all. One would think that a major international event like this they might give us a little hint!

One thing I do know is anyone who is planning on coming over here had better book now as Semporna has limited hotels and guest houses and after doing a rough count on what is required by officials, competitiors and official guests, that leaves approximately zero empty beds in all the accommodations in Semporna.

Well, as I have been so busy the last few months and not had time to do any articles (that’s my excuse anyway), I will get back next month with all the juicy bits from the eco-spectacular.

So for now bye and who knows, maybe I’ll see you here in two weeks!!!!

Happy travels

In the meantime, you can visit Peter’s website at Seafest Inn and Setarawarni Tourism S/B Semporna.

Back to Sabah Guide


If you want more information about this area you can email the author or check out our Asia Insiders page.


As most travellers start their journey to Sabah from Kuala Lumpur, you should check with your travel agent on how to get to Kota Kinabalu, the Capital of Sabah.There are direct flights from Seoul, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taipei, Manila, Brunei, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Kuching.

Sabah Tourism provides a lot of information on things to do places to stay,local cultures and activities.


Depending which guidebook you happen to be using there are many places to stay. For the budget traveller there are the backpacker lodges between Rm15 – Rm30. For the more affluent travelers there are some good deals to be had at Hotels and resorts!

Communication and Transport

The communication system is provided mainly by TELKOM Malaysia and although it is very efficient their public phones usually don’t work especially in the rural and remote areas.

Internet cafes are mushrooming, and are cheap. In some of the remote areas they can be a little hard to find but if you ask around, seek and ye shall find.

Buses and taxi’s are abundant. In KK, the Capital, taxi’s have meters and buses are marked, but in the more remote areas it is best to negotiate the price.


In KK, there is plenty of nightlife and restaurants to please all. Ranging from English style pubs, night clubs and disco’s as well as Karaoke. Also a great variety of cuisine starting with the local coffee shops and food stalls, with Malay, Indian, Chinese, and great seafood.

Helpful Links


Visit Malaysia

Wild Borneo

Lonely Planet

The Author

I am an Australian and I have lived in Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia and have travelled in these regions extensively for the last 15 years on company expense accounts and as budget backpacker.

I now reside in the small coastal town of Semporna on the East Coast of Sabah with my wife and two sons.

We have an interest in a small diving & Island tours business and a backpacker lodge providing budget diving, Island camping, village tours to Sipadan, Mabul and the Islands of Darval bay.

I have links with many tour operators in Sabah for jungle trekking and wildlife expeditions, etc. I can also help if you need information on entry requirements to Indonesia and the Philippines from Sabah.

I have a diploma in freelance journalism, have run cattle stations in Australia, been a commercial diver, oil field trash, worked for corporate America, managed tourist resorts in Asia, fishing projects in Nicaragua, deckhand, yacht deliveries and been down and out in Cebu.

I hope this may qualify me to add some points of interest about this wonderful part of the world that is just now starting to be discovered.

I hope to be able to bring you interesting items of news, events and culture from all over Sabah.

Traveler Article

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