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a VirtualTourist member asked on Jun 26, 2013


Kuching to Sabah

We are thinking of hiring a car for a couple of weeks to explore Malaysian Borneo. We would be driving from Kuching to Sabah, and then to Sandakam/Sepilok and if possible the Danum Valley. Does anyone have recommendations on good places to stop along the route and which are the best roads etc.? and car hire companies? We are a couple on a budget. Thanks!

4 Answers

answered on 6/26/13 by
a VT member from Perth

You are in for a good trip. We visited Kuching 4 years ago, plenty to enjoy there. We also visited Sabah January of this year for 6 days with a group of 17 friends from our local Orchid Society. From Kota Kinabalu we took a 4 day tour with Exotic Borneo tour coy ( web link on my Kota Kinabalu page).
Their web page will give you some good ideas for your itinerary.
We drove all over the place including Mt Kinabalu, Poring Hot Springs etc etc. The roads were sealed and good, you will have no problem driving, they drive on the British system, the other side of road from USA and Europe.
We did not make it to Sanakam/ Sepilok but are group are returning June 2014 to visit these areas and Kuching.
Kuching has a fantastic Urangatang rehab, when we visited there were at least 16. Not to be missed! alsoCultural Village with tribal housing display.
Photos on my various pages which might be of some help.

answered on 6/26/13 by
a VT member from Brisbane

Just be aware a lot of the roads are in poor condition away from the main areas. We had travelled a long way on one, when we came across a land slide, just made it past - thankgoodness! When it rains, it is heavy and this happens on the mountain roads.
Roads are described as "taxing" on some of these routes, so allow plenty of time to travel them.
We hired our car in Kota Kinabalu, from a company in our Hotel, so can't help. Good car, good price and no complaints!

answered on 6/26/13 by
a VT member from Borneo

Hi [VT member 1787d4],

Though driving is possible from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu, be careful with the road condition. it's a long way travelling. From Kuching to Miri already takes approximately 12 hours. It'd be better to stay overnight at Miri before continue your journey the next day. For car rental in Kuching you may want to check this link; In Sabah you can contact this company

As for the journey from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan, you can visit Kinabalu Park, Mesilau Park, and Poring hot spring. All can be access easily by car. if you go to Sandakan, it will be waste if you don't go to the Kinabatangan River. You can drive there straight from Kota Kinabalu or from Sandakan. From Kota Kinabalu, it takes approximately 6hour driving and from Sandakan it takes only 2 hours. There are few good lodges there that you can choose from.

Danum is a wonderful place to go. You won't regret it. There are two places you can stay there. The firs one is at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge. it's a tourist destination, good wildlife sighting, nice accommodation and vista but all these come with high price. The other place is the Danum Valley Field Centre. This place is built for researchers and study centre. The accommodation is pretty much basic and there's no guide to do the interpretation for you. The centre only provide ranger. Driving to Danum Valley is possible but it's a restricted area. You need to have permit to enter.

Have a nice day :)

answered on 6/26/13 by
a VT member from Malaysia

I think driving from Kuching to Sabah is not a wise idea! You can rent a car in each state, driving from Kuching all the way to Miri, don't miss Mulu Cave, and other places mentioned above. Or you can consider visiting Brunei.

Take a flight from Miri to Kota Kinabalu with; as low as RM49 per way/per person.

Then, rent a car in Kota Kinabalu! In Kota Kinabalu-- Mt Kinabalu (beautiful), TAR Islands, visit my hometown Papar, [original VT link]. If you have time, you can drive all the way to Beaufort, visiting beaches along the way.. Kuala Penyu, and a river cruise that can see firflies at night and great place to see birds!

I heard friends have travalled from Brunei to Beaufort before... but I have not done it before. so no comments!

I have been to Kudat, nice town to see the edge of of north Sabah. Driving from Kudat to Sandakan is possible, but it is a long way... passing by many palm trees. Or drive back to KK, taking a flight to Sandakan, then rent a car in Sandakan to Sepilok and other attractions. I drove from Sandakan to Lahad Dato before, nice road also many palm trees. Then, defininately will not miss Semporna, most beautiful place of all Sabah... the sky and the sea...

You can take a flight from Tawau to Kuala Lumpur, then home...

Con: There are many restricted areas are still undeveloped, so either pay more to have a private tour to see the forest or skip it...

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