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There was really only one downside, the buffet meals didn't really have satisfactory vegetarian food options and speaking to the waiters didn't really help as the idea of having something like, for  example, sweet and sour with green peppers, mushrooms, onions seemed totally alien to them. However, one email to the booking office in KK certainly turned things for the better as from then on my wife's meals were prepared especially by the chef everyday. The package offered included being collected from Tawau Airport and taken to the port at Semaporna and from there a high speed ferry to the island.

We read a comment on Tripadviser that someone felt the jetty was too long and that the coral was too far out. Yes, it is quite a long jetty but the staff take your bags, as one would expect from an exclusive resort, and so you only have to walk it's length and enjoy it. Of course, perhaps this person would like Pom Pom Island to build a lovely concrete harbour I'm sure it really wreck the place but it would solve the problem with the long jetty. (Sorry this was pure SARCASM was aimed at dumb people).

Borneo (Sabah)

via Singapore

We are back from our holiday and will start uploading pictures in the next few days, but even before that the question I often ask after a holiday is "would I go back"? and the answer is a resounding YESSSSSS!!!!!


First impression of Singapore is that, unlike many Asian cities, it isn't manic, the journey from the airport was quick and easy without the maddening hassles from taxi driver touts and the second is WEALTH, it immediately feels so rich.

We stayed at the Mandolin Marina overlooking the Marina with good views of the Sky Park complex although I was surprised that a 30cm ledge could be described as a "balcony" but standing on it admiring the views and soaking the first tropical heat of the holiday was wonderful.

We now have 2 whole days to explore Singapore and spent the first day meandering from China Town to Little India and many parts in between. Ending the first day feeling quite footsore we spent a leisurely hour or so sampling beer, Singapore Slings and Mojitos in the Courtyard Bar of the famous Raffles Hotel... Well it has to do done!!!!   The following day more see-sighting but using the MRT, we also discovered that somehow we managed to leave our guide book in Heathrow so strangely for us actually visited some of the shopping malls to replace it as we will certainly need it when we arrive in Sabah.

I have a confession to make here because although I will go to quite extreme lengths to avoid "Irish" pubs and their likes, we did use Durty Nelly's pub but to put the record straight it was the last watering hole before the hotel. On the subject of hotels, the Mandolin Marina is really a bit strange but can't put my finger on the reason. Having said that I wasn't impressed with their idea of a balcony nor by the fact that when I unplugged my toothbrush charger from the hairdryer unit it fell off the wall!!!!

Kota Kinabalu

Three days after arriving in Singapore we move on to Eastern Malaysia and, in particular, Sabah in the north, although we always describe it as Sabah, Borneo as most people think Eastern Malaysia is part of the Malay peninsula. Another taxi ride to the Hyatt Hotel in Kota Kinabalu which not only overlooking the bay but also the food markets which are heaving with people every night. We stayed three nights at KK as we have the next stage of our holiday to plan and book, but it was surprisingly easy, we booked our day trip to Mount Kinabalu from the hotel and our flights to Sandakan at a travel agency just across the road. In fact, our arrangements were made so quickly that by 10:30 or so we were on a speedboat to Pulau Manukan for a day of rest and relaxation, not to mention, of course, some snorkelling.

This may sound a little strange but even though we may stay in 5 star hotels we also like to hit the night markets for food and one evening managed to have pasties as a starter, curry and rice followed by fruit and all for just 14 MYR and at about 5 MYR to a GBP that's great value.

Kota Kinabalu Islands

Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik & Pulau Sapi

Having made our arrangements for the next leg of our holiday  we decide to visit Pulau Manukan, just a short boat ride from Kota Kinabalu. Having been warned by the Lonely Planet guide book I'm being cautious to ensure that we get what we pay for but everything was very easy, no touts just book in the Booking Office, wait for the high speed ferry to depart and 20 - 40 minutes later, depending on which island you are visiting, and you're there. The beach is quite small but not crowded and if you wish to have a cheap lunch there's a shop run by something like the Sabah equivalent of the Women's Institute. The snorkelling wasn't great but certainly worthwhile. Before lunch we decide  that we should be out of the sun and take the path to the centre and top of the island. The view was quite amazing but it was far too hot and humid for traipsing up jungle  paths.

Mount Kinabalu & Hot Poring Springs

Little did  we realise as we travelled up towards Mount Kinabalu how lucky we were  to have a clear day, just a days before other travellers took the same trip and the mountain was totally obscured by cloud but as the holiday felt so good, so quickly, we shouldn't have been surprised to be so lucky.

Sepilok and the Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre

Although the Sepilok Nature Resort is very well located for the Rehabilitation Centre, probably less than 5 minutes walk, I fail to understand how the Lonely Planet guide can ever possibly describe it as luxury!!!

Pom Pom Island

What can I say about Pom Pom Island, situated in the Celebes Sea, apart from OMG how absolutely truly AMAZING!!!! Just walking along the jetty for the first time we had our breathe taken away with the clarity and sheer blueness of the sea as it gently lapped against the white sand. In fact, it only took a couple of hours before deciding to extend our stay by an additional night even if we would waste our flight back to KK which I had already booked but let me tell you it was truly worth it!!!! Of course, it wasn't long after arriving before we donned snorkels and flippers and walked into the sea that felt more like a warm bath. We were only in the water literally a few minutes before a 4 to 5 foot (1.3m) leather back turtle swam directly in front of us - more WOW/OMG!!
Our chalet was right on the beach front, step off the balcony and on to the beach - perfect!!! As evening falls we walk around the island and stop at one place just to watch the turtles becoming up to breathe, we must have sen 20 or so. And as my wife put it "How careless of Milton to lose Paradise and how lucky we were to have found it!!!!

Pulau Mataking

Ok Pom Pom is paradise but let's not get too hooked on that because we also took theeopportunity of visiting Mataking and I have to say the coral was even better than Pom Pom and the fish larger and, and this is hard to believe, the sea was even bluer. So thanks to Fifi for recommending this fantastic island and "all the best".

Our Holidays