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I believe many people know Sabah as a nature wonderland. Located in North Borneo, East Malaysia, Sabah offers various natural sites, with unique floral and fauna. However, many travelers visit Malaysia are missing out Sabah as she is out of the beaten track, and costly. Thanks for Air Asia which help reduces travel cost.

Being a Sabahan, my trip home is always a hassle as the flight from Singapore tends to be a lot more expansive than via Johor Bahru’s Senai airport. It is only 2.5 hours flight, however, going via Senai airport, I used to order a taxi (from JB, cost S$60), he picks me up from my apartment in Singapore and send me to Senai airport. If  my flight departs at 6.30pm, the cab would pick me up at 1.30pm to avoid traffic jam. The whole journey took me up to 9 hours. Once I was waiting at Senai airport from 9am till 8pm, supposed to board an Air Asia plane at 12.30pm but it was delayed for 8 hours. The record was nearly 20 hours journey home.

Recently Air Asia started flying from Changi airport, now I have a direct flight from Singapore. Going home becomes a happy occasion since then. I have been taking Air Asia since it first started. Back then it was a pain in the ass as flight delay was very common. Pleasantly surprise nowadays it has improved its services, including its on flight menu. If you choose to eat on the plane, take Nasi Lemak!!! For vegetarian, I am quite please with its vegetarian Nasi Beriani. 

To date, flights offer trips to Sabah are Silk air, Malaysian airline (MAS), Jetstar and finally now Air Asia. Tiger airway will join the list soon. 

So far, Air Asia is my first pick of the budget airline in Asia…

Jing

Last night after dinner, Alex, I and two other friends were chit chatting over a coffee table. Our highlight was about our encounters with cockroaches, rats, lizards, bugs, snakes, spiders, frog etc. while putting up with hotels and guess houses overseas.

Over the years with countless experiences in dealing with such situations, in addition to the stress of theft, we naturally developed a rule of thumb when choosing a budget accommodation. We usually make sure we see the room before we take it. Good hotels don’t necessary have all their rooms in good condition. Sometimes we surprisingly find outstanding rooms in the most unexpected condition. I would say, some budget accommodation could have the standard of an expansive hotel, in terms of its basic facilities. 

In an ideal situation, these are what we look for when checking a guesthouse or budget hotel:

  1. Reception is friendly and helpful – First impression is essential, though it may not be always accurate. We usually choose a place where its owner or attendee is friendly and helpful.
  2. New guess house or budget hotel – New guess house or hotel is usually more clean.
  3. Avoid first floor or lower floor – The chances of animal invasion (especially cockroaches and rats, + possible human being) for rooms on the first floor is very high.
  4. Good natural light  – We usually prefer the room with good naturally light and air circulation, a plus if it has at least one big window with reasonably good view. 
  5. Air circulation – We feel unhealthy sleeping in a room with smell of dampness, though we may be deceived by its interior setting. We usually prefer a room with good odor (means good air circulation).
  6. Door lock – It feels safer to have a room with internal door lock. When traveling, we usually carry some locks for locking our room while we are out.
  7. Hygiene standard – check bed linen, pillow cases, and the toilet. Carrying one batik sarong is a good idea, for use of bed linen, blanket and bath towel.  When checking the toilet, I pay particular attention at the toilet seat and the floor water trap. 

Backpack

  1. Small bag or waist pouch (for important belongings such as camera etc.
  2. Money belt – optional (for $, ID card and Passport)

Clothing

  1. Dry-fit shirt (if available) otherwise, any quick drying shirts, prefers long sleeves (2-3 pieces)
  2. Long pants (2 pieces)
  3. Underwear (paper or textile)
  4. Socks (essential – make sure you bring enough)
  5. Shoes – highly recommented *Adidas Kampong
  6. Belt (can be used to tie thing together)
  7. Raincoat
  8. Extra warmth fleece or wool
  9. Hat/caps
  10. Hand towel
  11. Leech socks

Toiletaries

  1. Dental Care
  2. Shampoo and soap (option: all in 1)
  3. Toilet paper (essential item)

Medicine/Supplement

  1. Fever tablets
  2. Cold tablets or Antihistamine
  3. Antibiotic
  4. Painkiller
  5. Charcoal tablets

Gadget

A good handphone with relatively good camera + video capture features.

Importance

  1. Passport
  2. Identification Card
  3. Cash – US$ or local currency

Miscellaneous

  1. First Aid kit (very very Important)
  2. Insect repellent
  3. Sun screen (max. SPF)
  4. Swiss Army Knife
  5. Torch
  6. Sun glasses
  7. Zip bags
  8. Sleeping bag

* Adidas Kampung: for sale in Malaysia around RM5 (US$2++), recommended black with yellow strips, made in China. The whole shoe is made of rubber, very soft and perfect for slipery jungle trial.

Adidas Kampong

Tip: To water proof your essential items, use cling wrap.

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