Sabah, also known as The Land Below The Wind (“Sabah Negeri Dibawah Bayu”) is one of the states of Malaysia located in the region of East Malaysia on the northern side of Borneo Island. With a size of nearly 73,904 square kilometres, Sabah is surrounded by the South China Sea in the West, the Sulu Sea in the Northeast, and the Celebes Sea in the Southeast.
No doubt that Sabah is the home to many hidden gems and wonders of the world especially its beautiful rainforest rich with fauna and flora and one of the oldest rainforests in the world. There are nearly 400 islands in Sabah with blessed phenomenal beaches, crystal clear blue sea, and abundant coral reefs which make them an ideal paradise on Earth.
To-Do Lists Before Travel To Sabah
1. The Best Time To Visit Sabah
The best time to visit Sabah is from March to September which is during the dry season but you can also plan for your trip from October to February, just that it will be wetter compared to the other months.
Furthermore, Sabah is usually spared from the region’s extreme weather such as the monsoons or typhoons. This is the main reason why Sabah is known as “The Land Below The Wind” as it is just below the monsoon belt.
2. Consume Vitamin C and Supplement Always!
It is recommended to always consume Vitamin C and other supplements to boost our immune system, especially during this pandemic period. Besides improving our immune system, I do consume Vitamin C too before heading out for outdoor activities as it is also an effective sun-damage protectant too!
3. Do Bring Some Medicines With You As Well
Do you easily feel uneasy or sick especially when travelling? Well, there are a lot of factors that can contribute to this situation such as the crowded airports or stations in an enclosed space, the weather changes, the foods and drinks, and many more that our body’s need to adapt to.
To avoid unnecessary travel disturbance, it is always recommended to bring basic medication with you in case of emergency needs. The common items that I always brought with me are cold fever capsules, Gaviscon, Chi-Kit Tech Aun and medicated oil.
4. Personal Care Products
Sunscreen is also one of the essential items that everyone needs to apply everywhere you go! It is a must to wear to protect your skin from direct sunlight if you are doing outdoor activities for a longer period of time. This is to protect you from sunburn too. In addition to sunscreen, remember to apply moisturizer as well to keep our skin hydrated, well protected and cared for.
If you are exploring the jungle or spending time at the beaches, remember to bring insect repellent with you as well to keep all insects away from you.
While we want to keep ourselves at the best, do always put extra attention too to look for environment-friendly products to help protect them for the generation to come.
5. Suitable And Proper Attires With Necessary Gears
Do study and plan ahead on the activities lined up for the trip so that you can bring the proper attire and be well-prepared such as swimming wear, snorkeling gears, hiking props, or even waterproof casing and many more!
These are the most important checklists to do since we are travelling in the COVID-19 period now.
6. COVID-19 Travel Requirement
Sabah has announced the inter-state movement will be allowed from 1st November 2021 and Sabah has entered the Phase 4 SOP of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) with immediate effect on the 8th November 2021.
During my last visit on the 14th November 2021 to Tawau, it is MANDATORY for all inter-state travellers to be fully vaccinated with the second dose received after 14 days (2 weeks) of Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Sinovac vaccine.
On top of that, it is a REQUIREMENT that travellers undergo a COVID-19 RT-PCR or RTK-Ag swab test within 3 days (72 hours) prior to travel. So, I did my COVID-19 test at Klinik Famili BTS Sdn. Bhd at the cost of RM 60 and received my result immediately on the same day with a physical report.
You will need to show this report during the check-in/boarding at/and upon arrival at the destination. The result will be updated in the MySejahtera app too!
Other alternatives available will be making an online appointment with an appointed clinic, then performing the COVID-19 test through Zoom Call and witnessed by the certified medical personnel or you can perform the COVID-19 test at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2 (KLIA 2) at Counter Z too. The price will be RM 5 if you bring your own test kit else, it will be RM 25 only.
However, starting from 1st December 2021, no swab test is required prior to entering the state of Sabah. But it is still RECOMMENDED for you and your travel partners to be tested before travelling for the peace of mind and the safety of others.
Be a responsible traveller especially during this period of recovery. Oh yes, I did it before and after my trip!
The information/facts is considered to be true and correct at the date of publication. For the latest update on travel requirements, please refer to http://www.sabahtourism.com/alert/.
7. Sufficient Face Mask and Hand Sanitizer
Face masks and hand sanitiser are the most essential items in our daily life for almost 2 years now since the outbreak. Make sure that you bring a sufficient amount of face mask with you. My personal rule of thumb, I will have at least 5 face masks or extra with me for a day as it is advised to change it every four to five hours if you are in the public. Do not wear it for too long for hygiene and effectiveness purposes.
Be reminded that some of the travel destinations might not have the supply, so do prepare it in advance to avoid any inconvenience caused.
Do always sanitize your hands with hand sanitisers if soap and water are not readily available especially after touching common surfaces as it can help to reduce the number of germs on hands in many situations. Washing hands with soap is still the best way to keep our hands’ germs free.
Other than that, remember to plan well on your finances during your trip as some of the places might not have access to credit card usage and there might be limited access to the ATM machine too!
If you are travelling from Peninsular Malaysia to Sabah and Sarawak, you will be issued with an entry slip at your arrival destination during the Immigration clearance, except for Sarawakian and Sabahan. Do keep this slip properly as misplacing will require you to lodge a police report prior to departure.
Now, we are good to go! Allow me to share a brief itinerary on how I spent my 4 Days 3 Nights at Semporna, Sabah.
- Arrival at Tawau Airport
- Lunch at Restoran Maskur 3
- Check-in at Seafest Hotel, Semporna
- Evening walk exploring Semporna
- Dinner at Anjung Lepa
- Boat transfer to Lato-Lato Mun
- Island Hopping at Bohey Dulang, Pulau Mantabuan, Pulau Sibuan
- Back to Lato-Lato Mun And Sunset
- Dinner at Lato-Lato Mun
- Free and Easy
- Boat transfer to Semporna
- Travel to Sipadan-Kapalai Dive Resort
- Safety briefing and Lunch + Check-In
- Snorkeling + Sunset Walk
- Dinner + Free and Easy
- Boat transfer back to Semporna
- Lunch at Semporna
- Departure to Tawau Airport
Since we are still in the midst of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, most of the attractions have changed their operating hours, so it is important for you to check ahead or if booking can be made, always make the booking before your arrival to avoid any disappointments.
So, these are the checklists and brief itinerary that I had for myself during my last trip to Sabah and hopefully, this can be helpful for you to plan your trip ahead. Stay safe and let us together help to revive the economy to make Malaysia a great place to visit again in near future.
Special thanks to Sabah Tourism (https://www.sabahtourism.com/) for arranging and making this trip happen.