Help with one month itinerary

Old Aug 2nd, 2022, 08:03 AM
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Help with one month itinerary

I'm spending September in Malaysia and would like some help with fine-tuning my itinerary. By way of background, I'm M/40, quite fit, travelling solo and interested in a mix of things like: hiking, snorkelling, cultural experiences, markets, taking in views.

I've come up with the below itinerary which has a 3-day gap in it. Would like ideas on what to do to plug the gap. The additional days can be spent on the peninsula or Borneo so the dates can be shifted if need be (e.g spend an extra 3 days in Borneo). I'm not keen on renting a car unless it's really worth the cost/hassle. Would like to avoid taking another internal flight, too if possible. I should also add that I won't be climbing Mt Kinabalu and am not interested in Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park or Semporna islands.

I'd appreciate general feedback on the itinerary, not just suggestions for plugging the gap. However, activities for 4th-9th September are "cast in stone" as respective accommodation has been booked already and departure date of 3rd October is also fixed.



Many thanks in advance for your input!


I

Date..................................... Itinerary

Sun 4th September - Land @ Kuala Lumpur Airport @ 14:25

Mon 5th September - Kuala Lumpur

Tue 6th September - Kuala Lumpur

Wed 7th September - Kuala Lumpur > Sandakan. Flight @ 14:50, arriving @ 17:45

Thu 8th September - Sandakan > Kinabatangan River

Fri 9th September - Kinabatangan River

Sat 10th September - Kinabatangan River > Sandakan > Kota Kinabalu. Flight @ 15:30, arriving @ 16:20

Sun 11th September - Kota Kinabalu

Mon 12th September - Kota Kinabalu - day trip to Kinabalu Park

Tue 13th September - Kota Kinabalu - deep sea fishing trip

Wed 14th September - Kota Kinabalu - afternoon/evening Klias river cruise

Thu 15th September Kota Kinabalu - Pulau Tiga (survivor island) day trip

Fri 16th September - Kota Kinabalu > Kuching. Flight from KK @ 14:40, arriving @ Kuching @ 16:10

Sat 17th September - Kuching - explore the city

Sun 18th September - Kuching - day trip to Bako National Park

Mon 19th September - Kuching - tour to a longhouse

Tue 20th September - Kuching - day trip to Sarawak Cultural Village

Wed 21st September Kuching - day trip to Kubah National Park

Thu 22nd September - Kuching > Kota Bharu. Flight from Kuching @ 15:45, arriving @ Kota Bharu @ 17:45

Fri 23rd September - Kota Bharu > Kuala Besut > Pulau Perhentian Kecil

Sat 24th September - Pulau Perhentian Kecil

Sun 25th September - Pulau Perhentian Kecil

Mon 26th September - Pulau Perhentian Kecil

Tue 27th September - Pulau Perhentian Kecil > ???

Wed 28th September - ?

Thu 29th September - ?

Fri 30th September - ?

Sat 1st October - ? > Kuala Lumpur

Sun 2nd October - Kuala Lumpur - day trip to Putrajaya

Mon 3rd October - Return flight from KUL @ 01:40


lambada is offline  
Old Aug 2nd, 2022, 08:40 PM
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You have obviously but your itinerary based upon your interests and what you want to see and do. I have spent a lot of time in Malaysia and have been to most of the places you mention but I think I would have done things a little differently. I would probably shave a day or so off of your time in Kota Kinabalu and its environs and the same with Kuching (though I much prefer the actual city of Kuching to KK).

It takes a long time to get to and from Perhentian. You will effectively waste two complete days in travel. When we were there a few years ago Perhentian Kecil seemed very much the party/backpacker island . bear was more for families/grown ups - just something to be aware of. Great snorkelling and diving there but 4-5 day may get a little boring as there isn't a whole lot else. Lose a day there and you have almost a week to play with.

How to use that time? Mulu NP /The Pinnacles are stunning but would involve a flight. Likewise the Kelabit Highlands.

One option after Perhentian would be to head overland by bus from Kota Bharu to either Royal Bellum or Taman Negara for more rainforest experience. Ipoh & Cameron Highlands for a change of scenery and culture. Or even head right across the peninsula to Penang, a stunning island state with a lot to see , do and eat. From any of those places it is an easy trip back to KL for your flight home.

Some of these places we covered in our blog which may provide some idea of what to expect.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2022, 11:11 AM
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crellston Many thanks for your suggestions. You seem to know Malaysia very well!

At the moment, I have 5 allocated full days to KK and also Kuching. Not so sure it would be worth going for less than that considering I have to catch a flight to each of them.

I chose the Perhentian islands rather than Redang because I wanted somewhere with a bit of life in the evening rather than a place where everyone goes to bed right after dinner. I'm not interested in drinking/partying but since I'll be alone it would be nice to at least "people-watch" instead of going to bed at 9pm. Apparently, Kecil (Long Beach particularly) is the only place where I can do this but please do advise me if Besar would be just as good. I know there are other islands off Borneo, but from what I've read many of them are very polluted (e.g. Tunku Abdul Rahman) and there isn't much happening in the evenings.

Mulu NP looks beautiful and definitely worth considering. To go there, I'd need to drop KK which would give me 5 full days but wouldn't involve an extra flight as I'd fly to Mulu directly from Sandakan. Would 5 days be too long for Mulu? Are there other places nearby that I can visit or is the park isolated?

Not keen on going to another rainforest after Perhentian and I can't see myself spending more than a day at the Cameron Highlands. However, Penang looks interesting and I'd choose to fly there because the bus journey from Kota Bharu is too long. Would the weather be tolerable at the end of September?

Could you provide me with the link to your blog? Can't find it on your profile.
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Old Aug 3rd, 2022, 11:31 AM
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It sounds like Perhentian Kecil would suit better than Besar! Definitely not Redang!

Mulu is stunning but remote. Two days would likely be enough for most people. the caves are incredible. There is a great trek/climb through the jungle to the Pinnacles but it is tough and takes around 4-5 days so probably wouldn't be a great fit with the time you have. Cameron is worth it if combined with Ipoh but not as a stand alone destination.

As far as the weather in Penang is concerned, it is the wet season on the west coast in Sept but I have been at that time of year and it was ok.

A link our blog. https://accidentalnomads.com
Just use the destination tab to Malaysia
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Old Aug 4th, 2022, 01:13 AM
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crellston Apparently, Redangís nightlife is pretty good. Like Kecil, it has a ďLong BeachĒ and there are even karaoke bars along it! However, I am giving up on both the Perhentians and Redang as there is no decent accommodation available on my dates and budget. Itís a shame because these islands strongly influenced me in choosing Malaysia as a destination. Any suggestions for beaches (not necessarily islands) that arenít overly polluted, are good for snorkelling and have a good choice of mid-range accommodation. Iíve accepted the fact that I wonít find anywhere with nightlife. Great to know that weather wonít be an issue in Penang and have found your Penang blog post very informative.
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Old Aug 4th, 2022, 02:03 AM
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Irrelevant now you are not going but I think you may have found the nightlife a bit too much in Redang. We learnt to dive there many years ago when it was just a few hotels and homestay. Since then the growth in tourism has been exponential. We did look at returning a few years ago but upon researching , t seemed that the primary focus was now on Chinese tour groups which put us off.

I certainly wouldn't snorkel anywhere near Penang. Langkawi has some decent snorkelling but like Penang, it is the wet season and I feel that visibility may not be that great due to river run off and choppy waters. Though Langkawi would certainly meet your criteria of a range of accommodation. The east coast will have much better weather but I haven't really spent much time there so can't recommend anywhere. Offshore island will always be better for snorkelling. I suppose you could look at extending your time in Borneo. There are some amazing beaches up at the "Tip of Borneo" . There is a dive school there so there must be some snorkelling. However, we were there maybe 6-7 years ago and it was VERY quiet. see our blog for some photos etc. It has probably got busier since then but I wouldn't think there is too much by way of nightlife. Maybe worth checking out as an option though.

Just a thought but if beach/snorkelling is a priority the Gulf of Thailand should be good at that time. Koh Samui is hell on earth as far as I am concerned but the smaller island of Koh Tao has great snorkelling and a bit of a lively atmosphere at some of the beaches. Or Koh Chang on the mainland. The problem is that you would need to fly via Bangkok.
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Old Aug 5th, 2022, 06:12 AM
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Originally Posted by lambada View Post
crellston Apparently, Redangís nightlife is pretty good. Like Kecil, it has a ďLong BeachĒ and there are even karaoke bars along it! However, I am giving up on both the Perhentians and Redang as there is no decent accommodation available on my dates and budget. Itís a shame because these islands strongly influenced me in choosing Malaysia as a destination. Any suggestions for beaches (not necessarily islands) that arenít overly polluted, are good for snorkelling and have a good choice of mid-range accommodation. Iíve accepted the fact that I wonít find anywhere with nightlife. Great to know that weather wonít be an issue in Penang and have found your Penang blog post very informative.
given your interests I think the following would be fun for you. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Batu_Caves. Itís not far from KL
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 05:52 AM
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Ended up picking Perhentian Besar due to limited availability of accommodation on Kecil. Left my time allocations to KK and Kuching unchanged as I couldn't find better alternatives.

I'm posting my final itinerary for the benefit of future readers more than anything. I'm in a quandary about whether to take my trekking shoes with me or if running shoes will be good enough. I imagine that I'd need rubber boots for the Kinabatangan rainforest tour so trekking shoes wouldn't come in handy there. Anywhere else I might need them? National parks perhaps?

Date Itinerary
Sun 4th September - Land @ Kuala Lumpur Airport @ 14:25
Mon 5th September - Kuala Lumpur
Tue 6th September - Kuala Lumpur
Wed 7th September - Kuala Lumpur > Sandakan. Flight @ 14:50, arriving @ 17:45
Thu 8th September - Sandakan > Kinabatangan River
Fri 9th September - Kinabatangan River
Sat 10th September - Kinabatangan River > Sandakan > Kota Kinabalu. Flight @ 15:30, arriving @ 16:20
Sun 11th September - Kota Kinabalu
Mon 12th September - Kota Kinabalu - day trip to Kinabalu Park
Tue 13th September - Kota Kinabalu - deep sea fishing trip
Wed 14th September - Kota Kinabalu - afternoon/evening Klias river cruise
Thu 15th September Kota Kinabalu - Pulau Tiga (survivor island) day trip
Fri 16th September - Kota Kinabalu > Kuching. Flight from KK @ 14:40, arriving @ Kuching @ 16:10
Sat 17th September - Kuching - explore the city
Sun 18th September - Kuching - day trip to Bako National Park
Mon 19th September - Kuching - tour to a longhouse
Tue 20th September - Kuching - day trip to Sarawak Cultural Village
Wed 21st September Kuching - day trip to Kubah National Park
Thu 22nd September - Kuching > Penang. Flight from Kuching @ 09:45, arriving @ Penang @ 11:45
Fri 23rd September - Penang
Sat 24th September - Penang
Sun 25th September - Penang
Mon 26th September - Penang > Kota Bharu > Kuala Besut > Pulau Perhentian Besar. Flight from Penang @ 08:15, arriving @ 09:10
Tue 27th September - Pulau Perhentian Besar
Wed 28th September - Pulau Perhentian Besar
Thu 29th September - Pulau Perhentian Besar
Fri 30th September - Pulau Perhentian Besar > Kuala Besut > Kota Bharu > KL. Flight from Kota Bharu @ 17:20, arriving @ 18:30
Sat 1st October - Kuala Lumpur - day trip to Putrajaya
Sun 2nd October - Kuala Lumpur
Mon 3rd October - Return flight from KUL @ 01:40
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Old Aug 21st, 2022, 08:50 AM
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Thanks for posting your final itinerary. It is looking good and I am sure others following in your footsteps will find it helpful.

re I'm in a quandary about whether to take my trekking shoes with me or if running shoes will be good enough. I only ever take the same two sets of footwear with me wherever I go Keen Targhee hiking shoes and Keen Newport Sandals! I can’t see anywhere where you couldn’t use running shoes. Most of the NPs will have fairly well used trails.
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