Our journey #5: visiting family and fast traveling

We’re in Malaysia! After almost three months in Nepal, we were so excited about visiting a new country! Unfortunately, the way we left Nepal wasn’t as positive as we would have liked, as we already hinted in our previous travel journal. I’ll quickly explain what happened, before telling you all about our new adventures in Malaysia!

Everybody knows delayed flights, busses, trains and problems on the road can happen when you’re traveling. It’s part of the deal, right? Well, we weren’t too happy when the guy at the check-in desk told us our flight to Malaysia had been canceled. And the reason why still amazes us: the Nepali president took the plane that was supposed to be ours around 11 o’clock to go to China. It’s not hard to figure out why she isn’t popular among Nepali’s…

This situation makes you wonder about a couple of things:

  1. Why is there no plane available for her to fly? I suppose these government things are planned beforehand?
  2. Why did they decide to take a fully booked passenger flight for this?
  3. Why did they not tell us about it sooner? As we only found out at the airport at 6.30 pm, while the plane with the president already left around 11 am…

After a while, the airport staff took us to a hotel, where we were told we could speak to someone in the office of the airline. Which, surprise surprise, never happened. So if you ever find yourself tempted to book a Nepal Air flight, just don’t!

A fresh start in Malaysia

Pfew, now that’s off my chest, let’s continue on a more positive note: my mom and sister came to visit us in Malaysia! We traveled around the country together for a little over a week and a half, but it felt like it was much longer! We did so many things. First of all, we rented a car at Kuala Lumpur airport. We thought this would be the most convenient and fastest way to travel to the Cameron Highlands with four people. We had to upscale the car because we couldn’t fit all our baggage…

But we got going eventually. Driving in Malaysia isn’t all that different from driving in Europe (except for the steering wheel being on the ‘wrong’ side of the car 😉 ). The roads are good; people follow the rules; there are road signs everywhere. Needless to say, our trip to the Cameron Highlands was a breeze! Quite literally actually, as it was a bit cooler in the green highlands than it was in Kuala Lumpur.

Onze reis in Maleisië
Malaysia’s green highlands are a wonderful break from the heat in Kuala Lumpur

Off to Borneo

We only stayed for three nights, and we needed to leave in the middle of the night to be able to catch our flight from Kuala Lumpur. Which, we found out the day before, was scheduled to leave five hours earlier than initially planned. But at least it wasn’t canceled, so we didn’t complain. The flight from KL took us to Malaysian Borneo, which we were so excited to visit!

Malaysian Borneo is also referred to as East Malaysia, but it’ll take at least a two-hour flight to get there from KL. Life on Malaysian Borneo is a bit more simple and not as advanced as life in the cities on the Malaysian Peninsula. But it’s a great place to visit nonetheless. Because we both had a birthday in Nepal, my mom bought us a trip to Turtle Island. If you’re ever in the opportunity to go there: please do!

Maleisië 2 Dutchies Abroad
Turtle island was the first island we visited during our world trip. And what an island it is!

Magical experiences on Turtle Island

From the moment we arrived on Turtle Island from Sandakan, we felt like we were in a special place. There are only 50 people allowed to spend the night on this island, which makes it a super relaxed place. Even though the island is called Selingan Island, it is often called Turtle Island due to the many turtles that come and lay their eggs here. You can only visit this island as part of an eco-tour. This is a way to ensure the turtles keep coming here to lay their eggs in peace. It’s the longest-running turtle conservation program in the world!

Turtle Island, Sandakan, Borneo

We saw a turtle lay eggs and saw many hatchlings make their way to the ocean. Which was such a beautiful sight to see! If you’re interested in visiting Turtle Island, I’d recommend booking early and directly with the organization itself. It costs 485,55 MYR per person including boat transfers, tourist tax, accommodation, meals (lunch, dinner, and breakfast), and all activities. You’ll have to pay an additional 60 MYR each on the island as a conservation fee.


Into the jungle

You cannot visit Borneo without going into the jungle. At least that’s how we feel 🙂 Another highlight of our trip to Borneo were the river cruises and jungle walks along the Kinabatangan River. We saw so much wildlife during these trips. Proboscis monkeys, huge lizards, crocodiles, tons of birds (like the hornbill and the tiny Blue-eared kingfisher), a lot of macaque monkeys, owls and even an orangutan and a baby orangutan in the distance!


We stayed at Sukau river homestay, a very nice place run by Maria and her family. There’s another homestay with the same name, so if you want to book it, make sure to pick the right one! You can just send an email to mariaamit78@gmail.com or contact them on Facebook.

De Kinabatangan van boven

Zonsondergang op de kinabatangan rivier
This is the place to be if you like stunning sunsets!

After these intense couple of days in the jungle, it was time to say goodbye to my mom and sister and head to Borneo’s capital Kota Kinabalu. Where we decided to go on a spontaneous trip to a whole other country…

But more on that in our next travel journey!



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