One of the perils of living in Jakarta is that it can be difficult to find attractive locations to relax in at the weekend, away from the smog, bustle and people.
AirAsia recently came to the rescue by opening up a cheap new route from Jakarta to Kota Kinabalu which is in Malaysian North Borneo, near Brunei. There’s a massive mountain on the doorstep which is a popular climb, many national parks and also some beautiful islands 10 minutes from the mainland which was our choice of activity.
The islands allow camping, and although they can be a little busy at the weekend with snorkellers and day-trippers, at 4pm everyone disappears leaving almost nobody else there. Bliss!
The diving and snorkelling is reasonably good, we got to see a turtle, some rays, and all the other usual fish that you see in Malaysia.
I didn’t take my DSLR, just a Panasonic point and shoot (also with underwater housing).
Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is just off Kota Kinabalu. You can see the mainland at the top left of the photo. Here, the plane is over Gaya island, we stayed at Mamutik island which is the tiny one near the centre of the photo. You can just see the beach where we pitched our tent. The island is almost opposite the airport on the mainland, and it’s a 10 minute speedboat journey from the jetty. Amazing!