Whether you planned to for short visit or travel planning, undoubtedly you’ve spend significant of time doing research on the Internet.
Don’t let uncertainty and a lack of information ruin your travels – inform yourself before you pack your bags and head out into the unknown.
Here are 85 excellent online tools and websites that you can use to get the most out of your travels. They will not only help you plan and prepared for your trip, but also help you get around and have a worry-free time in your destination of choice once you have arrived.
Sabah Travel Websites
Sabah Guide – “We give trusted travel advice from local Sabahans” is the tagline for the website. The guide you’re reading now is written by SabahGuide.com. We focus on Sabah travel guides, to-do, reviews on interesting place, honest advice from locals, and also answers the most common asked question from travelers.
Sabah Travel Guide – Contains mostly guides about Sabah travel, also travel tips. It has been around for more than 10 years. Guides includes hotels, golfing, diving, wildlife and cultures etc.
Sabah Tourism Board – Sabah’s official tourism board website. Here you can find what popular destinations are recommended by tourism board, as well as upcoming events around the state. Provides general information that travelers usually look for. You would want to download Sabah map here, very useful.
Sabah-Hotels – One of the subsidiary website of Asiawebdirect, contains lots of information, especially hotel deals and tour packages.
ABCSabah – Covers lots of information about Sabah islands and Sabah attractions. The content is no longer updated as far as I am concern.
Lonely Planet (Sabah) – Lonely Planet is renowned for its first-hand approach, up-to-date maps and commitment to providing the best information for travelers. Their authors are professional writers and journalists who nail down all the practical info about a destination then build on that with insider knowledge, thorough reviews, little-known facts and authoritative recommendations. Their aim is to get you accurate, practical information, impartial recommendations and best-value tips.
TripAdvisors – The biggest online community of travellers. This is the first (and often, last) stop for vacation planners. Not only can you book flights, hotels, car rentals, and get tickets for attractions here, but you also get a amazing breadth of reviews and tips from real travellers. The destination guides on TripAdvisor are often much better (more up-to-date and more detailed) than the expensive guide books in your bookstore.
eTawau – The site focuses mainly on information about Tawau. You can find how to get to Tawau, what you need to know, newest events and some general advice too.
Bloggers that blogs about Sabah specifically
KKMoi.com - Jackie, one of the most influencial social media users in KK, blogs about hottest events and hidden spots to play around KK. Content contributed by multiple authors.
MeiTzeu.com - A travelogue from our KK blogging scene, a female blogger who is very active joining events and experiencing the best offered in Sabah. MeiTzeu.com also blogs about food (every blogger in KK blogs about food, really).
Malaysia Asia - Voted one of the best online media by Sabah Tourism Board. David is an avid traveler and been to many places, including Sabah. His blog post is entertaining and good read.
Sabahbah - This site has vast amount of information that’s well arranged. You can find general information with few clicks. Newest update was 2011ish, but you still can find important information such as currency, weather, events and major thing related to Sabah travelers. “Bah” is Sabah slang.
MySabah - This mysterious blogger has been blogging about interesting news around Sabah since 2005, especially Kota Kinabalu area. The way he blogs is entertaining and informational. Must read.
Mount Kinabalu Borneo - Ruhaizad Daud is a doctor who works in KK city. He is also the author of “Mount Kinabalu Exclusive Travel E-Guidebook”. This site is one of the most informational premium guide about Mount Kinabalu.
Borneo Travel Blog - Awesome content from 3 authors – Melissa, Willie and Joe. They have been updating their content actively since 2009. If you want to get trust advice from locals, this is another blog you must visit.
Travel Made Easy
AirAsiaPlus – Allows you to check airfares up to 15 days in advance, you will be able to choose which date is the cheapest, and which particular day has promotion price.
Hipmunk – One of the fastest rising startup in its industry. Hipmunk takes the agony of research for your flight and hotel. Sometimes it works in this part of the world, sometimes not, but they are doing great!
Kayak – The only place you need to search for discounted airfare. Kayak searches over 140+ airlines and travel agencies (including Orbitz.com, Travelocity.com, Hotwire.com, and other big airfare search engines) to aggregate the best flight deals all in one place.
Travelers Review Sites
Virtual Tourist – As the single largest source of user-generated travel content in the world, VirtualTourist is a great resource for travelers seeking an insider’s perspective. Get real travel tips, reviews and photos from real people who have actually been there and done that.
WikiTravel – Like Wikipedia.org for locales. Free, complete, and reliable worldwide travel guide written by actual travellers. Great resource for learning about your destination cities before you start planning a trip.
iPhone/iPad Travel Apps (opens link in iTunes)
Pano, free – Pano is an award-winning app that lets you take beautiful, seamless panoramic photos straight from your phone, no other software necessary. Selected by Apple as one of the “Best Apps of 2009″, Pano has gotten rave reviews from hundreds of thousands of users around the world
Yelp, free – Looking for a burrito joint open now? An Irish pub nearby? A gas station you can drive to before your tank hits empty? Yelp for your iPhone is here to help. Use us to search for places to eat, shop, drink, relax and play then read reviews from an active community of locals in the know.
XE convertor, free – Convert every world currency on-the-go with the universally optimized XE Currency App for iPhone and iPad. It features live currency rates, charts, and even stores the last updated rates, so it works when the Internet doesn’t.
Malaysia Maps, free – Like what the apps says, Malaysia Map!
TOMTOM South East Asia, $69.99 – The TomTom App. World-class TomTom navigation, on your iPhone or iPad. The price is steep, but if you are here for extended period of time, and doing most of the travel by rented card. This is a must.
AccuWeather for iPhone, free – Plan your day with local forecasts from the most trusted name in weather! From what to wear to how to travel, AccuWeather for iPhone gives you fast, easy access to current weather information so you can make your plans with confidence.
AirAsia, free – Get quick & easy access to bookings, check-ins and other AirAsia flight services with the AirAsia Mobile app! This mobile app is available to everyone and is accessible anywhere in the world. Purchase your flight and check-in with this app. Very useful.
Skype, free – Save on international voice roaming charges or expensive hotel phone charges with popular VoIP (voice-over-Internet Protocol) service Skype. Calls are free if the recipient also uses a Skype account; if not, users can opt to buy call credits which allows them to make Skype to landline or mobile phone.
Whatsapp, $0.99 – Sending text messages sent while roaming can also burn a hole in the traveler’s pocket, and turning to text-over-IP can save users on these charges. Whatsapp is a cross-platform messaging app which can send not only text messages but also images, current location and even audio notes to users who also have the application installed.
WorldMate, free – An alternative to TripIt. TripIt can be a bit ‘old fashioned’ and it asks you a lot of questions. The app also pushes a short weather forecast along with the user’s first appointment the following day.
TripAdvisor Hotels Flights Restaurants, free – I’m not TripAdvisor’s biggest fan, but this app is actually pretty good. It’s essentially a ported version of their website, locallised to where you are and bundled with the best picks (according to their readers). I found the information to be surprisingly good.
International Calling Codes, $0.99 – Listings of all of international calling codes. Useful for avoiding moments of cell hell, like calling France while roaming in India because you got the wrong country code.
iTranslate, free – This handy app translates phrases into 42 languages, including traditional and simplified Chinese, Hindi, Japanese and Thai. Because there are never enough ways of asking, “Where’s the bathroom?”
Know your conversions
Unit Converter – A simple website with basic converters. Less is more.
Oanda – Easily one of the best sites if you are looking for the most accurate currency converters around, especially if you travel a lot and need to constantly convert your money into different local currencies.
EXRX Converter – A length and distance converter that is incredibly fast and easy to use.
Convert World – Another great site that lets you convert just about any unit you can think of – currency, mass, volume, and even wind speed! The best part is that it supports tons of different languages as well.
Converticious – A very simple site to use that can help you convert temperature, distance, weight, time and even data byte.
Agoda – *recommended* One of the most extensive and updated hotel booking website.
Hotelscombined – *recommended* another hotel booking site.
AirBnB – Don’t stay at a hotel. Airbnb is a global network of accommodations offered by locals. It’s more fun and very cheap, especially in big cities like New York, San Francisco, Paris, etc.
TuneHotels – Subsidiary of world’s best low budget airline, AirAsia. Tune hotels some time offers packages as low as RM1 per night. The hotel chain is getting expansion very quickly in Malaysia now. Worth every value with the price you pay.
AirAsiaGo – Check out their extensive selection of hotels, activities and travel services giving you the best rates and deals online.
International Airlines with direct flights to Sabah
- Malaysia Airlines (MAS)
- Tiger Airways
- Cathay Pacific
- Dragon Air
- Royal Brunei Airlines
- Singapore Airlines
Flight Comparison Search Engine
- www.hipmunk.com - The best, in my opinion.
- www.cheap-flights-finder.com - which actually searches five flight comparison sites for you with 1 single search (i.e Kelkoo, Kayak, Mobissimo, Dohop and Skyscanner)
Little things you should know
- No tips needed, but giving tips definitely makes them happy.
- Do not drink tap water. Bottled water is generally safe.
- Boiling water is the best method of purifying it.
- Must try at least one type of local delicacies
- Sabahans are friendly. Don’t shy to approach to them
- Be careful with camera and valuables
- Petty crime, like pick-pocketing, bag snatching etc is very uncommon and rarely any such crimes are reported
- Don’t bring so much cash, use credit card
- Slippers/sandals are best options, you can enter most of the places. Trousers are ok but not encouraged due to humidity.
- Expect rain, bring foldable umbrella
- Do not take bus as public transport if you’re not comfortable – expect taxi or private tour guides
- Avoid unnecessary exposure of valuable and expensive items in the crowded area
- Bring 3 pin-plug
- Remove shoes when entering homes and places of worship.
- Dress neatly in a suitable attire which covers arms and legs when visiting places of worship.
- Handle food with your right hand
- Do not point your foot at someone.
- When giving or receiving money gifts to/from a Malaysian, do so with your right hand.
- Do not point with index finger, use thumb instead.
- Bargaining is generally only acceptable in the markets and at the roadside stalls
- A concealed money pouch is advisable but not essential
- Some Malaysians may ask whether single women are married and/or whether they have a boyfriend – more out of curiosity than anything else. It is probably best to dismiss any such enquiries with a friendly smile.
- You must experience eating food with hand ;)
(A point worth mentioning is some of these sites have tailored geographically local sites, which when searched potentially yield cheaper air travel flight tickets.)
SeatGuru – Database of airplane seat configurations by airline. You can get diagrams with notes on where the good seats are on the plane. You can see a layout of where the galley is (get your food faster) and where the bathrooms are.
The Ultimate Travel Hacking Guide – From Lifehacker.
Travel Hacking: Smart Ways to See the World – Plenty of resources that makes the writer, J.D. Roth, felt like traveling the world. Traveling is not as expensive as you thought.
How to Travel Around the World for $418 – Nerd Fitness Steve shows you exactly how he done this. Plenty of tips and guides. You can learn many things despite many of them are not related to traveling within Sabah. But you can apply to concept well.
OneBag.com – The bible of traveling light from Doug Dyment. It’ll change how you travel
How to travel world with 10lbs. or less, by Tim Ferriss. Worth a read.
For packing the trick is BIT - buy it there. Pack the minimum you think you’ll need and if you forget something, buy it there. Often I don’t end up buying anything, but making this a part of my trip planning helps me relax and pack light.
Passport, wallet, housekey, phone & charger - That’s my checklist when I leave the house on the way to a flight. Anything else is a non vital item I figure I can take care of when I get there.
Something is missing from the list?
Maybe you notice something is missing from this resource, it’s incomplete.
This might not be the complete list in the world, but enough to plan for next travel. If you would like make this comprehensive resource list more complete, we would like to hear from you. Credits will be given.