If you’ve never experienced the joys of spending a day on a private boat, this cruise in Kota Kinabalu will have you hooked
“Okay, but we’re not climbing the mountain,” I declared when my friends asked me last year if I wanted to book a trip to Kota Kinabalu. I was adamant about this — I was in no condition to scale a 13,000ft peak. “We can visit the beaches,” they told me. “The islands look beautiful.” Fast-forward to April and my friends and I are aboard the Sea Oasis, the promise of a full day and the deep blue of the ocean ahead of us. We have the entire boat to ourselves and we can alternate between tanning on deck and taking a dip in the cool, clear waters.
Our captain, Jonathan Shale, has planned a five-island cruise for us. He’s promised to take us to the quietest snorkeling spots, well away from the crowded public beaches, where the coral is plentiful and marine life thrives. Jonathan’s company, Borneo Boats and Beaches, has been around for five years, giving tourists a chance to experience Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park at its best.
“I only offer private charters and these appeal to everyone who has ever wanted their own boat, with a dedicated captain and crew to take care of them,” Jonathan says. “I’ve had many couples looking for a romantic highlight to their holiday, families wanting some quality time together and groups of friends who want to chill in the tropical heat. All are welcome and well looked after.”
Well looked after is right: Soon, we’re feasting on a healthy, hearty lunch prepared on board, eyeballing glorious coral and fish up close and even ziplining between two islands, the majestic scenery laid out before us.
We may not have climbed Mount Kinabalu, but on that scorching summer day, it certainly felt as if we were on top of the world.
To book a private tour, contact Jonathan at firstname.lastname@example.org, +60 13 865 2445, or through tripadvisor.com.
Also read: Kota Kinabalu city guide
This article originally appeared in the August 2015 issue of Smile magazine.