Travel Advisory

2017 and 2018 have been a very peaceful time for travelling in Borneo with zero incidents related to kidnappings, terrorism and crime related events. The threat of terrorism or kidnapping in Borneo in 2019 has been almost non-existent so far.

Malaysia’s national elections on the 9th of May 2018 was a peaceful transition of power with better accountability and greater action against corruption. Since then, the changing of the guard in all government departments have been very beneficial for the conservation and protection of Sabah’s rainforests and its natural biodiversity.

There has not been any Islamic State activity in Sabah as of present (August 2019). There has also not been any threats nor change in the security situation related to terrorism in Sabah.

If you have any queries or specific questions, feel free to ask your Tour Coordinator. The management reads all questions and enquiries and will strive to provide the best and most accurate information.

Travel to Sukau, Danum Valley & Tabin

Travel to Sukau, Danum Valley, Tabin Reserve and Sandakan remains very safe.

Sukau is approximately 2.5hrs each way inland from the sea and thus the significant distance forms a huge deterrent to any threats from the Philippines. Armed groups usually target the offshore island and coastal areas because it is easier for them to make a getaway across the Malaysian-Philippines border. There is a permanent military-police presence in Sukau village that is only 10 minutes by boat away from Sukau Rainforest Lodge. The river also forms a natural deterrent because there is only one way in and out. A military outpost was recently constructed in December 2014 and is currently stationed with 15 armed military personnel at the entry point of the river that continuously monitors all boats entering and leaving the river and provides a quick response military presence in the area.

Other inland jungle lodges including Borneo Rainforest Lodge (Danum Valley) and Tabin Wildlife Lodge remains safe to travel due to their inland locations and military presence stationed at entry points.

Travel to Selingan & Lankayan Island

In spite of travel advisories from some countries to Selingan island and Lankayan island, we still believe that travel to Selingan Island (Turtle island) and to Lankayan island is safe due to their permanent military presence, further enhanced with the deployment of police and military personnel at all tourist attractions in Sabah by the Defence Minister. An enforced night time curfew on boats also helps by restricting undetected incursions.

Travel to islands in the vicinity of Sipadan Island

Since the Malaysian police and navy intercepted an attempted kidnapping on 8 December 2016, there has not been a single reported or attempted kidnapping from Malaysian waters. We believe that the situation has improved sufficiently to once again consider travel to areas offshore of Sipadan and Semporna. Unfortunately, due to foreign travel advisories, bear in mind that your insurance may not cover you for travel in these areas (Sipadan, Mabul, Pom-Pom and Mataking islands) until they are lifted.

We advise that our clients exercise every precaution when traveling to Sipadan and islands off Semporna due to the possible threat of kidnapping for ransom. This includes ensuring that you’re travelling with a licensed tour operator who has safety procedures and emergency protocols in place. Security at these islands have been bolstered but there remains a residual risk of incursions due to these islands’ relatively close distance with the Philippines border. These island resorts continue to enjoy brisk business and our advise is precautionary on our part.

Travel in Sabah is Safe

We would like to reiterate that it is safe to travel throughout Sabah (Borneo). Be assured that in saying this, we also take every precaution possible to avoid areas vulnerable to intrusions. We advise precautions be taken when travelling to the islands off Semporna that include the Sipadan Resorts, Pom Pom island and Mataking island. Although security has been bolstered at these locations, the recurring incidents in this area in 2014 casts sufficient doubt that compels us to advise our travelers to exercise extreme caution when visiting these areas and if you’re uncomfortable with the risks, to avoid these areas altogether. There has been no further incidences in the Semporna/Sipadan areas since July 2014 however we continue to remain vigilant and take precautions where necessary to ensure the safety of our guests.

We still believe that it is safe to travel to islands off Sandakan including the Selingan Turtle island and also the Langkayan Resort island as they both host military outposts that presents a significant deterrent to any attempts to intrude on the two islands. The Sandakan abduction is the first time local Sabahans were specifically targeted for abduction alludes to the fact that the kidnappers now believe areas frequented by foreign tourists are now too heavily policed.

 

If we feel that there is an element of threat to the safety and security of our clients visiting the various part of Sabah, we will take immediate decisive actions and alert our clients and partners of the situation. We will not jeopardise our integrity and long term relationship with our partners and clients to paint a misleading picture of the security situation in Sabah.

If you have any queries or specific questions, feel free to ask your Tour Coordinator. The management reads all questions and enquiries and will strive to provide the best and most accurate information.

Foreign Travel Advisory

Travel  advisory from  USA, UK and Australia on Sabah security situation are normally based on their assesment at the time of the incident and not based on the current situation on the  ground and thus tend to the side of overcaution. These travel advisories take months if not years to be downgraded regardless of actual conditions on the ground.

The following are links to the travel advisories from the respective countries.

UK Travel Advisory updated 21 February 2019

Australia Travel Advisory updated 1 August 2019

USA Travel Advisory updated 9 April 2019

Sabah Tourism Advisory updated 26 June 2019