Category Archives: Travel

Stargazing in Sabah

stargazing couple under the starry sky

“Hey, do you know where to see meteor? I want to make wishes.” At first I was dumbfounded at her question, then I realized that there is no more starry sky in our city. “Lasau Podi,” I replied, “the sky over there is full of stars and it got so many meteors that you can make wishes all night long. Probably next day you would become the prettiest, richest and healthiest person in the world, if these are what you will wish.”

stargazing couple under the starry sky

This photo generates a lot of interest in stargazing.

Sky filled with twinkling stars was used to be a everyday thing at my home decades ago. Sadly, due to increasing light and air pollution, one-third of world population can’t see the Milky Way. The night of modern cities such as Singapore and South Korea is vibrant with colorful neon lights, but they have no more scattered diamond dust in the sky. Now children would sing “Twinkle, twinkle, little star… I wonder where you are..”

camping tent under the Milky Way

The Milky Way contains between 100 and 400 billion stars

Stargazing at Lasau Podi

Lasau Podi is discovered by Sabah Stargazers as an excellent location for stargazing. It’s a countryside about 20 KM away from Kota Belud town, and the approximate location where I shot the stars is 6.359675, 116.559431 (see Location Map). 95% of the road from Kota Kinabalu City (KK) to Lasau Podi is paved so it’s very accessible.

Mt. Kinabalu under the stars

Mt. Kinabalu under the stars

Last month I was drooling when my friend showed me the stunning photos of Milky Way that he took in Lasau Podi, so a BIG Yes to him when he asked if I wanted to join him in second trip. We departed at 8pm from KK. After we passed by Kota Belud town and headed to Lasau Podi, we entered the countryside without street light along the road. Our car bumped into herds of cows sleeping on the road. Drive carefully if you go there.

Herd of cows blocking the road

Herd of cows blocking our road

We reached the destination around 11pm, I was mesmerized by the breathtaking view of starry sky, with silhouette of Mount Kinabalu as the backdrop. The number of stars that you can see on a clear night in a total darkness is about 2,000, and I think I saw them all there.

starry sky behind 4 wheel drive

When we got out of our car and saw the starry sky, we went gaga.

After we setup the camping tent, we shot until 4am in the morning. I slept under a blanket of thousands of stars, lovely, but I was also attacked by thousand of mosquitoes.

Thousand-Star Camping

5-Star Hotel and Thousand-Star Camp, which one you prefer?

Did you know when we look up to the winking stars, we are looking at a scene of the past? Light from a distant star can travel millions of years to reach us, it may be long gone by the time we see it.

Mount Kinabalu in the morning

Mount Kinabalu in the morning

capturing the sunrise view of Mt. Kinabalu

Second photography session to capture the sunrise view of Mt. Kinabalu

When we waked up in the morning, we could see our surrounding better. We were on a high ground overlooking a plain with Mt. Kinabalu far away. It’s a scenic dawn.

Sunrise lit up part of the hill

Sunrise lit up part of the hill

Despite sleeping for only 2 hours, we took out our tripod and camera again for second round of crazy clicking. We bagged more beautiful photos, tired but happy.

The misty plain of Lasau Podi in the morning

The misty plain of Lasau Podi in the morning

Anyway, Lasau Podi isn’t a romantic location for dating. There is no toilet and comfortable accommodation. Instead, you can try Tegudon Tourism Village (TTV), which is only 30 minutes away from Lasau Podi and have toilet, camping ground and amenities for visitors.

Behind the Scene

Behind the Scene (in Lasau Podi): it’s quite a mess lol

Guys slept in open space

Guys slept in open space. It’s me at lower left. I covered my head because of mosquitoes lol

camping at Lasau Podi

Without any accommodation nearby, camping is the only option at Lasau Podi

Best Locations for Stargazing

If you search online for best stargazing sites, you will find some ranking of top star-hunting locations in Sabah. Some says Kudat is the best, and other would say No, Kundasang is better… Well you can forget these reviews. In Sabah, as long as you are in a countryside far from city light and air pollution, you will see starry sky. Your best bet is at the beaches and fields which has nothing to obstruct the star views at the horizon.

Photographer at work

Photographer at work

Below is some photos I took in other places of Sabah:

Kudat longhouse under the starry sky

Kudat longhouse under the starry sky

Beautiful night sky in Kiulu

Beautiful night sky in Kiulu

Milky way in Pitas

Milky way in Pitas

I also saw a lot of stars in Kuala Penyu, Beaufort, Keningau, etc.

What’s Milky Way?

Guess you enjoy the movie “Guardian of the Galaxy”? But what does a galaxy look like? You would notice the “star river” in my star photos. It is Milky Way, the galaxy that contains our Solar System (where we live). Below is the disk-shaped structure of Milky Way.

Side view of our galaxy (Milky Way)

Side view of our galaxy (Milky Way)

The following is the top view of Milky Way, it contains between 100 and 400 billion stars and probably at least 100 billion planets!

Illustration of our galaxy

Illustration of our galaxy. Note the location of our sun and planets.

If you are really interested in stargazing, you can join the activities of Sabah Stargazers group:
Website: sabahstargazers.wordpress.com
Facebook: SabahStargazers

camping at Lasau Podi

The number of stars that we can see with naked eyes is about 2,000

Tips for Stargazing

  1. Go in moonless night for best view, more stars are visible in total dark sky.
  2. Avoid cloudy and rainy days. Common sense.
  3. Stay far away from any light. Countryside is good place to start.
  4. Watch out for your safety in remote area. Go in group if possible.
  5. Bring torchlight and insect repellent

Photos taken in Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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5 Reasons Why Sunset Cruise is Fun in Sabah

sunset cruise

Sunset is the most beautiful view of nature, and feeling rich and romantic are the two best life experience. Isn’t that exciting if we can enjoy all these at once in sunset cruise?

10 years ago, people didn’t get it why they need to go to open sea to watch sunset. Now sunset cruise is on the bucket list of many because of the following five reasons. I use a lot of photos of North Borneo Cruises here because they offer the best experience.

1. World-Class Sunset

Not all sunsets are the same. We had been taking our beautiful sunset for granted, until 3 years ago, a foreign writer featured Kota Kinabalu City (KK), capital of Sabah as one of the great places to watch sunset in a popular website.

Fire cloud of Sabah sunset

Fire cloud of Sabah sunset

Sabah is famous for its vibrant “Fire Cloud” sunset, a phenomena when the sinking sun photoshops the sky and cloud with intense red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple colors.

sunset cruise

“Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.” ― Kristen Butler

During magic hour, you would see hundreds of people congregate at our beaches to watch sunset and take photos. And now you can find “sunset bar” in many resorts and hotels of Sabah.

Beautiful sunset at Kota Kinabalu Marine Park

Beautiful sunset at Kota Kinabalu Islands Park

Tourists enjoying the sunset view

Tourists enjoying the sunset view on North Borneo Cruises

Actually beach and hilltop are only the second best location to watch sunset. The Best Viewpoint for Sunset is in open sea, it’s like getting a front seat for a spectacular stage show.

Sunset in open sea

Sunset with panoramic ocean views

2. Feeling Rich

Most of us would never make enough money to buy a yacht, but I’m sure we all want to know how it feels to ride on a luxurious yacht. No doubt you will feel super rich on the 92-feet yacht of North Borneo Cruises.

Sunset cruise by North Borneo Cruises

Sunset cruise by North Borneo Cruises. Note it has 3 decks

With a maximum capacity of 100 people, North Borneo Cruises can host fairly big private function such as wedding, birthday, party and corporate dinner.

Guests enjoying the moment onboard

Guests enjoying the moment onboard

Your staffs will love you if you throw a company party on-board. This is far more fun and creative than a formal dinner in hotel.

“Sunsets are just little glimpses of the Golden streets of Heaven…”

VIP Room of North Borneo Cruises

VIP Room of North Borneo Cruises

Want more upper-class feel? VIP Deck boasts a private room equipped with a Karaoke audio and visual sound system best suited for birthday parties and business meetings of up to 30 people. The interior is decorated with motif of Borneo’s indigenous tribe.

Spacious and comfortable lower deck area of North Borneo Cruises

Spacious and comfortable lower deck area of North Borneo Cruises

The crews of North Borneo Cruises are friendly and treat us like a VIP. On this big yacht, we don’t need to fight for space with throngs of noisy tourists.

excited on a 92-feet big yacht

It’s hard not to get excited on a yacht

3. It is Romantic

Lovely sunset moment is best shared with your special someone. According to the “Love’s To-Do List”, watching sunset together is the most romantic thing couples do, followed by candlelit dinner.

Happy time on different boats (left: Sea Tango, right: North Borneo Cruises)

Happy sunset time on different boats (left: Sea Tango, right: North Borneo Cruises)

“The first stab of love is like a sunset, a blaze of color — oranges, pearly pinks, vibrant purples…” ― Anna Godbersen, The Luxe

Boarding to North Borneo Cruises

Boarding to North Borneo Cruises

You would tend to mimic “Titanic pose” of Rose and Jack. That might be a bit tacky lol.

rainy day

Though it was a rainy day, it’s still an enjoyable trip

Big yacht is great because it can remain stable in choppy sea, you don’t want your loved one gets seasick and vomit right.

sunset of Kota Kinabalu City

Not all sunsets are the same

Got idea for your next Valentine’s Day or Anniversary? You are welcome. 😉

4. Multi-sensory Enjoyment

Sunset cruise is more than just watching sunset. The tour operator has perfected it by making it a multi-senses experience.

Sabah sunset

“Sunset is the opening music of the night.” ― Mehmet Murat ildan

During the cruise, you will have sunset for your eyes, food for your mouth, and music for your ears.

food and music onboard

Sunset for your Eyes, Food for your Stomach, and Music for your Ears

Having dinner onboard

Another meaning of sunset is – it is about dinner time lol.

International dinner buffet served onboard

Sumptuous international dinner buffet served onboard

There is live band performance in North Borneo Cruises. Guests are very encouraged to join group dance for fun.

Party onboard

Party onboard with Bamboo Orchestra

If sunset cruise is only about watching sunset, a rainy day can ruin the whole experience, so it’s good that they have other activities on-board.

Group dancing in the yacht

Group dancing in the yacht

5. Sightseeing without Walking

Another bonus of sunset cruise is – you don’t need to walk to see the beauty of KK City.

Cruising around the islands before sunset

Cruising around the islands before sunset

You can admire the panoramic view of KK City from Sabah Port at the left to Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) at the right. Most landmark building such as Tun Mustapha Tower is in the view. In good day, you even can see Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain of Malaysia.

sea view of Kota Kinabalu City

You can see Kota Kinabalu City from the sea

The yacht will cruise around the most popular tropical island park of Sabah, i.e. Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, which consists of five islands.

sunset cruise in Sabah

“It is almost impossible to watch a sunset and not dream.” ― Bern Williams

Water village on Gaya Island is probably something unique to foreign tourists, they find it interesting that houses, mosque and school are built on the stilt platform on the sea.

sunset in Sabah

Sabah has one of the best sunset views in the world

At the end of the cruise, you would see the mesmerizing city light of KK on the way back, to mark a great ending of the tour.

Sunset Cruise along coastal area of Kota Kinabalu City

Sunset Cruise along coastal area of Kota Kinabalu City

How to Join

The sunset cruise of North Borneo Cruises (NBC) starts at 4:50pm and ends around 7pm. Personally I recommend NBC because it’s the best.

Sunset Cruise promotion by North Borneo Cruises

Sunset Cruise special rate promotion by North Borneo Cruises

Below is the contact for booking a sunset cruise with NBC:
Website: NorthBorneoCruises.com
Facebook: northborneocruises
Booking: AmazingBorneo.com
E-mail: info@northborneocruises.com
Tel: +60 18-6662009 / +60 16-5242009

Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu City, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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