THINGS TO BRING
The tropical days in Borneo are hot and humid, so we recommend lightweight cotton clothing. Casual wear is acceptable for most occasions in the city while tours to the interior, long trousers and t-shirts may be more appropriate. Let’s not forget thin towels, sun hats, sunscreen, insect repellent and leech socks. For most tours, bring along your swimming costumes, as there are chances to slake off the tropical heat with a dip at a river or waterfall. We highly recommend women to wear a sarong when bathing and dipping in rivers or waterfalls. Sarongs are easily obtained locally and are usually quite cheap.
Please remember that all persons should dress modestly, especially female visitors. For general guidance, you should keep your upper arms to the elbow and upper legs to the knee covered. Tops or shirts should not finish above the waistline of your trousers and expose your midriff and your neckline should not extend down more than a few inches. If you are visiting longhouses, local villages, temples and other sacred places of worship, please show some respect by covering yourself with a sarong, large scarf or wrap. You should wear shirts with sleeves and long trousers or skirts.
Moreover, we recommend you bring light rainwear such as raincoats, ponchos and waterproof jackets because there will be encounters with rain. Please make sure you have something dry to change into and wrap all your clothes and belongings in a plastic/zip-lock bag when packing. In the evenings, you can slip into a comfortable sarong or wear long trousers and long-sleeved shirts to protect yourself from mosquitoes and bugs.
If you are climbing Mount Kinabalu, you will need warm clothing such as:
- Fleece jackets
- Long-sleeved shirts
- Thick trousers
- Thick socks
- Thick knit shawls/scarves
- Woolen/waterproof gloves
- Disposable rain coats, ponchos or waterproof jackets
- Windbreakers with hood to cover ears
- Lightweight jumpers/sweaters
- Layer of thermal wear
- Beanies, caps or balaclava masks
For tours to the interior that require a great deal of hiking through rainforests or rugged terrain, comfortable hiking shoes that can handle jungle streams or muddy trails are recommended. Hiking shoes give good grip to walk on mud, stones or slope and they protect your toes, ankles and knees. Without a pair of shoes with good grips, it takes more body energy to balance yourself while walking and, if you are unlucky, you could slip and fall. For shorter trips that do not require a great deal of walking, a good pair of sneakers will do. A pair of tevas, sandals, slippers or flip-flop should also be included.
Another type of footwear that we strongly recommend is the famous Kampung Adidas – a popular choice among many outdoor adventure goers in Borneo for its practicality and functionality. The locals in Borneo have worn this inexpensive yet practical pair of footwear for many generations, especially among rubber tapers and estate workers.
Being made 100% out of rubber, they are light, waterproof, easy to dry and not to mention have astonishingly good grip on ground. Kampung Adidas is up for anything – they are ideal for hiking, mountain climbing, water paddling, river crossing and general outdoor wear. All shoes come in studded and non-studded soles, different sizes and laces against no laces.
Kampung Adidas is readily available in Borneo and you can buy them for RM5 – RM10 a pair. You will not find these shoes in malls but rather in shops at the streets. If you are interested in getting a pair, let your guide know and they will direct you to the right place.
Pros of Kampung Adidas:
- It has good grip – even in wet conditions.
- It is waterproof – you can drain the water out and wipe it dry.
- It is non-slippery.
- It is light.
- It protects your knees – since it does not have thick cushion, you will avoid landing on heels thus protecting your heels from impacts.
- Require minimal care.
Cons of Kampung Adidas:
- It does not give sufficient protection to toes.
- It does not support your ankles – consider wearing a supportive bandage.
- It may cause blisters – unless you wear two layers of socks.
For all sightseeing and outdoor adventures, we recommend you to:
- Take a backpack/soft-sided rucksack rather than a hard suitcase as it is more practical and use packing cubes to keep your belongings tidy whilst compressing the volume too.
- Combine your main backpack with a fold away day sack that will carry your essentials on day trips.
- Bring a microfiber travel towel – specially designed for travel as they fold really small so you can accommodate a larger size and they dry really quickly too.
- Bring plastic/zip-lock bags to keep clothes and cameras dry in case of rain and if your tour involves rivers and waterfalls.
- Bring your own water bottle to refill along the way.
- Look after your mobile phone with a phone bungee – it protects against loss, theft and damage and is especially useful when trekking.
- Use and charge electrical gadgets, please bring a travel adaptor plug (3-pin electrical sockets).
- Bring a torch light or LED head torch (do not forget to bring extra batteries and bulbs).
- Bring a light sleeping bag when required (please refer to your tour itinerary).
- Bring sunscreen, hat and insect repellent.
If you are climbing Mount Kinabalu, we recommend you to bring:
- A LED head torch to light your way during the pre-dawn climb and to signal for help when needed (do not forget to bring extra batteries and bulbs).
- A waterproof backpack to store and keep your clothes, camera and other belongings dry at all times.
- A rain cover for your backpack if it is not waterproof.
- A disposable rain coat/poncho to protect you from rain and wind when climbing.
- Energy food (chocolate, energy bars, nuts, biscuits, sweets, glucose, bananas) for the climb.
- A hiking pole/walking stick to protect your knees and ankles (if you do not have a walking stick, you can rent one for RM10 – 15 at Kinabalu Park HQ).
- Waterproof gloves for with insulation.
- Water purification tablets and a refillable 1 – 1.5 litre water bottle.
- Sunglasses, sunscreen and beanie.
- A whistle for emergency use – short blasts to attract attention, long continuous blasts for emergency and serious injuries.