29 responses

  1. hayadith
    December 19, 2011

    this is a very wonderful article to read. I am sure Sabahan will be so proud to read this too.

    create your own job here, Dave. Stay here..grow old (ahem, grow older) in Sabah and make it as your home. :)

    absence makes heart grows fonder. Once u miss Sabah, feel free to come back ;)

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      December 21, 2011

      Hello!! Glad you enjoyed it. Amazing how writing a positive article attracts less then a perceived negative one eh ;)

      Not so easy to set up one’s own job there either. All markets I’m capable of are already over filled. What to do with this aging guy :)

      I’ll certainly come back, might not need my current woolly hat though!

  2. Kristina
    December 19, 2011

    While I have enjoyed your posts on Sabah, I’m glad to hear you are feeling better and look forward to seeing where you head next.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      December 21, 2011

      Thanks Kristina, appreciate it. Going to test things out over the next couple of weeks. Website will be on auto pilot for a while!

  3. loeffle
    December 19, 2011

    great post and it more or less agrees with my observations. while my experiences in west malaysia were also great, sabah with its sabahans is very special.
    I fear religion and not ethnicity may be the problem of the future, but both topics are linked.
    the danger is much bigger in indonesia though and I’m optimistic the 1Malaysia concept will prevail.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      December 21, 2011

      Glad you found similar experiences over there. It’s always strange, yet obvious, to visit a nation that’s so very different in each major region.

      I also have hope for Malaysia as a whole. But the whole world as a whole right now is coming through some major changes.

  4. eli
    December 19, 2011

    thank you for the post about our Sabah Dave.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      December 21, 2011

      You welcome Eli

  5. Nathan
    December 19, 2011

    Great article Dave. A little more in-depth than usual? In 2012, I plan in seeing Sabah. Thanks for the insight.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      December 21, 2011

      Hey Nathan, I’m trying to round out every country with an in-depth feature like this. Mainland Malaysia’s feature article stirred people up a lot “What would it be like to live in Malaysia” so I guess this is just a rebuttal to some of the conflicting people out there to say not all of Malaysia is the same!

  6. Anna’s World
    December 19, 2011

    I really enjoy it when you do articles like this. In depth, analytical, and personal. But you also leave room for others to contribute.

    I’ve read both, and would also prefer Sabah. It seems closer to nature there and not so overwhelming.

    So curious about your next destination. Brunei? Looking forward to it.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      December 21, 2011

      No not Brunei :) I’m trying to add something like this for every country I’ve spent some time in.

      There’s a big difference from passing through, and staying a while.

  7. Jason
    December 19, 2011

    I’ve enjoyed your writing throughout your time in Sabah Dave. I do agree with many points you’ve raised above in relation to the friendliness of it’s people and it’s great choice in quality food. These are both points that I picked up on during my short visit a couple of years back.

    I understand your frustration mate, in trying to find decent employment on your search for that place called home. I have many friends who have made their way around the world in search of something similar, but many can just not settle unless they are 1. happy with their environment, and 2. making a decent income to support themselves. It’s always one or the other, but seldom both…..

    Good luck on your next port of call mate, and I’m curious as to where that may be?

    Safe travels…

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      December 21, 2011

      Hey Jason, yea there are a lot of catch 22’s out there. Like most things in life, you sometimes have to take a 60/40 percentage and make do with it.

      It’s that act of weighing things up that’s hard. Especially when in travel the grass is always greener, and only one border away.

      Work for someone who’s a non-national is difficult to find anywhere in the world it seems. Real work that is and not volunteering or the like.

      I think you’ll approve of the next destination, if your profile photo has anything to do with it ;)

  8. Anwar I
    December 20, 2011

    You leave us with the great blessing of kind true words. We are not perfect, we should strive to be better than what we are today. My hope is our economy will improve and you will find the time to return to a home.

    Stay strong, be wise, continue with you what you brought here. May your journey be a fruitful one. You are doing the work of many.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      December 21, 2011

      Thanks for the kind words Anwar and in taking the time to send them. It’s appreciated.

  9. charles
    December 20, 2011

    A very interesting read. I’ve bookmarked it to show my wife. We are looking for a seasonal retirement house in a place that’s not filled with golfers.

    Any idea how easy it is to fly in and out? Borneo always sounds so remote.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      December 21, 2011

      Hi Charles, welcome. Yes, Kota Kinabalu is very easy to fly in and out of. It’s linked with Air Asia to mainland Malaysia which is a huge international hub. Getting in and out with an international transfer, and depending on your flights, can all be done in a day, usually.

  10. Johnathan
    January 2, 2012

    Interesting read for many people thinking how easy it is to just get up and move somewhere new. I’ve only done it myself via work which as you rightly pointed out takes away a lot of the problems.

  11. Anthony
    January 8, 2012

    Interesting and compelling read, Dave. I may have to check it out on one of my visa runs ;)

  12. thiru
    April 9, 2012

    I truly agree with what you have wrote here. im from west malaysia and stayed in Sabah (KK)for a about 3 months for a community based research. People are friendly, less stereotyping, less ethno-centric. the people are nice to be around with, except for the immigrants which i find less appealing for me and Sabah is trying hard to cope with.
    Tourism is great, rich with culture and authentic!! Get to their local markets, and find those local jungle produces. Organic produces are cheap there. Nature is with you despite the hot weather. I definitely promote Sabah and Sarawak to everyone. I myself thinking of relocating to Sabah or Sarawak!

  13. John John
    April 9, 2012

    Malaysia was formed in 1963, not 1966.

    • Dave from The Longest Way Home
      April 9, 2012

      Correct, I’d written 1963 earlier on in that paragraph the latter was a typo. Thank you for pointing it out I’ve not corrected it.

  14. Nate @ House of Annie
    May 17, 2012

    Sabah is a wonderful place and its people are beautiful. You are right in that there isn’t the “ticking time bomb” feeling that you get in Peninsular Malaya. But there are a lot of hard feelings vis a vis the illegal immigrant situation.

    The fact that Sabah is both the richest state in terms of natural resources and yet the poorest state in terms of percentage of people in poverty is quite dismaying. It points to the corruption and mismanagement so endemic in the government. Nothing that you can do about it though.

    I don’t know if you will return to Sabah or even to Borneo but I hope it will be under better and healthier circumstances.

  15. Nadia
    May 18, 2012


    I just happened to stumble upon your blog and am myself a Sabahan.:) You are right! Sabah,Sarawak and West Malaysia should definitely be viewed separately. Kudos for distinguishing this aspect of Malaysia as a whole. :)

    This was an interesting read. You’ve caught on most of the way Sabahans live their lives. You’re right on the racism aspect of Sabahans.(I read your post on living in West Malaysia). We don’t dwell so much on what race you are and what religion you practice.

    Like me, I am of Chinese, Indian, Bajau, Dusun and Indonesian ancestry. So how can I conform to any kind of racism?

    Anyway, I am happy you liked Sabah! I hope you would come back and explore more. There is more to Sabah than just Kota Kinabalu.:) And as for the food, yes its grand! If I could suggest a place for you to visit the next time it would be a seafood restaurant called Salut if you haven’t already. It’s famous for its seafood.You should try it!:) As for places, Danum Valley and Maliau Basin are awesome travel destinations but do keep in mind that they are pricey.

    This entry brought a smile to my face. Am missing home and this entry reminds me all of that is beautiful in Sabah, the land below the winds. My home.:)

    Anyway, I hope you are well and you will find what you are looking for from your travels! Happy travels.

  16. Macinac Harper
    August 17, 2012

    I found Sabah to be safe; the people approachable; the weather much too hot (except high in the mountains). I found that people have “dirty habits”, meaning that they will drop litter anywhere, leaving public spaces dirty. Some people are less than courteous in public encounters (they will cut in front of you in a queue, either in automobile traffic, waiting at the post office, or at a supermarket checkout).

    Some public facilities are not kept in good repair; or were poorly implemented in the first place. One example of this is landslides across mountain roads. Another example is the lack of ditches beside roads in the lowlands, with the result that they flood, leaving a dusty patch when they dry.

    Maybe my problem is a “developed country” point of view.

    BTW, I have been to Sabah several times.

  17. Monika
    December 30, 2012

    Hi there! I’m from Sabah. Happy to note that you love Sabah. I’ve been told by many of my overseas friends that Sabah definitely has charms. I love this particular blog entry among others – “captured” us well i.e. the way we live our lives – well, almost! Come back soon :)

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