I am planning a surprise holiday for my husbands 50th birthday next year and am thinking of KL and Sabah. The main reasons for choosing these destinations is to combine a city break with seeing the orang-utans and also to have some beach/chill out time. As the cost is going to be quite expensive I want to make sure I am making the right choices based on the views of those who have alraedy been there.
1. Firstly is it better to go in Feb or March with regards to the amount of sunshine we will get in Sabah?
2. Is 3 nights (2 days) enough time in KL to see the main tourist sights. I would like to go to Malacca whist we are there if possible.
3. One of the tour operators does a package that consists of KL 3 nights, Sabah 1 night, Sandakan 1 night then back to Sabah for 7 nights. This includes a boat trip on Menanggoi, a visit to Giomantong cave and a trip Sepilok to see the orang-utans. Has anyone done this trip as a package and if so is it worth doing or would it be cheaper/better to have more time in Sabah and arrange the trips from there?
4. Is the beach nice at the Rasa Ria - there seems to be conflicting views. I like to relax on the beach without hassel and also be able to swim in the sea. Is this possible or would I be better having less time at Sabah and perhaps spending some nights on Langkawi for the beach destination?
5.There also seems to be conflicting views on Rasa Ria with some saying it is great, food good, orang-utan sanctury good to visit, whilst others say it is awful with screaming kids, tired looking rooms and poor food. I just want a nice clean room, good food, friendly staff and a nice poool area - does it provide this? Bearing in mind I would be in a basic room as unfortunatly my budget won't stretch to the Ocean Wing.
6. I must admit we don't normally like to be hotel based and enjoy eating out at local restaurants but I understand you are quite cut off from anywhere else. Is it worth going into Kota Kinabula for an evening just to break up the monotony of eating in the same place every night, or would it be better staying at the other hotel nearer to town?
7. What is the average price for a 3 course evening meal at the Rasa Ria (based on current exchange rate to GB pounds) and would it be better to pay for breakfast in with my holiay price or wait till I arrive. The main brochures all seem to be charging approx £9.00 per person per day for breakfast.
Sorry - last question!! Is it worth choosing the Rasa Ria for the orang-utan sanctory? Again the reviews seem very conflicting with some saying it is a disappointing experience, not being able to see much or take photos etc. Is this true and is the Sepilok trip any better - again some conflicting views. I'd hate to go that way and spend a lot of money and it not to live up to expectations.
Hopefully someone out there will be able to answer my many questions so I can go ahead and book our trip.