Travel to Malaysia from West coast USA

Travel to Malaysia from West coast USA

From Australia see our recommendations –>here<–.
From USA East coast see Europe
From N Asia (China, Japan, Korea)  see our recommendations —>here<
From Europe see our recommendations –>here<

Wherever you coming from, you are aiming for Tawau Airport (TWU) and will need to transit in  Kuala Lumpur (KUL) or Kota Kinabalu (BKI) or Johor Bahru (JHB) (close to Singapore). You should aim to be landing in Tawau (TWU) before 2pm on the Monday of your arrival.  The only airlines that have flights into Tawau are Malaysian Airlines or AirAsia (Jan 2016).

Recommended Flights

From Kota Kinabalu  AirAsia AK6260 to Tawau  or   Malaysian Airlines  MH3051 to Tawau.

From Kuala Lumpur

Travel from West coast USA or Canada

Traveling from places in West coast North America the choice is to fly to Kuala Lumpor or add more stops via Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Beijing, Guangzhou or Hong Kong.  The last leg of your journey will be to fly:-

Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Tawau (TWU)

Kota Kinabalu (BKI) to Tawau (TWU).

Brunei to Kota Kinabalu (BKI) to Tawau (TWU).

The cheapest airlines around Asia are Jetstar,  Airasia, Malindo to/from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) or Kuala Lumpur (KUL).

The cheapest route is normally via Guangzhou or Hong Kong and then Airasia to Kota Kinabalu.  You can then overnight at one of the dozens of hotels in KK town to get over some of your jet lag and catch AirAsia AK6260 to Tawau (TWU) the following morning. Some long haul providers can also get you a domestic connection with Malaysian Airlinesin which case you want MH3051.

Coming from N. Asia to Kuala Lumpur you can overnight at the KLIA airport (Capsule or Tune hotel) or you can then overnight at one of the dozens of hotels in town to get over some of your jet lag. (Try Brickfields area, many cheap hotels or backpacker places close to Sentral in Downtown KL).

Catch AirAsia AKxxx to Tawau (TWU) the following morning.  Some long haul providers can also get you a domestic connection with Malaysian Airlines in which case you want MHxxxx.

We DON’T recommend flying to Brunei unless it is cheap with a good connection to KK.

Finally, we DON’T recommend arriving in Tawau at any time other than a Monday morning.  If you want a few days before you come to us, spend them in Singapore,  Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu.

Green turtles are common
Green turtles are common

Departure optional trip:

You might want to plan a few days in Semporna after your period of volunteering. This will allow you to dive Mabul and Sipadan with one of the local dive operators. They are world class dive sites, an interesting contrast to Pom Pom and a treat after all your hard work.

Departures

If you intend to depart immediately we recommend a return flight after 5pm. It is an hour from the island to Semporna by boat and then another hour by minibus to the airport. However that assumes the weather is perfect, you are the only person in the boat, there is a taxi at the jetty, the minibus is full and there are no holdups or breakdowns along the way. Not to mention no time to eat, change or use the restrooms.

If we leave the island after breakfast we are in Semporna in plenty of time for lunch. A flight after 5pm gives you all afternoon to get to Tawau airport.

Upon Arrival at Tawau airport

When you land, you will be met at the airport by our “fixer” Ugan. He will sort you onto the next available mini-bus to Semporna. This may not be leaving immediately so just be patient. You’ll have to pay RM25 direct to the driver. Since we have no way of knowing which driver you’ll get we can’t pre-pay this for you. The mini-bus will drop you at the new tourist jetty in Semporna (or Bismillah 2 restaurant -food and internet) at which point you’ve made it and should call us ( in this order please)  ( 0148629617 camp; 014 564 3017 boats;  0198309046, Steve or 0198505412 Hazel)  if we aren’t immediately obvious.

Communications

It is easy to get a Celcom or Tune talk data enabled SIM for your smart phone at most Malaysian airports.  Phones with 4g capability have the best signal/ data/ internet  on the island.  Any phone will work for email, sms or calls.  (PLEASE do not get Maxis, Hotlink, Digi, Umobile or other Network provider – THEY HAVE NO SIGNAL ON THE ISLAND).


 More info about your trip

menu Items 1-10,   –   Volunteer Index    –    FAQ

pink anemone fish A. perideraion - tracc hr  (800x395)

Travel From North Asia

For Travel to Malaysia from China, Japan, Korea

From Australia see our recommendations –>here<–.
From USA East coast see Europe
From USA West coast see our recommendations –>here<–
From Europe see our recommendations –>here<

Wherever you coming from, you are aiming for Tawau Airport (TWU) and will need to transit in  Kuala Lumpur (KUL) or Kota Kinabalu (BKI) or Johor Bahru (JHB) (close to Singapore). You should aim to be landing in Tawau (TWU) before 2pm on the Monday of your arrival.  The only airlines that have flights into Tawau are Malaysian Airlines or AirAsia (Jan 2016).

Recommended Flights

From Kota Kinabalu  AirAsia AK6260 to Tawau  or   Malaysian Airlines  MH3051 to Tawau.

From Kuala Lumpur

Travel from China, Japan or Korea

Traveling from places in North Asia the choice is to fly to:

Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Tawau (TWU)

Kota Kinabalu (BKI) to Tawau (TWU).

Brunei to Kota Kinabalu (BKI) to Tawau (TWU).

The cheapest airlines around Asia are Jetstar,  Airasia, Malindo to/from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) or Kuala Lumpur (KUL).

The cheapest route is normally via Guanzou and the Airasia to Kota Kinabalu.

Coming from N. Asia to Kuala Lumpur you can overnight at the KLIA airport (Capsule or Tune hotel) or you can then overnight at one of the dozens of hotels in town to get over some of your jet lag. (Try Brickfields area, many cheap hotels or backpacker places close to Sentral in Downtown KL).

Catch AirAsia AKxxx to Tawau (TWU) the following morning.  Some long haul providers can also get you a domestic connection with Malaysian Airlines in which case you want MHxxxx.

We DON’T recommend flying to Brunei unless it is cheap with a good connection to KK.

Finally, we DON’T recommend arriving in Tawau at any time other than a Monday morning.  If you want a few days before you come to us, spend them in Singapore,  Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu.

artificial crate reef
Reef 17 was built in 2012 and has clouds of fish.

Departure optional trip:

You might want to plan a few days in Semporna after your period of volunteering. This will allow you to dive Mabul and Sipadan with one of the local dive operators. They are world class dive sites, an interesting contrast to Pom Pom and a treat after all your hard work.

Departures

If you intend to depart immediately we recommend a return flight after 5pm. It is an hour from the island to Semporna by boat and then another hour by minibus to the airport. However that assumes the weather is perfect, you are the only person in the boat, there is a taxi at the jetty, the minibus is full and there are no holdups or breakdowns along the way. Not to mention no time to eat, change or use the restrooms.

If we leave the island after breakfast we are in Semporna in plenty of time for lunch. A flight after 5pm gives you all afternoon to get to Tawau airport.

Upon Arrival at Tawau airport

When you land, you will be met at the airport by our “fixer” Ugan. He will sort you onto the next available mini-bus to Semporna. This may not be leaving immediately so just be patient. You’ll have to pay RM25 direct to the driver. Since we have no way of knowing which driver you’ll get we can’t pre-pay this for you. The mini-bus will drop you at the new tourist jetty in Semporna (or Bismillah 2 restaurant -food and internet) at which point you’ve made it and should call us ( in this order please)  ( 0148629617 camp; 014 564 3017 boats;  0198309046, Steve or 0198505412 Hazel)  if we aren’t immediately obvious.

Communications

It is easy to get a Celcom or Tune talk data enabled SIM for your smart phone at most Malaysian airports.  Phones with 4g capability have the best signal/ data/ internet  on the island.  Any phone will work for email, sms or calls.  (PLEASE do not get Maxis, Hotlink, Digi, Umobile or other Network provider – THEY HAVE NO SIGNAL ON THE ISLAND).


 More info about your trip

menu Items 1-10,   –   Volunteer Index    –    FAQ

conservation volontaires

Travel from Europe

For Travel to Malaysia from Europe

From Australia see our recommendations –>here<–.
From USA East coast see below
From USA West coast see our recommendations –>here<–
From N Asia (China, Japan, Korea)  see our recommendations –>here<–

Wherever you coming from, you are aiming for Tawau Airport (TWU) and will need to transit in  Kuala Lumpur (KUL) or Kota Kinabalu (BKI) or Johor Bahru (JHB) (close to Singapore). You should aim to be landing in Tawau (TWU) before 2pm on the Monday of your arrival.  The only airlines that have flights into Tawau are Malaysian Airlines or AirAsia (Jan 2016).

Recommended Flights

From Kota Kinabalu  AirAsia AK6260 to Tawau  or   Malaysian Airlines  MH3051 to Tawau.

From Kuala Lumpur

Travel from Europe

Traveling from places in Europe the choice is to fly to:

Kuala Lumpur (KUL) to Tawau (TWU)

Singapore (SIN) to Kota Kinabalu (BKI) to Tawau (TWU).

Brunei to Kota Kinabalu (BKI) to Tawau (TWU).

The cheapest airlines around Asia are Jetstar,  Airasia, Malindo to/from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) or Kuala Lumpur (KUL).

Coming from Europe to Kuala Lumpur you can overnight at the KLIA airport (Capsule or Tune hotel) or you can then overnight at one of the dozens of hotels in town to get over some of your jet lag. (Try Brickfields area, many cheap hotels or backpacker places close to Sentral in Downtown KL).

Catch AirAsia AKxxx to Tawau (TWU) the following morning.  Some long haul providers can also get you a domestic connection with Malaysian Airlines in which case you want MHxxxx.

We DON’T recommend coming via Singapore on this route (unless you want to visit Singapore) OR it’s absurdly cheaper because it is a big detour. We also DON’T recommend flying to Brunei unless it is cheap with a good connection to KK.

Finally, we DON’T recommend arriving in Tawau at any time other than a Monday morning.  If you want a few days before you come to us, spend them in Singapore,  Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu.

Swimthru reef is very popular with black and white snappers.
Swimthru reef is very popular with black and white snappers.

Departure optional trip:

You might want to plan a few days in Semporna after your period of volunteering. This will allow you to dive Mabul and Sipadan with one of the local dive operators. They are world class dive sites, an interesting contrast to Pom Pom and a treat after all your hard work.

Departures

If you intend to depart immediately we recommend a return flight after 5pm. It is an hour from the island to Semporna by boat and then another hour by minibus to the airport. However that assumes the weather is perfect, you are the only person in the boat, there is a taxi at the jetty, the minibus is full and there are no holdups or breakdowns along the way. Not to mention no time to eat, change or use the restrooms.

If we leave the island after breakfast we are in Semporna in plenty of time for lunch. A flight after 5pm gives you all afternoon to get to Tawau airport.

Upon Arrival at Tawau airport

When you land, you will be met at the airport by our “fixer” Ugan. He will sort you onto the next available mini-bus to Semporna. This may not be leaving immediately so just be patient. You’ll have to pay RM25 direct to the driver. Since we have no way of knowing which driver you’ll get we can’t pre-pay this for you. The mini-bus will drop you at the new tourist jetty in Semporna (or Bismillah 2 restaurant -food and internet) at which point you’ve made it and should call us ( in this order please)  ( 0148629617 camp; 014 564 3017 boats;  0198309046, Steve or 0198505412 Hazel)  if we aren’t immediately obvious.

Communications

It is easy to get a Celcom or Tune talk data enabled SIM for your smart phone at most Malaysian airports.  Phones with 4g capability have the best signal/ data/ internet  on the island.  Any phone will work for email, sms or calls.  (PLEASE do not get Maxis, Hotlink, Digi, Umobile or other Network provider – THEY HAVE NO SIGNAL ON THE ISLAND).


 More info about your trip

menu Items 1-10,   –   Volunteer Index    –    FAQ

tracc volunteers and gapyear students on pom pom island semporna sabah malaysia

Travel from Australia

For Travel to Malaysia from Australia

From Europe see our recommendations –->here<–.
From USA East coast see Europe recommendations
From USA West coast see our recommendations –>here<–
From N Asia (China, Japan, Korea)  see our recommendations —>here<

Wherever you coming from, you are aiming for Tawau Airport (TWU) and will need to transit in Kuala Lumpur (KUL) or Kota Kinabalu (BKI) or Johor Bahru (JHB) (close to Singapore). You should aim to be landing in Tawau (TWU) before 2pm on the Monday of your arrival.  The only airlines that have flights into Tawau are Malaysian Airlines or AirAsia (Jan 2016).

Recommended Flights

From Kota Kinabalu  AirAsia AK6260 to Tawau  or   Malaysian Airlines  MH3051 to Tawau.

From Kuala Lumpur

Travel from Australia

Traveling from places to the South of Sabah (Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Singapore)  it is normally easier and faster to fly direct to Kota Kinabalu (capital of Sabah, Malaysia) airport code BKI.

The cheapest airline is normally Airasia from various Australian cities, Jakarta, or Bali to Kota Kinabalu (BKI) or Kuala Lumpur (KUL).

Coming from Australia and New Zealand we recommend a flight via Bali or Jakarta to Kota Kinabalu (BKI). You can then overnight at one of the dozens of hotels in town to get over some of your jet lag and catch AirAsia AK6260 to Tawau (TWU) the following morning. Some long haul providers can also get you a domestic connection with Malaysian Airlines in which case you want MH3051.

We DON’T recommend coming via Kuala Lumpur or Singapore on this route unless it’s absurdly cheaper because it is a big detour. We also DON’T recommend flying to Brunei unless it is cheap with a good connection to KK.
Finally, we DON’T recommend arriving in Tawau at any time other than a Monday morning.  If you want a few days before you come to us, spend them in Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabalu.

female turtle
Departure optional trip:

You might want to plan a few days in Semporna after your period of volunteering. This will allow you to dive Mabul and Sipadan with one of the local dive operators. They are world class dive sites, an interesting contrast to Pom Pom and a treat after all your hard work.

Departures

If you intend to depart immediately we recommend a return flight after 5pm. It is an hour from the island to Semporna by boat and then another hour by minibus to the airport. However that assumes the weather is perfect, you are the only person in the boat, there is a taxi at the jetty, the minibus is full and there are no holdups or breakdowns along the way. Not to mention no time to eat, change or use the restrooms.

If we leave the island after breakfast we are in Semporna in plenty of time for lunch. A flight after 5pm gives you all afternoon to get to Tawau airport.
cropped-aligator-fish-954-x-1300-header.jpg

Upon Arrival at Tawau airport

When you land, you will be met at the airport by our “fixer” Ugan. He will sort you onto the next available mini-bus to Semporna. This may not be leaving immediately so just be patient. You’ll have to pay RM25 direct to the driver. Since we have no way of knowing which driver you’ll get we can’t pre-pay this for you. The mini-bus will drop you at the new tourist jetty in Semporna (or Bismillah 2 restaurant –food and internet) at which point you’ve made it and should call us ( in this order please)  (014 862 9617 camp; 014 564 3017 boats;  019 830 9046, Steve or 019 850 5412 Hazel)  if we aren’t immediately obvious.

Communications

It is easy to get a Celcom or Tune talk data enabled SIM for your smart phone at most Malaysian airports.  Phones with 4g capability have the best signal/ data/ internet  on the island.  Any phone will work for email, sms or calls.  (PLEASE do not get Maxis, Hotlink, Digi, Umobile or other Network provider – THEY HAVE NO SIGNAL ON THE ISLAND).


 More info about your trip

menu Items 1-10,   –   Volunteer Index    –    FAQ

tracc volunteers and gapyear students on pom pom island semporna sabah malaysia

Everything about a conservation trip

Welcome to a conservation trip to TRACC
This page tries to summarise all the basic information for a trip to TRACC.  For more info, try menu Items 1-10,   –   Volunteer Index    –   Conservation  – 

Getting here

Please arrive at Tawau (Malaysia) airport (Code TWU) on a Monday morning. Volunteers who wish to arrive early to get over jetlag we recommend an overnight at the Capsule or Tune hotel at the KLIA-2 airport. There are a wide range of flight options via Kota Kinabalu (BKI) International airport or you can fly via Kuala Lumpur (KUL).  Options are also available through Hong Kong, Brunei or Singapore and get a local flight. Air Asia, Malaysian airlines, Firefly, Malindo or Silk air are lo-cost regional airlines.

Please click here for flight recommendations from Australia  —  Europe  — North America (West coast) — (East coast) — North Asia (Japan, China, Korea),

Visa Requirements

There is no pre travel visa required for most nationalities to enter Malaysia. Citizens of most countries get a 90 day social visit visa on arrival. Check the Malaysian Immigration website for detailed information.

Currency and Exchange Rates

The Malaysian currency is the Ringgit. The conversion rate (Dec 2015) is around 1 MYR to 0.15 GBP, 0.20 EUR and 0.23 USD.

What’s included in the price of the project?

Accommodation: Your own tent with fan, lights & electricity on an almost deserted beach.  Couples get 2 tents. Bedding, Pillows, Towels are provided and changed regularly. Shared use of washing machine.

Food: 3 meals per day – breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus snacks & drinks (we can cater to vegetarians and others)

Airport pick up and drop off, (Tawau airport about lunchtime on Mondays)

Training: Orientation and project induction provided,

SCUBA Dive Training:  One dive course for each 2 week stay plus Coral planting training plus coral and fish identification, Scientific diving course is also included. (discounts or other courses for qualified divers).

• SCUBA Dive courses:  We teach PADI open water (OW), Advanced (AOW), Emergency First Response (EFR), Rescue and Divemaster (DM).  We accept other qualifications.

Support: 24 hour support, Safety & Medical

Communications: Good phone signal on beach, Acceptable internet from many smart phones & tablets. Regular phone or internet contact with friends or family. No free Wifi at camp but 3g available on most phones.

University or college projects for individual students are designed and supported for 4+ week stays (rescue qualified diver) or 8+ week stays (diving qualification completed with TRACC). Please see our list of suggested projects and discuss them with us and your supervisor.

Excursion Planning: Staff can help organise extra dive courses and additional land or water excursions

Transport to Pom Pom Island from Semporna on Monday afternoons. Boats on other days at RM250 per trip. Semporna to/from Tawau airport ( RM 25 each way by bus)

All dive equipment (except: watch/computer, mask, snorkel, fins, skins/rash vest/ stinger suit/ wetsuit)

What’s not included?

Flights to Kota Kinabalu or Tawau (Air Asia, Silk air, Firefly or Malindo are cheap local airlines, Malaysian airlines or Royal Brunei are often the cheapest International carrier)
• Insurance (recommend
DAN trip insurance)
• Visas (Malaysia gives 90 days free entry visa on arrival for most countries)
• Water & sand proof watch, ( casio digital or similar) (some dive computers available to hire)
• Dive skins or T shirts, (rugby or football or sport shirts are good and cheaper than dive skins.
• Wetsuits are only needed by thin people or for long dives – the water is 25-29 deg C. (some available to hire)

Snorkel gear (mask, fins, snorkel) – volunteers need to bring their own.  Bring fins suitable for water shoes or dive boots since you may need to walk on coral rubble. (walking with bare feet on a coral reef is NOT recommended!
Some snorkell equipment can be hired by backpackers with little space but masks especially are personal and need to fit.
• We recommend Crocs (real or copies) as beach shoes – much cheaper than dive boots in your fins :-).
• Underwater or land cameras (computers are available to download photos and burn to disc.)
• Alcohol, canned drinks, snacks, nibbles, toiletries, personal items, (all available in tuckshop or town)


For more info, try menu Items 1-10,   –   Volunteer Index    –   Print this info (Print version PDF)

10a    Diving costs (qualified)

10b   Trainee diver costs

10c   Snorkelling costs

BOOK NOW      Email ;- info@tracc-borneo.org

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