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Published on November 29, 2017

Fort Santiago, Manila, Philippines. Image courtesy of Mike Aquino.

What You’ll Get

A 7-day/6-night cross-border adventure between Kota Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia; and Manila, the Philippines – exploring two radically different cultures just a single sea apart.


A thousand kilometers of ocean separates the capitals of Sabah, Malaysia and the Philippines – but you’ll find a world of adventures between the two cities.

Starting at Kota Kinabalu, you’ll drive through the city and take in its key sights: a view of the city from atop Signal Hill; the resplendent State Mosque; the elegant Tanjung Aru beach; and Kadaiku, a trading post for authentic Sabahan handicrafts, including bead-work, handmade baskets, and hand-woven tapestries.

Further from the city limits, you’ll see the majestic wilderness that makes up the majority of Sabah, embodied in Kinabalu Park, a treasure trove of biodiversity, with 4,500 species of plants, 289 species of birds and 290 different types of butterflies; and the Poring Hot Spring with its invigorating baths and its dizzying canopy walkway.

Crossing over to Manila, you’ll see a bustling city of a different kind: the walled enclave known as Intramuros recalls the days when Spain ruled this part of the world, as embodied in the cobbled streets of San Agustin Church; the domestic scenery of Casa Manila; and the bygone power of Manila Cathedral and Fort Santiago.

The city of Makati could not be more different – the financial district of the Philippines boasts of millionaires’ mansions, towering high-rises, and a surprisingly calm gravesite for World War II soldiers in the American War Memorial.

You’ll finish your trip in Tagaytay City, located some 630m above sea level, where you can have a laid-back meal while glancing over the calm blue waters of Taal Lake and its dormant volcano in the middle.

Kota Kinabalu from Signal Hill. Image courtesy of Tourism Malaysia.