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Beach at Tanjung Aru or Rasa Ria for children?

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Beach at Tanjung Aru or Rasa Ria for children?

Thank you for all of your replies to my previous post - they are most helpful and apologies for bombarding you with more questions!

The kids will be fine with the heat, we always go somewhere tropical and they're love the 'adventure', we have been to Penang, Redang and Langkawi and fared well (although the youngest didn't come to Redang).

As per time to go - I have 3 options (due to school!)

August (End)

October (Middle)

February (beginning of)

What is your opinion

I have twin girls that are only 3 and my eldest girl is 7 so they we are restricted to what activities we can all enjoy together however I do take Grandma with us because she enjoys the plentiful babysitting opportunities which allows me to do lots of shopping and the odd adult only excursion!!!

My eldest is now a competent snorkeller and loves the sea, the other girls are quite happy building sandcastles on the beach but then get bored quickly and want to return to the pool. I was a little bit put off of the Aru because I thought you had to get a boat to the beach? Even if it's not a long boat journey, for us - it's takes a military style exercise encompassing buckets, spades, toys and then the subsequent 25 trips to the bathroom! So we need somewhere that we can just wander from the pool to the beach and back at liesure (if you know what I mean!).

But I don't want to miss out on the 'cultural' bits either. More importatnly, the shopping. Do they have the Night Markets that sell all the fake gear and stuff? And if we stayed at the Ria - is it in within travelling distance for an evening out?

Is there a more suitable hotel than either of the Shangri-la's (I would rather stay in these though!)

Sorry for such a long post - I seem to want it all, don't I???

Thanks in advance


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for Kota Kinabalu, Wangaratta, Sandakan
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1. Re: Beach at Tanjung Aru or Rasa Ria for children?

I will answer your questions as best I can.

Time to go - as far as weather it does not make a lot of difference. There is no wet season as such on the west coast of Sabah as it is sheltered by the mountains. You are going in school holidays with kids so expect kids to be around. I ususally go in March but I don't think there is any real reason for that other than habit.

Shopping - Tanjung Aru and Sutera Harbour are close to KK therefroe have easy access for shopping. Rasa Ria is about 45 minutes by road from KK and the resort runs a shuttle bus to and from but there is a charge. Turan Town, a resonably large regional centre is a 10 minute cab ride from RR at about 60mr return and the driver will usually wait for up to an hour. It is a local town so don't expect to by designer goods but there is agood Sunday Market.

Beach - there is really no beach at either Tanjung Aru or Sutera harbour as both a built on reclaimed land. You do have to get a boat to get over to the Islands There is a huge beach at RR, 4km + long but I don't think there are any snorkling sites nearby.

Curtural - RR has a weekly cultural night which is great entertainment. There are also 2 tour shops in the resort Exotic Borneo and Wildlife Expeditions who can arrange tours all over Sabah.

Markets- the best is the Gaya St Sunday Market in KK. It is huge and you name it you can buy it! Satrats early around 8.00 am and ends about 2pm. It is very crowded and bedlam but great fun. Also the Tuaran Markets I mentioned earlier. Fake gear is getting harder to find as the law is claming down. I did find Rolexes around the foreshore markets in March and check with the video store in Centre Point, Wisma, KK Plaza and Warisan shopoping centres for good cheap DVD's and Cpomputer games. They were hardert to find in March than previously.

For ideas of things to do have a look at TA Inside pages at tripadvisor.com/Travel-g298307-s1/Kota-Kinab…

Hope all that helps

Maidstone, United...
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2. Re: Beach at Tanjung Aru or Rasa Ria for children?

With regards to a beach, the TA does have a very small man made sandy crescent beach which is netted off in the sea.

From your discription this would be perfect as not only is it generally unused and therefore uncrowded as most people prefer to sit around the grounds under or near the palm trees, but it is also within sight of the pool thus giving the best of both worlds.

For those that just want a beach its perfect. If you like to swim in the sea though, the swimming area is a little small and the water not very clear in which case you are better to take the short boat trip to Sapi which has a great beach with easy snorkling in clear waters. Sapi also has toilet and showering facilities.

Kota Kinabalu
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3. Re: Beach at Tanjung Aru or Rasa Ria for children?


I am a UK expat living in Kota Kinabalu, have a young son (2 years), go to both hotels on a regular basis and am a member at the Tanjung Aru hotel, so hopefully can help.

Based on what you have asked for I'd probably advise the Tanjung Aru hotel is the best all round for you and your young kids in KK as it is located in town. If you stay at the Rasa Ria this is approx a 30 minute drive out of town alone by itself, so may restrict you if you want to see KK town or just get out of the hotel to shop and eat.

There are a few markets and there is a good Sunday morning tourist market on Gaya Street in KK town (but not that much fake gear like Bali for example).

I'd probably say the pool and beach are better at the Rasa Ria although the Tanjung Aru is OK too. The Rasa Ria is on a long large stretch of white beach but it would take you a few minutes to walk from the sea to the pool / loo, but with no good snorkling at the Rasa Ria. Also the sea at the Rasa Ria could get a bit rough for little ones, you would not get this at the Tanjung Aru as the small beach / sea are sheltered.

If you stay at the Tanjung Aru you can be in town, it's small crescent private beach is right next to the pool / toilet (you can see the kids on the beach from the pool), plus they run a free shuttle bus to the Rasa Ria hotel so you can have day trips there for free and see the baby Orangutans they keep at the hotel.

Also if you stay at Tanjung Aru the kids club is better, and at the hotel jetty they actually run a boat service to 3 islands off the coast of KK (a 10 minute boat ride to all). 'Beach Bums' who operate the boat service will hire you everything you need (snorkling gear, mats etc) from the jetty to you don't need to bring them. On the islands you have beaches which are very good for snorkling. I'd probably recommend Manukan or Sapi as they have the best facilities / snorkling.

Also the Tanjung Aru beach hotel is right next door to the main public beach which is a few miles long and you can easily walk to it from the hotel (10mins to the hawker stalls). The beach is not great for sunbathing, and sometimes has some litter (they do clean it every day), but if you walk down in the evening you can watch the sunset and have a beer at the hawker stall complex (which also has some OK cafes which will do a burger and chips) and the kids can dig in the sand.

Anything else let me know, it pays to be prepared with kids! We live in KK, are back in the UK for month soon, then are stopping in Dubai for a week on the way back to KK, so also have lots of logistics to arrange with a little one!

Hope this helps.


4. Re: Beach at Tanjung Aru or Rasa Ria for children?

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