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“Very hot Train ride”

North Borneo Railway
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North Borneo Steam Train with Tiffin Lunch from Kota Kinabalu
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: The North Borneo Railway runs two weekly return departures (Wednesday, Saturday) from Kota Kinabalu to Papar, year round. Lasting approximately 4 hours, passengers experience the lush landscape of the coastal and rural regions of Sabah. A typical 'tiffin' colonial lunch will be served on the return trip.
Level Contributor
26 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Very hot Train ride”
Reviewed 8 July 2014

Just before this review sounds like sour grapes I'd like to emphasize that the service on board, the staff, the food & drinks (you need to pay for drinks) and the effort made by this company was all really good. I think you need to be a true train enthusiast to enjoy this trip as you really are sitting in a vintage carriage (read no air-conditioning only ceiling fans!) filled with smoke from the steam engine. You pass by what looks to be the back of suburbs and light industry. Don't be fooled into thinking you're going for a train ride in the country side as you do go pass a significant amount of built up area. The stops are OK and they do give you a feel for local culture but you need to want to be interested in that for yourself. The first stop allows you to walk to a Buddhist temple. There are no talks, tours or shows to entertain you at the stops. It is up to you to walk around which you're forced to do at the last stop Papar. Also, the train carriages are small with not much leg room at the seats and tables. If you are a tall or large person you may find the trip trying especially when using the toilet which is in a small space. We went with young children who didn't cope too well with the heat and walking around the towns but enjoyed the train sound and watching smoke puff out of from the engine carriage.

Visited July 2014
10 Thank MM74L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Manila, Philippines
Level Contributor
101 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 77 helpful votes
“Nostalgic Journey”
Reviewed 7 July 2014

Heritage train, runs twice a week and journey last halfday in the morning only. Snacks, (Tiffin) Lunch and Desserts included.

Along the way, go back in time as this is the oldest remaining steam train in Sabah and Borneo. This is also a few handful in the world still in operation.

See the countryside inside fan carriages, pass through a tunnel, mangrove area, army camp, paddy fields, water village, have a picture taken in a Chinese temple and a final stop in a local market.

Visited November 2013
1 Thank byrone29
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
96 reviews
40 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“An interesting adventure!”
Reviewed 5 July 2014

I thought the cost of this train ride was pretty steep but I thoroughly enjoyed myself during the 4 hours and I must say it's totally worth it!

It was the first time we had been on a steam train and we were really excited to be able to get seats for the ride, which only happens on Wednesdays and Saturdays, so plan your trip in advance. The taxi fare from KK city to Tanjung Aru train station is 30RM, and do ask your taxi driver to pick u up at about 1.50pm from the station as there are hardly any cabs waiting there.

Before the train actually left the station, we could watch the engine coupling and there was ample time for everyone to take pictures of the front of the train. The train interior was colonial and the piped music provided the appropriate atmosphere for the adventure. 12 people to a cabin, not crowded at all.

The stewardess we had was polite and cheerful and we were wowed by her thoughtful service. Breakfast of tea/coffee with croissants was pretty filling - a whole basket to share between 2 people! Everyone is issued a train passport which is stamped at each small town the train passes or stops at - fun for the kids!!

The first stop was at a small town with a small temple. Nothing very much to see but still quaint and interesting. Like going back in time to a kampung.

The train doesn't go fast, so its ok to stick your head out of the windows for beautiful and fun pictures when the track is curved =)

At the end of the forward journey, we watched the train turntable at work, which was interesting cos how many of us would have seen this previously... it was like Thomas the Train engine in reality. The weather was extremely hot in June when we went - there was a guided walk to the nearby fruit market, which is really just a big market, nothing much to scream about.

The ice cold towels on our tables when we got back to the train were so refreshing!! Thumbs up!

Lunch was quickly served when we headed back. We were happy that the nasi briyani was changed to fried rice for the children without us having to ask - very thoughtful indeed. The fruit servings were generous, as you can see in my pictures. Traditional ice cream at the end of lunch was also very much appreciated. =)

Totally enjoyable ride for the kids in us adults! I would do it again!!

Visited June 2014
8 Thank Wyverns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Level Contributor
243 reviews
51 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 89 helpful votes
“Nice train but nothing to do during the stops.”
Reviewed 3 July 2014

We take the North Borneo train , it is well organized , and fine if you like old trains , as there is no much to see during the “20 minute” stops in the 3-4 stations on the way –in, the food served is ok.

Visited June 2014
Thank Bzh56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Singapore, Singapore
Level Contributor
100 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
“This trip is worth every penny”
Reviewed 1 July 2014

This was our second excursion on the North Borneo Steam Engine. We were delighted the first time and the second didn't disappoint. If you are expecting to see herds of buffaloes sweeping across the plains or the hanging gardens of Babylon or volcanoes erupting this is not the trip for you (please read some of the other reviews)

However if you want to ride on a steam train through the real and natural Kota Kinabalu then hop aboard. The journey does take you through small townships and villages. You will see children waving and industrial areas but you will also hear the engine and smell the wood burning (the steam train is a Vulcan class adapted for wood burning and not coal - it's more environmentally friendly)

Your journey starts off with you collecting your ticket an passport. This gets stamped along the journey and is a nice keepsake. Breakfast is served on the train, tea and coffee with a selection of parties and breads. There are a couple of stops,this first allows you to visit a Chinese temple. This is a working temple and is a fascinating area to explore. You then carry on to the turn around point. You are free to visit the market town, we did this the first time so decided to wait at the station and take pictures of the train on the turntable. It's at this point where you can indicate to the staff that you would like to ride up front in the engine. It costs you 20 ringgit to the driver but worth the small charge. You get to walk up the tracks and board the train, it then heads back past the carriages and is routed back on to the main line. You get about 15 to 20 minutes and it's great fun!

Lunch is served tiffin style on the journey back, this is good and tasty.

This is a worthwhile trip and kids will love being on a Harry Potter train!

Visited June 2014
4 Thank Messtin112
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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