Finding my island rhythm.

We napped in our kayaks after getting up at the crack of dawn to see the sunrise, the spellbinding kind where you can’t get the colors out of your head. The night before, we stayed in a treehouse in the middle of the rainforest with limited electricity because the island ran completely on solar energy. Later that morning we were entertained by monkeys as they tried to steal our breakfasts! I found my island rhythm and never wanted to leave…sepanggar islandNumerous tiny islands surround Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, in Borneo. Located in the Malay Archipelago, Borneo is made up of parts of Indonesia, East Malaysia and Brunei. Known for some of the best diving spots including Sipadan Island, lush rainforests and warm weather year round, we explored some of the prettiest islands I’ve ever seen, like my favorite, the remote Sepanggar Island. The only accommodation on the island is with Mari Mari Sepanggar Lodge, and the only way to get there is by private boat, 15 minutes from Kota Kinabalu or KK as the locals call it.sepanggar island There isn’t much to do on the island except relax and enjoy nature as it was intended. Most mornings I’d get up early to take in the sunrise, then patiently watch the fishermen wade back and forth while I sweetly swayed on my hammock. Coming from busy city life this was new to me, yet I could feel the island beckoning me into its quiet stillness, so I quickly adapted to her pace.

sepanggar island sepanggar island kayakingOne of my favorite parts during our stay was scuba diving in the crystal clear waters. I’ve snorkeled many times before but being able to get up close and discover this underwater world was beyond words. This was taken right before I (gracefully) tumbled back into the water from the weight of the tank. sepanggar island scuba diving

Since the resort sits on a protected forest reserve and practices sustainability, there are a few things to note:
1. Their chalets (glorified treehouses) are either in the rainforest or near the beach. If you opt for a house in the forest, be prepared to walk quite a bit up and down various staircases. Since they were not allowed to cut down any of the trees when they initially built the space, they had to build around them to ensure the natural environment stayed intact.
2. Motorized sports are not offered, but there is still plenty to do like scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming, kayaking or jungle trekking.
3. There are no stores on the island! Don’t forget to bring essentials.
4. The only source of electricity is provided through solar panels. You may charge your phone during the day but no large electronics.
5. You’ll be sharing the island with numerous monkeys so don’t leave food out and always lock your doors upon leaving.

sepanggar island palm tree sepanggar island sepanggar island sunsetsepanggar island kayakingDo you think you could live on an island? I always thought I’d get really bored but these few days convinced me otherwise!