Meet a driver at your hotel in Kota Kinabalu for departure between 8:45 and 9:15am, then travel to Tanjung Aru Train Station, the starting point for the North Borneo Railway.
The train departs at 10am, so you’ll have some time to explore the station as stokers feed wood into a blazing fire, building up steam to power the engine. Settle into a comfortable seat on the train, and watch the outskirts of the city give way to a lush, green landscape.
Pause to stretch your legs when the train makes a sightseeing stop at Kinarut Town, where you can browse a few traditional shops, or light some incense at the Buddhist Tien Shi Temple. Climb back on the train for the final trip to Papar, a busting town whose market overflows with fresh produce, spices, and handicrafts.
Head back to the train for the return trip after the conductor turns the engine around using a classic railway turntable. On the voyage back to Tanjung Aru Train Station, the train staff will serve lunch in multi-tiered metal tiffins, a hearty spread with a little bit of everything. After a final cup of tea or coffee, you’ll arrive at the station, and meet the driver for the return trip to your Kota Kinabalu hotel.