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Welcome to Sabah

Often called the 'Land Below the Wind' because it lies below the typhoon belt, Sabah occupies the eastern part of North Borneo and is East Malaysia's second largest state with an area of 74,500 sq.km. Sabah has the South China Sea on the west and the Sulu and Celebes Seas on the east.

Mountainous and largely carpeted by lush tropical rainforests, its population of nearly two million is made up of 32 colourful ethnic communities.

Kota Kinabalu, the capital, lies in a fertile lowland plain where most commercial and administrative activities are concentrated. But the 'real' Sabah can best be found in its contryside.

Kinabalu Park has been listed as a UNESCO Heritage Site, due to the diversity of plant life and wildlife there. It provides a challenging climb amidst a lush virgin rainforest, where you can find hidden hot springs in cool high altitudes.

Sipadan island off the south eastern coast of Sabah, has been one of the top five dive sites in the world for years. This is attributed to unique underwater goegraphy that encourages proliferation of wildlife. Leatherback turtles, barracuda and white tipped sharks are a common sight while diving in Sipadan.



Places of Interest

Sabah Museum
This museum in Kota Kinabalu is built in the longhouse style of the Rungus and Murut communities. It showcases a wealth of ethnic treasures and handicrafts. History lovers will be charmed by the Sabah Tourism Building, one of the only three buildings in Kota Kinabalu to have survived World War II. Other attractions in the city include the State Mosque, Museum of Islamic Civilisation, Atkinson Clock Tower and Signal Hill.

Shopping and Crafts Sabah is famed for its splendid souvenirs including beads, accessories and bamboo products. The KK Handicraft Market, Kadaiku and Wawasan Plaza Handicraft are popular shopping spots in Kota

Mount Kinabalu The majestic Mount Kinabalu, standing at 4,095.2m, is one of the highest peaks in Southeast Asia. It is the main attraction of Kinabalu Park, Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site. This dense jungle contains one of
the world’s richest assemblage of plants. Don’t miss a visit to the Poring Hot Springs, a natural health spa offering open-air Japanese-style baths. The annual Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon draws participants from around the world.

Sipadan Island
Sabah has a number of excellent dive spots, with the jewel being the world-famous Sipadan. Its location at the heart of the Indo Pacific Basin makes it one of the richest marine habitats in the world. Here, fascinating sights of turtles, reef sharks and a thrilling 600m drop-off await experienced divers. The island was made famous by renowned oceanographer Jacques Cousteau in his documentary, ‘Ghosts of the Sea Turtle’.

Mabul and Kapalai Islands
Situated near to Sipadan, these two islands are great destinations for macro-diving.

Other Dive Sites A ring of 13 coral atolls, Layang Layang is another world-class dive site of unique character. It offers the best chance to spot hammerhead sharks along with many kinds of pelagics. A cornucopia of fish life and wreck diving are major attractions in Mantanani. Other dive sites include Pulau Tiga, famed as the ‘survivor island’ as well as Lankayan and Mataking.

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park Enjoy splashing fun at this marine park, situated just 20 minutes by speedboat from Kota Kinabalu. Made up of five islands, it is the ideal playground for swimming, snorkelling, diving and even parasailing. Don’t miss the unique experience of ‘seawalking’ amidst colourful fishes.

Monsopiad Cultural Village Go back in time, to the era of the legendary Kadazan warrior Monsopiad. Founded by the direct descendant of Monsopiad, this living museum showcases traditional village houses, a sacred House of Skulls and several other attractions. Don’t miss the exciting cultural performance.

Sunday Gaya Street Market This open-air market is the place to get handicrafts, local delicacies and fresh jungle produce. The Tamu Kota Belud is another popular Sunday market for all things traditional. Watch the vibrantly dressed Bajau horsemen riding gaily decorated ponies during ceremonial occasions. They are known as ‘Cowboys of the East’ for their horsemanship.

White-Water Rafting Enjoy the heart-stopping experience of contending the rapids! The Padas and Kiulu Rivers are popular for river rafting activities.

Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre Watch orang utans, known as the ‘wild man of Borneo’ during the daily feeding sessions. Said to be the world’s largest orang utan sanctuary, the centre serves to rescue and retrain primates for jungle living. Off the mainland, Turtle Islands Park is reputed to be one of the most important turtle breeding spots in Southeast Asia.

Sukau Situated on the Lower Kinabatangan River, Sukau has Malaysia’s greatest wildlife concentration. Prolific bird species and animals such as orang utans, crocodiles and proboscis monkeys live along the riverine wetlands. Enjoy a boat ride to take a close look. En route, visit Gomantong Caves, home to millions of swiftlets. They are prized for the bird’s nest soup.


Danum Valley Conservation Area
Sabah’s largest expanse of lowland dipterocarp forest is haven to various bird species, reptiles, amphibians, fishes and over 110 mammals. Viewing platforms, a canopy walkway and nocturnal tours are not-to-be-missed adventures.

Tabin Wildlife Reserve Hailed as one of the finest wildlife viewing areas in Borneo, Tabin is home to some of the largest mammals in Sabah such as the Borneo Pygmy Elephant and Sumatran rhino. A highlight here is the mud volcano, reputed to possess healing properties.

Antique Train Rides Ride on the North Borneo steam train from Tanjung Aru to Papar to experience the charms of a bygone era. Take in the scenic sights of the countryside and enjoy a tiffin lunch on board. Alternatively, the local train to Tenom takes passengers on a scenic route traversing the picturesque Padas Gorge.

Kudat Long House Make a visit to the traditional long house of the Rungus tribe. Their traditional attire and intriguing culture will make your trip unforgettable. Homestays are a fascinating way to observe their lifestyle.

The Tip of Borneo Experience the thrill of standing at land’s end! Simpang Mengayau Bay is the northwestern tip of Borneo. It offers glorious views of the sea and surrounding islands.

Golfing The state boasts many superb golf resorts designed by world-renowned names such as Ronald Fream and Ted Parslow. Major resorts are situated in Kota Kinabalu, Bongawan, Tuaran, Karambunai, Tawau and Kundasang.

Getting There
Kota Kinabalu International Airport is the main entry point into the state. Sabah is easily accessible by frequent short-haul flights from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Peninsular Malaysia. Visitors can also fly in from the Kuching International Airport in Sarawak as well as major cities in Malaysia. The Kota Kinabalu Port welcomes tourists arriving by cruise ships. Private yachts can dock at Sutera Harbour Marina.

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