Situated on the northern part of Borneo, Sabah is a destination filled with exoticness, diversity, unique cultures, beaches, and food for the adventurous taste buds. It is the complete destination for business and leisure, for everyone from families, FITs to honeymooners.
Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah, popularly known as KK by the locals is a modern city offering international-standard hotels and resorts as well as a range of fast-food restaurants and international cuisines.
Vacationing activities in KK can start as early as you land. The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TARP) is a group of five islands namely Sapi, Gaya, Manukan, Sulug, and Mamutik Islands, each located within minutes of each other. A 250m zipline from Gaya to Sapi using the Coral Flyer could be your first taste of adventure here.
You will soon realize much of your holiday here will be spent on the water. Whether you’re looking for a quiet sunset cruise (Sabah is Insta-famous for sunsets) or a pumped-up party on board, the North Borneo Cruises is your go-to provider for a cruise package on the South China Sea.
Cultural enthusiasts will enjoy a fun and educational visit to Mari Mari Cultural Village. Featuring the homes of five different tribes namely the Kadazan-Dusun, Rungus, Lundayeh, Bajau, and Murut, visitors can grab the chance to see the making of different types of rice wine, clothes made from the jackfruit bark, blowpipe demonstration, fire-starting demonstration using bamboo, and get an in-depth look at the mystical symbolism behind them. Visitors are also given the opportunity to sample Sabahan traditional delicacies from each ethnic group. The cultural village is a perfect outing for the family.
Sabah takes pride in the mystical Mount Kinabalu, designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000. Mount Kinabalu is one of the youngest mountains in the world (between 7-8 million years) and this granite mountain still grows. The mountain is a bio-diverse hotspot that houses an astonishing array of records of all sorts; the highest plant diversity globally per unit area, the world’s largest flower Rafflesia, even the world’s largest leech!
Climbing Mount Kinabalu is a popular activity for visitors. Extreme adventure seekers can opt for the via ferrata (or iron road) at Mount Kinabalu. The via ferrata here is the world’s highest at 3776m.
The top three highest mountains in Malaysia are all located in Sabah, namely, Mt Kinabalu (4,095m), Mt Trusmadi (2,642m), and Mt Tambayukon (2,579m). Those wanting more adventure can plan to trek up these three mountains and have one of the rarest achievements for others to envy.
Visitors can head up to Tenom for a thrill white water rafting adventure at Padas River, graded as level 4 to 5. Visitors can also find mild rafting experience at Kiulu, graded at levels 2 to 3. A perfect adventure to enjoy with a group of friends.
Sabah is gifted with a long coastline with stretches of white sandy beaches and turquoise crystal clear water and hundreds of islands. These islands are well-known for scuba diving, water sports, snorkeling, or just for plain relaxing. Some have planned destination weddings by the beaches, against a backdrop of fiery sunsets.
Diving is big in Sabah, where the jewel Sipadan Island, one of the top-rated dive spots in the world, is found. At nearby islands to Sipadan such as Mabul, Kapalai, Mataking, and Pom Pom islands, large marine life, tiny sea creatures, and colorful corals and reef are guaranteed sightings. At the islands, high to medium range resort facilities await.
There is also the Tun Sakaran Marine Park with its mysterious and legendary Bohey Dulang, a trademark of the Semporna seas. A hike up Bohey Dulang is a must, rewarding you with stunning views upon reaching the top, perfect for an Instagrammable moment!
Sandakan is the wildlife capital for Sabah. The familiar orangutan at the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Sanctuary is a must-visit. It is the leading center of excellence for orangutans in Borneo which offers a less rugged experience where visitors can view, from a platform, how rescued orangutans are nursed and released back into the wild. Next to it, the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre nurses adorable sun bears. The Rainforest Discovery Centre located within the vicinity has a long canopy walkway for an opportunity to sight 250 species of birds and one of the few places to see the Giant Red Flying Squirrel.
Want more of a wildlife adventure cruise? Then head on to Kinabatangan River for an amazing jungle cruise! Other than being home to Borneo’s indigenous orangutan and proboscis monkey, the surrounding forest at Kinabatangan River is also one of only two known places in the world where 10 species of primates are found. All the eight species of hornbill found in Borneo make this area their home. A trip up the river at dawn or dusk is the best opportunity to see the wildlife. You might even sight a herd of the Bornean pygmy elephants wandering through the trees.
Apart from the marine and nature parks, wildlife sanctuaries, and forest reserves, tourism attractions can also be found in the rural areas of Sabah. This is where community-based tourism comes in. Community-based tourism or CBT for short is an initiative to promote sustainability and improve the livelihood of the community in an area, emphasizing the development and involvement of the community in developing and managing their own tourism destination and products.
Sabah consists of more than thirty different races and ethnicities with the number of languages and dialects going over eighty. All these different groups live together and form a homogenous community, where they are still retaining their own culture, custom, tradition, art, and festivals.
Scenic and beautiful view of the countryside with cultural experience makes it an ideal getaway for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. Sharing their way of life to travelers, activities that are offered by the communities include paddy planting and harvesting, rubber tapping, river fishing, playing of traditional instruments and games, production of traditional handicrafts, cooking of local dishes, and many more. So why not participate in a community-based tour that gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture, delivering you an authentic and rewarding experience while giving back to the community.
MICE and business events are not new in Sabah. Sabah has proudly hosted many international events and groups, offering world-standard facilities for regional and international events as well as professional and innovative event organizers and suppliers.