MALAYSIA AND SINGAPORE
Sabah - Land Below the Wind
brings you the best of Sabah, Malaysia
Sabah, the second largest state in Malaysia, is located on the northern eastern part of the island of
Borneo. The state of Sabah is one of the two states of East Malaysia
(The other state is Sarawak).
Sabah, with its many natural wonder, is often
to as the 'Land below the Wind'
The administrative capital of the state of Sabah is
Population wise, there are about 30 ethnic groups living in Sabah,
with as many as 80 dialects spoken. The largest ethic group is the
Kadazandusun. Other ethnic groups are the Bajau, Rungut, Murut,
Malays and Chinese, etc.
Rich tropical forest covers much of Sabah which provides shelter for
wildlife - and is home to the Orang Utan and probiscis monkey. The
world's largest Orang Utan rehabilitation centre is located in Sabah.
A spread of beautiful islands surrounds the
seas of Sabah -
Pulau Tiga ('Survivor Island'), Pulau Sipadan, Pulau Layang-layang
are some of the many exotic islands of Sabah, popular with
travellers and locals.
Sabah is hence a great place to see
tropical forest, enchanting exotic islands, wildlife and some of
cultural diversity of Asia
Rafflesia, found in the jungle of East Malaysia, is
the world's biggest flower. The flower consists of 5 petals
measuring 30cm to 1 metre in diameter, and can weigh as much as
Malaysia and South East Asia
Location: East Malaysia (Borneo)
State Capital: Kota Kinabalu
Government of Sabah website:
Chief Minister of Sabah:
Datuk seri Musa Haji Aman
Highest Peak in Malaysia:
Towns and Cities of Sabah
KOTA KINABALU (The Capital of Sabah)
Kota Kinabalu or KK as it is commonly called, is located on the west
coast of Sabah, facing the south China Sea. The city, formerly Jesselton, is
a major tourist destination and gateway for travellers visiting Sabah and
Kota Kinabalu is named after Mount Kinabalu, the
highest peak in Malaysia, located about 50 km away. Kinabalu comes from the
word 'Aki Nabalu' which means the "revered place of the dead". Kota is the
Malay word for "fort" or a "city". The city has a world class marina,
championship golf courses and many holiday resorts and hotels (Hotels Kota Kinabalu).
There is also an international airport a short distance away.
Attraction in and around KK
Gaya Street Fair (Sunday Market) - Gaya Street (or Bond Street) is
located in the Kota Kinabalu Central Business District. Every Sunday
morning, the length of Gaya Street is closed to traffic for vendors to
display their merchandise. You can shop for anything under the sun, from
batik sarongs, souvenirs and handicraft to fruits and flowers. The Gaya
Street Fair is on every Sunday from 6.30 am to 1.00 pm
Island and park Visits - Facing the South China Sea, KK is teh
gateway to some of teh exotic islands of Boreo - Pulau
Bunga Raya and
Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.
Where to stay in Kota Kinabalu
Other Attractions in and around KK
Aquarium & Marine Museum
Atkinson Clock Tower
Borneo Art Gallery
Jesselton Point Waterfront
Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre
Mari Mari Cultural Village
Petagas War Memorial
Puh Toh Tze Temple
Sabah State Museum & Heritage Village
Major Towns in Sabah
Sandakan is the second largest city in Sabah, which is located on the
east coast of Sabah. The town has a historical stand as it once served as
the capital of British North Borneo during the British colonial rule. It is
also the site of a World War II Japanese airfield which was built by the
forced labour of Javanese civilians and Allied prisoners of war. In 1945,
the surviving prisoners were sent on the Sandakan Death Marches—after which
only 6 survived the war.
Sandakan is the gateway to eco-tourism destinations
such as the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, the Turtle Islands Park, Sukau
Proboscis Lodge, and the archaeological Gomantong Caves.
Sandakan Market - one of the largest and busiest in Sabah
Agnes Keith House
Sandakan War Memorial Park
Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple and Sam Sing Kung Temple
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre
Selingan Island (Turtle Island)
Tawau is located in the south-eastern coast of Sabah. It is the
third largest town in Sabah after Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan. The town is
famous for its fresh and reasonably in expensive seafood.
Nearby Islands: From here you can go
by road to Semporna and travel from there to diving sights such as the
islands of Sipadan, Mabul, Pom Pom, Mataking and Kapalai .
Tawau Hills Park is about 25 kilometres from Tawau.
The park has the world's tallest tropical tree and also various flora and
fauna rarely found in other forest reserves.
Other Attractions: Balung Eco Resort, and Teck Guan Cocoa Museum.
Parks and Nature
Mount Kinabalu or Gunung Kinabalu in Malay, is the highest Mountain in
Malaysia.. The mountain and the area surrounding it is the Kinabalu National
Park (a World Heritage Site).
The mountain, at 4,095 metres (13,435 ft), is an
important tropical forest reserve with over 600 species of ferns, 300 over
species of birds, and 100 over mammalian species. The largest flower in the
world, the gigantic Rafflesia plants is fond in this forest. Mount Kinabalu
has been accorded UNESCO World Heritage status.
The main peak of the mountain (Low's Peak) is popular
with climbers. Other peaks however, require rock climbing skills
Kinabalu Park is located 88 kilometers (2 hours) away from Kota Kinabalu by
road. As Kinabalu Park is located in a hilly area, it is necessary to pack
up warm clothing.
Don’t forget to bring a highly water resistant knapsack and a raincoat - as
it often rains in the rainforest!. Be prepared with energy snacks for the
climb. Be sure to bring along a torch light in case one gets lost at night.
Options: By Bus - City bus terminal KK; By Taxi ; By rented car to Kinabalu
Most people stay in the Kinabalu Park the night before the climb. You will
need to register at the park HQ, obtain a climbing permit and hire a guide
For more information and accommodation reservation:
Sutera Sanctuary Lodges, G.15, Ground Floor, Wisma Sabah,
88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.
Telephone: 6088-243629, 6088-245742
Fax: 6088-259552; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: www.suterasanctuarylodges.com (online booking available)
Or, go directly to the Sabah Parks (at the Kinabalu Park reception counter)
to arrange for a climbing permit, mountain guide, insurance, climbing
certificate, porter service, and Transport to Timpohon Gate (starting
point). Telephone: 6088-889098
Maliau Basin Conservation Area (Sabah's Lost World)
The Maliau Basin is an area of forested land stretching about 588 sq.km in
South Central Sabah, near Tawau. The basin, known as 'The Lost World of
Sabah' is a mysterious forest enclosure that has remained pristine and
uninhabited by man.
This saucer shape basin measures some 25km in
diameter and is formed through sedimentary inclination beds of sandstone and
mudstone. The highest point is Mount Lotung (over 1,600m high).
The area houses about 12 forest types, comprising lower
montane forest dominated by majestic Agathis trees, rare montane heath
forest and lowland, and hill diperocarp forest. The majestic 7 tiers Maliau
Falls lies within the forest.
To enter the Maliau Basin, visitors must obtain permission from Yayasan Sabah.
Traveller to this area must remember that the Maliau Basin is very remote and isolated
area with limited access to the outside world, cut off from communications and
little medical facilities. The basin provide nature lovers an excellent site
for jungle trekking, bird watching and wildlife spotting. About 69 mammals
and over 231 species of animals have been found here. The Maliau is a refuge
for rare and endangered animals such as Sumatran Rhino, Proboscis monkey and
the Asian Family genre.
It is advisable to visit the Maliau Basin large groups (8-12). For group
travel, it may cost over RM1500 per person - inclusive of meals, campsites
and returned transfer, rental of VHF radio, forest ranger /radioman and
Maliau Basin Conservation Area is accessible by road either from Tawau or
Keningau. The 5-hr journey on four wheel drive is mostly on logging roads
(unpaved earth roads) to the Maliau Basin Security Gate. The distance from
Tawau to Maliau Basin Conservation Security Gate is about 190 kilometers.
Flying is another option if you can afford the luxury. There are several
helipads available which can be used
for emergency evacuations or by visitors who prefer to fly in.
For arrangements and information, contact:
Borneo Nature Tours Sdn Bhd (KPL/LN 3719)
Block D, Lot 10, Ground Floor, Sadong Jaya Complex, 88100 Kota Kinabalu,
Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre
The Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre was established in 1964 to
return orphaned apes back to
the wild by the Wildlife Department of Sabah.
The centre has a reception centre, information centre, offices for wildlife
staff, an animal clinic,
quarantine area and enclosures for various animals such as the rhinoceros.
Getting There - Take a tour from Sandakan or take the bus or taxi
from Sandakan town (from outside Majlis Perbandaran Sandakan) to the Centre.
You will have to walk about one and a half km in. Be sure to hire taxi for a
return trip. The distance between Sandakan and the Centre is approximately
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary - travel to Sandakan and book a tour
from tour agencies there or contact the Sabah tourism office
Other Nature destinations (external site):
Sabahtourism.com nature destinations
Islands of Sabah
Sipadan is about 35km south of the town of Semporna and lies about five
degrees north of the equator in the Sulawesi Sea (Celebes Sea). The island
is thickly forested and surrounded by sandy beaches - an oceanic island
formed by living corals growing on top of an extinct undersea volcano,
rising 600 meters
from the seabed.
Sipadan is at the centre of one of the richest marine
habitat in the world. More than 3000 species of fish and hundreds of coral
species have been classified in this richest of ecosystems. Sipadan has been
rated by as one of the top dive destinations in the world.
Divers delights in some of these spectacular sightings:
- An unusually large numbers of green and hawksbill turtles can often be
seen gathering to mate and nest. A turtle tomb, that contain many skeletal
remains of turtles, lies within a labyrinth of tunnels and chambers in
underground cave beneath.
- Schools of barracuda often gather forming spectacular tornado-like
- Other species sighted includes bumphead parrotfish, eagle rays, scalloped
hammerhead sharks and whale sharks, in dives
Where to Stay
Dive operators are not allowed to have resorts in the island itself since
2004. However, divers are ferried by
operators operating from the mainland or nearby islands other than Sipadan
Visitor or divers can contact dive operators or stay at some excellent
Hotels in Semporna
1.Borneo Divers & Sea Sports (Sabah) Sdn Bhd
2.Explore Asia Tours Sdn Bhd (Sipadan-Mabul Resort)
3.Seaventures Tours & Travel Sdn Bhd
4.Sipadan Water Village Resort Sdn Bhd
How to get to Sipadan - Fly from Kota Kinabalu to the city of Tawau (Sabah).
Then travel by road to Semporna. From Semporna to Sipadan is a 40 minutes
ride by speedboat. Visitors MUST make arrangements regarding transportation
with your respective resort/dive operator.
Pulau Tiga or "Survivor Island"
The island has attained fame by being the first ever ‘secret’ location for
the hit reality series, ‘Survivor’. Science then it is often refered to as
Survivor Island. Located about 10km off the west coast of Sabah, visitors
can make a day trip to the island or spend a few nights there at the two
resorts on the island - Pulau Tiga Resort and Borneo Survivor Resort. Pulau
Tiga is also famous for its therapeutic natural volcanic mud.
Activities to enjoy here are swimming, kayaking or exploring its underwater
Getting There - Get to Kuala Penyu, which is about 120km from
Kota Kinabalu. Then take a bus from the Segama overhead bridge (next to the
Post Office) Or take and expensive taxi ride from the taxi stand next to the
Merdeka Field should cost around RM180.00 per trip. Boat transfers must be
arranged through tour packages. Contact a travel agent for more information.
SABAH ISLAND DESTINATION List
Near Kota Kinabalu:
Layang-Layang Island, Kota Kinabalu
Bunga Raya Island Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu
Tunku Abdul Rahman Park marine park, Kota Kinabalu
Hotels in Kota Kinabalu Sabah
Dinawan Island, Kinarut / Papar
Kapalai Island, Semporna
Kelambu Beach, Kudat
Lankayan Island, Sandakan
Libaran Island, Sandakan
Mabul Island, Semporna
Mantanani Island, Kota Belud
Mataking Island, Semporna
Pom Pom Island, Semporna
Pulau Tiga "Survivor Island", Kuala Penyu
Sipadan Island, Semporna
Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Semporna
Turtle Island Park , Sandakan
Usukan Cove , Kota Belud
Hotels to stay when going to these islands:
Hotels in Papar
Hotels in Semporna
Hotels in Kudat
Hotels in Sandakan
Hotels in Kota Belud
Park and Island Contacts
Block K, Lot No. 1-3, Phase 1,
P.O Box 10626,
88806, Kota Kinabalu
Tel. no: +6088-211881
Pulau Tiga Resort
Borneo Survivor Resort
Tel: +6088-230 806
Fax: +6088-237 806
Where to stay in SABAH
Getting to Sabah and Moving Around
The main international airport in Sabah is at Kota Kinabalu, the capital.
Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines and Air Asia fly direct to Kota
Kinabalu form Malaysia or Singapore. (read
Transportation Malaysia for
There are also domestic airports at Sandakan, Lahat Datu and Tawau. There is
also an airport at Labuan (Fed. Teritories)
Malaysian Airlines serving Sabah:
Airlines flying to and from Sabah:
and Malaysia Airlines,
Airlines, MASWings, Silkair
Batavia Air. The latest budget airline serving East Malaysia
is Malindo Air (from 22 March 2013)
More on air travel in Malaysia at:
Malaysia Air Transport page
You can travel by road from Sarawak or Indonesia (Borneo), and within some
major towns in Sabah.
Though there are much fewer roads in Sabah compared to Peninsular Malaysia,
paved roads do link some major towns/ cities.
Sabah Railways operate within the state only.
The main station of the Sabah State Railway is the Tanjung Aru Kepayan
station. Another station is located near Petagas (Kota Kinabalu
International Airport). The Sabah State Railway offers railway services to
three major towns—Papar, Beaufort, and Tenom.
Sabah Railway Station is open daily from 8a.m to 5p.m. It is only 10
kilometers, or a 10-minute drive away from Kota Kinabalu.
Getting to the station - Go to the bus station adjacent to Wawasan Plaza,
Kota Kinabalu and take bus No.17B (to Putatan). The bus operates from
6.30a.m to 8p.m; but do inform the bus driver/ conductor about your drop off
point. Alternatively, you can take a taxi/ cab from the city centre to Sabah
For more information, call the Kota Kinabalu office at 088-254611, Papar
office at 088-913514, Beaufort office at 087-211518, or Tenom office at
Sabah Tourism Board, 51 Gaya Street, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Malaysia.
Sabah Tourism -