myMalaysiabooks - insider guide to Malaysia and Singapore   

 Today's Date:  

My Malaysia and Singapore


Discover Malaysia and Singapore with mymalaysiabooks 




My Malaysia

My Singapore

My Asia






Travel Store


Travel Destination


Travel Essentials




Hotel and Tours


Food and Recipes






Finance . Business


Health Care


Free Maps


Dictionary Glossary


Holidays . Calendars


News Today


Related websites



about this site

about us






RSS feed





by our affilates






Hotel in Penang



Save on your hotel -



browse the book



Where to go

 How to get there Where to Stay

home > Malaysia >Sabah  





Sabah - Land Below the Wind

myMalaysiabooks brings you the best of Sabah, Malaysia


SABAH, East Malaysia

Peak at Gunung Kinabalu (Mount Kinabalu), Sabah


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 referred to as the 'Land below the Wind'

The administrative capital of the state of Sabah is Kota Kinabalu.

sunset at Gunong Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia    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 10kg.

Malaysia and South East Asia


Location: East Malaysia (Borneo)

Land Area: 73,619 square kilometers

State Capital: Kota Kinabalu

Government of Sabah website:


Chief Minister of Sabah:

Datuk seri Musa Haji Aman


Highest Peak in Malaysia:

Gunung Kinabalu


Map of Sabah

(courtesy of Tourism Malaysia)

Sabah Maps


Sabah Road Map

East Malaysia Map



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 Borneo.
     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 Layang-Layang, 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

Handicraft Market

Jesselton Point Waterfront

KK Esplanade

Kota Kinabalu Wetland Centre

Mari Mari Cultural Village

Petagas War Memorial

Puh Toh Tze Temple

Sabah State Museum & Heritage Village


Other 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.

Other Attractions:

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
Crocodile Farm
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre

Berhala Island
Selingan Island (Turtle Island)
Gomantong Cave


Wildlife centre, Semengoh, Sabah

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

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

At the peak of Mount Kinabalu, SabahGetting there
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 Park
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 before setting-off.
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:
Website: (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 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.

Getting There

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 guide.

    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, Sabah

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 23km.


Other Attractions

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): nature destinations

Sabah Wildlife Department


Islands of Sabah

Pulau Sipadan

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.
Green Sea Turtle - curtesy of MS     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 formations.

- Other species sighted includes bumphead parrotfish, eagle rays, scalloped hammerhead sharks and whale sharks, in dives at Sipadan.

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 and Ligitan. Visitor or divers can contact dive operators or stay at some excellent resorts nearby:

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 treasures.
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.



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


Others Islands

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

Hotel Search
Save on your hotel -

Other Park and Island Contacts

Sabah Parks
Block K, Lot No. 1-3, Phase 1,
P.O Box 10626,
88806, Kota Kinabalu
Tel. no: +6088-211881
Fax: +6088-211585


Pulau Tiga Resort
Tel: +6088-240584
Fax: +6088-240415

Borneo Survivor Resort
Tel: +6088-230 806
Fax: +6088-237 806


Where to stay in SABAH

Hotels in Sabah by cities

Hotels Kota Kinabalu

Hotels in Sandakan

Hotels in Tawau

Hotels in Labuan


Hotels in Papar

Hotels in Semporna

Hotels in Kudat

Hotels in Sandakan

Hotels in Kota Belud

Search Hotels - Hotel Search Engine


Getting to Sabah and Moving Around

MasWings, serving domestic destinations Sabah and SarawakBy Air

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 details)

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: AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, MASWings, Silkair and 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


Sabah Road MapBy Road

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.


BY Rail
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 Railway Station.

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 087-735514.


Other Information

Sabah Tourism

Sabah Tourism Board, 51 Gaya Street, 88000 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah Malaysia.

Sabah Tourism - official website




| home | travel destination | accommodations | copyright and disclaimer |

copyright  © 2005-2012 All rights reserved. Read the copyright and disclaimer before you proceed