Thursday, June 05, 2008

Top 10 Things to Do in Sabah

1. Climb Mt Kinabalu

There’s no doubt that this mountain is admired by tourists and locals alike. Standing at 4095 metres, the highest peak in Malaysia, you can see it from practically every corner of Sabah, but get a little closer and take pleasure in its splendour or climb it and see much more. Situated in Kinabalu Park, 88 kilometres or about one and a half hours from the city of Kota Kinabalu, Mount Kinabalu should be on the top of your list of places to visit while you’re here in Sabah.

2. Explore the jungles

Whether you’re a self-confessed tree hugger or know someone who is a nature lover, the words ‘jungles of Borneo’ will surely conjure the visions of a thrilling adventure. Sabah is definitely THE place for jungle trekkers, being home to one of the oldest rainforests in the world, saturated with a plethora of flora and fauna with equals found no where else in the world. The celebrities of Sabahan rainforests include the Maliau Basin, Danum Valley and the Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

3. Scuba dive

If you’re already a diver then you will know that Sabah waters are a complete bliss for divers and remains as one of the best scuba-diving venues in the world. Sipadan has the reputation of being one of the top five in the world with hundreds of Green, Hawksbill and Olive Ridley turtles, numerous species of sharks and schools of barracuda and jacks inhabit the waters, along with innumerable other fantastic sea creatures, swimming above amazing coral reefs. Sabah’s underwater world is certainly famous for an amazing diving experience and places like Mataking, Mabul, Lankayan and Mantanani are among the favourites for divers.

4. Spot Wildlife

Where there are jungles, there is wildlife to be seen. By simply cruising along the Kinabatangan, you’ll have the chance to spot the pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, various species of birds and other exquisite animals that populate nowhere else but Borneo. Visit the Orang Utan Sanctuary in the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre and see how they mingle freely there. With its wealth of nature, culture and unique surroundings, there are a million and one things that you could do here in Sabah. We’ve got it narrowed down to the favourite 10 things to do while you’re here in the Land Below the Wind.

5. Laze on the beach

Sandy white beaches, surrounding blue waters and the sun in the bluest skies. You don’t really need another excuse to spend a day relaxing on a heavenly beach. All you need is good weather, some sunscreen and a ticket to one of Sabah’s many beautiful islands your beach holiday will be fantastic. The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park’s 5 islands are just minutes from Kota Kinabalu, but other popular island destinations include Pulau Tiga, Mabul Island and Pulau Selingan.

6. Sightsee

Get your camera ready for places of worship, markets and historical buildings placed in the city and towns, or drive through the country roads to enjoy the sights. Some notable landmarks around Sabah are the Menara Tun Mustapha in Kota Kinabalu, a cylindrical glass structure that also boasts to be the tallest building in Borneo. Get cultural and go to the Monsopiad Cultural Village in Kampung Kuai Kandazon, Penampang, just 10 minutes from the city. If you’re in Sandakan then be sure to drop in the historical Agnes Keith House, home to the local author Agnes Keith from 1930 to 1952 which was destroyed in World War 2 then restored to what it is now.

7. Visit a tamu

A ‘tamu’ is a market held once or twice weekly, found in almost every district of Sabah. Make it a point to make a trip to the Gaya Street Fair held every Sunday, the Penampang tamu held on Thursdays and Fridays or to the Kundasang tamu in Ranau on Fridays. Better yet, mark your calendars for Kota Belud’s spectacular Tamu Besar on the 25th and 26th October this year. Fresh farm produce, local handicrafts, fruits, seafood, livestock and an assortment of curious knick-knacks are sold in this vibrant atmosphere, where a rich experience of sights, sounds and smells await you.

8. Eat

When you’re in Sabah, decide to live to eat! Have your fill of fresh seafood or tantalize your taste buds with the local favourites. Walk along Gaya Street in Kota Kinabalu and venture into popular coffee shops like Kedai Kopi Kinabalu and Kedai Kopi Yee Fungand eat up - try a delicious bowl of ngiu chap (beef noodles in a clear soup) or get addicted to laksa, a mouth watering bowl of noodles in a spicy, curry-like soup with shrimp and shredded chicken. Pick a coffee shop, an outdoor eatery or a fancy restaurant; whether you try the superb local cuisine or something that reminds you of home, the food here will make you hungry for more.

9. Shop for crafts

Sabah is famed for its many wonderful crafts made of bamboo, woven leaves, wood and other natural materials crafted by the locals. Unique ethnic prints and colourful motifs make eye-catching souvenirs and decorative items. Drop in the Handicraft Market in Kota Kinabalu, visit Kadaiku in Sinsuran for authentic local handicraft or browse through a tamu near you to buy a pretty little something to remind you of Sabah.

10. Play golf

Sabah is a proud owner of numerous designer golf courses located in all corners of the state. The Shan Shui Golf & Country club’s 18-hole golf course, designed by Nelson & Haworth, is situated on the airport highway 15 km off Tawau. Sutera Harbour’s magnificent 27-hole golf course, designed by Graham Marsh is one of the largest in Malaysia and the only one on Borneo that offers night golfing. Mount Kinabalu Golf Club in Ranau has the highest tee-off point in Sabah with a view of Mount Kinabalu. Located just an hour away from KK city, the Borneo Golf and Country Club designed by Jack Nickalus is both beautiful yet challenging. It’s not suprising that some find it hard not to make time for a game of golf on at least one of Sabah’s remarkable golf courses.

Courtesy of: Sabah Malaysia Borneo - Sabah Tourism Monthly Tourism Magazine

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