Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sabah is South East Asia's best kept secret

BALI has long been a popular destination for Australian travellers, thanks largely to its proximity and value for money.

But another South-East Asian destination is quickly emerging as an attractive alternative - Sabah in Malaysia.

On the beautiful island of Borneo, Sabah is the second largest of Malaysia's 13 states and its beauty is like nothing I have seen. With a consistent tropical climate of 32C, Sabah really is a year-round holiday destination.

It is not overly populated, the tourist hordes have yet to discover it and the beautiful people are so friendly it almost makes you wish you lived there permanently.

In downtown Kota Kinabalu, you can explore the four-level shopping complex Centre Point and still get your quirky mix of traditional Asian markets with fresh fruit, handicrafts and paintings.

If you tire of Asian cuisine, you can still get your fix of Western food, with McDonald's, KFC and Starbucks in the main Kota Kinabalu shopping hub.

And there is a range of resorts competing for tourists.

Luxury resorts

If you're looking for 5-star luxury, the Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa, part of the Shangri-La family, is a good option. Set on 10ha of landscaped gardens, only 10 minutes from the city centre, it's easy to see why this fantastic resort was voted the best in Malaysia.

The resort caters to all ages, with a beachside restaurant designed to resemble the popular Ku De Ta in Seminyak in Bali and a separate children's pool zone with an ice-cream parlour.

To truly get the most out of the resort, it's worth paying a little bit extra to stay in a seaview deluxe suite, which looks out on to the resort's private beach.

The equally beautiful Sutera Harbour Resort, which includes the Magellan Sutera Resort and The Pacific Sutera Hotel, has a 104-berth marina and private access to some of Kota Kinabalu's most beautiful beaches.

Here, you can stroll along the waterfront of the harbour and watch the sun set, enjoy a cocktail by the Magellan's beach or swim in one of its eight pools.

It's also a paradise for golfers, with a 27-hole course designed by Graham Marsh.

More adventurous travellers can stay in Sabah's tropical rainforest in one of its many jungle lodges and explore Sabah's wildlife including orang-utans. A regular canoe service allows you to see Malaysia's native flora and fauna up close.

Continue reading at: Sabah is South East Asia's best kept secret

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