Thursday, September 13, 2012

Local wonders - Sabah and Sarawak

Rejoice in the natural beauty of our country on Malaysia Day with a trip to Sabah or Sarawak

IT was almost half a century ago on Sept 16 that Malaya, North Borneo, Sarawak and Singapore joined to form the Malaysian Federation.

Singapore later became an independent nation while North Borneo came to be known as Sabah and Sarawak. Malaysia Day (on Sept 16) is a momentous occasion for Malaysians.

To commemorate it this Sunday, invites you to explore Sabah and Sarawak — home to unique flora and fauna found only in this part of the world.

For adventurers: Climb Mt. Kinabalu

If you’re itching for adventure, challenge yourself and make an attempt to climb to the highest peak in the Malay Archipelago.

Located in Kinabalu National Park in Sabah and standing at 4,095m, Mt. Kinabalu is Southeast Asia’s tallest peak.

If this sounds intimidating, don’t worry. It is one of the world’s easiest peaks to conquer and it’s safe even for climbers with no climbing experience.

The ascent begins at Timpohon Gate near the park’s headquarters, with climbers reaching the summit in the early morning to get a spectacular view of the sunrise.

The entire climb and descent usually takes two days and anyone with a reasonable level of fitness and willpower can reach the summit — just don’t forget to wear proper shoes and climbing attire!

Where to stay

Located in Ranau in Kinabalu National Park is three-star Kinabalu Park Hotel. Rooms feature balconies with mountain views and include rustic fireplaces. Prices start from RM566* per night on

For water babies: Dive in Sipadan

It’s no secret that our country is home to many world-class dive sites, but none more so than Pulau Sipadan. So vast is the array of marine life here that the famous marine explorer Jacques Cousteau declared it an “untouched work of art”, earning it the title of Crown Jewel Of Diving in Malaysia.

A tiny island located less than an hour away from Semporna, Sipadan offers divers plenty of encounters with big fish. For example, at Barracuda Point, divers can sometimes find themselves surrounded by a spiralling vortex of barracuda so large that the sunlight is often blocked out.

Divers can also feast their eyes on magnificent marine creatures at other dive sites around the island, including reef sharks, massive bumphead parrotfish and even turtles.

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