A QUICK GLANCE AT SABAH
Sabah is the second largest state after Sarawak in East Malaysia with Kota Kinabalu as its state capital. Located on the gorgeous island of Borneo, Sabah covers an area of 73,902 km2 and is populated by 3.497 million people. It shares the island of Borneo with Sarawak, Brunei, and Indonesian Kalimantan.
Apart from its richly blessed nature of magnificent mountains, exotic islands and beautiful beaches, Sabah also has a diverse culture owing to its local residents from more than 30 ethnic groups. Kadazan-Dusun is the largest indigenous ethnic group in Sabah, followed by Bajau and Murut. In terms of economy, Sabah relies heavily on three key sectors, namely agriculture, tourism and manufacturing.
Although Malaysia has an equatorial climate, there is a variance in Sabah’s average temperature due to geographical difference between places located in the lowlands and highlands. For instance, Kota Kinabalu, Tawau, Sandakan and Kudat in the lowlands will have an average temperature of 32°C during the day and a few degrees lower during the night. Meanwhile, the average temperature in the highlands such as Tambunan, Ranau and Kundasang is about 21°C. In the regions surrounded by mountains, the temperature could go as low as 15°C at night while at the peak of Mount Kinabalu (4,095 m) temperature can drop to 0°C.
MAJOR ATTRACTIONS OF SABAH
Beautiful Islands and Beaches
Sabah is the perfect destination for those with a passion in scuba diving, snorkelling and other water sports. East Malaysia has a 2,607-km coastline. Stretches along and surrounding this coastline lay numerous fascinating beaches and islands. Some of the top diving spots that has the unsurpassed corals and marine lives including Sipadan Island (one of the world’s top 3 diving sites), Mabul Island, Kapalai Island, Mataking Island (popular destination for Europeans), Pulau Tiga and Sapi Island. Meanwhile, Lankayan Island and Pom-Pom Island are famous for their turtles nesting sites. Whether it is for water activities or a relaxing trip, Sabah would be an ideal destination.
Magnificent Mountains and Caves
For adventure seekers and hikers, Sabah has some of the most magnificent mountains and caves that should not be overlooked. Amongst them are Mount Kinabalu (4,095 m) is one of the tallest mountains in Southeast Asia and Mount Trusmadi (2,642 m) is second highest mountain in Malaysia which lies close to Mount Kinabalu. Other mountains which are popular among hikers are Mount Tambuyukon (2,579 m), the third highest mountain in Malaysia and also Mount Lumarku, a mountain located in the southwest region of Sabah.
Colourful Historical and Cultural Heritage
Sabah is the home of more than 30 ethnic groups who speak different local dialects (about 80 local dialects in total). There are also sizeable populations of Chinese, Malays and Indians residents in Sabah. Sabah is commonly known as the “Land Beneath the Wind” due to its location below the typhoon belt allowing it to be free from direct weather disturbances. Amidst the urbanisation, the tradition and culture remain dominant in the lifestyles of the local people, particularly in their way of welcoming foreign visitors.
Sabah is a destination that offers a multi-cultural and fascinating experience. From its early records of chieftains ruling in the 9th Century to becoming part of the Brunei Empire until in later years where British North Borneo Chartered Company was established in Sabah, which later turned Sabah into a British colony have all contributed to its colourful history.
A wonderful place to start experiencing the multi-cultural lifestyle of the Sabah indigenous groups is the Mari Mari Cultural Village. Located at the countryside, about 30 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu city, it features 5 different ethnic tribes in one village. In Mari Mari Cultural Village, you can witness and experience the lifestyle of the Kadazan-Dusun (rice farmer), the Rungus (longhouse resident), the Lundayeh (hunters and fisherman), the Bajau (‘cowboy’ and ‘sea gypsy’), and the notoriously feared headhunting tribe, Murut. It is a one-stop village to learn the history and experience the culture and tradition of Sabah!
Spectacular Golf Courses
For fellow golfers, Sabah is also celebrated for its spectacular golf courses with beautiful scenery. For instance, Borneo Golf and Country Club, located about 70 km from the city of Kota Kinabalu is a popular golf course amongst golfers. It houses an 18-hole, par 5 golf course that lies on the edge of the South China Sea. Another well-known golf course is the Dalit Bay Golf and Country Club (about 30km away from Kota Kinabalu) with an 18-hole, par-72 golf course that occupies over 6300 metres stretch of land. Other highly recommended golf courses include Sutera Harbour Golf & Country Club, Nexus Golf Resort Karambunai (semi-public golf course), Sabah Golf & Country Club, San Shui Golf Club and Sandakan Golf Club