Sabah, which is also popularly known as the Land Below the Wind, does not have a long history. It is relatively unknown to the rest of the world. But today with it’s well organised tourist industry and it’s speciality in eco-tourism, people from all over the world are coming to Sabah to experience the wonder of it’s nature and wildlife.
evening at mt. kinabalu
One will need at least two weeks to visit all the tourist attractions in Sabah, but if time does not permit 3 days are all you have. Then it will be best spent in Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the Sabah. Kota Kinabalu (KK) is also the gateway to the rest of the State. Three days at KK will be a good introduction to this wonderful place, its weather, its people, and its eco-treasure. By statistic about fifty percent of all visitors to Sabah will come back for more. Yes, Sabah is fun and exciting.
Day One : Mountain and Nature
When in KK, one must visit the majestic and mystical Mount Kinabalu. If you have not noticed yet, KK city is named after this Mountain. It is also Malaysia’s first world heritage site. Many tour agents have a one day tour package to Kinabalu Park Headquarters and Poring Hot Springs. One can also rent a car and drive along the country side road which will pass through padi farms, local villages, and green forest. The journey will take about two hours before reaching Kinabalu Park Headquarters, and another 45 minutes to reach Poring Hot Springs. After coming back from the mountain, dinner time and it is a good time to savour the fresh and delicious seafood of Kota Kinabalu. Many seafood restaurants from top end to budget establishment are available to suit every one’s pocket.
Day Two : Culture and wildlife
Sabah’s people are made up of many ethnic groups found only in Sabah. What better way to know Sabah through its people’s way of life by spending the morning visiting Mari Mari Cultural Village. Mari Mari Culture Village is only half an hour drive away from the city centre, and it is situated at a forest garden in Inanam. This tour gives you fun and an educational experience on Sabah’s five largest tribes, the Dusun, Murut, Bajau, Rungus and Visaya. Mari Mari Cultural Village visit must be arranged by tour agents.
After lunch take a 2 hour drive south to the land of the Proboscis Monkeys. Proboscis Monkey with its unique feature of a long nose and large stomach, is found only in Borneo. They live most of their life in the swampy area. This two hour tour will have visitors travelling in small boats that zig-zag across the many tributaries of the Garama and Klias river in search of Proboscis Monkeys. In the late afternoon they are often found in the tree tops looking for food. One must bring a binocular to have a good look at these monkeys. On the way back from the river cruise one can also enjoy the beautiful sunset view of the wetland. Have a good dinner and look out for the fire flies at the nearby trees before heading back to KK.
Day Three : Islands and beaches
If coral, marine life, sand, sea, and the sun are your cup of tea these islands just off the coast of KK will be paradise for you. This group of islands has become a protected reserve known as Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. One can visit the islands through travelling agents or one can simply take the speed boats at Jesselton Point, hourly shuttle services are available. Tanjang Aru Beach Hotel and Sutera Harbour Resort both have their own jetty that also provide visitors with hourly shuttle boat service to the islands. The popular islands to visit are Pulau Manukan and Pulau Sapi. Pulau means island in the local language. Pulau Mamutik is the smallest island in this grouping yet it is just as good.
All these three islands have modern facilities like wooden garden tables (first comes first serves basic), restaurant or canteen, and toilet. Visitors can sun bathe, swim, snorkel, and walk around the jungle tracks on these islands. Life guards keep the safety along the beaches.
Pulau Sulug and Pulau Gaya are seldom visited even by the locals, but if you want to, the boat men will still take you to these two islands. A fun way to visit all these islands in one go is by doing the Island Hopping Tour. Many tour agents and boat service companies at the jetties will provide the service. The island tour is arranged on the last day because one can decide how long to spend on the island before leaving to catch the flight back home.