Sabah in East Malaysia is a haven for nature lovers. The state is rich with lush rainforests, ready to be explored and waiting to be discovered.Before we go on getting to know the state in the north-eastern tier in the island of Borneo, let us get a glimpse of the general outlook of Sabah.
Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, serves as a gateway to visitors. "KK", as the locals call it, was actually known as Jesselton during the British occupation. Although destroyed during the last World War, KK "woke up from its Jesselton shadow" and rebuilt itself into a thriving city and commercial centre. Today if you go to KK, you will be greeted by a busy modern city offering various attractions. One of them is the handicraft market. Here you can get a variety of handicrafts and souvenirs to bring home. They are uniquely Sabah and made intricately by Sabahan.
If you're a bit on the luxurious side, check out the resorts and golf course on the new sea reclaimed area in KK. Not too far from the main city center, lies the breathtaking Tanjung Aru. Here one can enjoy the sea breeze and sample seafood from the restaurants or simply dine alfresco.
If you have enough of the city, take a short boat ride away and you'll get to Tuanku Abdul Rahman Park. This cluster of islands is a haven for camping and sea sports.
Visiting Sabah is incomplete without a trip to Kinabalu Park and Mount Kinabalu. From KK it takes only two and a half hour by road to reach the destination. The 4095-meter mountain peak is easily accessible even for first timers. On your way up, you might be able to catch Rafflesia, the world's largest flower. Your effort in climbing "South East Asia" highest peak will certainly paid off once you reach the pinnacle and witness the breathtaking view of the surroundings.
And if you are an animal lover, take a 20-minute drive from Sandakan to Sepilok. Here you will see the world's largest Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. The primeval apes roam freely in their natural habitat. The human like creatures and the natural surrounding will thrill visitors.
If that's not enough, cruise down Kinabatangan River. Along the river you'll see the Proboscis monkeys, again in their natural habitat.
There's still a lot more to see. About 40 kilometres from Sandakan visitors will experience turtle watching on the islands of Selingan, Bakungan Kecil and Gulisan. During peak season between July and September, one can watch almost every night the turtles laying their ping-pong ball look a like egg.
Further south, in the interior, is the Danum Valley Conservation Area. Danum Valley is a lowland tropical forest endowed with a great quantity of flora and fauna."
For adventure seekers, you're not left out. You should taste the thrills of white water rafting in the fast flowing rivers and turbulent rapids. The two famous rivers for rafting are Padas and Kiulu. Make sure you have the guts and energy to brave through the challenging waters.
For those who love diving and the beautiful deep-sea scenery, make sure you visit these three famous islands - Sipadan, Layang-Layang and Mabul. The oceanic islands and coral atolls in Sabah have long been regarded as one of the best in the diving fraternity. Divers will be fascinated by the diverse species of sea creatures and corals.
Before you leave Sabah, you should make your way to Tamu. Tamu, the weekly bazaar, offers a vivid glimpse into the colourful blend of local cultures and the ethnic diversity. Tamu is where the natives gather to trade in farm produce, handicraft, food and even buffaloes. Kota Belud is a favourite spot for tourists to capture this exotic occasion.