Adventure seekers flock to Sabah to climb Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in South-east Asia, or go scuba diving at Spidan, touted as one of the world’s best dive spots.
Sabah is located on the northern tip of Borneo, the third largest island in the world. Its capital, Kota Kinabalu, is a 2 and 1/2 hour flight from Singapore.
The other name to Sabah is “The Land Below The Wind”. It is blessed with some of nature’s most breathtaking wonders. It has the world’s oldest rainforest’s and lots of sandy beaches, tropical islands and colorful coral reefs.
For nature lovers and shutterbugs, this is also the place to come face to face with a reat diversity of wildlife in their natural habitats, such as orang utans, proboscis, monkeys, sea turtles and, if you are lucky, the world’s largest flower, Rafflesia
Forest and Hot Springs in Sabah
Do not like to climb mountain? Well, you can still enjoy the sights and sounds around Moutn Kinabalu without doing much vertical exercise.
Just take a drive to Kinabalua Park, which is juts about 2 hours from Kota Kinabalua. The park is Malaysia’s first Unesco World Heritage Site. It encompasses Mount Kinabalua and covers an area larger than Singapore.
From the park’s headquarters, take a stroll on one of the walking trails and enjoy the serenity, fresh air, tiny creatures and flora along the way. Go on a guided tour if you want to identify what you see. Include Poring in your itinerary if you want to try the canopy walkway and hot springs. It is about 40km away from Kinabalua park HQ.
Sabah may be home to Rafflesia, the largest flower in the flower, but it is difficult to see one because it takes nine to 15 months to bud and lasts only seven days in bloom.
Rivers and Monkeys
If you want to see wildlife, go on a river safari, such as Klias Wetlands which is 20km from Kota Kinabalua. But bear in mind that a river safari is not a zoo. So do not expect the animals to perch prominently on tree branches for you to gawk at as your boat sail by.
But the fun is that if you look hard enough, you will spot them. M sharp-eyed travel mate managed to spot a family of proboscis monkeys before our boatman did. Look out for other monkeys, birds, fireflies and crocodiles too. Bring along your binoculars or a camera with zoom lens. And do not forget to take a poncho because you never know when it might rain.
The Sand, Sea and Seafood in Sabah
In less than 20 minutes, you can hop from city to coral life – that is how close the nearest snorkel and drive sites are to Kota Kinabalua.
The Tunku Abdul Rahman marine park has five islands, which are surrounded by extensive coral reefs. You an take a short boat ride from the mainland or check into one of the island resorts for an idyllic escapade. Do not worry if you cannot swim or snorkel. You can walk under the sea while keeping your head dry and your glasses on – with the Sea-walker air-hosed helmet.
While you may feel a bit clumsy with the bulky fish-bowl helmet, you can breathe through your nose underwater. And to refuel what you have lost from all that swimming, sea walking or lazing around, hop to Manukan Island for a yummy barbecue buffet lunch under the shade of the coconut trees.