For peace and nature lovers, this place is a must visit, and for those looking for a permanent solution to their unsettling life, this is their new home
Sabah is a picturesque state of Malaysia; one of the thirteen that make up the whole country. This easternmost state is best known for its natural tropical beauty, a far-reaching history and its art culture. Surprisingly, it is also known as the land below the wind, because of its closeness to the typhoon region of the Philippines.
View from the summit of Mount Kinabalu in Sabah, Malaysia
Over the years, the popularity of this beautiful place has risen dramatically, especially since people are looking for newer places to enjoy their vacations. From all around the world, people are also flocking to make this state their home due to the tranquility and the ever increasing number of reputed universities and colleges. Hence, for peace and nature lovers, this place is a must-visit, and for those looking for a permanent solution to their unsettling life, this is their new home.
The Kinabalu Park and Mount Kinabalu are the pride of the state. Mount Kinabalu is Southeast Asia’s highest peak. It is 4,095.02 m above the sea level. The mountain is protected by the Kinabalu Heritage Park as a World Heritage Site. Park regulations state that all climbers have to engage the services of a registered guide on their climb. The best time to visit Mount Kinabalu is between March and April.
Kota Kinabalu was formerly known as Jesselton, named after Sir Charles Jessel, one of the Directors of the British North Borneo Chartered Company. On September 30, 1967, Jesselton was renamed Kota Kinabalu. twenty three years later, on February 2, 2000 she was proclaimed a city. As the capital of the State of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu is also the gateway to other major towns and districts and has a population of around 300,000.
Heritage sites include the State Mosque, built in the longhouse style of local tribes, housing a wealth of historical and tribal treasures as well as indigenous handicrafts. Major highlights are the life size exhibits of traditional houses belonging to six ethnic groups.
The Monosopiad Cultural Village – founded in memory of the great Kadazan warrior and head-hunter Monosopiad – is a historical site and the only cultural village in Sabah. It aims to document, revive and keep the culture and traditions of the Kadazan people alive.
Crystal-clear blue waters of Semporna Island, Sabah
At the western fringe of Kota Kinabalu is Tanjung Aru Beach lined with palm trees and casuarinas, surrounded by white beaches and blue waters. It is the perfect place for swimming, windsurfing and boating.
Not too far off is Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, which comprises a group of five islands: Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug. These islands are a favourite among picnickers, divers and nature lovers. The islands of Selingan, Bakunan Kecil and Gulisan, located about 40 km from Sandakan, are also popular turtle-watching spots where, between the months of July and September, turtles make a stop to lay their eggs.
Just off the northeast coast of Borneo is Sipadan, Malaysia’s only oceanic island. The spectacular diving offered here has made Malaysia a world-class diving destination. Sipadan is also a bird sanctuary and home to monitor lizards, fruit bats, the unique coconut crabs, and a luxurious rainforest.
HOW TO GET TO KOTA KINABALU
By air: The fastest and most comfortable, but also the most expensive, Royal Brunei Airlines operates one or two daily roundtrip services between Kota Kinabalu and Bandar Seri Begawan. The flight takes about 40 minutes. Malaysia Airlines also operates three flights per week in both directions between Kota Kinabalu and Bandar Seri Begawan.
By car: There are two options to travel by car, which are by road all the way or by car and ferry.
A road trip to Kota Kinabalu takes between six to eight hours. A lot of time is spent waiting at border checkpoints and some of them can get very busy with long lines during weekends and holidays. Road conditions throughout the journey are generally good.
The journey by car and ferry starts from Brunei to Labuan followed by another ferry ride from Labuan to Menumbuk. The prices are more expensive but it takes less time. Advanced bookings are essential for public holidays.
Note: The border checkpoint opens at 6.00 AM and closes at 12.00 AM daily.
Copyright 2015 Borneo Bulletin Yearbook 2015 All rights reserved.