Sabah, the Malaysian Borneo

Sabah is situated on the island of Borneo the third largest island in the world. The island itself is interesting in that it is divided between Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Kingdom of Brunei. It is such an interesting place to visit and a fun place to go. They are very eco conscious and that is only ever a plus when I travel. Below is a list of the top things to do.

Mt. Kinabula

This majestic granite massif of Mount Kinabalu is one of the top 5 highest mountains in Southeast Asia. Standing at 4,095m tall, Mount Kinabalu is the focal point of Kinabalu Park and is very important to the people of Sabah. Such is the importance of this mountain that the state capital was renamed from Jesselton to Kota Kinabalu in 1964. There are many organised treks up to Mt Kinabalu and extensive sightings of unusual flora and fauna, including the dreaded but beautiful  Rafflesia. It is noted for producing the largest individual flower on earth, and a strong odour of decaying flesh – the latter point earning it the nickname of “corpse flower.” Also, take a raincoat, as it is a ‘rainforest’ and it does rain a lot.

Sipidan Island and diving

If divers travel miles to visit this area there must be something good going on. If renowned marine biologist Jacques Cousteau once said, “I have seen other places like Sipadan, 45 years ago, but now no more. Now we have found again an untouched piece of art … a jewel.” He is talking of the diving delights in Sabah. The plethora of marine life is amazing, particularly the giant clam, barracudas, and the mimic octopus. The waters are so pristine that even an amateur snorkeler (that’s me) can see an abundance of this marine life. It is just so hard to share when you are under water.

Who doesn’t love an orang-utan?

The Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre, which was set up in 1964 to rehabilitate orphaned baby orang-utans, is open to the public. This enables us to watch the monkeys in their own habitat, albeit an adapted one where those who have been at risk are cared for and tended to, and eventually let free to (hopefully) cope. You can watch these adorable orang-utans being fed milk and bananas during the day. You also get the bonus of the macaws coming in. The entire park is set up as a research institute and a rehabilitation and conservation station.

Food

The cuisine of Sabah is heavily based on Malay and Chinese food as well as the tropical fruits associated with this area. I lived on beef rendang for breakfast every day, as it was sooo good, and who doesn’t need a chilly hit to get them going! I followed this up with tropical fruits – I get hungry travelling! However, I did avoid the durian fruit which – smells like hell and tastes like heaven. I can go with the first but can’t and won’t vouch for the second! Will have to take everyone’s word for it.

So when in Sabah say “terima kasih” – thank you, with a smile. These happy lovely people will like you even more.

Photo by yd on Flickr

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