Sabah, in the north of Borneo on the world's third largest island is often referred to as the "Land Below the Wind." It lies below the typhoon and monsoon belt, a safe heaven for our ancient seafarers. To-day its year-round sunny and tropical climate make it a heaven for travellers from around the world who come here in search of pristine rainforests, adventure and indigenous cultures and traditions, or simply to relax.
Sabah is Malaysia's second largest state, the largest being its neighbour, Sarawak. Her terrain is rugged and Mount Kinabalu, at 4,095 meters dominates the surrounding landscape. Sabah's remaining tropical rainforests are home to an incredible diversity of flora & fauna. Borneo boasts more plant and animal species than the whole of Africa!
32 different indigenous groups speaking as many languages and over 80 dialects make Sabah their home. They are of different origin and from various spiritual backgrounds, but they all live in harmony. A warm welcome and hospitality are common to all of them. The major groups in Sabah are the Kadazandusun, the Bajau and the Paitan. The Chinese are the largest so-called non-indigenous group.
The state capital is Kota Kinabalu. With some 400,000 inhabitants it is the modern gateway to the rest of Sabah. Direct flights between KK (the name by which Kota Kinabalu is fondly called) and Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur, as well as from other regional capitals such as Singapore, Tokyo, Seoul, Taipei, Kaoshiung, Hong Kong, Brunei, Manila and Cebu make Sabah easily accessible to travellers from anywhere in the world.
KK was largely destroyed during the Second World War. Under a short British colonial rule it was rebuilt and has since developed into a thriving modern city. Places of interest include the State Museum, the State Mosque, the Gaya Street Sunday Tamu (open market) and the Pasar Malam (night market) where you can polish up your bargaining skills. Nearby are the popular Tanjung Aru Beach, quaint water villages and idyllic off-shore islandsv
But for many visitors the primary attractions of Sabah are its outstanding national parks, including Malaysia's first UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kinabalu National Park with Mt Kinabalu. The head quarters of this park - and also the starting point for the climb of Mt Kinabalu - can be reached from KK within two hours.
For those seeking hard core jungle trekking in the rainforest far away from the beaten track the Crocker Range National Park and Mount Trus Madi will certainly be able to satisfy their thirst for adventure.
The Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine National Park, some 20 minutes by boat from KK offers great snorkelling, a wide variety of modern motorised and non-motorised water sports and great relaxation. Pulau Sipadan, a a world renown diver's paradise in the epicenter of tropical marine biology probably does not need further introduction...!
The Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, the world's largest of its kind near Sandakan, and the Kinabatangan River Floodplains with their easily accessible wildlife are another major attraction. Careful ecotourism development has ensured that these destinations remain exclusive.
Click here to read more about Sabah's destinations, or click here to let yourself be inspired by some of our exclusive tour arrangements.