Located at the northern tip of Borneo, Sabah is a tropical haven abundant with eco-treasures from mountain high to ocean deep. The diverse cultural heritage and breathtaking landscape creates the perfect cocktail for a fun-filled getaway. With frequent convenient flights via Kuala Lumpur, Sabah is the complete destination for business and leisure for everyone from families, individual travellers to honeymooners.
Sabah takes pride in the mystical Mount Kinabalu, at 4,095 metres, it is the highest peak between the Himalayas and New Guinea.
Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, Mount Kinabalu is a bio-diverse hotspot that houses an astonishing array of records of all sorts; the highest plant diversity globally per unit area, the world’s largest flower Rafflesia, even the world’s largest leech! All this diversity and Mount Kinabalu is one of the youngest mountains in the world (between 7-8 millions years) and this granite mountain still grows.
Climbing Mount Kinabalu is a popular activity for visitors. Advance booking is required as a limit of 192 climbers per day has been set to help preserve the delicate nature of the park surroundings. Extreme adventure seekers can opt for the via ferrata (or iron road) at Mount Kinabalu. It is one of the newest attractions available and also the most rewarding. The via ferrata is the world’s highest at 3776m.
Of course, there are milder activities to do. Sabah is an emerging bird watching destination for the Asia Pacific region. Out of 623 resident and migratory species that flock into Sabah, 32 are endemic to Borneo. The Bornean Bristlehead, according to avid birders is a rare and elusive species and only found in lowland forest of Borneo. Its black and fiery red and bright yellow head is highly recognizable but yet, difficult to spot in the wild.
Sandakan is the wildlife capital for Sabah. Besides rare birds, the familiar orang utan at the Sepilok Orang utan Rehabilitation Sanctuary is a must-visit. As the leading centre of excellence for orang utans, it offers a less rugged experience where visitors can view, from a platform, how rescued orang utans are nursed and released back into the wild. Nearby, the Rainforest Discovery Centre managed by the Sabah Forestry Department, is an educational centre that opened to the public very recently.
While in Sabah, keen historians must not miss out on visiting the Sandakan Memorial. Supported by the Australian Government, every year, the Sandakan Memorial Day service is held in August to remember soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the War. In 2010, the Australian Governor General attended the Sandakan Memorial Day service in conjunction with the 65th Anniversary of the end of the WWII. Keen visitors now have a chance to trek the Death March route from Sandakan and end right at the exact site of the Last Camp at Ranau, some 250km away. The trek passes through dense jungle either by walking, mountain biking or even rafting, in a journey that may take between 4 to 6 days.
Diving is a major market for Sabah, the jewel Sipadan island being one of the top-rated dive spots in the world. At nearby islands such as Mabul, Kapalai, Mataking and the newer Pom Pom islands, large marine life and tiny sea creatures and colourful corals and reef are guaranteed sighting. At the islands, high to medium range resort facilities await.
11 day Wildlife Tour of Borneo starts from $3419 per person twin share ex Adelaide including economy class airfares from Australia, 23 meals, accommodation, touring, transfers and prepaid airport taxes.