Sabah - Into the Wild

Sabah - Into the Wild

Occupying the northeast area of the island of Borneo, Sabah is the second-largest state in Malaysia. The region is dominated by mountains, particularly the towering massif of Gunung (Mount) Kinabalu, With a height of 4,095m, Mount Kinbalu is a trekker's paradise.

Sabah is also surrounded by a national park that houses plant and animal communities in one of the largest tracts of rainforest left in Malaysia. Although, 55% of Sabah is forest and protected areas, the Maliau Basin and the Danum Valley Conservation Area are more accessible than ever. Bug-eyed tarsiers, gibbons, pythons, clouded leopards and huge crocs are some of the animals that pulse in Sabah's jungles.

Sabah's magnificence, however, is not limited to its inland's treasures. Indeed, Sabah is also home to turquoise-fringed desert islands, which boast coral reefs swarming with marine biodiversity.

Given that it's easy to get around in Sabah and that English is commonly spoken here - as it used to be a British colony -, Sabah is extremely traveller friendly.

From pearl hunting in Kota Kinabaly, visiting the largest orang-utan sanctuary at Sepilok, diving or trekking, you'll feel spoilt for choice in Sabah.

Kinabalu National Park

One of Sabah's highlights, the Kinabalu National Park is Malaysia's first World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO for its outstanding universal values and the being of the most important biological sites int he world with over 4,500 species of flora and fauna.

Climbers from far and wide flock to Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain between Papua New guinea and the Himalayas. Despite it's altitude of 4,095 metres, it's not a difficult trek, but a guide or a permit are required. There are a myriad of trek options, ranging from one to three-night climbs.

Whether you are a trekker or not, Kinabalu National Park is a must-visit for every traveller. This protected environment is home to rich and diverse flora, including the parasitic Rafflesia, the world's largest flower with red blooms that can measure 1m wide.


Offering top-class views of some of the world's finest coral and sealife, the waters of Sipadan are the mecca for divers from all over the world.

35 Kilometres off the coast of Sabah lies Sipadan, the only deep-water oceanic island in Malaysia, which sits on top of a massive limestone sea-mountain. The sheer walls of this sea-mountain, which extends some 600m down to the seabed, are home to a magnificent reef ecosystem, which has earned the island the reputation for one of the best dives in the world. Thanks to Sipadan's position in mid-ocean, the island also boasts a large number of pelagic (open-water) species cruising the reefs, with schools of manta rays, barracuda and hammerhead sharks. Turtles can also be easily spotted underwater or on the beach where they nest all year round.

Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary

Initially established to retrain young orang-utans that had been captured illegally for the wildlife trade, today this sanctuary is home to orphaned orang-utans brought in from logging camps. Here they are taught survival skills by the wildlife rangers before they are taken to the forest. Here you can watch the orang-utans up close and personal.

Poring Hot Springs

Located in the Kinabalu National Park, the sulphurous water steams into a group of old-fashioned tubs. This is the perfect place to unwind and relax after climbing Mount Kinabalu.

If you walk up the hill, you'll come across a wonderful Canopy Tree Walk. At 50m above the forest floor, as you stand on this 200m walkway, you get a terrific panoramic view of the forest.

Gomantong Caves

32km from Sandakan, you'll find these massive limestone caves that house around a million swiftlets. Locals collect the nests using an ancient technique. To get to the caves, you need to get on a boat that takes you across the bay from Sandakan. Then you need to drive 16km through the forest.