Sabah is the easternmost state in Malaysia, located on the third-largest island of the world - Borneo. It has much to offer the tourists/visitors, from Mt. Kinabalu - one of South-East Asia's highest peaks, pristine national parks like Kinabalu National Park, exotic wildlife, one of the best scuba diving in Malaysia and a few of Malaysia's best beaches. Sabah also has historic sites and museums, and a lot more. Sabah is fast emerging as an attractive holiday destination.
Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary
Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary is the most mesmerizing place for animal lovers. Trainers at this sanctuary look after the orphaned orang-utans and put their best foot forward to make the animals apt to live in natural surroundings. The best time to have a close look at these animals and be with them is at 10.00am and 3.00pm since this is when these primates come down from the trees for their daily feedings of bananas and milk.
Kinabalu National Park
Located 138km away from Kota Kinabalu and covering 754sq.km of area, the Kinabalu National Park offers excellent scenic views and natural diversity. It is the first World Heritage Site designated by UNESCO in Malaysia. The Park's main attraction is Mt. Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Southeast Asia. It is a protected reserve area governed by the Sabah Parks. Some of the richest ecological diversity in flora and fauna is here at this Park.
The Poring Hot Springs
Poring is a small tourist resort at 40km distance towards the southeast of the Kinabalu National Park in Ranau district. It is a trendy recreation complex among tourists. Visitors can dip into a hot sulphur bath which helps to reduce stress by relaxing tense muscles and promoting good sleep. You can also stroll on Poring Canopy Walkway, in the canopy of the Menggaris tree. The Walkway is 157.8m long and 41m high. The nature adventure lovers can explore the surroundings by trekking and visit the two famous waterfalls – Kipungit Waterfall and Langganan Waterfall.
Danum Valley Conservation Area ( Visit )
Danum Valley, a protected lowland rainforest, is located southwest of Lahad Datu, Sabah's fourth largest town. After its declaration as a national park in 1976, it is called the 'Danum Valley Conservation Area'. Today, it covers more than 400sq.km of untouched virgin forests and is home to rare animals like the orang-utans, Wallace Flying Frog, Sumatran rhinoceros, mouse deer, and blue coloured leopard. Some 90% of the conservation area is called a dipterocarp forest where the canopy of trees sometimes reaches 70m.
Tambunan Rafflesia Centre
The Tambunan Rafflesia Centre, located at the edge of a forest reserve, serves as an entry for the Rafflesia Forest Reserve. Those who do not want to or have the time to explore the Park prove to be the best option to educate themselves about conserving the world's largest flower, Rafflesia, unique to the Rafflesia Forest Reserve.
Lankayan Island, a practically virgin island in the Sulu Sea, is just a 1.5-hour boat ride from Sandakan. The island is one of the best tourist getaways. Situated within the Sea Turtle Corridor, the clear blue waters of the island proffer an excellent chance to spot the Whale Shark, nestings of Hawksbill Turtle, and the colourful fauna. The island is also home to the famous Lankayan Wreck, a popular diving station for divers.
Mabul Island is reputed to house some of the best underwater fish species and other photographic marine animals and is recognized as one of the best muck diving sites globally. One can quickly look at some marine animals: blue-ringed octopus, frogfish, moray eels, spike-fin gobies, cuttlefish, and cuttlefish.
The Madai Caves are famous because of the nests of Swiftlets birds. These nests are harvested annually by the Idahan tribe for a special Chinese delicacy called the 'bird's nest soup'. Every year a festival is held at the main cave entrance when the male members of the tribe remove the nests from the high cave roof by risking their lives. The Idahan tribe has held this ritual and the rights to the Madai caves for over twenty generations, and one has to obtain their permission to visit the caves.
Pulau Tiga Marine Park
Located opposite the swampy Kilas Peninsula are three small coral reef islands, Pulau Tiga, Pulau Kalampunian Besar, and Pulau Kalampunian Damit. The Park has been named after 'Pulau Tiga', the biggest of the three islands. The reserve covers 158sq.km and has a unique and vibrant marine flora and fauna.
Sipadan Island is amongst the top five diving sites in the world. It is an oceanic island, home to some of the most assorted variety of beautiful marine life. For divers, this island is a paradise in itself. It was also declared a bird sanctuary in 1993, providing tourists with a glimpse of migratory birds such as the wood sandpiper, greater sand plover and common sandpiper.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park
Named after Malaysia's first Prime Minister, The Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is situated just a 3km or 10 - 20 minute speedboat ride off Kota Kinabalu. The Park protects and shelters five islands, their seas, and surrounding reefs. Pulau Gaya, Manukan, Mamutik, Sapi, and Salug, are rich in coral life and attract tourists, underwater photographers, and marine researchers.
Turtle Island Park
Founded in 1977 to protect endangered species of turtles, the Turtle Island Marine Park consists of three islands - Selingan, Gulisan, and Bakugan Kechil. The Park encompasses 1,740-hectares, which includes the islands, seas, and the surrounding reefs. Its main attractions are the 'Greens' and 'Hawkbill's' turtles that come ashore to lay their eggs every night.