Sabah, Malaysian Borneo » City Info » Geography

The state of Sabah is the second largest state in Malaysia after Sarawak with which it shares its borders on it southwest region. Sabah also shares it borders with East Kalimantan of Indonesia in the south while the other cardinal directions face the South China Sea. The capital of the state of Sabah is Kota Kinabalu, formerly known as Jesselton during British rule. As it is located under the typhoon-prone region of the Philippines, it is also known as Sabah, negeri di bawah bayu which means Sabah, land below the wind.


Geographical Coordinates: 5.9788° N, 116.0753° E

Sabah's geographical structure is a mix of mountainous regions, beaches, and tropical rainforests. The western side is mostly mountainous with three of Malaysia’s highest mountains being a part of it. The Crocker range is the most famous of it, with mountains up to 4,000m in height. Mount Kinabalu, at 4,095m is the highest mountain in Malaysia and the fourth highest in Asia. The tropical rainforests of Sabah include the Kinabalu National Park which was declared as a World Heritage Site in 2000 due to its ecological diversity.

Close by to Mount Kinabalu is Mount Tambuyukon, which is 2,579m in height, is the third highest peak in the country. Next to the Crocker Range is the Trus Madi Range which houses Mount Trus Made, the second highest peak in Malaysia. These mountain ranges extend themselves to the central part of Sabah. The lower laying areas of the mountain ranges are mostly covered with rivers and dense rainforests.

Petite mountain ranges cover the central and eastern portion of Sabah where the Kinabatangan River originates and finally meets the Sulu sea. The forest surrounding the river is the largest forest-covered floodplain in Malaysia. Most of the urban towns are located along with the coastal areas while small villages and towns form the interiors. There are other protected wildlife areas in Sabah other than Kinabalu, like Maliau Basin, Danum Valley, Tabin, and Sepilok.

Sabah is divided into five administrative divisions; namely: West Coast Division, Interior Division, Kudat Division, Sandakan Division, Tawau Division and Labuan Division. In 1984, Labuan was declared as a federal territory.