Sep 3, 2021
WHEN IT COMES TO bucket-list destinations, few can match Sabah for its incredible natural splendor. As of the moment, this is the only place in Southeast Asia to have achieved the UNESCO Triple Crown. It boasts a UNESCO World Heritage Site—Kinabalu Park—a UNESCO Man and Biosphere Reserve—Crocker Range—and by 2022, will have a UNESCO Global Geopark. Travelers to this remarkable place can expect to find an unparalleled level of biodiversity, not to mention plenty of family-friendly activities. As Sabah prepares to re-open tourism, we’re already dreaming about what to see and do on that next big trip.
A Walk on the Wild Side
When it comes to unspoiled wilderness, it doesn’t get better than the Danum Valley Conservation Area, which is considered one of the planet’s most complex ecosystems. Clouded leopards, slow lorises and other charismatic megafauna all call this paradise home. Visitors from Sir David Attenborough to Dame Judy Dench have marveled at this ancient wonder. For travelers hoping to spot proboscis monkeys, orangutans, and endangered Bornean pygmy elephants, the Kinabatangan River is one of the best places to do so. Finally, for climbers and hikers, Mount Kinabalu, Mount Tambuyukon, and Mount Trus Madi all offer breathtaking views.
Beaches and Islands for Days
If your eyes mist over at the thought of azure waters and waving palms, Sabah is the perfect place for you. Divers should head to Semporna, the gateway to Sipadan, one of the world’s top dive sites. For dramatic scenery, the Tip of Borneo, or Simpang Mengayau, is where the South China Sea collides with the Sulu Seas. This stunning rocky peninsula is just as jaw-dropping at sunrise as it is at sunset. If you’re seeking eco-chic accommodations in absolutely gorgeous surroundings, head to Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, a Marine Park consisting of a cluster of Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug. All except the latter are easily accessible to visitors and are perfect for anyone hoping to snorkel, scuba dive or simply soak in the solar rays. Gayana Eco Resort, Bunga Raya Resort and the Gaya Island Resort by YTL are all top-flight resorts with plush amenities and a serious commitment to environmental responsibility.
Community Based Tourism
Photos by Tsen Lip Kai (2)
Travel is about so much more than eye-popping vistas. Community Based Tourism (CBT) in Sabah allows travelers to venture off the beaten path and experience a genuine connection with locals. Sabah is a remarkably culturally diverse place, home to more than 30 different races and ethnicities with more than 80 distinct languages and dialects. By staying in these rustic, yet comfortable accommodations, travelers can see the world as locals do, all while helping support rural communities. At the Marais Center, visitors can learn all about the customs and traditions of a Murut community, who welcome guests with their generous hospitality and delicious, home-cooked food. At a Guas Nabalu Homestay at Kg Kiau Nuluh, guests can learn all about the local coffee and pineapple farming, all from an amazing location in the remote highlands. A Mitabang Homestay at the Tulung-Mantob village of Kiulu is great to combine with white water rafting or traditional bamboo rafting.
No. 51, Jalan Gaya, 88000 Kota Kinabalu