Most visitors to Sabah come here for one thing: to trek up the mighty Mt Kinabalu. Or is it to dive around the Sipadan reef? Or to see the orang-utans at Sepilok? Or to explore the riverine forest around Sungai Kinabatangan? Or to get lost in the remote Maliau Basin? The trouble is, Borneo’s northernmost state is so rich in treasures that it’s hard to know where to start, and once you get stuck in there’s always just that one more thing you want to see.
As well as its host of natural features, Sabah has an equally fascinating ethnic heritage, visibly distinct from the indigenous peoples further south. The largest group is made up of the Kadazan and Dusun tribes, known as the ‘Latin lovers’ of Borneo thanks to their healthy appetite for music and life in general, and visitors can also enjoy close encounters with friendly Rungus, Murut and Bajau communities around the state.
In order to make the most of your trip, we strongly encourage you to plan ahead. Sabah’s jungles may be wild and untamed, but they’re covered in streamers of red tape. With a bit of patience and a lot of preplanning, you’ll breeze by the permit restrictions and booked beds. Independent travellers may find Sabah a bit frustrating, but we promise that the hoop-jumping is well worth it.
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These tours & activities make it easy:
Best places to stay in Malaysian Borneo - Sabah
Travel literature review: The Wayfinders
The Wayfinders by Wade Davis Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Reviewed by Danny Heap Wade Davis, anthropologist and also the grandly named Explorer-in-Residence at National Geographic, has dedicated his life to chronicling the lives and cultures of Aboriginal people across the world...
Sabah destination guides
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Explore a mystical land of incredible natural beauty and rare wildlife on this Sabah Adventure tour. With its collection of exotic animals, ancient traditions, hot springs, tribal villages, loveable orangutans and incredible views, Sabah has something for everyone.
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Shawn Low's travel picks for 2011
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