With its sunburnt stilted buildings, fishing boats out in the bay and slow tropical pace, there's a dreamy, end-of-the-world feeling in Kudat that will soon grow on you. Believe it or not, sleepy Kudat used to be an important trading post and capital of Borneo back in the late 19th century.
Mt Kinabalu & Kinabalu National Park
Gunung Kinabalu, as it is known in Malay, is more than the highest thing on the world's third largest island. And it is more than scenery. Mt Kinabalu is ubiquitous in Sabah to the point of being inextricable. It graces the state's flag and is a constant presence at the edge of your eyes, catching the clouds and shading the valleys.
Maliau Basin Conservation Area
This pocket of primeval wilderness tells the same untouched story it did millenia ago. Hemmed in by mountains, separated by distance and altitude and expanse, the Maliau Basin Conservation Area (MBCA), known very appropriately as 'Sabah's Lost World', is something special.
Pulau Tiga National Park
The name Pulau Tiga actually means 'three islands' – the scrubby islet is part of a small chain created during an eruption of mud volcanoes in the late 1890s. Over 100 years later, in 2001, the island had its 15 minutes of fame when it played host to the smash-hit reality TV series Survivor, so is commonly referred to now as as 'Survivor Island'.