- Encounters with locals
- Beach / Seaside Resort
- Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
- Hiking / Trekking
- Park and garden
Yey, I did it! I left Sarawak and found myself in a savage paradise, notably the Bako National Park. On arrival at Kota Kinabalu, the main town, I headed to the Kinabalu National Park, where I acclimatised for a couple of days before climbing Mount Kinabalu. You can also take a trip to the white, sandy beaches on Mamukik Island, a national park off the town's coast.
I could also tell you about Sandakan, Sepilok, the jungle and the fascinating wildlife - squirrels, flying lemurs, gibbons, proboscis monkeys, orangutans, hornbills, slow lorises - not to mention all the strange noises you'll hear!
But the best memory I have of my time in Sabah was my trip to the east coast of Borneo and my fascinating advanced open water diving sessions, where I got to explore the depths around the stunning Sipadan Island. The turquoise water is warm and the fish vibrantly coloured. Not to mention the sharks, turtles and other marvels. Each dive was amazing.
In brief and at the risk of repeating myself, head straight to Sabah!
The second biggest Malaysian state is at first glance, not very different from the others: delicious and varied cooking, omnipresence of the Muslim region with its beautiful mosques and genuinely nice locals. Nevertheless, the state of Sabah also offers an array of natural wonders conducive to numerous outdoor activities, something no other Malaysian state offers in like measure.
With its black rock summit and a sumptuous view from over 13 000 ft., Mount Kinabalu offers climbers a very good challenge. As well as being one of the highest summits of Southeast Asia, it also offers the highest via ferrata (iron road) in the world for a variety of efforts and sensations.
Unfortunately, this region also holds another record, that of being one of the regions most devastated by oil palm plantations. Despite a much too great reduction of its pristine forest, Sabah offers many national parks that preserve a deep jungle and many endemic species. I suggest you go on a safari trip to Kinabatangan River or Danum Valley area, to get a chance to watch wild orang-utans, the smallest Asian elephant (pygmy), or the largest flower in the world (rafflesia).
Lastly, Borneo is also several small paradisiacal islands dotted along the coast and diving spots, some of which are world-class. Here is a short exclusive list: Sipadan or Layang Layang for scuba-diving, Sapi or Mabul islands for lazing around and snorkelling, or even the turtle islands to watch the night-time births.