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Best Places to Visit in Sabah of 2017

  • 01 Pulau Mantanani Beach

    Pulau Mantanani Beach
    Image Credit : Pulau Mantanani Beach

    Pulau Mantanani is a cluster of three isolated tiny islands to the northwest of Kota Belud. It was so isolated in fact that not until recently, only a few locals knew the existence of the islands. One of the main reasons that Mantanani Islands is popular among tourists is because of its picturesque scenery, cool breezes and serene environment. But most popular attraction of Pulau Mantanani are the dugongs. The Mantanani Islands seem to provide the ideal habitats for dugongs with sea grass beds and shallow sandy areas within the encircling fringing reef of the islands.

     

    Highlights: These islands present popular diving and snorkeling destinations because of their crystal clear waters and colourful coral reefs.

    How to Get There: The islands are accessible by a one-hour speedboat journey from Kuala Abai jetty, Kota Belud, 80 km north-east of Kota Kinabalu.



  • 02 Lankayan Beach

    Lankayan Beach
    Image Credit : Lankayan Beach

    Lankayan Island is a tiny tropical coral resort island in the Sulu Sea, northeast of the island of Borneo, in the state of Sabah. This beautiful little island with thick tropical growth and sandy beaches offers an absolutely pure tropical wildlife experience. It's situated in a National Park region. A Turtle Rehabilitation centre is present on the island and is open to the visitors and you can watch egg laying and turtle hatch lings at times.

     

    Highlights: The island is also one of Sabah's top diving spots with the availability of jungle interior and interesting diving attracts both divers and non-divers love to tour Lankayan.

     How to Get There: The island is also one of Sabah's top diving spots with the availability of jungle interior and interesting diving attracts both divers and non-divers love to tour Lankayan.

     



  • 03 Mabul Island

    Mabul Island
    Image Credit : Mabul Island

    A tiny island off the south-eastern coast of Sabah boasting fine beaches of coconut trees, soft white sand and aquamarine waters, Mabul Island is one of the world’s top rated destinations for muck diving. What’s more, Mabul Island also boasts one of the world’s most concentrated reserves of small marine life that includes species like frog fish, scorpion fish, cuttlefish and various shellfish. Visitors here can easily stroll around the island within an hour to explore attractions like the traditional villages with their thatched huts.

     

    Highlights: Mabul Island is a popular place to stay for travellers that plan to dive at one of the worlds' best dive spots and also venture out to the more secluded areas, you will find some truly fantastic beaches.

     How to Get There: It is about 40 minute’s boat ride from the mainland of Semporna.

     

     



    Top Things To Do in Mabul Island

  • 04 Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

    Tunku Abdul Rahman Park
    Image Credit : Tunku Abdul Rahman Park

    The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is a group of five different islands, which include Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug. There are various beach activities that the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park organizes. However, all these beach activities require a prior booking. You can also indulge in various water sports like snorkeling, scuba diving, and witness the beautiful coral and marine life of the island. The island tours can be booked on the spot from where you will take your ferries.


    Location: The Tunku Abdul Rahman Park is just 20 minutes boat ride from the Kota Kinabalu.

    How To Reach: The Jesselton Jetty ferry terminal consistently operates the boats to the Island, which takes around 20 minutes to reach there.

    Price: The approximate cost for the complete tour starts from 53 MYR per adult.

    Timings: 8.30 AM to 5 PM



  • 05 Mamutik Island

    Mamutik Island
    Image Credit : Mamutik Island

    In the group of five islands among the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, the Mamutik Island is the second furthest. Though the waters of Mamutik Island is not as clear as the Sapi Island, but you do get to indulge in some amazing water sports activity and some world-class beach side cafes and restaurants serving the lip-smacking Malay and continental cuisines. There are also some beautiful souvenir shops from where you can take some to your family or friends.


    Location: The island is located in the downtown area of Kota Kinabalu and is off the coast. From the hotel Hyatt Regency Kinabalu, you can reach to the Jesselton Jetty point with 2 minute drive or by taking a 10-minute walk from where there are boats available regularly to reach the island.

    Price: You have to pay an entree fees of 10 MYR per person once to get inside the island.



  • 06 Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

    Lok Kawi Wildlife Park
    Image Credit : Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

    If the wild animals and wildlife fascinates you then Lok Kawi Wildlife Park in Kinabalu, Malaysia is a must visit place for you. Started in 2007 and developed by the Sabah Wildlife Department, the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park primarily consists of two sections: Botanical & Zoological. It is, especially, promoted with the objective to make it a family-oriented park and lot of emphasis is given to the Children’s Zoo. The wildlife park is a home of Borneo Pygmy Elephants, Proboscis monkeys, Malayan tiger, and a few different species of deer. On the other hand, the park also offers the opportunity to its visitors to go for jungle trekking in the botanical trail, which is about 1.4 KM long.

     

     Location: The Lok Kawi Wildlife Park is located on the West Coast Division of Penampang.

     How to Reach: The wildlife park is just 30-45 minutes drive from the Kota Kinabalu, estimated distance is 20 KM. Visitors can take the local taxis, which will cost you around 25-30 MYR per way.

     Timings: 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM

     Price: The entry fees costs approximately 20 MYR per adult.



    Top Things To Do in Lok Kawi Wildlife Park

  • 07 Tanjung Aru Beach

    Tanjung Aru Beach
    Image Credit : Tanjung Aru Beach

    This spectacular sweep of sand begins around the Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort and stretches south to the airport. Tanjung Aru is a local beach, nestled with picnic spots and white sandy coast’s. Tanjung Aru has one of the best shorelines where visitors can enjoy shinning crystal clear ocean and powder-fine sands. This area is absolutely secluded and therefore, it gives a very peaceful and quiet ambiance. Imagine you basking in the sun while listening to the sound of the waves or plunging into the crystal clear water for a swim.

     

     Highlights: The main attraction here is the beach, which stretches to over 2 kilometers long with stunning sunset views.

     How to Get There: The beach can be accessed through any local transport.

     



  • 08 Pulau Kapalai Beach

    Pulau Kapalai Beach
    Image Credit : Pulau Kapalai Beach

    Beautifully impressive and romantic but the island is actually a sand bank island and is one of the most enchanting islands in Sabah Borneo. What makes this beach special is that the resort is a stand-alone unit with no one else around it. Usually when the tide is down, the sand bank becomes a spectacular beach, otherwise, they have an elevated man-made beach deck with special white sand where you can chill.

     

      Highlights: This private island is well known as the romantic paradise for special honeymooners and exclusive private weddings.

      How to Get There: The unique Kapalai Island stands above a huge sand bank which is about 1 hour by boat from Semporna in east coast Sabah. It is also a 10 minute boat ride from the well-known  Mabul Island.



    Top Things To Do in Pulau Kapalai Beach

  • 09 Gaya Street Sunday Market

    Gaya Street Sunday Market
    Image Credit : Gaya Street Sunday Market

    Also known as the Sunday market, Gaya Street should be in every traveller’s bucket list. The place has been of importance to the traders for over a hundred years. It’s the perfect place for those who want to tour the local markets. Tourists can buy a variety of things like, authentic Malaya ingredients, a large variety of sea food, Malayan art and craft etc.




    Highlights: If you are looking to buy some souvenirs to take back home, then this is the correct place to do so. People can also find traditional Malaysian artifacts. If you are a food lover, then you can explore the various ingredients for authentic Malaysian cuisines.


    Location: It is located in the center of the city; hence people can stroll down to this place. The market is well connected with the public transport as well, so reaching there is not a problem.


    Timing: The best time to visit the market is during the daytime on Sundays.



    Top Things To Do in Gaya Street Sunday Market

  • 10 Kokol Hill

    Kokol Hill
    Image Credit : Kokol Hill

    If you are done visiting the islands and beaches and are looking for some scenic beauty in the Kota Kinabalu, Kokol Hill is a place you must go. It is a place, which can give you a perfect view of Mount Kinabalu and you can also enjoy a serene and elegant sunset with your someone special. The place is a must visit, especially if you are looking some quiet time, away from the hustle and bustle of the city amidst hills and close to the nature. You can even spend some great nights over the Kokol Hill as there are various home stays and resorts allowing you to enjoy the weather and scenic beauty of the place.


    How to reach: The Kokol Hill is just a 1-hour drive from the main Kota Kinabalu city



  • 11 Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

    Kota Kinabalu City Mosque
    Image Credit : Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

    Kota Kinabalu City Mosque is the second most important mosque in the whole Kota Kinabalu after the State Mosque, located in Sembulan. It is a perfect blend of modern and Islamic architecture and can hold more than 12,000 people in a single time. The architecture of the mosque highly resembles the Nabawi Mosque in Medina. The man-made lagoons surrounding the mosque gives its visitors an elegant and dramatic look, especially on a full moon night and is the largest mosque in Kota Kinabalu.


     Location: The mosque is just 3 KM from the main Kota Kinabalu City and is easily accessible.

     How to reach: Either you can take a local taxi, which will cost you around 15 MYR per way or you can take Bus No. 5A from the front of Hotel Shangri-La, which will cost you around 1.50 MYR per  person per way.

     Timings: 8 AM to 5 PM (Fridays closed)



  • 12 Sipadan Island

    Sipadan Island
    Image Credit : Sipadan Island
    Located at 600m from the sea bead, Sipadan Island has the unique distinction of being the first and only oceanic island in Malaysia.

    Highlights – The waters of Sipadan Island are home to over 3000 species of marine life and coral reefs, making the island one of the top five diving destinations of the world. Don’t miss spotting green & hawksbill turtles, bumphead parrotfishes, barracuda, whale sharks, manta rays, eagle rays, scalloped hammerhead sharks and many more varieties of marine life here. At the sea bed, you will find a turtle tomb covered by limestone caves, containing the skeletal remains of turtles. During 1933, this Island was declared as a Bird Sanctuary. When you dive here, you will drop 2000metres down to the sea bed.

    Location – Celebes Sea, off east cost of Sabah state in Borneo Island.

    Timings – March to October.

    Price – Island permits are available from RM40 onwards at some resorts, subject to terms and conditions.


  • 13 A'Famosa Theme Park

    A'Famosa Theme Park
    Image Credit : A'Famosa Theme Park
    Looking to rush to a water park during the harsh summers? A’Famosa Theme Park is the place where you have to head to, with your families and friends and splash away to glory to beat the scorching heat.



    Highlights
    – This is believed to the biggest theme park in Malaysia and contains a lot of entertaining game pool and water slides that provide you highly thrilling experiences of your lifetime. If you are tired of playing water games, you can relax at the white sands here and enjoy some serene blissful moments.

    Location –
    Simpang Ampat, Malacca. Activities – Arabian Villages, Kids’ Adventure Play Pool, Sandy Beach, Lazy River, Wave Pool, Inner Tube Slides, Family Raft Drive, High Speed Slides, Body Slides, Splash and many more.

    Price –
    Water Park plus lunch rates are RM43 and RM 38 for adults and kids respectively on weekdays; it is RM49 and RM43 for adults and kids respectively on weekends.

    Timings –
    11AM to 7PM (Monday to Friday) and 9AM to 7PM (Weekends, School & Public Holidays).


  • 14 Sabah State Museum

    Sabah State Museum
    Image Credit : Sabah State Museum

    The Sabah State Museum is located in the same place where, once, the British North Borneo Governor’s Istana was situated. Built in the year 1985, the museum consists of the Main Building, Science and Education Center, Heritage Village, Sabah Art Gallery and the Museum of Islamic Civilization. The inside of the museum is loaded with many galleries, which include the Natural history, Ceramics, Ethnography and the exhibits of Archaeology. If you love experiencing traditional things, there is a heritage village on the grounds of Museum, which allows you to enter and behold the different vintage and traditional houses of various unique groups from Sabah. The place also organizes the timely cultural activities.


    How to reach: You can take the Bus No. 13 from the main City Hall and the ticket will cost you around 1 MYR per person only.

    Price: The entry fees to the museum is approximately 15 MYR per person.

    Timings: 9 AM to 5 PM



  • 15 Mantanani Island

    Mantanani Island
    Image Credit : Mantanani Island
    Mantantani Island ( a group of 3 islands) is a paradise for ornithologists as different species of birds come here during the migratory period.

    Highlights – Mantanani Besar, Mantanani Kecil and Lungisan are the 3 islands that make up this group. The beach of this island runs up to 2500m. The island itself is shaped like a knife and provides great opportunities for marine life viewing up to 40m in depth. One of the major beauties of this island is that it is not visited much by tourists. Therefore, you can view the unspoilt beauty of the island in its fullest form when you come here. Do not miss to see the Scops Owl when you come here, as it is the only place in Sabah where you will get this chance.



    Location – Sabah State, north Borneo Island.

     Timings – April to November.

    Price – Activities start from RM20 per person


  • 16 Kapalai Island

    Kapalai Island
    Image Credit : Kapalai Island
    Located at just about 15km from Sipadan Island, Kapalai Beach is known as one of the best scuba diving destinations in the world. There is only one resort here. The rest of the beach is not inhabited at all. Today, much of the beach has eroded off and only a few sand bars are remaining.

    Highlights – Many years of erosion has reduced Kapalai Island where only a few Malay style wooden chalets are seen. It is not exactly a beach, but a sand bar, on which you can undertake walks during low tides, to feel the water splash all over you. Located on the Ligitan Reef, Kapalai Island excellent diving spots in Mid Reef and The Jetty. Do try out the house reef dives at this island.

    Location – A couple of hours away from Borneo Island and is connected to the more famous Kota Kinabalu by daily flights.

    Timings – April to September.

    Price – Varies as per diving course.


  • 17 Observation Tower

    Observation Tower
    Image Credit : Observation Tower

    Along the roads to the Atkinson Clock Tower, the Signal Hill Observatory Platform has a great view of the East side of downtown KK. The view has a mix of old and modern buildings of KK and out to the ocean with islands. It is the main financial and shopping district of KK where the major banks and the attractions were located.

     

     Location: Located in the west coast division of Kota Kinabalu.

     How to Reach: Just a couple of minutes’ drive from Padang Merdeka will bring you to the airy deck where you can get amazing views that extend to the outlying islands.

     Timings: Open daily from 8 AM to 12 PM.

     

     



  • 18 Poring Hot Springs

    Poring Hot Springs
    Image Credit : Poring Hot Springs

    You can never say you have visited the Kota Kinabalu until you have swung over the Poring Hot Springs. It is one of the most liked places by the locals as it has perfect spots where you can de-stress, soak the sores and aches of your muscles inside the hot sulphuric minerals springs, which are said to have the healing properties. Apart from the Poring Hot Springs, there are various other interesting places, which include the butterfly farm, tropical gardens, the Poring canopy walkway, Poring Orchid Conservation Center and the Rafflesia flower site.

     

    Location: The Poring Hot Springs is around 136 KM from the Kota Kinabalu city.

    How to reach: You can either take a direct bus, which will cost you around 16 MYR per person or a taxi, which will cost you around 160 MYR, from the Kota Kinabalu. 

    Price: The entry fees to Poring Hot Springs is approximately 15 MYR.

    Timings: 7 AM to 6 PM



  • 19 Manukan Island Resort

    Manukan Island Resort
    Image Credit : Manukan Island Resort

    The Manukan Island Resort is a luxury private island resort. This serene retreat offers exquisite accommodation, sophisticated cuisine and unparalleled water sport activities in one of the most pristine corner of the world. Manukan Island is surrounded by a protected coral reef, and the island boasts a pristine rainforest and beautiful white sand beaches.




    Location: Manukan Island, 88100 Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia


    Highlights: This resort features an outdoor pool, a restaurant and spacious villas with private terraces and dining areas. The resort offers a wide range of activities such as diving, snorkeling and trekking. For views of marine life, glass-bottomed boat rides are available.


    Price: Approximate price for a room starts at 700 MYR.




  • 20 Sapi Island

    Sapi Island
    Image Credit : Sapi Island

    Sapi Island is one of the most beautiful Island in the whole Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Though the island is smaller as compared to the Manukan Island, but you can still find a good crowd here. If ever visiting these islands, Sapi Island is a must visit and you cannot afford to miss it. One, must try activity on the island is the “Scuba-Doo” mini submarine experience, which is a little motorbike style submarine to do a sea walk.

     

     Location: Sapi Island is one of the five Islands that make up the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine park and is just at a distance of 15 minutes from the Kota Kinabalu.

    How to reach: The Sapi Island can easily be reached from Kota Kinabalu via two ways: Either you can take the hourly ferry from the Jesselton Pier or you can reach Sapi Island from the Sutera Harbor.

    Price: You have to pay an entry fees of 10 MYR per adult on the island. 



  • 21 Bohey Dulang Beach

    Bohey Dulang Beach
    Image Credit : Bohey Dulang Beach

    Bohey Dulang Island is a mountainous island forged by the remains of an ancient volcano. The southern side of the lagoon is open but just below the surface is a protracted stretch of reef which represents the southern cratered fringe. The island is best known for its spectacular views at the top of its peak. It is possible to trail around the island at low tide by following the narrow edges of the beach and mangroves, although this involves scrambling over rocks or through vegetation's.

    Highlights: Prepare to be greeted by a host of tropical flora and fauna during the arduous but rewarding hiking trail to the top of Bohey Dulang Peak. Majestic views of the sapphire blue lagoon await those who make it through the hour long climb.

    How to Get There: Bohey Dulang is located about 35 minutes by boat from Semporna, 20 minutes from Pom Pom, 30 minutes from Mataking and 1.5 hours from Mabul.

     



  • 22 Mount Kinabalu

    Mount Kinabalu
    Image Credit : Mount Kinabalu
    Hiking is one of the prominent adventure activities in Malaysia. Mount Kinabalu is one of the well-known destinations for climbing enthusiasts. It is a perfect representation of beauty of Borneo Island.

    Highlights – With its excellent species of flora and fauna, Mount Kinabalu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the world.



    Facts – It takes around 5 hours to trek from Mount Kinabalu to Panalaban, This is the tallest mountain in South East Asia. Hikers must get permits for Sabah Parks & accommodation in Panalaban in advance. Starting point is Timpohon Gate and the ending point for hikers is Kinabalu National Park. Asia’s first Low Peak Circuit is available here.

    Timings – The months between February and April are the best to climb Mount Kinabalu, as the climate is pleasant then.

    Fee – Climb permit for local adults and kids – RM53 and RM31.80 respectively; for international adults and kids – RM212 and RM84.80 respectively.




  • 23 Layang-layang Island

    Layang-layang Island
    Image Credit : Layang-layang Island
    Also known as Swallow Reef, Layang Layang is one of the islands located towards the north of Sabah Coast in Borneo Island.

    Highlights – This is a very remote island, as it located in highly deep waters. The diving spots are close to 2000m deep. There is a naval base here and tourists are prohibited from entering into this area. There are lots of restrictions for tourists in these waters, due to which marine life is well-preserved. You will be able to spot Hammerhead sharks, whale sharks and abundant coral reefs here. Scuba diving is the main activity here, with the island providing maximum depths of up to 40m. Some famous diving spots in Layang Layang are Crack Reef, D-Wall, The Point, Pier Diving, Dog Tooth Liar and Wrasse Strip.

    Location – 300km towards the north the Sabah Coast, Borneo Island.

    Timings – March to August.

    Price – Depends on the package.


  • 24 Tabin Wildlife Reserve

    Tabin Wildlife Reserve
    Image Credit : Tabin Wildlife Reserve

    If you are an adventure seeker, have a passion for wildlife photography, and you love to live close to mother nature, Tabin Wildlife Reserve welcomes you, as this place can give you a right and perfect taste of nature. Visiting the Tabin Wildlife Reserve can really be a priceless experience. Especially, if you are a birdwatching and wildlife photography enthusiast, there can no better place than the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Not only for the photographers and animal activists, but also for the normal regular visitors, this place can be a paradise


    How To Reach: The Tabin Wildlife Reserve is a 7 hour drive from the main Kota Kinabalu city. Or the other option is to take the direct flight from the Kota Kinabalu to Lahad Datu, which takes around 1 hour and from Lahad Datu, you can reach the Tabin wildlife reserve in one and half hours.

    Price: The day trip to Tabin Wildlife Reserve costs around 570 MYR.



  • 25 Mataking Beach

    Mataking Beach
    Image Credit : Mataking Beach

    Another resort island with one of the best beaches in Malaysia, Mataking Island is the furthest from Semporna in east coast Sabah where a boat trip takes nearly an hour one way. Just stroll around the island to look for your own secluded place. One of the unique things about the island is that they have an underwater post office where you can literally post a letter or postcard. Highly recommended for those who want a 'Maldives' experience in Malaysia.

     

    Highlights: This is the perfect romantic getaway as the island has a spa, private bungalows, an outdoor Jacuzzi by the sea and all the romantic walks by the beach you want. Special arrangements can be made for honeymooners, weddings or private parties. The only way to get here is by booking a tour package from the resort. There are no day trips or visits here.

     How to Get There: It is about 40 minute’s boat ride from the mainland of Semporna in the province of Sabah.

     

     



  • 26 Sapi Island

    Sapi Island
    Image Credit : Sapi Island
    Sapi Island is one of the smallest yet one of the most exciting islands in Peninsular Malaysia. Due to the large number of activities that this small place offers, peak seasons and weekends gets too crowded here. You can come here on weekdays if you want a relaxing atmosphere.

    Highlights:  When you are here, try out the coral flyer exercise, which takes you in a zipline from island to island. You will get the longest zipline in the world in Sapi Island. White sandy beaches, clear waters, dense forests, great marine life and quiet beaches make this 25-acre island, a wonder, indeed. You will get to see wild boards, monitor lizards and macaques in plenty when you come here. Swimming, snorkelling, sea-walking, scuba diving, coral flying, exploring hidden beaches and cliffs and camping are some of the activities that you can do here.



    Location: Close to Kota Kinabalu.

    Timings: March to October.

    Price: RM3 & RM1 per adult and child for Sapi Marine Park (locals).


  • Nearby Getaways from Sabah
  • 01 Kota Kinabalu

    1491983835_kota-kinabalu-017.jpg
    Image Credit : 

    Kota Kinabalu is the capital of Sabah, Borneo. This place is gaining increasing popularity as being the perfect resort destination especially due to the island city’s proximity to beautiful locations such as the luscious, green rainforests, the pretty tropical islands and the spectacularly heighted mountains.

    Kota Kinabalu is situated on the west coast of Sabah and is the largest city in the state. The location serves as the main gateway into the island of Borneio. This island city overlooks the grand South China sea which is essentially bordered by hills and the very famous Crocker Range. The urban, bustling life of Kita Kinabalu can be discovered in the northern and southern region of the city.

    The city is developing at an extremely fast pace too. The place now consists of 500,000 inhabitants and has experienced a surge of economic growth being the sole result of its instant development.

    Kota Kinabalu which was previously recognized by the name, Jesselton was initially under the British colonial rule between the years, 1880 and 1963. It was only after the British left that Sabah along with Kota Kinabalu became a part of Malaysia.

    Although most of the town was destroyed during the bombings of the second world war, the city developed greatly. These ruins still remain as a form of memory of what took place back then.

    As far as the tourism experience is concerned, the place is quite friendly. For the convenience of the tourists, there are endless resorts, restaurants and hotels designed to suit the varied needs to the people staying. Transportation wise, the city is well connected and therefore, you can definitely experience a smooth stay and touring around.