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Enchanting Spots For An Exciting Escapade, Here’s Why M’sians NEED To Visit Sabah For a Memorable Getaway

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Source: Sabah Tourism & Saifsulong

With state borders opened up, Malaysians everywhere are busy thinking about their next getaway. And while we may not be allowed to travel overseas just yet, there are a ton of enchanting spots in and around Malaysia that we locals probably haven’t even visited ourselves (but absolutely need to)!

One state in particular that boasts its mountainous terrains, white sandy beaches, limestone caves and more is none other than the enchanting state of Sabah; a state that many of us may not know much about, but that’s all going to change! Here are some of the most incredible spots around Sabah you have to check out to impress the wanderlust in you:

 

1. Kundasang aka the ‘Scotland of Borneo’

 

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At an elevation of 6,200 feet, this quaint little town located fairly close to Mount Kinabalu is one of the highest towns in Malaysia to be inhabited. With vast green fields, mountains in its backdrop, and cooling temperatures similar to that in Cameron Highlands, it’s no wonder Kundasang is known as the ‘Scotland of Borneo‘!

Here’s what you can do here:

  • Visit the Desa Cattle Dairy Farm for the most postcard-worthy landscape inclusive of meadows, mountains, clear blue skies and Friesian cows! Yes, those black and white cows you normally see on TV.
    • You can also watch the cows being milked and fed!
    • Try out the delicious dairy products made right there at the farm including fresh milk, yoghurt and more.
    • Entrance fee: RM5 only
  • Go stargazing at any empty field or beach or maybe even book a stay at Hounon Ridge Farmstay & Camping, a facility that provides rooms and tents for you to cosy up under the starry night sky.
  • Stop by the Kundasang Farmers’ Market complete with a vast variety of fresh vegetables, fruits, even flowers! All freshly picked and harvested from nearby farms.
    • Expect plenty of local handicrafts and apparel too!

 

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2. The iconic Kota Kinabalu

While many may know Kota Kinabalu (KK) to be the home of our majestic Mount Kinabalu, KK is so much more than that!

Here’s what you can do here:

  • Go stargazing and fall asleep under the milky wayYes, you can see the milky way right here in Sabah!
    • Places perfect to catch the stars, meteors and milky way include the Sugud Milky Way Plain or on Mount Kinabalu itself!
  • Shop ’til you drop at the Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market complete with colourful pareos and sarongs, genuine pearl jewellery, locally made handicrafts, even the authentic sompoton (traditional wind instrument), a Murut headhunter’s blowpipe, coconut shaped handbags and many more!
  • For some good eats, head to these locations:
    • Yee Fung Coffee Shop: known to offer the best and most popular Laksa in KK and is constantly packed with locals
    • Sri Latha Curry House: highly known for its banana leaf rice sets that often come with four vegetarian sides. Their lamb and chicken dishes are also popular here along with their refreshing mango lassi.
    • Welcome Seafood Restaurant: famous for its reasonably priced and super-fresh seafood dishes, this is the place to be if you love all things seafood including curry crabs, salted egg prawns, steamed ginger clams and the list goes on!

 

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3. Visit the ‘Tip of Borneo’: Kudat

 

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Kudat, Sabah which also happens to be situated at the tip of Borneo–the third largest island in the world–is one of the most popular attractions in Sabah.

Here’s what you can do here:

  • Visit Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, the Northern-most tip of Borneo where you’ll be able to enjoy an endless view of the ocean, the most scenic sunsets as well as moonlit skies.
  • Right next to Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, you’ll find Pantai Kalampunian, a long strip covered in soft white sand accompanied by crystal clear blue waters.
  • Taste traditional Linopot Rice of the Rungus people (an indigenous people group from Kudat) at the Samod ku Cafe. Linopot Rice typically comes with two side dishes which you can choose from their wide array of traditional Rungus dishes.
  • For affordable, delicious and fresh seafood dishes, visit the Kampung Kelapa restaurant that offers all sorts of seafood from crab and prawns to fish and sotong, you’ll be spoilt for choice!

 

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4. For all things nature and wildlife, visit Sandakan

 

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Known for its thick rainforests and protected wildlife, this is the perfect place for friends and families alike to kick back, relax and get back into nature to learn a thing or two about our local flora and fauna.

If you love our wildlife and learning more about them, head to these places:

  • Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (SOURC): A centre specialising in rehabilitating orphaned orangutans.
    • Feeding sessions happen at 10am and 3pm where visitors can watch orangutans feasting on fruits from a nearby platform.
  • Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (situated next to SOURC): Specialising in rescuing sun bears from captivity, visitors can catch the adorable bears as they roam around and climb on trees from a nearby platform.
  • Turtle Island Park: Comprising of three islands (Selingan, Bakungan Kecil & Gulisan islands), this is a safe haven for both the endangered green and hawksbill turtles. Here, visitors are given the rare opportunity to catch turtle landings (when turtles come ashore to lay eggs).
    • Best time to visit is between July and October.
    • Watch the collection of eggs, tagging of mother turtles and releasing of baby turtles into the sea are also part of the experience!

 

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For gorgeous islands:

  • LANKAYAN ISLAND: Practically untouched and surrounded by crystal clear blue waters, this island is part of the Marine Conservation Area known for its 14 unbeatable diving sites. 14!!!
    • If you plan to take a dive, visit between March and May as that’s when enormous whale sharks tend to make an appearance.
    • Because this is a protected island, you can expect a peaceful getaway as you enjoy the turquoise waters, incredible coral reefs, thick tropical island vegetation as well as soft white sand between your toes.
  • LIBARAN ISLAND: For crystal clear waters as well as absolute privacy and peace and quiet, this is the island for you.
    • Enjoy romantic sunsets, take a river cruise in the mangrove forest or take part in a night fishing experience, Libaran has it all.

 

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5. For even more island experiences, head to Semporna

 

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For those of us living in the city, we can never get enough of the beach life. So if you’re looking for an enchanting island getaway, make sure you head to Semporna!

Here are some of the best islands to visit (besides the ever-popular Pom Pom and Sipadan Islands):

  • MABUL ISLAND: Located just 15 minutes away from Sipadan Island, Mabul is home to an array of macro life, rare ecological species, as well as blue-ringed octopus, spike-fin gobies and many more, making it perfect for anyone looking for a memorable dive.
  • KAPALAI ISLAND (also widely known as the Maldives of Malaysia): From snorkelling and diving to spa treatments and ocean kayaking, this is one of the places to head to for all you couples out there looking to spice things up.
  • MATAKING ISLAND: Also widely known as the perfect spot for a romantic getaway, Mataking is covered in sparkling white sand and is known for both diving and non-diving activities such as:
    • Batik painting
    • Kayaking & Canoeing
    • Jungle trekking
    • Spas & massages
    • An underwater post office where divers can post their mail using a waterproof bag

 

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How incredible are these photos?!

Unfortunately, that’s it for this list, but how beautiful are these locations?! The best part is they’re all situated right here in Malaysia in the enchanting state of Sabah! Who says you need to travel far for an exotic getaway!

So if you’re on the lookout for a new and exciting holiday destination that isn’t too far away, make sure you consider Sabah, okay! A trip there will surely give you a newfound pride for being Malaysian. From its incredible beaches and exotic wildlife to the scrumptious East Malaysian delicacies, what’s not to love! So don’t say we bojio!

If you need more info or you’d like to know of all the latest promos available before you start planning your holiday, make sure to check out the Sabah Tourism website for all the must-see’s, must-do’s, and must-eats of Sabah. #BahMariLah!

Happy travels, everyone! Remember to practice social distancing!

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