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Years ago the name Sabah used to remind me of this very pretty girl who was a colleague in my HSBC days. Later I found out about the Sabah region in the world’s 3rd largest island, Borneo!

A very diverse place, Sabah is home to some native groups like Kadazandusun, Bajau, Suluk Murut, Bisaya and Orang Sungai. Others being Filipinos, Chinese, Indians and other ethnic groups who live in total harmony. A fusion of their cultures is what makes Sabah very special.

It’s easiest to get a direct flight to Kota Kinabalu (the main city in Sabah) from Kuala Lumpur. Once you get off at Kota Kinabalu International Airport and get through immigration (there is a form you need to fill out and you get a stamp in your passport), you can hightail it to your hotel/resort in a cab. If you are the adventurous sort, you can try and get there by train or bus. It will definitely be a longer trip though and not as straightforward as taking a flight.

Scaling Mount Kinabalu

Mt Kinabalu from Desa Cattle
Mt Kinabalu from Desa Cattle

One of the main attractions here is Mount Kinabalu. At 4095.2 m it is the highest mountain in Borneo, Malaysia. You can take a local bus from the main bus station or a shared taxi, or even hire your own car to get to Kinabalu Park. If you are in good shape physically, you can try and scale the mountain. Plan a hike of two days so that it is easy and not stressful …

Other Activities

Sabah Underwater
Sabah Underwater

If you are a water person, there is something for you as well – go snorkeling or diving at Sipadan or Mabul. The corals here are simply beautiful – colourful and mesmerizing. Go scuba diving – swim with sea turtles, barracudas and sharks. Ensure you follow instructions of the dive master else you might have to ‘swim with the fishes’!! A la Marlon Brando!! It’s a protected site, hence only 120 divers per day can scuba dive. If you’re lazy like me, snorkel in a cordoned off area and enjoy the colourful coral. You will see reef fish as well …

Sabah Traditional Food

Sabah's food
Sabah's food

No article of mine is ever complete without some inputs on my favourite subject – food! I am a foodie and will never baulk at trying local cuisine and Sabah traditional food. However, I’ll avoid the scary foods I’m queasy about ie. snakes, frogs, insects etc…

Read the full story at Mavis Mendonca Smith page.