In the last quarter of the year, celebrate art, culture and wildlife.
In October, we celebrate the art with the Gong Festival in Matunggong. It is one of the best times to visit and immerse yourself into the culture of the Rungus community, witness the creation of one of Sabah’s quintessential musical instruments produced by craft makers of the Sumangkap Village.
But the best way to experience the melting pot of Sabah is to visit the grand Tamu Besar held annually at Kota Belud. A vibrant melee of farmers, fishermen and vendors will convene at the largest open-air market to sell an array of produce and everyday goods. The 35th Annual Art Exhibition by Sabah Art Gallery will also be held from October 2020 to January 2021.
Also in October, the official birthday of His Excellency, the Head of State of Sabah is celebrated on the first Saturday of October annually at Padang Merdeka, Kota Kinabalu. From the 23rd – 25th October, the Fishermen Menumbok Festival is a celebration dedicated to the fishermen in Menumbok and surrounding areas with lots of interesting events and competition.
The oldest 4×4 off road competition in Malaysia returns to thrill off-road participants and enthusiasts as they attempt to conquer the harsh terrains of Sabah’s rainforest with modified 4×4 vehicles at the 30th Borneo Safari International Off Road Challenge from 25th October to 1st November.
Efforts are taken to create awareness of our environment through events like the Tanjung Aru Beach Festival that will happen on the 30 to 31st October, a trash-free event to create awareness to the public in keeping our treasured beaches clean and to appreciate the amazing sunset view available all year-round. And also the 9th Borneo Eco Film Festival (BEFF) an annual non-profit event celebrating Borneo’s biocultural diversity through showcasing environmental films, nurturing local community filmmaking and empowering youth towards sustainable action will be held in November.
For those interested in wildlife and conservations, The Borneo Bird Festival celebrates the feathered beauties of Borneo, creating public awareness in conservation efforts while promoting bird watching and eco-tourism activities. The festival is held at Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) in Sandakan, home to many endemic bird species. And from the 9th to 12th November, join Borneo Divers’ crew to celebrate the magnificent sea turtles and experience the journey of saving these marine creatures in Semporna. Sea Education Awareness Sabah (S.E.A.S) – the marine conservation organisation based at the Mabul Beach Resort of the award-winning dive operator, Scuba Junkie – is running its 6th annual Marine Week from 22-28 November. The event has the theme of ‘Pulauku Rumahku – my island, my home’ – and will be held in both Kota Kinabalu and on Mabul Island.
Lastly to close the year, it’s the season to be jolly! From the 10th – 13th December at Padang Merdeka fairy lights and christmas trees will all be set up at the field! Stroll along the brightly-lit field with family and friends as you enjoy the season’s festivities. Enchanting Christmas will also be happening, the official tree-lighting ceremony placed symbolically at the 0km Sabah Tourism Board!