Sabah is a state of Malaysia located on the northern portion of Borneo, in the region of East Malaysia, it’s also the 2nd largest state (after Sarawak). Sabah is well known for having the highest peak in Malaysia, Mount Kinabalu (4095m). Every year hikers from around the world come to hike this mountain because we have the highest Via Ferrata(3776m) in the world, but the hiking slot is limited, price range from Rm1130 per person, some have to wait 3-6 months due to slot limitation. Usually, a day is limited to between 100-200 hikers because of the limitation of resthouse at the midpoint for overnight rest, that’s just 73,000 hikers (if 200 per day) a year. Some of the beautiful photos taken at Via Ferrata below
If you are visiting Kundasang (100km from Kota Kinabalu), the coldest town at an altitude of 2000m don’t forget to visit their Desa Dairy Farm at the foothill of Mount Kinabalu, it offers one of the most amazing scenery one could envision, with its majestic background of Mount Kinabalu overlooking beautiful green pastures, breathtaking scenery, not forgetting the cooling weather that Kundasang has to offer. This cattle 199 hectares farm, produces about 900,00 litres of milk annually and most of the milking cows are Friesians, the highest milk producers of all cattle breeds.
It is an ideal destination for the whole family, where there are activities such as feeding the calves and goats with bottled milk and grass, discovering how milk is processed as well as the milking process are available for all. Before leaving, don’t forget to get some souvenirs, especially the popular dairy products like Desa Cattle’s milk in a box as well as their Gelato ice cream. Buy your ticket here as it is fully booked always. Below is a 3 minutes video of the farm visit
Island hopping is the next thing to do here, five islands include Gaya, Manukan, Mamutik, Sapi and Sulug. Manukan island is popular for sunbath and snorkeling, for light jungle trekking and to explore a floating village, visit Gaya. The other three are more secluded with fewer tourists. Regular speedboats connect Kota Kinabalu’s Jesselton Point with the marine park including island-hopping trips too.
Zipline or flying fox from one island to another between Gaya to Sapi island at a distance of 250 meters is another activity for adventurous seekers at this Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. Apart from a shot of adrenaline, expect stunning views of the tiny archipelago and Sabah’s shoreline.
Poring Hot Springs consists of a series of natural sulfuric pools near Ranau, about 14km from Kundasang. Hikers often stop by for a recuperating soak and relaxation after climbing Mount Kinabalu. The family-friendly Butterfly Park is a highlight. Or hike to see the world’s largest (and smelliest) flower: Rafflesia.
Borneo Island and Indonesian Sumatera, are the world’s only habitats for wild orangutans. Sadly, deforestation and hunting threaten their survival. The world’s first rehabilitation center at Sepilok opened in 1964. The semi-wild enclosure adopts and nurtures the young and orphaned in a protected environment. Feeding time entice the 75 resident orangutans out into the open.
Semporna is another hot destination as it offers a gateway to some of the most visited and most beautiful islands like Sipadan, Mabul and Kapalai. These are the islands where you can do many water activities like island hopping, snorkeling, scuba diving, sea walking for those without a scuba license. You can explore discover the beauty of Bohey Dulang, Sibuan Island and Mantabuan island just in one trip and get a closer look at marine life. Much of the marine life is preserved at Sipadan National Park famous for top diving destination in the world being one of the world’s richest marine habitats. The best diving site is the Barracuda point and it certainly does live to the reputation. The marine life here includes turtles, sharks, Jackfish, triggerfish, Parrotfish, trevally, bumper head, sea horse, nudibranchs, starfish, sea anemone, sea urchin, corals etc. Getting there, you can either fly to Tawau from KK then take a Taxi/Grab (100km) to Semporna and ferry to the islands or take a bus from KK direct to Semporna (500+ km/9 hours).
Labuan is an island off Sabah shores about a half-hour by boat from Menumbok jetty which is 1/4 the size of Langkawi at just 92km square with a population of 100,000. It is the least visited island compared to Langkawi although it’s also a duty-free island where liquor is cheap. 90% of Malaysian have been to Langkawi but less than 10% have been to Labuan as it has less attraction here. The attraction here includes shipwreck dive, Botanical Garden, Marine Museum, World War II Memorial (largest in M’sia), Labuan Bird Park, Surrender Point, Patau- Patau Water Village, Chimney Museum, Labuan Museum, United Nation Beach and not forgetting the many Duty-Free shops. Below is a 9 minutes video that shows all the itineraries that you can explore.
The Marine Museum east of Labuan Town showcases their rich maritime past include a fascinating array of artifacts rescued from Labuan’s four shipwrecks and other sections include an aquarium with starfish, corals and sea cucumbers inside the International Sea Sports Complex. You have 3 options of going to Labuan, 1st is a direct flight to the airport, 2nd is a boat from Kota Kinabalu, Jesselton Point ferry which would take 3 hours or 3rd is a boat from Menumbok Jetty which take about 30 minutes
Sarawak with an area of 124,450 km2 is the biggest state among the 14 states in Malaysia, almost the size of the whole peninsula 132,265 km2 . Because of the sheer size, this state also has the most airport 23 (including rural airfields) of the 62 airports in Malaysia.
Sarawak has an equatorial climate with tropical rainforests and abundant animal and plant species. It has several prominent cave systems at Gunung Mulu National Park. For some real Mulu adventure, can check out here. Rajang River located here is the longest river in Malaysia. For hikers, here is a trekking adventure at Mount Murud, the highest point in Sarawak standing at 2,424 m (7,946 ft). It is a white-yellowish sandstone mountain, formed some 5.333 million years ago and extends for 4 km long.
Our first city we arrived from Labuan is Miri which is the second largest city in Sarawak after Kuching. One of the highlight you shouldn’t miss is the Grand Old Lady, Malaysia first oil well which started in Dec 1910 (112 years ago) by Shell. Located at the Canada Hill, high above, overlooking Miri town below. Beside it is the Petroleum Museum, I recorded a short 2 minutes video for your viewing.
Our next stop is Niah National Park which is where the earliest known human settlement in Sarawak discovered at the Niah Caves which dates back 40,000 years. This cave is located about 100km from Miri town, you can rent a car from the airport and drive about 1 hour 45 minutes heading Niah National Park. I have visited this Niah Caves myself and made a 10 minutes video, so you can actually imagine as if you are experiencing yourself.
The next itinerary was Kuching or Cat city, the capital and biggest city in Sarawak. Make your way to the World’s first and biggest Cat Museum, devoted to all things feline, is in Petra Jaya in the Kuching City North City Hall, where you will learn all about the historical and cultural significance of these felines with over 4,000 cat-related exhibits on show, including a cat in a mummified form that hails from Egypt and is said to date back 5,000 years as well, there are even sections dedicated to the story of Hello Kitty as well as the Broadway show Cats like Garfield. Here is a short recorded 2 minutes video of my visit here
The most iconic part of Kuching, without a doubt, is its scenic waterfront which is where all the main action happens. In this part of town, you will find a pretty walking path with the bridge that flanks the water and offers you amazing views over the main sights in town such as the Astana and the majestic Fort Margherita. Astana is an iconic building dates from 1870 during the time of Charles Brooke who was also known as the Second White Rajah of Sarawak. The Astana is now the official home of the Governor of Sarawak but it was originally built as a wedding gift for Ranee Margaret, the wife of Charles Brooke. The complex is made up of three different bungalow areas which are joined by walkways and the Astana enjoys panoramic views over the waterfront of Kuching. Below is a short 4 minutes video of Kuching Waterfront, Fort Margherita, Darul Hana bridge, Astana and Indian Street as they are all located nearby.
The next recommended attraction site is the Chinese History Museum. The museum was formerly the headquarters of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sarawak, but was opened to the public in 1993 as a place where tourists can learn more about the Chinese people that resided in Sarawak from decades past, one attraction that you should not miss when you travel Kuching in Sarawak. At present, the building houses many artifacts of past eras and contains many memorabilia of Chinese affairs during the time of Charles Vyner Brooke who is popularly known as the White Rajah in Sarawak history. I visited and make a 7 minutes video so you can see it instead of reading it here
Here is all I have compiled for the 1 week travelling in Sabah, Labuan and Sarawak. Other attraction that I have left out are below, perhaps you have time to go and explore further
- Visit the Sarawak Cultural Village
- Learn some history at the Sarawak Museum
- Travel to Bako National Park
- Visit the Old Courthouse
- Admire the flowers at Gunung Gading National Park
- Meet the turtles at Satang Turtle Island National Park
- Discover Semenggoh Nature Reserve
- Go kayaking on the Sarawak River