SABAH - The Land Below The Wind

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Brief Background

 

Sabah is known as the “Land Below The Wind” because it lies below the typhoon belt. Sabah is mountainous with lush tropical rainforests and takes up the northern part of Borneo. Borneo is the world’s third largest island, and are for the adventure-minded.

 

Places of Interest

 

Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, is the eastern gateway to Malaysia with direct airlinks to most of the surrounding capitals. Kota Kinabalu is a relatively new town blessed with perpetual blue skies, a sea-side studded with coral islands and forested mountains in the background.

 

Sabah State Museum is housed in a modern building in Kota Kinabalu and displays artifacts from Sabah’s past and modern works of art that speak of a vibrant, dynamic present.

 

Tanjung Aru Beach is a long stretch of beach lined with picturesque palm and casuarinas trees along its soft fine sands. There is much to see because here you will find the Tanjung Aru Beach Hotel, the Kinabalu Yacht Club, the Kinabalu Golf Club and the Prince PhilipPark.

 

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park comprises five islands which are only 10 to 25 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu by speedboat. These islands – Pulau Gaya, Pulau Sapi, Pulau Mamutik, Pulau Manukan and Pulau Sulug – offer stretches of white sandy beaches, crystal clear waters and some of the most diverse coral reef and marine life in the world. They are ideal spots for picnicking, diving and snorkeling. Sapi and Manukan haave picnic facilities and Mamutik has cabins available for hire.

 

Sabah Foundation Building is a magnificent glass-shrouded tower rising thirty storeys into the sky, nominating the landscape around Likas Bay, about ten minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu. It is one of the few hanging structures in the world and is a symbol of Sabah’s dynamic and innovative spirit.

 

Kinabalu Park is famous for its highest peak in South East Asia; the Mount Kinabalu which at 4101 m is a popular hikers destination. The mountain and the surrounding area make up the Kinabalu Park, a reserve covering an area of 754 sq km. Only two hours away by road from Kota Kinabalu, the park is home to an incredibly diverse range of flora and fauna, including the Rafflesia, the largest flower in the world and the Nepethes (pitcher plant) and more than 1,000 species of orchids.

 

Turtle Islands consist of Pulau Selingan, Pulau Bakungan Kecil and Pulau Gulisan derived their collective title from the fact that they are breeding grounds for the Green and Hawksbill turtles.  Turtles come up to the beach to lay eggs every night of the year, although the peak season is between July and September. These islands also have hatcheries. In addition they are also ideal picnic spots with clean sandy beaches and clear waters.

 

Pulau Sipadan located 30 km off Semporna on the East Coast of Sabah is the only oceanic island in Malaysia. It is also considered to be one of the best diving sites in South East Asia, rising 600 m from the sea bed on a limestone pinnacle that “mushrooms” out near the surface. Sipadan boasts of unparalleled undersea scenery and marine life. Spectacular reefs, caverns, cliffs and overhangs are matched up by the wide variety of marine life.

 

Gomantong Caves are about 32 km south of Sandakan and are home to over one million swiftlets. These swiftlets nests are a famous Chinese delicacy called bird’s nests and fetch a good price locally and abroad. Twice a year, in the caves, men can be seen scaling bamboo ladders to heights of about 90 m to collect this delicacy off the cave walls. Neighbours to the swiftlets are more than a million bats, living atop an enormous guano pile.

 

Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, located at Sepilok Forest Reserve is 20 minute drive from Sandakan. The wealth of indigenous and rare plants, animals and birds that have found sanctuary here have to be seen to be believed. Here the orang utan which have strayed in to logging camps or been rescued from captivity are cared for before being sent back to the forest.

 

Sourced : Tourism Malaysia