Sabah is one of those rare places where you can sense the adventure in the air, just waiting to be explored. It is the ultimate destination for nature lovers, The Land Below the Wind is home to azure waves, pristine beaches, massive mountains, ancient rainforest, endangered wildlife and many more.
Tours and Accommodation in West Sabah
Located on the legendary island of Borneo, Kota Kinabalu is a charming capital city for this state and serve a perfect base for travellers to explore the west of Sabah’s delights. Thus, when we think of the city, we usually imagine huge crowds of people buzzing around streets surrounded by huge sky-scraping buildings. But that is not exactly the case with Kota Kinabalu, as it is more affectionately known for its lush greenery, lazy seaside views, fresh seafood cuisine and friendly locals, makes Kota Kinabalu famous for its chill vibes. Therefore, instead of a Grab, hop on a bicycle in Kota Kinabalu and get to know the city in a different way. Its eco friendly and at the same time you get to admire the great views along the city’s waterfront, while pedalling your way to the iconic landmarks such as Sabah Foundation Tower, floating mosque, Likas Bay, Atkinson Clock Tower, water village and market. At the end of the day, come to Tanjung Aru beach for a leisurely walk along the sand at sunset or get a drink at one of the bars that line the coast.
For an exciting wildlife experience, go for the Klias Wetland Mangrove Forest Reserve river cruise, where you get to observe a large population of the rare Proboscis monkeys which can only be found in Borneo. Get those camera, binoculars on stand-by and keep your eye peeled for the shy creatures in between the branches. Besides Proboscis monkeys, other riverside residents that can be spotted are silver leaf monkeys, macaques, monitor lizards, tree snakes, crocodiles,, mud skipper and birds such as kingfishers. As dusk settles in with a sunset, enjoy the sights and sounds in a natural setting and watch hundred of fireflies lights up the mangrove forest like a Christmas trees.
Just two and a half hours from Kota Kinabalu, the tip of Borneo which located in Kudat district, is one of the most popular attractions in Sabah. In fact, Borneo is the third largest island in the world, and this northern most tip on the west of Sabah is the meeting point of two big ocean, South China Sea and Sulu sea. It is home to some of the island’s best beaches, spectacular ocean views, beautiful sunset and a delightful Rungus community. The Kudat tip of Borneo is remote, hidden and unspoiled, best if you like to explore and relax at a tranquil breezy beach town.
On the other hand, if you crave for an idyllic island retreat, Gaya island is just 15 minutes boat ride from Kota Kinabalu. Set amidst the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Gaya island is home to a luxury resorts by YTL Hotels. Experience a luxurious island stay, from elegant rooms overlooking the ocean, varieties of delicious meals, personalise picnic basket to a relaxing herbal massage that makes it an unforgettable escapade. And take your time appreciating the surrounding natural beauty which is over thousand of years. Covered in dense rainforest, there are about 20 kilometres worth of hiking trails for you to explore. Whats more, you can fill up your day with snorkelling, diving, water sports, picnic or strolling along the white sandy beaches. Nearby, you can also visit the thriving overwater fishing village of Kampung Gaya which faces the coast of Kota Kinabalu.
Located on the outskirts of the city, the sacred Mount Kinabalu probably is the most famous attraction on the west of Sabah. Standing majestically at 4,095 metres high, Mount Kinabalu is recognised as the highest mountain of Malaysia. It is one of the most biodiverse place on earth and it is a must-visit destination if you want to see some of the gorgeous flora and fauna in Malaysia first hand. The mountain lies in the middle of the wider Kinabalu National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the big draw here is the trek to the summit, which will give you some amazing views over the rest of west Sabah.
Alternatively, if you like more challenge, Mount Trusmadi offers a thrilling experience. Standing at 2,642 metre tall, Mount Trusmadi is the second highest mountain in Malaysia after Mount Kinabalu. The peak is located in the heart of Trusmadi Forest Reserve and is bordered by 3 districts, Ranau up north, Tambunan in the west and Keningau down its south. Trusmadi was once upon a time a popular hunting ground amongst the locals and today, it has been declared as a Class 1 Forest Reserve. It may be lower than Mount Kinabalu, however it has a lot of challenging terrain to conquer which is irresistible for the adventure seekers.
Besides the mountain climbing, do you know that white water rafting is also a popular pastime in the west Sabah? The Kiulu river outside Kota Kinabalu is the perfect place to enjoy beginner white water rafting, if you have always wanted to try this exciting sport. Just 1 and a half hour from the city, you will experience excitement combine with amazing natural scenery as the river winds its way through the beautiful Kiulu river region. You might spot friendly villagers waving or some wildlife roaming along the banks. And later, perhaps you can go pedalling across the Kiulu village terrains and challenge yourself to cross about 4 hanging bridges throughout the cycling journey.
Nevertheless, if you want a day trip outside of Kota Kinabalu, then consider a trip to Poring Hot Springs. The springs are actually selection of pools which date from the time of the Japanese occupation of Sabah during the Second World War, and the reason for their existence is due to the naturally hot water found in the region. The waters here is high in sulphur which is said to have medicinal properties especially for the aching muscles. Therefore, after spending your time trekking around Kota Kinabalu, then this a must-visit stop for you to relax and rejuvenate.
Another interesting place on the west of Sabah that you can go for a day trip is the Sabah Tea Garden, which is around 2 hours from the city. It’s a place where you will find the famous delicious tea of Sabah and learn how the amazing tea is made. Try some of the local blends, and relax at the end of the tour with a soothing cup of the local brew while take in the views of the mighty Mount Kinabalu.