Sabah (used to be known as North Borneo), is located at the northern part of the Borneo Island. It was once a British colony until it gained independence in 1963. It is now one of the three nations that helped to form Malaysia. Sabah is indeed a wonderful place endowed with unique flora and fauna, beautiful mountains, islands and beaches and fantastic cultures. Therefore Sabah is a must for a visitor to visit. Why?

Wetland tropical jungle

Wetland tropical jungle in Klias, Beaufort

It will soon be gone!

Borneo is famously known as the Land of the Headhunters! The island of Borneo was so enchanted that many adventure stories were created to tell about this mystic place. Often the tales involved civilized people encountering savage natives who lived in the thick forest, as if 100% of the island was nothing but wilderness. Headhunters had vanished though, hundreds of years ago but Borneo is amazingly still packed with jungle.

However, since the 1960s, the jungle is rapidly diminishing because of logging activities and worst of all; expansion of palm oil plantations. At this moment, it is still possible to see those huge trees, Rafflesia, the wild orchids and pitcher-plants and the unique creatures such as the orangutans and proboscis monkeys. Soon all these will be gone. The pygmy rhinos of Borneo had already disappeared in the wild. Other animals will soon follow. Therefore I advise my fellow travelers; please come here and see for yourself before they too disappeared forever. Who knows, with so many tourists coming to see for the last time, the government suddenly realized the importance of the forests and animals thus deciding to protect it at all cost.

Proboscis monkey found only in Borneo

Proboscis monkey found only in Borneo

Endemic and unique!

Borneo rainforest is 140 million years old! It is the oldest rainforest in the world. Long ago, the Borneo Island was connected to the Asian mainland. It was believed to have separated during the last ice age. Because of this separation, the island became a center of evolution and distribution of many endemic and unique animals and plants species. The jungle of Sabah is a host to arrays of diverse plants and animal species. Most of Sabah biodiversity are located in the forest reserves such as surrounding the Kinabatangan River, Crocker Range National Park, Meliau Basin and Mount Kinabalu World Heritage Sites. These parks are host to more than 4500 species of flora and fauna. Marine life is also very special in Sabah. The water around Sipadan Island is the most bio-diverse in the world. Dugong is also found here.

Islands of Borneo

Visitors disembarking near Gaya Island, Kota Kinabalu

Distance is no barrier!

I think there are a limited number of places around the world where you could be swimming, snorkeling and sunbathing at the tropical beaches on the islands, when you suddenly decide to spend your night at the temperate highlands. All you have to do is pack your belongings at the beach and within two to three hours you will be resting in one of the hotels or homestays in the mountain. Sabah is one of the places you could experienced such thing.  Near Kota Kinabalu (used to be called Jesselton), there are chains of beautiful islands such as Gaya, Sapi, Manukan and Dinwawan. It takes less than two hours to travel from Jesselton Point to Kinabalu National Park. There are wonderful chalets on both the islands and in the mountain, so you decide how to spend your time.

Ikan Baulu famous in Sabah

The famous milk fish, Ikan Baulu

Fabulous Food!

Sabah is the melting pot of cultures and food cuisines; the Chinese coming from China introduced Tuaran mee and the Menggatal ngiu chap. The Indians from South Asia showed how roti kosong or roti telur is made. The teh tarik is another of their novelty. Neighboring Indonesians introduced Sipitang satay and mee rojak, while the Filipinos made ikan beulu famous. To some extend Siamese influence brought by Peninsula Malaysian introduced nasi Pattaya. Don’t forget the British who had ruled us since the mid-1800s contributed to the unique food cuisines of Borneo by introducing continental breakfast and fish & chips which now are commonly found in hotels and restaurants. The indigenous people have their tuhau and hinava while neighboring Brunei introduced the ambuyat. All the natives have their jaruk bambangan.

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