Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the state of Sabah is the gateway to eco-adventures such as diving, river cruising, white-water rafting, caving and mountain climbing. Formerly known as Jesselton, most parts of the city has been reconstructed after World War II leaving only three surviving buildings from the war.
The “land below the wind” offers many exciting eco-adventures. From the city you can take a trip to the foot of Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site standing majestically at a height of 4,095.2m. Mount Kinabalu is the highest peak in southeast Asia and is situated in the Kinabalu Park along with other ecological treasures in a tropical wonderland that spans 754 square kilometres. The diversity of flora in this park ranges over four climatic zones that includes 5,000 kinds of flowering plants, 1,200 varieties of orchids, 100 species of mammals and 326 species of birds known to call it home. Ascending and getting down Mount Kinabalu’s peak is a test of fitness that can range from two to three days depending on your fitness levels and weather conditions.
Going the opposite direction towards the waters, a 20 minute boat ride from the staging point of Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal will take you to Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. A vibrant playground for sun-seekers, this park consists of five islands namely Gaya, Sapi, Sulug, Manukan and Mamutik island. The cluster of tropical islands makes for a great break from the city for the day. Accommodation is available at Gaya and Manukan islands with the former being the largest island of the cluster should you consider an extended getaway to this idyllic waters. Swimming, snorkelling, or diving with the lively and colourful marine life is something not to be missed here. The adventurous may choose to rough it out and get closer with nature by camping out on the islands of Sapi and Mamutik. Thrill seekers can parasail above the emerald waters and there’s fun for everyone in the family riding on a banana boat or exploring the islands on a island hopping tour. Sapi island gives a novel way for non-divers to explore the underwater world through sea-walking.
Enrich yourself by stepping into a traditional home, learning cultures and rituals of the five main ethnic communities of Sabah at the Mari-Mari Cultural Village in Kota Kinabalu. Sample the local food as you immerse yourself in the simple yet intriguing traditional lifestyle and activities. Check out the House of Skulls at the Monsopiad Cultural Village about 16km from Kota Kinabalu which pays tribute to the legendary Kadazan Warrior, Monsopiad who lived about 200 years ago.