According to ebizdir, the city of Kota Kinabalu is located on the east coast of the island of Kalimantan (Borneo). It is the capital of the state of Sabah. There are few attractions in the city itself. One of the most beautiful places is the central embankment, where it is always noisy and crowded. Not far from it is a “Philippine market” with souvenir shops. Kota Kinabalu is often used as a transit point for a variety of excursions around the state.
The terrain in Sabah is quite mountainous. Mount Kinabalu, the highest point in Southeast Asia, is located 138 km northeast of Kota Kinabalu. (4101 m). Mount Kinabalu is one of the five youngest mountains of non-volcanic origin, and to this day the height of the mountain is increasing by 5 mm annually. Despite its decent height, Kinabalu is easily accessible. You can climb it without special equipment, but still, for climbing, tourists need to order the services of an escort. Every year, thousands of tourists make the ascent, which takes 2-3 days. At an altitude of 2000 m, among the thickets of rhododendron, there is a camp, to which electricity is supplied and filtered water is supplied through the pipeline. Climbing Mount Kinabalu Starts at Kinabalu National Park, which is located near the tourist camp. The park covers an area of 754 sq. km. A special permit is required to visit it. In the park, you can travel through the jungle on suspension bridges located at a height of 20 m, go to hot springs, famous for their healing properties, and to waterfalls. Endemic giant red kinabalu worms, whose length can reach 30 cm, and gray-blue annelids up to 70 cm long live here.
South of the city of Kota Kinabalu is the Rafflesia Center, which talks about the natural world of the forests covering the island and the giant rafflesia plant, flowers which have a mass of about 10 kg.
Coastal waters of Kota Kinabalu protected by two national parks: Tunku Abdul Rahman and Pulau Tiga. The Tunku-Abdul-Rahman National Park is spread over 5 islands (Manukan, Mamutik, Sulug, Gaya and Sapi) and their water areas on an area of 49 square meters. km, three quarters of which are on the water surface. Even untrained divers can explore the underwater world of the park. The largest of the park’s islands is Gaia Island. A 5-star hotel is offered for accommodation for tourists.. Manukan Island is popular with locals. Its infrastructure is the most developed: there are about 20 guest houses, dive centers and restaurants on the island. Sapi Island is famous for its long sandy beaches. Here, in the daytime, before the departure of the last ferry, crowds of tourists accumulate who want to soak up the sun and dive in coastal waters. Sulug Island is the furthest from Kota Kinabalu. Foreign tourists like to relax here. In addition to the underwater world, the islands of Gaya and Sapi offer hiking trails through the rainforest, during which you will see a variety of animals, including weed chickens that can meow like cats.
Palau Tiga National Park consists of three islands of volcanic origin: Tiga, Kalampunian-Bezar and Kalampunian-Damit and covers an area of 158 square meters. km. The islands were formed in 1897 as a result of eruptions of mud volcanoes. Tiga Island is the largest. It is covered with tropical vegetation. The island has places to accommodate tourists. Calampunian Besar Island is known for its white sandy beaches. The filming of the English and American versions of the reality show “The Last Hero” takes place here. The island of Kalampunian-Damith is called the “island of snakes” because of the poisonous sea snakes that live in its waters.
A little to the west, about 8 km from the coast, is the island of Labuan, which is part of the Federal Territory of Labuan, which is a free trade zone and offshore banking center. The area of the island is 75 sq. km. Its strategic position and convenient deep harbor were the cause of fierce fighting between the American and Japanese navies during World War II. Many frigates, destroyers and even cruisers of both belligerents never returned to their home bases and now rest here, at the bottom of the South China Sea. Now Labuan is especially popular among wreck diving enthusiasts. The wrecks lie southwest of Labuan Island at depths of up to 35 m. Underwater visibility here reaches 30 m. 21 km from Labuan Island, at a depth of 30 m, lies the cargo ship “Tung Huang” sunk in 1980. Flocks of barracudas, lionfish, caesios, and sometimes turtles swim around the ship. 35 km off the island of Labuan at a depth of 35 m is the Philippine fishing trawler “Mabini Padre”, which sank in 1981. The ship’s hull is overgrown with soft corals. You can get inside the ship. Other popular dive sites on the island of Labuan are the 30 m deep American ship from the Second World War and the Australian wreck “SS DE Klerk”, sunk in 1944. You can also go diving near Kuraman Island, which is located in close proximity to Labuan Island and is protected by the Marine Park. Kuraman is also part of the Federal Territory of Labuan. However, in addition to dive sites, Labuan Island is also suitable for beach lovers, because on its northwestern coast there are wide sandy beaches, along which there are numerous hotels.
300 km northwest of Kota Kinabalu in the South China Sea is the island of Layang Layang – the second most popular diving destination in Malaysia after Sipadan Island. You can get here by plane from Kota Kinabalu. Layang Layang is the top of a volcano that has been gradually sinking into the water for millions of years. The waters around the island are teeming with sponges, gorgonians, black, red and white hard corals, with daily sightings of hawk-billed turtles, giant manta rays, gray reef sharks, blacktip sharks, hammerhead sharks, yellowfin tuna, parrotfish and barracuda. Some species of unique marine life have not yet been studied by biologists and do not even have scientific names. The territory of the island itself is fully developed by tourists, who are accepted by the only dive resort that has a hotel with 90 rooms. Dives are carried out both from the shore and from specially equipped catamarans. In total there are 14 dive sites.
From Kota Kinabalu one can make a trip to the northernmost point of the province – the city of Kudat . In Kudat are the traditional dwellings of the local Rungus tribe. They are large longhouses on stilts where entire family clans live. Fans of ethnographic excursions should also visit the villages of Monsopiad and Mengkabung, standing on the water. The small town of Sepilok is located on the east coast of the state of Sabah., which became famous thanks to the world’s largest orangutan rehabilitation center. It is located in a forest reserve covering an area of 44.5 sq. km. Here are treated orangutans who were injured while felling the forest, or who were in zoos in Europe. After recovery, they are released into the wild. The best time to visit the center is in the morning and afternoon hours from 10 am to 3 pm when the orangutans come from the forest to feed.
Off the east coast of Sabah, on the islands in the Sulu Sea, lies the Turtle Islands National Park. It is here that the famous green and hook-nosed turtles abound in the coastal waters, which throughout the year come to the deserted beaches of the islands to lay their eggs. The park consists of three small islands: Selingan, Gulisan and Bakungan-Kechil. Selingan Island (the largest of the park’s islands) hosts the administrative center of the park and has tourist accommodation facilities. The best time for turtle watching is from July to October. Egg-laying can only be observed at night, and tourists are allowed to observe only one turtle per night. During the daytime you can sunbathe on the beaches of Selingan Island or go snorkelling.
North of the Turtle Islands, in the Sulu Sea, is Lankayan Island., where the only dive resort in the Malaysian part of the Sulu Sea is located – Lankayan Island Dive Resort. The resort is known as one of the best places in Malaysia for whale shark sightings. Lankayan Island is surrounded by 40 dive sites with a wide variety of hard and soft corals, colorful tropical fish, large pelagic fish and turtles. Also, off the coast of the island, a fishing vessel rests on the seabed, which was chosen by small fish and large groupers and stingrays.
In the southern part of the state of Sabah, it is worth visiting the Danum Valley, located among dense tropical forests, home to Sumatran rhinos, orangutans, gibbons, tiny artiodactyls – deer, graceful clouded leopard and about 270 species of birds. The valley is home to the state’s first eco-resort, the Borneo Rainforest Lodge. Also in the south of the state of Sabah, Madai caves are interesting , where twice a year in February-April and July-September, local villagers collect bird nests to make a delicious soup. Gatherers risk their lives climbing the high walls of the caves, however, for them this is a special ritual. It is worth visiting the Batu Punggul limestone massif located near the Indonesian border, which rises above the rainforest. At the base of the massif there are numerous caves with stalactites and stalagmites.
Off the southeast coast of the state of Sabah, 35 km from the coastal city of Simporna, is the world-famous island of Sipadan . This is the best place in Malaysia for diving. A warm current flows along the coast of the island, which attracts a wide variety of marine life. Sipadan often compared with the Galapagos Islands: there are over 70 species of coral and more than 200 species of fish (caesio, barracuda, swallowfish, sweetlips, trevally, red mullet, cone-headed parrotfish), a variety of sharks, crabs, lobsters and many turtles, in including the green turtle and hawksbill turtle. Local dive sites abound with underwater walls and rocks overgrown with corals and sponges. In 2004, all dive resorts were withdrawn from the island. Today, in order to dive here, in addition to other fees, you must pay for each visit to the national park. Divers live on the islands of Mabul and Kapalai closest to Sipadan.