Sabah Activities

What to Do in Sabah

Sabah is known for its lush greenery, rich fauna and the stony turrets of Southeast Asia’s highest peak. The state’s got a wide range of forest reserves ranging from the Kinabalu National Park and the Danum Valley Conservation Area to the Maliau Basin and Imbak Canyon. The primary reason people visit the ‘Land of the Sacred Mountain’ is to scale the 4101-metre high Mount Kinabalu. The challenging yet surmountable mountain boasts slopes that are perfect for amateur climbers and granite shelves that test the skills of expert mountaineering enthusiasts. Meanwhile just off Semporna on the south-eastern coast is Sabah’s only oceanic island, Pulau Sipadan – one of the world’s top diving havens.

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Borneo Spa

With 14 treatment rooms – each with its own private shower – a health bar, sauna and steam bath facilities and male and female Jacuzzis, the Borneo Spa is a relaxation sanctuary in a class of its own. Situated within the Nexus Resort Karambunai, the spa has a variety of treatments ranging from aromatherapy massages to facials. All therapies utilise the spa’s signature blend of essential oils; alternatively you can get a rubdown on the resort’s beach front.

  • Location: Nexus Resort Karambunai, Kota Kinabalu
  • Tel: +608 841 1222
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Crocker Range National Park

One of the best places for trekking far away from the crowds, the Crocker Range has a huge swathe of forested encampment overlooking the coast. This park has no facilities but is a popular hiking spot for visitors due to the spectacular views afforded when crossing the range – it’s a good spot to catch sight of magnificent Mount Kinabalu and there are plenty of tours that take you across its expansive landscape.

  • Location: South-western Sabah

Danum Valley Conservation Area

Known as one of Sabah’s unbeatable highlights, the Danum Valley Conservation Area is home to a steaming old-growth forest overflowing with exotic wildlife. This stunning realm of vivid greens is part of a slice of land home to a whole variety of Southeast Asian rainforest species. Well-trained guides can even point out noteworhty sights including the remains of Dusun coffins along the Coffincliff Trail. It’s effectively impossible to visit Danum as an independent traveller but if you’ve got the time and the cash, the valley is undoubtedly one of Sabah’s highlights.

  • Location: Eastern Sabah
  • Price Range: Day/overnight admission – RM 20/ RM 30

Kinabalu National Park

Home to Borneo’s ‘roof’, the Kinabalu National Park is the place to head to if you’re interested in tackling Mount Kinabalu – but a word to the wise, its best if you book your climb in advance to ensure a speedy journey. It must be said that the mountain is notably home to the world’s highest Read More...

  • Location: Kota Kinabalu
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Layang Layang Island

Well known to diving enthusiasts as part of the famous Borneo Banks, Layang Layang is a tiny island surrounded by an atoll-like ring of 13 connected reefs. Approximately seven kilometres long and two kilometres wide, it may not be as colourful as the Sipadan Reef, but Layang Layang is one of the most unspoilt reefs divers have ever seen.

  • Location: North-western Sabah
  • Tel: +607 235 1216
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Poring Hot Springs

Situated 43 kilometres northeast of the Kinabalu National Park headquarters, the Poring Hot Springs is set within the lush greenery of the forest. Steaming hot sulphurous waters are channelled into stone pools and tubs; the manmade complex is a popular weekend retreat especially among those who make the arduous trek to the apex of Mount Kinabalu.

  • Location: Kinabalu National Park, north-western Sabah
  • Price Range: RM 10 – Adult; RM 5 – Kids

Pulau Tiga National Park

Pulau Tiga National Park is more popularly known as ‘Survivor Island’ to the world due to the fact that it played host to the first season of the smash-hit reality series, Survivor. The park is a scrubby islet with a beautiful strip of beach, dense vegetation and belching mud pits that are perfect for a cooling dip; Pulau Tiga Resort runs boat trips to the island.

  • Location: South-western Sabah
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Pulau Gaya

The giant of Kota Kinabalu’s offshore islands, Pulau Gaya is blanketed in relatively untouched forest. The area is home to water villages inhabited by Bajau, Filipino and Ubian immigrants; these overcrowded houses are built on stilts over the water and are linked to one another by weathered walkways. The reefs in these shallow waters have little current and this makes it an ideal diving location for novices; conversely experienced divers and underwater photographers will be able to see rare sea creatures here including the harlequin ghost pipefish and mandarin fish.

  • Location: Kota Kinabalu
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Semporna Archipelago

Divided into two geographical sections, the Semporna Islands are widely recognized as desirable diving grounds. The northern islands were gazetted as the Tun Sakaran Marine Park in 2004 while the southern islands are home to the incredibly popular Sipadan as well as Mabul and Kapalai islands. The underwater life here is home to a wide variety of sea life from fluttering coral to schools of fish.

  • Location: Eastern Sabah
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Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) National Park

Comprising the Manukan, Gaya, Sapi, Mamutik and Sulug islands, the Tuanku Abdul Rahman (TAR) National Park is one of the best places for a variety of activities ranging from sunning on the beach and swimming to hiking and snorkelling. Spanning across 49sqkm, the islands are only a short boat ride away from Kota Kinabalu city centre.

  • Location: Kota Kinabalu
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