LOCATED in the northern part of the island of Borneo, the world’s third largest island, the Malaysian state of Sabah is truly a breathtaking sight to behold with treasures untold.
Boasting lush tropical forests, majestic peaks, a menagerie of wildlife, and stunning islands teeming with coral reefs and colorful marine life, it is every nature lover’s wonderland. And it is quickly gaining the attention of tourists.
According to deputy chief minister Datuk Christina Liew, about 1,033,871 tourists visited Sabah in the first three months of this year. The number of tourist arrivals showed an increase of 9.1 percent compared to the same period last year.
“The influx of tourists is estimated to have generated RM2.23 billion in revenue for Sabah,” Bernama reported Liew as saying when launching Sabah’s Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (Matta) Fair 2019.
She said with the ongoing promotional efforts by the State Tourism, Culture, and Environment ministry and a number of other initiatives including direct flights from certain locations to Sabah would ensure that the target of four million tourist arrivals to Sabah this year is achieved.
Liew also mentioned that the ministry will be introducing “Cuti-Cuti Tawau” to highlight tourism options in the east coast of Sabah. “The east coast of Sabah, especially the towns of Tawau, Semporna, Lahad Datu, and Sandakan have many nature-based tourism attractions besides historical heritage,” she said.
Around 55 percent of Sabah is forested, with protected areas such as Maliau Basin and the Danum Valley Conservation which are relatively unmarred by tourism. Both are the state’s biological treasure trove, attracting trekkers and hikers from all around the world. Here, there are bug-eyed tarsiers, gibbons, pythons, clouded leopards, and huge crocs just roaming in the wild.
Lovers of the great outdoors will also be pleased to know that Sabah is also home to nature’s very own untouched piece of art, the island of Sipadan. The only oceanic island in Malaysia, Sipadan was formed by living corals growing on top of an extinct volcanic cone that took thousands of years to develop.
The island is also one of the only few places in the world that has such a prominent concentration of sea turtles, with the occasional sighting of playful dolphins surfing the waves of its crystal clear waters. It is no wonder Sipadan is considered one of the most beautiful scuba diving spots in the world.
For a taste of Sabah, check out some of the Instagram posts which have effortlessly highlighted its pristine beauty:
Getting there: The easiest way to get to Sabah would be to fly into Kota Kinabalu, its capital city. Kota Kinabalu is well connected by cheap flights from Kuala Lumpur and international flights from other parts of Asia.