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Many travellers come through Kota Kinabalu as it’s the entry point for Sabah’s many treasures.
From Kota Kinabalu, you can climb up the beautiful UNESCO site of Mt. Kinabalu, trek through the oldest and most untouched rainforest Maliau Basin, take a jeep through the unpredictable and wild Deramakot Forest Reserve, or retreat into a 130M-year-old rainforest Danum Valley.
You'll reconnect with nature and feel a deeper appreciation for the beauty around us after visiting.
Fly into Tawau to get to the best dive sites in Sabah.
Semporna is just an hour's drive away from Tawau Airport, and divers from all around the world make this trip to get a chance to dive in Sipadan, famous for its reef sharks, whale sharks, hammerheads, and turtle sightings. Just adjacent to Sipadan lies Mabul island, another popular (& more affordable) site for diving and snorkelling. Try both dive sites out while you are there!
The city of Kuching is a place for discovery and learning about Sarawak's rich history and traditions. Experience the life of the Bidayuh tribe through a village homestay, as your host takes you to their favourite secret spots in the jungle; or stay in one of the longhouses that houses up to 100 families. You'll get to experience the hospitality of the tribesmen as they share their lives with you in an intimate setting.
From Kuching, you can even trek across borders from Indonesia into Malaysia, a definite must-do when you are there!
Mulu's remote location makes visiting it still very much the explorer's expedition. Take a trip to Mulu National Park, Malaysia's first ever UNESCO site. Here, you can witness the tall, jagged limestone formations of Mt. Api, and explore huge bat-filled caves. Do plan your travel route well as there are only flights four times a week into Mulu from Kota Kinabalu and Kuching respectively.
Sandakan is a popular spot for wildlife lovers. Take a trip to Kinabatangan River, one of the best places to see wildlife in Malaysia. Here you can try to spot long-nosed proboscis monkeys, elephants and orangutans. Many will also visit Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, a rehab centre for orphaned orangutans, and the Sunbear Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, a rehab centre for the adorable sunbear.
Sandakan is also a short bus ride from Kota Kinabalu so take a trip to Mt. Kinabalu too, the highest mountain in Malaysia.
Many head to Kuala Lumpur for a taste of a modern city of shopping and gastronomic delights. However, KL also provides access to some of the most idyllic retreats — head to Berembun Forest Reserve, a 4,000 acres protected rainforest, for a hike in search of a WW2 plane wreck; spend a weekend in Bentong, the quintessential Malaysian countryside experience of visiting farms; refresh yourself with an eco-glamping trip deep in Selangor Jungle; or enjoy a wet day trip of abseiling in Gopeng — whoever said you can't explore nature from a city?
Many flock to Penang, an rustic old town termed as the 'Food Capital' of Malaysia, for a taste of its old town charm. For those who enjoy mixing up their city trips with a bit of nature, consider spending a few days in Balik Pulau, staying in a durian farm or retreating into an exclusive jungle villa.
Foodies rejoice - Ipoh is less known outside of South-East Asia but locals flock to this city for the amazing and affordable food! If you are up for an adventure, Ipoh is just a short ride away from Gopeng Forest, the go-to destination for adrenaline junkies (think river tubing, abseiling, flying fox and more!), or embark on a secret getaway where you won't know where you're going until you're there! For those with more time, take a weekend trip to Cameron Highlands for the nice cool weather and scenic views.
Start in Kota Kinabalu and take 2 days to explore the city & its food scene, as well as snorkel around the gentle waters of Tunku Abdul Rahman Park.
Then, take a bus towards Medan Selera where you’ll be picked up to visit Kinabatangan River Safari, where you’ll spend the next 2-3 days spotting the proboscis monkeys and other wildlife. If time allows, stop by Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center on the way.
Finally, take a bus to Lahad Dhatu so you can spend 3 days in the depths of Danum Valley, one of the oldest rainforests in the world.
Start off your adventure by visiting Maliau Basin, one of the oldest rainforests in the world. You’ll be picked up at Kota Kinabalu (KK) and the entire trip will be 3-4 days.
After which, take a 1hr domestic flight to Mulu Airport for Mulu National Park, an underrated UNESCO site for amazing views of the Pinnacles (~4 days).
If you have time, fly to Kuching for the famous Sarawak Laksa, and spend a day or two visiting the longhouses of the local tribes to immerse in their culture. Otherwise, you may fly back to KK from Mulu instead!
From Kuala Lumpur, head to Batu Batu resort, an unparalleled island paradise, and dive around beautiful corals. For a lower-priced and beginner-friendly option, go to Tioman island instead.
Then, fly to Tawau Airport for Sipadan, one of the best dive sites in the world. Look out for reef sharks, manta rays & turtles. Sipadan Dive Packages usually include dives in Mabul and surrounding islands as well, so you get to check out the best Borneo dive sites in 4-5 days.
Do plan your route well as you should not fly at least 24 hours after diving!