Climbing and diving are two of the main attractions of Sabah – the Malaysian state located on the northern point of the island of Borneo. The famous Mount Kinabulu is a magnet for adventurers and climbing enthusiasts while the stunning underwater ecosystem of the Sipadan reef lures avid divers.
For those who have walked the well trodden tourist path of South East Asia, Sabah presents a refreshing alternative and a chance to get off the proverbial ‘beaten track’. Borneo’s north eastern area is rich in treasures, so if you have a bit of time up your sleeve you won’t want to limit yourself to Mount Kinabalu or Sabah’s diving Mecca. But for first time visitors or those with a limited time budget, Mount Kinabalu and the Sipadan reef should be top of the list.
There are a number of cheap flights available to Malaysia and nearby areas that will put you in easy reach of both Mount Kinabalu and the tropical island of Sipadan – two of Sabah’s main attractions.
Mount Kinabalu is the tallest climbable mountain in South East Asia, rising 4,095 m above sea level. Many tourists flock to Sabah’s capital city Kota Kinabalu before heading into Kinabalu National Park to attempt the eight kilometre climb to the peak. Generally the climb takes two days, and no climbing experience is necessary. On the mountain’s tourist trail, climbers spend one night at the huts in the vicinity of Laban Rata before reaching the summit at sunrise for spectacular and breathtaking views over the Crocker Mountain Range. On the walk, climbers will make their way through five different vegetation zones.
Climbing Mount Kinabalu is a rewarding experience. Not only will you meet great people along the way and enjoy majestic and magical views, but you’ll experience a very special place to the local people in Sabah, Malaysia, who believe that the souls of their ancestors have gone up the mountain.
Diving is the other premier attraction of Sabah with its waters home to fantastic marine diversity. There are a range of scuba diving landscapes to explore, from coral reefs to wreck driving to stunning drop offs. The most popular and coveted dive spots are around the islands of Sipadan, where the reef drops down spectacularly and huge schools of barracudas and mackerels are seen on nearly every dive, as well as turtles and large sharks.
There are various dive sites around the island – all of them different, but offering an amazing array of underwater attractions. The Sipadan reef is a world class dive spot – not to mention a beautiful one!
Once you get to Sabah, you’ll want more time to explore all that this rich and diverse region has to offer.
Have you ever been to Sabah? What are your tips for climbing and diving in this area?