KOTA KINABALU, 12 January 2022: Sabah, the land below the wind is crowned by the highest mountain in Malaysia, surrounded by world class dive sites, and boasts a diverse array of plant and animal species with more yet to be discovered. Sabah is indeed a utopia for nature lovers and adventure seekers, perhaps one of Sabah’s Signature Attractions will be part of your 2022 bucket list!

Part of the signature attractions include Kinabalu Park, home to the majestic Mount Kinabalu (elevation of 13,435 feet/4,095 m). The park is also Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. People from all over the world would travel here just to scale its peak.

To observe Sabah’s wildlife in their natural habitat, one must visit the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary where the mighty Kinabatagan river is situated. On a river cruise you will have a chance of spotting Orangutans, Proboscis Monkeys, Borneo Pygmy Elephants and all eight hornbill species that can be found in Borneo.

Nature explorers should also visit the Maliau Basin, also dubbed as Sabah’s Lost World, as it is an excellent site for jungle trekking and bird watching. It contains an unusual assemblage of 12 forest types. The highlight of the adventure is to trek the majestic 7 tiers of Maliau Falls.

Maliau Basin, Tongod.

Considered as one of the world’s most complex ecosystems and classified as Class 1 (Protection) Forest Reserve under the Sabah Forestry Enactment 1968, Danum Valley Conservation Area serves as a natural home for the unimaginable number of plants and wildlife species including the Sunda Clouded Leopard. Being remotely located from human habitation makes this place a naturalists’ paradise.

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, situated within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, have successfully saved and rehabilitated orphaned orangutan babies back into the wild. Today around 60 to 80 orangutans are living free in the reserve. The centre allows visitors to learn about the rehabilitation process and observe the orangutans at a safe distance.

For the divers, the jewel shaped island Sipadan, located offshore Semporna has been cited as one of the top dive sites in the world. It has been highly sought after by divers for its array of possible sightings and how its natural treasures still remain untouched after many years.

Also located in Semporna is Bohey Dulang which was formed from remnants of volcanic activity. It is the second-largest island amongst the Tun Sakaran Marine Park Islands. This island should also be included in a hiker’s bucket list as reaching the peak rewards you with an uninterrupted panoramic view of the island.

Bohey Dulang, Semporna.

Besides Sabah’s Signature Attractions, the state is also proud to present its Community-based tourism or CBT for short. It is an initiative to promote sustainability and improve the livelihood of the community in an area, emphasizing on the development and involvement of the community in developing and managing their own tourism destination and products.

The CBT programs have received 2 international recognitions. The 1st was in 2019 when Kadamaian received the ASEAN Community Based Tourism Standard 2019-2021, at the ASEAN Tourism Ministers ’Conference 2019 international event in Hanoi, Vietnam. And the recent one was in Dec 2021 when Kampung Batu Puteh, a Community Based Tourism by Batu Puteh Community Tourism Co-operative (KOPEL) in Kinabatangan has been recognized as the Best Tourism Villages by United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO).

Not only is Sabah rich in nature, but also Borneo Malaysia is known for being culturally diverse. An estimate of 42 ethnic groups with over 200 sub-ethnic groups with the number of languages and dialects going over eighty, all these different groups live together and form a homogenous community, where they are still retaining their own culture, custom, tradition, art, and festivals.

Marais Centre, Tenom.

For more information on Sabah’s Signature Attractions, Community-based Tourism or ideas on what to include in your Best of Enchanting Sabah, Create Your 2022 Bucket List, check out www.sabahtourism.com.