Climb Mount Kinabalu
While it stands more than 4,095 metres high, Mount Kinabalu, located within Kinabalu National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – is one of the easiest mountains to climb. Thousands of tourists of all fitness levels do it every year to see the unbelievable view from the summit. It’s recommended that you make a reservation at the park, but unless it’s a public holiday, you can usually just show up. Costs include an entrance fee of 15 ringgit (RM) for an adult, a climbing permit at RM100, and about RM80 for three people for a guide, who is required for journeys to the peak.
Soak in the Poring Hot Springs
Located in Ranau, a 40-minute drive from Kinabalu Park, Poring Hot Springs is renowned for its open-air baths of healing sulphuric water. It’s the perfect way to soothe tired muscles after a gruelling climb. Also try the canopy walk for a bird’s eye view of the surrounding rainforest, and the Butterfly Farm and Tropical Garden for a wide variety of lowland orchids, rare butterflies and the Rafflesia, the world’s largest flower.
Take in Kota Kinabalu
Located on the edge of the South China Sea, this beautiful and lively capital city offers yachting, golf, restaurants and a bit of shopping. It’s also convenient for most of the tourist attractions, so it’s a good place to base yourself while in Sabah.
Snorkel in a Marine Park
Located just 15 minutes from Kota Kinabalu by boat, Manukan is the second-largest island of the five Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park islands and is also the most popular. The reefs here offer crystal clear water and beautiful coral.
Hang with Orang-utans
Orphaned and injured orang-utans are brought to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre to be cared for until they’re ready to return to the wild. One of only a few sanctuaries of its kind in the world, this is truly a special place and the residents are endlessly entertaining. For the most action, go at feeding time. Call the visitor centre (531180) ahead of time to check the daily schedule.
Where to Stay
For luxury, the Sutera Harbour Resort is a good five-star option. Built on a reclaimed site south of the city centre, the property comprises two hotels, The Magellan Sutera and the slightly less expensive Pacific Sutera.
The 384-acre resort has 956 hotel rooms and world-class facilities, including a 27-hole championship golf course, Sabah’s top marina, two Mandara spas and a host of dining and recreation facilities. It’s a lovely place to return to after a day of exploring. For more information or to book, visit www.suteraharbour.com.
You can also stay within the national parks and eco-tourism sites. Sutera Sanctuary Lodges provides private lodges and hostels at: Laban Rata near the peak of Mt Kinabalu; Kinabalu Park at the foot of Mt Kinabalu; Poring Hot Springs and Nature Reserve; Mesilau Nature Resort near Kundasang; and on Manukan Island.
The five properties are wholly owned by the Sabah government, but are managed by the Sutera Harbour Resort group. To find out more, visit www.suterasanctuarylodges.com.