7 Amazing Reasons Why You Should Add Sabah To Your Bucket List

1. Admire bucket list-worthy attractions

Credit: Siti Nadzirah

Ask any locals about their favourite attraction in Sabah and they would tell you all about Mount Kinabalu. Known as Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, adventure seekers would spend more than a day hiking to the peak of Borneo’s highest mountain. While hiking, look out for pitcher plants.

If you’re up for more adventure, trek to Maliau Basin, also described as the Lost World of Sabah. Circled by pristine rainforest, Maliau Basin is a unique basin-shaped water catchment that flows to the Maliau River and Kinabatangan River. Some tours will take you to the seven-tier Maliau waterfall and we heard that it’s absolutely breathtaking!

2. Get ready for a world class diving experience


You don’t have to travel far to immerse yourself in a world class diving experience because Sabah has it all. Whether you choose snorkelling or scuba diving, there are many amazing diving sites in Sabah including the nearby Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, and the islands in the east coast of Sabah such as Lankayan island in Sandakan and Sipadan Island in Semporna. So put your gears on and dive amid the beautiful corals, sea turtles, barracudas, clown fishes and sometimes you can find the rare and even endemic species of underwater life.


3. Brace yourself for unforgettable outdoor adventures

Credit: John Kong

Another reason you’ll want to visit Sabah in Malaysia is the adrenaline-pumping outdoor activities. For adventure seekers who enjoy white water rafting, come and navigate through the rapids of Kiulu River. Suitable for beginners, you only need some arm strength and a lot of team effort to make it to the end. Kiulu River also has a double zipline that you can try right after!

Credit: G Woolley

For ziplining with a different view, head over to Coral Flyer Zipline, the world’s longest island-to-island zipline that stretches from Sapi to Gaya Island. Suitable for kids, it’s a fun activity that you can do with your family. Besides that, there are other adventurous things to do in Sabah including spelunking at Gomantong Caves, bird watching at Tabin Wildlife Reserve, signing up for a river cruise along Kinabatangan River, and braving new heights at MountainTorq known as the world’s highest Via Ferrata at 3,776 above sea level.


4. Plan a romantic honeymoon in a floating villa

Ideal for honeymooners, Sabah is brimming with stunning resorts that are perfect for romantic getaways. Surrounded by crystal clear waters and clear skies, get ready for a memorable vacation in accommodations like Gaya Island Resort and Bunga Raya Resort in Gaya Island, Mabul Water Bungalow in Mabul Island, Nusakuya Resort located off the coast of Semporna, Mataking Island and Sipadan Kapalai Dive Resort in Sipadan Island. You may need to save up to spend a night in these beautiful floating villas, but the view is absolutely worth it.

5. See more wildlife encounters than just Orangutans

Credit: Heinz Rickers

There are many opportunities to experience wildlife encounters in Sabah! The century-old pristine rainforest is home to various species including the endangered Proboscis monkey and Sun Bear, the world’s smallest bear.

Visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sandakan, which cares for young orphaned orangutans before releasing them into the wild, if you want to get up close to the well-known orangutans. Despite the fact that orangutans are off limits to visitors, you can still say hello to them when walking along the pathway when they are receiving their daily meals.

Credit: Soo Wen Yi

Malaysia is one of the two destinations in the world where you can spot Pygmy Elephants, so take the chance to see them in a Kinabatangan River Cruise! Along the second longest river in Malaysia, you’ll find these gentle giants drinking water and cooling off on a hot day. It’s such a fascinating experience that you can’t get it anywhere else!

6. Immerse yourself in the cultural side of Sabah

Credit: Lim Sheng Haw

Sabah is a melting pot of cultures that primarily consists of indigenous ethnic groups. Their unique tradition and language are widely practiced today, so take the opportunity to get to know its history and culture. Visit Mari Mari Cultural Village in Kota Kinabalu to know more about the five main ethnic groups in Sabah namely Dusun, Rungus, Lundayeh, Bajau, and Murut. Each group offers unique experiences in the cultural village, from bamboo cooking in the Dusun house to learning traditional craft in the Rungus house.

Credit: TsenLip Kai

There’s also the Linangkit Cultural Village in Tuaran where you can discover the social and cultural heritage of the Lotud people. After immersing yourself in a guided tour around the village, you can try on their traditional costume, learn handicrafts, and uncover the best ways to pluck a tapioca.


Don’t forget to try yummy traditional food in Sabah like hinava (sliced mackerel fish with chili, onion, ginger and lime juice) and latok (seaweed with cili padi, lime and sambal belacan). It’s absolutely unique!

7. Savour delicious halal food from local eateries and street markets


Finding halal food in Sabah is easy too! You can have a taste of deep-fried spring chicken from Sabah’s halal-certified fast food chain, Borenos Fried Chicken or fresh seafood from the halal-certified Thien Thien Restaurant. To experience the nightlife in Kota Kinabalu, look out for Muslim-owned stalls at Night Food Market on Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens to enjoy grilled fishes and lobsters that are straight from the ocean.

Whether you’re excited for a hiking adventure at Mount Kinabalu or romantic getaway in a floating villa, there are many reasons why you should travel to Sabah in Malaysia!Add this destination to your bucket list and let’s visit Sabah when the time is right.

Last reviewed: July 7, 2022

Other Recent Articles