Discovering The Artistic Charms Of Sabah

Sabah, Malaysia, renowned for its natural splendor and cultural richness, is embracing an artistic vibe in 2024, adding a fresh touch to the Sabah experience.
Beyond its picturesque landscapes and traditional festivities, Sabah is undergoing a transformative shift into an artsy haven, featuring lively graffiti on its buildings and a burgeoning scene of Instagram-worthy hipster cafes.

Kota Kinabalu, the capital city, is at the forefront of this urban art revolution, with once mundane walls transformed into canvases for local and international graffiti artists.
While wandering through the city, keep an eye out for vibrant murals that tell stories of Sabah’s history, culture, and the aspirations of its people. Each mural reflects the city’s evolving identity, blending modern expression with its traditional roots.
If you are in Kota Kinabalu in February, do not miss the Lampoopalooza event—an outdoor light art installation at the Sabah Tourism Board building, a historically significant structure since 1918.


The Sabah Tourism Board building was formerly a Jesselton Post Office during the British colonial era.
Scheduled for February 2, the Lampoopalooza is Kota Kinabalu’s largest outdoor projection on a building and visitors can take a stroll along Gaya Street with food trucks and live band performances in place.
Take a culinary adventure as Sabah’s food scene embraces trends and eclecticism. The city, and even smaller towns, is home to a variety of hipsters cafes that not only serve delectable dishes but also provide an aesthetic feast for the eyes.

4.October Cafe_NJAM

From artisanal coffee shops to avant-garde eateries, these establishments boast Instagrammable interiors and a fusion of flavours that reflect Sabah’s diverse culinary heritage. Do not miss the opportunity to savour local delicacies with a contemporary twist in these chic settings.

5.OITOM Fine Dining

For music enthusiasts, Sabah consistently offers something unique like the Sepilok Jazz Festival on September 6-7. Set against the lush greenery of Sandakan, this purposeful music festival serves as a fundraising initiative for conservation efforts, presented by FOSTER (Friends Of Sea Turtles Education & Research).
It brings together jazz lovers and like-minded individuals, providing an opportunity to make a positive impact while enjoying the harmonious atmosphere of creativity and cultural fusion.

6.Pesta Duang_NJAN

Throughout the year, Sabah captivates visitors with diverse events, from traditional celebrations to wildlife adventures. In February, experience Pesta Duang (Feb 25-28), a vibrant cultural celebration of the Bajau Sama ethnic group in the district of Tuaran, a gateway to rural destinations and hidden gems.
As May approaches, Sabah hosts the Harvest Festival (May 30-31), a grand celebration of agriculture and cultural heritage for the Kadazandusun ethnic group. This event brings communities together to celebrate the bountiful harvest with traditional performances, agricultural exhibitions, and vibrant parades.

7.Harvest Festival_NJAN

October brings the Borneo Bird Festival, a spectacular event dedicated to the avian wonders of the region. This festival attracts birdwatchers from around the world to witness the incredible diversity of Borneo’s bird species.

8.Borneo Bird Festival 2023

Stay informed about these events and more on the Sabah Tourism Board website:
The website offers a comprehensive lineup of events throughout the year, ensuring that every visit to Sabah is met with new and thrilling experiences.
Whether you seek cultural immersion, adventurous escapades, or wildlife encounters, Sabah promises a journey filled with colour, flavour, and rhythm.

Last reviewed: April 12, 2024

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