Malaysia / Sabah

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Malaysia / Sabah / The State

Map of Sabah
Photo: Map of Sabah State

Sabah occupies the top portion of the island Borneo ( the third largest island in the world) and covers an area of 74,500 sq km (29,388 sq miles) with a coastline of about 1,440 km (about 900 miles) washed by the south China Sea on the West and the Sulu Sea and Celebes Sea on the East.

Sabah lies between 4º and 8º North of the equator, and its climate is tropical but pleasant. Sunny blue skies typify most days and it is summer all year round. Though depending on the month and locality, rain may cause a little inconvenience, with the annual rainfall varying from 60 to 120 inches. As a general guide the wet season falls between November and February. Fortunately, Sabah does not experience any natural disaster or calamities. In fact it is under the typhoon belt (thus the name "Land Below The Wind") and is free from any climatic disturbances.

Temperatures seldom reach 90º F (33º C) and usually vary during the day from 74º F to 88º F (23º C to 31ºC) and are cooler on the mountains.

Sabah is a unique land, a melting pot of many indigenous and immigrant groups. The population comprises over 30 different races and over 80 different dialects, each group having its own colourful culture, tradition, festival and customs.

The indigenous group include the Kadazan/Dusun, Bajau, Murut, Rungus, Lotud, Brunei, Orang Sungei, Kadayan, Bisaya and many other subgroups. The Chinese form the largest non-indigenous group. The main groups and their 'adat' (cultural observances) are highlighted here.

Kota Kinabalu, the gateway to the rest of Sabah, is also the State Capital. Kota Kinabalu or K.K. as it is usually called, is relatively new town as the original town was destroyed during the Second World War.

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Malaysia / Sabah / The Kinabalu Park

Covering 754 squares kilometers, the Kinabalu Park is one of the greatest attractions of Sabah. Within its boundaries are found the lowland rain-forest of the tropical zone as its lower level, the mountain oaks and fig trees, the rhododendron shrubs and wild berries of the temperate zone at its medium level, and the conifers and other alpine-like associations of the summit zone at its upper level. It is there no wonder that a good number of its visitors are nature lovers eager to study, record and enjoy its richly varied natural resources.

The Park also has this "away-from-it-all" cool serenity that offers a much needed rest for the tired businessman. It offers the highest mountain in South East Asia to challenge the ambitious mountaineer, and ever-changing grandeur- the magic of sunrise as the stark majesty of the mountain appears before you in the brightening sky, only to be quickly hidden behind a cloudy shroud billowing upward from the lowland forest, or the sky awashed in the wondrous colours of sunset that prompts the avid camera buff to wait patiently for the right moment to click his masterpiece.

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Malaysia / Sabah / Orang Utan Sanctuary, Sepilok

Orang Utan
Photo: Orang Utan

About 15 minutes drive from the East Coast town of Sandakan, is the world's largest orang utan sanctuary. Orang utan (Wild man of Borneo) which have been abandoned by their mothers, or which were formerly in captivity, are rehabilitated until fit enough to be returned to the wild.

Watching these charming and entertaining orang utan during feeding time is a sheer delight.