Sabah - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Sabah


Evocatively named, 'Land below the wind', Sabah is situated at the northeast corner of Borneo, below the typhoon belt in East Malaysia. Most visitors to Sabah are lured by the natural splendor of the state and the unique experience of its national parks. The rugged landscape is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts with some of the highest mountains in Malaysia to climb, and one of the richest and least spoilt underwater ecosystems in the world to dive in. Other extreme sports like paragliding and skydiving are adding to Sabah's growing reputation as an adventure destination.

Its spectacular environment boasts one of the largest rainforests in the world and the highest mountain peak in South East Asia, Mt Kinabalu, stands at 13,500 feet (4,101m) within Kinabalu Park. The park is the most visited and has been declared a World Heritage Site in recognition of its incredible variety. A popular trek is the two-day summit trail. Sabah's diversity extends to the indigenous people of the area that comprise 31 different groups speaking more than 50 indigenous languages. These ethnic differences form a rich culture of music, dance and handicrafts that are unique to the region.

Sabah is an expensive travel destination with the only real 'budget' accommodation located at Kinabalu National Park and Poring Hot Springs. Direct flights to Sabah are routed to the capital, Kota Kinabalu. Sabah is losing ground in tourism as ongoing conflict and violence against foreigners keeps many away.

Information & Facts


Sabah experiences a tropical climate with generally hot and sunny weather throughout the year. Average temperatures hover round 90F (32C) making it an ideal holiday destination at any time of the year. There are two main seasons though in Sabah, the dry season, which runs from April to October, and the wet season which runs from November to March, though during these months the rain is sporadic and never lasts too long before the sun comes out again.

Bahasa Melayu is the national language, but English is widely spoken and is the language of business. Cantonese, Hokkien and Hakka are spoken by the Malaysias Chinese population and Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi among the Indian population.

The Malaysian Ringit (MYR), also referred to as the Malaysian Dollar, is divided into 100 sen. Malaysian banks charge in the region of US$2-3 for foreign exchange transactions. Moneychangers are generally quicker to deal with and do not charge commission; their rates however are variable. Pounds or dollars are the easiest to exchange. Travellers cheques can be exchanged at banks and some hotels. All major credit cards are accepted at upmarket hotels, shops and restaurants. ATMs are widely available.

Mount Kinabalu rises from the Kinabalu National Park at an impressive 13,500-foot (4,101m), the highest mountain between the white peaks of the Himalayas and those of New Guinea. Despite its formidable height, it is a comparatively easy climb that has been enjoyed by tourists of varying ages and fitness levels and takes two to three days.

This vast equatorial rainforest is an enchanting excursion that is best explored through self-guided trails. The most interesting diversion from these trails is provided by a trip to the Sepilok Orang-Utan sanctuary. Here Orang-Utans that have been rescued find temporary shelter before their release into the forest.

This mushroom-shaped island is known amongst divers around the world for its unique seascape and exceptional beauty. A rich variety of marine life shimmers through the translucent waters surrounding this oceanic island.

Five pristine islands comprise this 4,929-hectare (12,100 acre) park. The islands are: Gaya, Mamutik, Manukan, Sapi and Sulug. Each is an idyllic composition of white beaches and offshore coral reefs hugging inland forests teeming with animal life. Visitors are welcome to camp, trek, swim and snorkel around each of these.

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