IT TAKES time and effort to access Mount Sipadan and Kinabalu Island, two of Malaysia’s most well-known landmarks outside Kuala Lumpur, but Sabah State’s capital, Kota Kinabalu (“KK”), your day is a good spot to spend. It provides a rich cultural heritage, lush landscapes and the turquoise waters of the South China Sea.
accessed by way of a 15-minute speedboat ride from downtown
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Easily, Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park houses Gaya Island, whose name means “big” in the Bajau dialect. Unfortunately it developed a crime problem a long time and continued the no-go list for KK residents ago.
Tourists race across the Coral Flyer zip line in Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park.
In the 1970s, illegal Filipino immigrants established a stilt village at water’s edge and much more communities scattered all over the isle then. Hawaii government has since cleared them out and is promoting Gaya as a re-born attraction of white-sand beaches and interesting trekking trails.
Just several kilometres from Gaya is Sapi Island, developed as a great water-sports hub with an increase of sandy beaches now. This is among the area’s hottest spots for snorkelling, though a few of the coral&rsquo even;s been bleached out.
Borneo Reef World’s huge pontoon features tourists a breathtaking undersea walk.
Seasoned scuba divers check out the isles of Manukan, Pulau Mamutik and Pulau Sulug, where in fact the coral reefs are colourful and teem with clownfish dazzlingly, trevally, jackfish, barracudas, marble rays, reef sharks, seahorses, sea frogfish and turtles.
Floating between Gaya and Sapi islands is “the world’s second-largest pontoon”, operated by Borneo Reef World. It’s perfect for individuals who don’t desire to dive but who do desire to start to see the marine life close up.
Everyone is fitted with a helmet that’s heavy to sink your body deep in the water enough. Oxygen is pumped in via an air compressor as you stroll along an extended underwater path admiring the ocean creatures because they dart or swim lazily past.
Once-troubled Gaya Island has turned into a popular holiday destination again.
A climb up Padang Point on Gaya Island goes to an exciting but entirely safe 250-metre-long zip line, the Coral Flyer. Ropeskills Rigging uses the most recent technology to make sure no-one miss-zips because they soar 45 metres above the water at around 60 kilometres each hour, all of the real solution to Sapi Island.
The best views on the mainland are available at the Signal Hill Observatory Tower, a two-minute drive from Padang Merdeka. From the breezy deck it is possible to ingest fantastic views of downtown KK and the marine park using its five islands.
North Borneo Cruise treats travellers to a twohour sunset journey.
In the evening, a two-hour luxury boat ride with North Borneo Cruise includes a buffet of local and international delicacies and great sunsets as you pass stilt villages and beautiful islands.
The air-conditioned dining area on the primary deck becomes a dance floor once the live musicians start performing, continuing before boat arrives on the lovely, illuminated KK waterfront.
The Signal Hill Observatory Tower offers stunning views.
A wonderful morning excursion to the Mari Mari Cultural Village out in the countryside feels as though a voyage back again to the Iron Age. Made to conserve Borneo ethnic culture, this living museum has traditional houses that did get electricity never.
Five different ethnic tribes reside in the hamlet – Kadazan rice farmers, Murut headhunters, Rungus witch doctors, Bajau sea and cowboys gypsies – along with Lundayeh individuals who raise livestock and catch fish.
A Lundayeh house is graced with skulls bamboo.
An old wooden Kadazan house includes a remarkable design and functionality and easily accommodates a big family using its two bedrooms and family room. A rice barn nearby stands, almost all of the rice roasted for sticky rice and used to produce a liquor called montoku.
The Lundayeh, expert in producing metal bamboo and weapons vests, reside in a homely house of bamboo that’s decorated with skulls, signifying the occupants’ bravery and strength.
A traditional Rungus longhouse features a lot more than 75 rooms, each housing a grouped family, and a communal space where spirit rituals are ailing and performed folks are cured. The residents are gifted at making honey also.
Murut villagers spend festivals jumping on a bamboo trampoline.
The Murut occupy a longhouse also, that one surrounded by towering walls for privacy. Inside is really a wood-and-bamboo which the residents jump during festive rituals. A gateway at the centre of the homely house is used when someone has died. That’s where in fact the physical body is carried outside.
The village tour includes demonstration of cooking with bamboo, making fire, utilizing a blowpipe and traditional dances.
The writer travelled thanks to AirAsia and the Sabah Tourism Board.
IF YOU GO
AirAsia operates three direct flights, Saturday between Bangkok and Kota Kinabalu thursday and.
Check out the very best rates at www.AirAsia.com.