Islands of Sabah

Kota Kinabalu, Sabah's capital, has got it all. Perfectly positioned on a bay protected by islands, and backed by forest ranges, the city offers a modern infrastructure and international-standard facilities. Yet the holiday mood is inescapable, for despite its modernity, Kota Kinabalu remains a surprisingly relaxes and friendly city.

Stroll along the waterfront and discover everything from fascinating food and handicraft markets to a lively restaurant and entertainment scene. See the village come to the city at the Sunday Gaya Street Fair, or shop in Sabah's malls aplenty.

Discover age-old traditions in the Sabah State Museum and in cultural vilages, or delight in nearby islands and beaches right on the city's doorstep.

From the protected island of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, just minutes from Kota Kinabalu, to some of the world's top dive sites, it's all here. All in all, there are more than 25 dive sites in Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, which comprises Sapi Island, Manukan Island, Gaya Island, Mamutik Island, and Sulug Island.

Find your own paradise of white sandy beaches backed by shady tress, then go snorkelling over coral reefs, ride a banana boat, water-ski or simply lie back and watch hornbills flapping overhead.

Sandy beaches are strung along Sabah's west coast. Just ten minutes or so from downtown Kota Kinabalu, take a stroll along the popular Tanjung Aru Beach to see the sun setting into the South China Sea in a blaze of glory.

Scuba divers from around the world are drawn to Sabah, which is right in the heart of the world's most diverse marine environment. Sipadan, hailed as one of the world's best dive sites, was praised as "an untouched piece of art... a jewel" by none other than the late famed diving legend, Jacques Cousteau. A limestone pinnacle rising 600 m from the ocean floor off Sabah's southeast coast, Sipadan offers an ever-changing underwater spectacle including giant schools of whirling barracuda, turtles, astonishingly varied reef fish and colourful corals.

Located northwest of Kota Kinabalu, the Layang-Layang atoll offer divers unbelievable visibility, pristine reefs and a rich pelagic marine life. The wonders of nature aren't restricted to the deep, with thousands of migratory birds nesting on the rocky land each year.

The weird and wonderful "critters" of Mabul, Kapalai and other Semporna islands make them a "muck divers'" delight. North of Sandakan secluded Lankayan offers some fine corals, wrecks, a fascinating marine life found only on a tiny topical island.

Read more about Islands of Sabah on this website.