Saturday, May 26, 2007

Sabah - Land Below The Wind

Another great destination for all holiday seekers around the world would be, Sabah - the land below the wind. It's situated in Malaysia Borneo, and Sabah has lush tropical rainforest's and stunning tropical islands added with an incredible diversity of marine life.

Sabah has 32 ethnic groups living here and they make it a land of colourful and intriguing cultures. The capital of Sabah is Kota Kinabalu, which is vibrant and it's also the gateway to eco-adventures such as river cruising, diving, mountain climbing, caving and white-water rafting.

Sabah also has a wide range of accommodation to suit any sort of preference and budget. There are loads of well-equipped beach resorts adding into your cravings.

Places of interest in Sabah are :

Mount Kinabalu - The stunning Mount Kinabalu, standing at 4,095.2m, is noted to be one of the highest peaks in Southeast Asia. It's main attraction would be the Kinabalu Park, which is Malaysia's first World Heritage Site. The dense jungle found here contains one of the world's richest assemblage of tropical plants. When you are here, a must visit is, Poring Hot Springs, which is a natural health spa, which offers open air Japanese style baths. Another crowd puller is the annual Mount Kinabalu International Climbathon, which gets participation from around the globe.

Sipadan Island - Sabah is well noted to acquire some excellent dive spots. Topping that list would be the world famous Sipadan. It's located at the heart of the Indo Pacific Basin, making it one of the richest marine habitat's in the world. Here you would get a glimpse of turtles, reef sharks and also a thrilling 600m drop-off await the diving enthusiast's. Originally this island was made famous by world renowned oceanographer Jacques Cousteau through one of his documentary, 'Ghosts of the Sea Turtle'. If diving is your passion, look no further as Sabah has other famous diving spots within it's belt; Layang-Layang, Pulau Tiga, Mantanani and Pulau Tiga, just to name a few.

Sabah Museum - Located in the capital, Kota Kinabalu. The museum is built in a longhouse style of the Rungus and Murut communities. Here you would discover a wealth of ethnic treasures and handicrafts. One building to have stood the test of time (World War II), would be the Sabah Tourism Building, which in my opinion will satisfy any history lover out there. You also get to enjoy other great locations in this city such as; Atkinson Clock Tower, Museum of Islamic Civilisation, Signal Hill and the State Mosque.

Monsopiad Cultural Village - Going back into the past is possible here, back to the era of the legendary Kadazan warrior, Monsopiad. The uniqueness about this place is that it was founded by the direct descendants of Monsopiad. In a way, it's a living museum where they showcase traditional village houses, sacred House of Skulls and several other fascinating attractions. Oh another thing, do not miss out on their exciting cultural performances held here.

Shopping and Crafts - Sabah is definitely famed for their splendid souvenirs, like beads, bamboo products and accessories. There are plenty of choices throughout Sabah but the main ones to look out for would be places like KK Handicraft Market, Kadaiku and Wawasan Plaza Handicraft in the capital city, Kota Kinabalu.

Kudat Long House - If you enjoy traditional lifestyles then make a visit to the Kudat Long House of the Rungun tribe. Their intriguing culture and traditional attire will surely make your trip a memorable one. And if accommodation is an issue, worry no more, as home stays are available here and what better way to observe their lifestyle.

White-Water Rafting - Endless thrills and spills here for the adventurous hearts, where you get heart stopping experience of contending the rapids. Famous locations to get those adrenalin pumping would be at Kiulu and Padas Rivers.

Sunday Gaya Street Market - It's a open-air market to get local delicacies, handicrafts and fresh jungle produce. There is also the Tamu Kota Belud which is also another popular Sunday market. Here during ceremonial occasions you get to witness Bajau horsemen dressed in their traditional outfits, gaily riding their ponies. For this they are fondly known as 'Cowboys of the East'

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