Going on a trip to Sabah, Malaysia has proven time and again that the popular getaway is a key point to blissful places — from its tropical beaches, lush rainforests, its majestic mountains and its amazing city. Located on the north of Borneo, this destination has long been loved by travelers from all over the world.
There is much to see when on a trip to the beautiful Sabah, so how do you make the most out of it? By planning an itinerary, of course! Here’s the Viyahe version of the best three-day itinerary to Malaysia’s must-see region:
Day 1: Make Your Way to the Mountain.
FIRST STOP, KINABALU PARK
Where: 89300 Ranau, Sabah, Malaysia
The Kinabalu Park holds an extensive range of exotic flora and fauna that can only be seen in this park and nowhere else in the world. These endemic species include Venus slipper orchid, Bornean ferret-badger, Kinabalu giant red leech, and more. Expect to see the largest flowers in the world, flesh-eating plants, and even extra-rare unnamed species.
NEXT, VISIT PORING HOT SPRING
Where: 89300 Ranau, Sabah, Malaysia
Relax after a long day and take a dip in a hot sulfur bath while being surrounded by tall bamboo trees and luscious greens at the Poring Hot Spring. Are you up for an adventure? The Canopy Walkway is for you. It’s a 175-meter long bouncy and swing-y canopy that gives you a view of rare bird species from an overwhelming height of 41-43 meters!
Tip: Visit the colorful Butterfly Garden just beside the hot springs for another RM2 to RM4 for children and adults, respectively. Best to drop by before 3 PM as the butterflies are not as active as they were after that time.
Entrance fees start at RM 10 (for children) and RM 15 (for adults) for both Kinabalu Park and Poring Hot Springs.
To get there from the city proper, you can take a bus which will cost you around RM 25. You can also ask your hotel to book you a ride or arrange your tours. The trip usually takes about 3 hours so choose a more comfortable ride for you.
Day 2: Bum (and more) at the Beaches.
FIRST STOP, MANUKAN ISLAND
A favorite both of locals and of tourists due to its accessibility (Just 15 minutes away by boat from the mainland!), this very popular destination is a balance between the developed and the natural, with its world-class facilities complementing the beauty of its flora and fauna.
NEXT, VISIT PULAU SAPI ISLAND
In the mood for snorkeling, diving, zip lining, or even camping? Then, Palau Sapi should definitely be on your list. A gem in the middle of the ocean, this beauty offers a range of activities to satisfy those who want to soak in the sun and the sea.
Entrance fee for each island start at RM 6 for children and RM 10 for adults. Note that the island hopping tour costs around RM 23 to RM 53, depending on the number of islands you will go to. Most hotel accommodations offer packages including roundtrip boat rides.
To get there from Kota Kinabalu, take a boat going to the island and get to paradise in less than 30 minutes.
DAY 3: Keep Busy in Kota Kinabalu
The heart of every state is its capital, and this rings true for Sabah. We won’t say too much here and let the Kota Kinabalu introduce itself to you when you visit these places:
SABAH STATE MOSQUE
Start your day with the view of the majestic dome, sure to leave you in awe. This is one of the most picturesque structures you would see in Sabah, with its intricate gold inlays and more.
IMAGO SHOPPING MALL
Find what you need at one of the largest shopping centers in Kota Kinabalu, from your favorite stores to your choice of gourmet treats. Best to have lunch here before exploring the rest of the city!
ATKINSON CLOCK TOWER
Marvel at the strength of the oldest standing structure in Sabah (it survived the destructive time of World War II). Know more about the city’s history at one of these notable landmarks that you shouldn’t miss when in Kota Kinabalu.
SIGNAL HILL OBSERVATORY
Find your own strength as you climb to the highest point of the city. Get the best view of Kota Kinabalu at any time of the day and for free!
Prove that a hearty breakfast meal and an amazing cup of coffee is great at any time of the day. Situated in the middle of the city, this small but cozy cafe is the perfect place either to sit still before exploring or to rest after a long day of walking around.
Don’t go home empty-handed: when it’s time to buy souvenirs, head over to the home of handcrafted bracelets, colorful batiks, leather bags, and more. Hunger pangs still unsatisfied? Head over to the Filipino Seafood Market for a plate of two of the freshest catch of the day.
So you decided to stay one day more.
DROP BY: MARI MARI CULTURAL VILLAGE
Take a closer look at the lives of five indigenous tribes of Sabah. Observe their lifestyle, taste their food, and most especially, learn their treasured culture with just one tour. A small note though: tours end at 5 PM, so make sure you allot time for this!
Entrance fee starts at RM 160 for children and RM 180 for adults. You can also do group bookings in the evening with a maximum of 30 persons.