Sabah Guide: An Introduction

If you are planning to visit Sabah for a holiday, this mini Sabah Guide is here for the purpose of introducing you to the location and beauty of Sabah, and it's amazing colourful cultures.

It is located on the beautiful island of Borneo, the world's third largest island.


Sabah is one of the thirteen member states which Malaysia is made of and it is the second largest state in this country after Sarawak and they are together known as 'east Malaysia'.


Sabah also shares the island of Borneo with Sarawak, Brunei, and Indonesian Kalimantan.


This Malaysian state is often referred to as "The land below the wind", because of its location which is south of the typhoon-prone region around the Philippines.

Let's begin our mini Sabah Guide with a map of Sabah in Malaysia:-


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The capital of Sabah is Kota Kinabalu which was previously known as Jesselton and now it is the modern gateway to the rest of Sabah region.

There are a few major cities in State of Sabah located along the coast line and the interior areas of Sabah which are Kudat, Sandakanm, Lahad Datuk, Ranau, Tuaran, Donggongon and Tawau.

The Alp of Sabah in Malaysia

Mount Kinabalu
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The western region of this state consists of three highest mountains in Malaysia and Mount Kinabalu is one of the highest mountains in South East Asia standing at 4095.2 metres.

Near to Mount Kinabalu is Mount Tambuyukon, which is at a height of 2,579 metres and the third highest peak in the country.

There are also lower ranges of hills extending towards the western coasts, southern plains, and the interior or central region of Sabah.

The central and eastern section of Sabah in general has got lower mountain ranges and plains with occasional hills. Sabah enjoys a sunny tropical climate where it is summer all year round.

The labyrinth of Sabah in Malaysia

Kinabalu National Park

The jungles of Sabah are classified as rainforests and host a diverse array of plant and animal species.

Kinabalu National Park located in Sabah was declared as a World Heritage site in the year 2000 due to its outstanding biological attributes.

Some of the wildlife regions in Sabah include Sabah Lost World - Maliau Basin, Danum Valley, Tabin, Imbak Canyon and Sepilok. All of these places are designated either as national parks, wildlife reserves, virgin jungle reserves or protection forest reserve.

The Sabah Society

Kadasan Dusun
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The people of Sabah are divided into 32 officially recognized ethnic groups with the largest non-indigenous ethnic group being the Chinese and the largest indigenous group being the Kadazan-Dusun people. Two other larger ethnic groups in Sabah are the Bajau and Murut.

The Kadazan-Dusun live mostly in the interior of Sabah, they are mountain people who believe the mountain is a resting place for the spirits of their departed, and thus it is sacred to them.

The Muruts are considered as a subgroup of the Kadazan-Dusun. They live mostly in the northern inland regions.

Most of the Murut communities are located in the southwest interior of Sabah, specifically in the districts of Keningau, Tenom, Nabawan, Pensiangan, along the Sapulut and Padas Rivers.

The name Murut actually means "hill people" and they speak the Tagol Murut language.

The traditional dress for Murut men comprises a jacket made of the bark of the Artocarpus tamaran tree worn with a red loincloth and a headdress decorated with Argus pheasant feathers.

In general the women wear black sleeveless blouse and sarong which extends to just below the knees. Like the other tribes in Sabah, the Murut decorate their clothing with beadwork as well as coin belts.

The Bajau have become the second largest group with two distinct communities each with their separate languages.

One group live on the east coast in houses on stilts and depend entirely upon the sea, much like the nomadic Bajau found through Southeast Asia.

The other group live in Kota Belud and have settled to become very successful agriculturalists famed for their skill on horseback.

In conclusion..

In comparison to other states in the Malaysia, Sabah has comparatively small population of Indians and South Asians.

There are other smaller tribes, such as the ancestor-worshipping Dumpas.

Basically, Sabah is a home to many different cultures!

So there you have it - a mini Sabah Guide to get you started on your journey. Keep up to date with more Sabah Guide tips by subscribing to our free My Borneo News!

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