My Top 10 Favorite Places in Asia: #5 – Sabah, East Malaysia

Sabah is Malaysia’s most eastern state on the northeastern tip of the large island of Borneo. The charming city of Kota Kinabalu is the capital, and Mount Kinabalu is one of Malaysia’s top hiking destinations, rising more than 13,000 feet into the clouds.

I’ve only been to Sabah once, but it has left a lasting impression. First the water.

The water in Sabah is crystal clear, even in the city limits. There are fun little islands just off the coast which are great for snorkeling, swimming, and hiking. The capital, KK, is full of fun shopping and great food. The Filipino market is a wonderful place for freshly grilled seafood, prepared before your eyes.

One of the favorite things my family did in Sabah was to rent a car and go exploring. We followed the coast northeast into the far reaches of the island, stopping at the beautiful long-houses of the indigenous people groups. Then we ended up at The Tip of Borneo, which is precisely what it is: the northern most tip of the entire island which juts out into the sea.

The Tip of Borneo is a completely undeveloped area which is fronted by, probably, the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen, stretching in both directions with not another soul in sight. I can only hope that there are not any development plans for this breath-taking location. Further up the beach a little park comes a head, surrounded by rugged rocks which play dangerously with each other in the white caps of the surf. This small park had a tiny cafe as it’s only amenities. ¬†Standing literally on the islands tip about the surf and looking out over the vast ocean was completely thrilling.

Other attractions of Sabah which we did not get a chance to sea include the orangutans in their original habitat and Sipadan, with its world famous dive site and its incredible water village.

Sabah is a place I would like to get an opportunity to explore some more. It easily started the countdown of my top 5 favorite places in Asia.

Here’s a recap:

10. Malacca, Malaysia

9. Chiang Mai, Thailand

8. Singapore

7. Hong Kong

6. southern Vietnam

5. Sabah, East Malaysia

4. ???

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