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SABAH k o o b e d i u G l Trave FEATURES Facts & Figures Travel Tips Recommended dining Recommended tour packages


For reservation & catering service enquiry: Contact: 088 297 228 016 886 8786

Shoney’s Dining & Bar

Operating hours: Open daily 11am - 11pm








9 - 12

13 - 17


Welcome to the land of awe-inspiring natural scenerey, lush primary rainforests, vibrant coral reefs and mysterious indigenous culture. Situated on the beautiful island of Borneo, Sabah is one of the thirteen states which Malaysia is made of. Sabah is the second largest state in Malaysia and shares the island of Borneo with Sarawak, Brunei and Indonesian Kalimantan. An ideal destination for backpackers. Sabah is richly blessed with nature diversity, unique cultures, fun adventure, beautiful beaches and fantastic cuisines for the adventurous taste buds. From mountaineering and scuba diving to wildlife spotting or just simply relaxing at the beach, Sabah is the ultimate place to go. We have it all here, from the world’s largest flower - the Rafflesia, to the highest mountain in South East Asia - Mount Kinabalu, to one of the world’s best dive site - Sipadan Island. Home to 32 diverse ethnic groups, you will not only be amazed by the placesto see and things to do here, but will also get to enjoy the warm Sabahan hospitality. Get immersed in the unique culture and tradition of Sabah, not forgetting the swet memories to last a lifetime!


S E R U G I F & S FACT If you’re planning your first trip to Sabah, here are some information and general rules of thumb to abide by;

Climate Equitorial / Tropical - the climate is generally hot and sunny all year round. Visitors needs to wear comfortable clothing to avoid heatstroke. We also have scattered unpredictable rains. Therefore, it is advisable to always bring an umbrella in case it rains.

Average Temperature Lowlands (Kota Kinabalu, Kudat, Sandakan, Tawau) 32 degrees centigrade

Highlands (Ranau, Kundasang, Tambunan) 21 degrees centigrade

Bear in mind though, that Mount Kinabalu has its own climate. Temperatures can drop to freezing level above 3500 meters.

Currency - Malaysian Ringgit (RM) Travelers’ cheque and foreign currencies can be changed for Malaysian Ringgit at banks and hotels. However, there are also money changers kiosks available at major shopping mall complexes and airport. Most major hotels charge a nominal fee for currency conversion. ATMs are also widely available in the city and in larger towns.

Major Credit &Charge cards VISA, Mastercard, American Express, Diners Club, UnionPay-credit and charge cards are accepted in almost all department stores, supermarkets, petrol stations and restaurants.

Local Time

Banking Hours

Usual Operationg Hours

Standard Malaysian Time is 8 hours ahead of GMT (GMT+8)

Monday through Friday from 9.30AM to 3PM

Monday through Friday from 8AM - 1PM and 2PM - 5PM. Saturday from 8AM - 1PM


RESTAURANT AND TOUR GUIDE Shopping Shopping centres, supermarkets, restaurants and mini markets are generally open daily from 10.00am to 10.00pm. As for tipping; food and beverages in exclusive restaurants, cafes and clubs, as well as accommodations normally include 6 per cent GST (Government Service Tax) and service charges. Tipping is not obligatory in most places.

Tipping : Tour Guides

Tipping : Restaurants

Tipping of tour guides is not mandatory but it is appreciated by the guide. If you think your guide has done a good job and deserves a token of reward for his hard work, we recommend MYR10 - 20 (USD 2.50 - 5.00) per person/day. For exceptional guides - MYR 20 - 40 (USD 5.00 - 10.00) per person/day

A 10% Service Charge is normally charged by restaurants on top of the bill to cover tipping of the staff. That means no additional tipping is expected – however for exceptional good service and food additional tipping is appreciated by the staff.

GST - Goods & Services Tax


GST is a 6% tax that is charged on top of the price. GST is included in prices in shops. However, some restaurants do not in include it in the displayed prices. Normally in the menu it will be stated inclusive or exclusive of GST. If you are not sure, please ask the staff.

Your hotel usually provides laundry service for a premium fee. For a cheaper option, you can always go to any laundromat in town. Otherwise, save on your laundry expenses by packing quick-drying clothes, which you can wash with soap and hang to dry in a jiffy.

Bargaining Find fantastic bargains at the night markets, Sunday market or outdoor stalls where you can bargain and get fantastic deals.

Remember! Pack an extra bag

Get them in print!

If possible, pack all the things you need in one backpack (with an extra small bag for daily essentials). It saves you from paying unnecessary porter charges and minimizes the chance of luggage loss which can be costly.

Remember to have all your itineraries/tickets printed out before you leave and please make sure that your passport will be valid for at least six (6) months before your departure date.

Electricity & Water Facilities


Electricity is on the 240 Volts AC/ 50-Cycle system; treated pipe water is available in most urban and suburban areas.

Bahasa Malaysia (national language) and English is widely spoken; Mandarin and some Chinese dialects are also widely spoken.


Healthcare Facilities

Mobile telecommunications cover many parts of Sabah with the exception of some remote areas. Public phones are scarcely available in most places. For convenience, you can also purchase a traveller SIM pack & data plan at the airport to use during your stay in Sabah.

Government hospitals, clinics and pharmacies are available in all towns. The list of private medical practitioners and pharmacies are available in the local phone directory. However, those with specific medical needs are advised to have a good supply of medications.



Trekking Packing List

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Insect Repellent Sun block Flash light Swimming wear Short & Long sleeves pants and shirts Raincoat and umbrella Slipper / Sandals and walking shoes Passport valid minimum 6 months after your returning date 9. Printed itinerary and flight tickets 10. Extra small bag - some places it might not necessary to bring all your things. Then, it’s good to be able to repack some of your things and leave the rest with us / next hotel.

Binoculars Insect Repellent Sun block Long sleeves shirts & long pants Raincoat, sun hat, swimming wear Comfortable trekking shoes Torch Light Water bottle Personal Toileteries Leech socks

PACKING TO CLIMB MOUNT KINABALU Climbing list (Early stages)

Extra clothes (in backpack)

• • • •

• •

Shorts (or lightweight pants) T-shirt or long-sleeved shirt Woollen socks Sturdy shoes with good grip and ankle support – sneakers are far from ideal Cap or hat to keep the sun off your face

Suggested items • • • • • • •

Snacks – Energy Bars (chocolate, dried fruit, nuts, jelly beans) Water bottles Sun block Small first aid kit Camera Torch (head-mounted is ideal for the early morning climb to the summit) Spare batteries

• • • •

Waterproof jacket Warm, lightweight jumper (polar fleece or wind fleece is ideal) Warm, lightweight pants (not denim, as it remains cold when wet) Spare socks and underwear Beanie/woollen hat Sturdy woollen or fleece gloves

All your gear should be packed inside waterproof bags in case of bad weather on the mountain. Bedding is also provided at the rest houses on Mount Kinabalu. You may bring your personal set if you wish but please consider the weight of your bag, as the porters will charge you per Kilogram if you require them. You can store your additional luggage at the National Park Headquarters for the climb at an additional cost of RM10.00 per luggage/bag.


Medical and Health Concerns Before coming to Sabah, please check with your doctor that you are fit to do your planned activites and make sure that you have your medications / list of prescriptions ready, if any. Should you encounter any medical emergencies or accidental injuries while you are here, we recommend that you go to the Gleneagles Kota Kinabalu for consultation and treatment. The address and contact details are as follows.


Address: Riverson @ Sembulan, Block A-1, Lorong Riverson @ Sembulan 88100, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. Contact Number: +60 88-518 888 Opening Hours: 8.00am - 6.00pm daily

If you are elsewhere in Sabah;


Permai Polyclinic Sandakan

Tawau Specialist Polyclinics

Address: Lot 3, Block 3, Bandar Indah, Jalan Utara 90000, Sandakan, Sabah Malaysia Contact Number: +60 89-208 777 Opening Hours: Open 24 hours

Address: 1496, Lorong Hilltop 3, Taman Hilltop, 91000, Tawau, Sabah Contact Number: +60 89-755 222 Opening Hours: 8.30am - 6pm (Monday - Friday) 8.30am - 2.00pm (Saturday) & closed on Sunday

Sabah Main Districts



Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu, formerly known as Jesselton, is the city capital of Sabah as well as the capital of the West Coast Division of Sabah. Strategically situated in the Northwest Coast of Borneo Island, facing the South China Sea and Tunku Abdul Rahman Park on one side, and set against the backdrop of Mount Kinabalu; this beautiful ‘Nature Resort City’ stretches for miles along the coast and towards the inland. Affectionately known as KK or Api Api by the locals, Kota Kinabalu is a popular tourist getaway and a major gateway into Sabah and Borneo Island. Apart from featuring a number of tourist attractions in and around the city, Kota Kinabalu is also one of the most thriving industrial and commercial centers in East Malaysia.

Lahad Datu Lahad Datu is located in the Tawau division, occupying the peninsula on the north side of Darvel Bay. Lahad Datu is surrounded by stretches of cocoa and oil palm plantations. Apart from that, it is also an important timber exporting port. A haven for naturalists, Lahad Datu is the gateway to pristine nature destinations such as Danum Valley Conservation Area, Tabin Wildlife Reserve and Madai Caves. Lahad Datu is also a great place to explore on a mountain bike, if you’re into mountain biking.



This gateway to beautiful islands is located in the Tawau Division, in the East Coast of Sabah. It is known as an illustrious scuba diving and snorkeling spot, with popular dive spots such as Mabul, Sipadan, Mataking, Pom Pom and Bohey Dulang islands. Off the coast is the Tun Sakaran Marine Park, also known as Semporna Islands Park which was gazetted by Sabah Parks in 2004. Semporna town is mainly populated by the Bajau Laut ethnic community, otherwise known as the Sea Gypsies—many of whom live in sprawling stilt villages above the water or inside the traditional Lepa boats. The grandest event in Semporna -the Regatta Lepa -- is held annually in April.


The historical city of Sandakan is the second largest city in Sabah. It is located in the east coast of Borneo Island and is the administrative centre of the Sandakan Division. It had served as the capital of the British North Borneo during the British colonial time. Sandakan is famous as the gateway for eco-tourism destinations in Sabah such as the Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary, Selingan Turtle Islands Park, Sukau Proboscis Lodge and Gomantong Caves. Sandakan’s Kinabatangan floodplain is also one of the best places to spot wildlife and go birdwatching. For divers, honeymooners and sun worshippers, Lankayan Island is Sandakan’s handsomest island offering by far.


Nestled in the south-east coast of Sabah is Tawau—the third largest town in Sabah after Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan. Being surrounded by the ocean, this fast-developing town is famous for its fresh, succulent and cheap seafood. It is also the largest agro-tourism destination in the state with attractions such as Balung Eco Resort, Tawau Hills Park and Teck Guan Cocoa Museum, to name a few.



Kota Kinabalu The city capital of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu is teeming with places to eat as well as large varieties of cuisines to sample – ranging from local favourites to international delights.


Sang Nyuk Mien (Pork Noodle Soup) Ask the average Sabahan abroad of what makes them dream of home the most and chances are, you will hear these three words. Essentially a dish of stewed pork meat (with the option of including organ meat) served with noodles, sang nyuk mien is the ultimate Sabahan comfort food – topped with sinfully luscious lard-ladden broth and zhu you zha (pork cracklings which is made into a paste). It is even better when teamed up with sprinklings of homemade chili! Where to eat? • Kedai Kopi Jia Siang, Lintas Plaza Plaza (tel: 0168303435) • Kedai Kopi Melanian, Gaya Street (tel: 012-8382888).


One of the lovely byproduct of diversity is the Beaufort mee, a dish invented by the Hakka community in the Interior Division of Sabah. In appearance, the Beaufort mee looks somewhat similar to the wattan hor (wet fried noodle), except that its thick gravy doesn’t contain egg white and it is usually topped with a generous amount of veggie. The Beaufort mee is usually served with slices of pork meat or char siew (barbecued pork). Where to eat? • Kedai Kopi Yu Hing, City Mall (tel: 088-484747). • Kedai Kopi New Man Tai, Jalan Bundusan (tel: 088717930)


SABAH-STYLE TOM YUM NOODLE If you’re used to having the traditional Thai-style tom yum noodle, trying the Sabah-style tom yum noodle will surprise you! Unlike the traditional tom yum, Sabahan tom yum generally has thicker broth, which is added with either evaporated milk or santan (coconut milk). The result is a richer and more filling broth that is simply delicious! Sabahan tom yum is mainly served with seafood such as fish slices and fresh prawn. It is a wonderful bowl of spicy, tangy and creaminess all rolled into one. • •

Where to eat? Kedai Kopi Seng Hing, Sinsuran (tel: 088-211594) Kedai Kopi Janggut, Hilltop (tel: 016-8413849).

(beef noodle soup)



The delicious curry laksa noodles, referred simply as ‘laksa’, is a coconut-based curry soup noodles. The main ingredients for most versions of curry laksa include tofu puffs, fish sticks, shrimp and cockles. Some vendors may sell chicken laksa which uses chicken instead of shrimp. Cockles are also very commonly used in laksa. To enhance its spicy taste, laksa is commonly served with a spoonful of sambal chilli paste. Laksa is simply referred to or ordered at a restaurant as laksa (curry laksa) or assam laksa.

The iconic ngiu chap is Sabah’s answer to the universal beef stew dish. A dish almost identical to the Vietnamese pho, the ngiu chap consists of sliced beef and meatballs, with the option of adding organ meat such as tripe, tendon and liver. It is normally served with noodles, although you can also have it with rice if you like.

Where to eat? • Yee Fung Restaurant, Gaya Street (tel: 6088312042) • Kedai Kopi Kinabalu, Gaya Street.

Where to eat? • Kah Hiong Ngiu Chap, Plaza Grand Millennium (tel: 088-731646) • Kedai Kopi Loi Hin, Donggongon (tel: 088712136).


International Cuisines When it comes to international fares, KK City offers a great smorgasbord of restaurants offering just about anything from Asian specialties to Continental delights.





Sabah is no stranger to the Korean culture – from K-pop and Korean street fashion to kimchi and bulgogi. For the best Korean favourites in KK City, be sure to visit Bintulu Korean Restaurant, Lintas Plaza (tel: 088-270370) and Hi Seoul Restaurant, Likas Square (tel: 088-252326). Both restaurants are non-halal establishments.

Japanese cuisines are some of the most celebrated international cuisines in Sabah. For your next sushi fix, you can go to Nagasaki Restaurant, Jalan Haji Saman (tel: 088-263623) and Sushi Tei Restaurant, Suria Sabah (tel: 088485595). Both restaurants are halal establishments.

Hankering for an opulent plate of steak, a mixed grill platter or wperhaps a scrumptious feast of Italian favourites? Yes, KK has them too! Drop by Little Italy, Jalan Haji Saman (tel: 088-232231) and Shoney’s Kitchen & Bar, Gaya Street (tel: 088–297228). Both establishments serve no pork.

Late Night Supper Spots Having trouble sleeping off the late night munchies? Have no fear because KK just also happens to be the city that never stops eating. You can get your supper fix at the Lido night market Food Court (open until 4am) that offers the famous luk luk (mobile steamboat) favourites, or you can explore the Sinsuran Pasar Malam (night market), which is open till midnight for a variety of fresh grilled seafood and other hawker-style gastronomic delights.

JOIN OUR KK FOOD TOUR AND EAT WHERE LOCALS DO Sign up for our KK Food Tour package and let us take you to savour some of Sabah’s best gastronomic offerings!


Places of Interest


Recommended Tour Packages Even if you’re just staying within KK City, there are plenty of things to do to keep you busy. However, if you are planning to go out of the city, it is recommended that you book a tour with an authorised tour agency to ensure your safety and maximise your travelling experience!



North Borneo Railway

Sabah State Museum

Signal hill Observation tower

Established in 1896, the North Borneo Railway – NBR in short – is one of the main valuable artefacts in Sabah following the British Colonial era. History has it that the railway was built by an English engineer with the help of his assistant who is a Murut man. The North Borneo Railway features a vintage British Vulcan steam locomotive which was designed and built by the Vulcan Foundry in England as part of the last order before the factory converted to diesel and electric locomotive construction.

Built in 1985, the Museum complex is sited where then British North Borneo Governor’s Istana was once located. The Museum consists of the Main Building, Science and Education Centre, Heritage Village, Sabah Art Gallery and Museum of Islamic Civilization. There is a Heritage Village on the Museum grounds where you can enter and experience different types of traditional houses of the various indigenous groups of Sabah. Cultural activities are also held here from time to time.

Signal Hill, the highest point in the city, is one of the best places to get a good view of Kota Kinabalu. Just a couple of minutes drive from Padang Merdeka will bring you to the airy deck where you can get amazing views that extend to the outlying islands of the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park and further. You can also come to visit in the evening for a spectacular view of sunset. At nighttime, you will be able to witness a breathtaking bird’s eye view of KK city, decked in sparkling bright lights!

Tunku Abdul Rahman Park (TARP) - Island Hopping / Snorkelling / Zipline / Trekking Situated 15 to 20 minutes speedboat ride away from the heart of Kota Kinabalu, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is the ideal sun, sea and sand escape—minus the hassle of long-distance travelling. One of Sabah’s biggest pride, this marine park is gazetted in an effort to protect the sea and the natural environment. It mothers five idyllic islands which offer a distinct taste of tropical island getaway for all beach bums. With an estimation of 50 dive sites, this marine park will knock the socks off any dive-a-holic. It’s simply marvelous!


Sabah state mosque One of the most outstanding pieces of architecture in Sabah is none other than the State Mosque. With its majestic dome and stunning gold inlay motifs, the mosque sits a stone’s throw away from the city centre. It is a unique combination of prevailing Islamic architecture and contemporary design. Visitors are advised to adhere by appropriate dress code when visiting places of worship. Avoid visiting on Fridays which is the day of prayer for Muslims.

Coral Flyer & Island Hopping The Coral Flyer Zipline was recently launched to offer a buzz of adrenaline rush for thrill seekers out there! From Gaya Island, you get on the zip line crossing to Sapi Island, in the Tunku Abdul Rahman (TAR) Marine Park. The Coral Flyer Zipline will serve you with beautiful views, with the breeze caressing your face and the thrill of zipping over the sparkling clear waters of the TAR marine park.


Mari Mari

Padas River

Experience the pristine beauty of Tambunan with a visit to the Kipandi Butterfly Park and a drive through the verdant rice fields and rustic villages. Depending on the availability and blooming season, you will also get a chance to see the ginormous rafflesia flower at the Rafflesia Information Centre (RIC). Your tour destination finale will be to Tambunan’s best kept secret – the Mahua Waterfall.

The Mari Mari Cultural Village is situated amidst a rustic forest setting in Kionsom, Inanam. Here, you will be introduced to various traditional homes of Sabahan ethnic communities— the Bajau, Lundayeh, Murut, Rungus and Dusun people. Be prepared to teleport back to the times of ancient Borneo through the display of unique ingenious architecture, simulated lives and ritualistic ceremonies. Also, get acquainted with each village tribe as you experience their culture.

If you’re looking for some wet, wild and tumbly fun in Borneo, look no further than Padas River! Offering seven swollen (Grade III-IV) rapids, Padas River throws adventure aficionados into an exhilarating 30-kilometer joyride along Borneo’s longest rafting route. Surrounding the Padas River is a verdant jungle with breath taking views of trees, birds and blue skies in the horizon! This tour is suitable for rafters aged 12 to 55 years old.

Picturesque Landscapes & Waterfall


Cultural Village

White Water Rafting

Proboscis Monkeys and Fireflies River Cruise

This tour brings you to the quaint little town of Weston in Beaufort’s interior division! The river cruise begins along the Weston Wetland where you will get to see wildlife, such as the Proboscis Monkey with its protruding belly and signature biwg nose. These monkeys can be found amidst the mangrove trees foraging, resting and feeding. Other wildlife that you might be able to spot are the cheeky long-tailed macaques, river otters, kingfishers and more!

Bike Ride Tours Rustic Borneo offers you various ways of exploring Sabah by cycling on mountain bikes, be it for beginners all the way to advanced levels. Have fun cycling across rural Sabah on the dusty village trails, off roads, along rivers and through rice fields. You can either choose to have a day trip, which starts early in the morning and ending in the afternoon, or choose to experience one of the longer-stay tours, either overnight or 3-day/2-nights.


Northern Tip of

Kinabalu National Park

Borneo, Kudat

& Poring

This package offers you the perfect opportunity to experience one of Borneo’s beautiful waterfalls, whilst trekking through a jungle untouched by the modern world. Here, you will also get the chance to see different species of animals in their natural habitat. This truly is an area with outstanding natural beauty. You may cool down from the heat of the day by swimming and relaxing in the sensationally cool waterfall pools.

Our Tip of Borneo day trip brings you to the northern most point of Sabah, Borneo in the quiet town of Kudat. Kudat is well-known for its beautiful beaches and surf spots, some of which you will experience when we take you to the beach where the South China Sea meets the Sulu Sea. Kudat is also home to the Rungus people, one of the diverse ethnic groups of Sabah.

Sit back and relax as we take you on a private tour up to the Mount Kinabalu National Park – a world-renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is also home to the iconic Mount Kinabalu (4, 096m above sea level) – the highest mountain in Malaysia and one of the most prominent peaks in Southeast Asia. Poring Hot Spring, which is located circa 40 kilometres’ drive away from the Mount Kinabalu National Park, is home to Sabah’s natural hot springs.

Trekking & Waterfalls


TREK WITH US Join us on a trekking & island-hopping tour at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park! Find us at: Website: Twitter: RusticBorneo Facebook: RusticBorneo Instagram: RusticBorneo Youtube: RusticBorneo Contact us at: Email: phone: +60 88 385 622 Lot No. 25, 1st Floor, Iramanis Centre (DBKK Shop No. 24-1) Block D, 88450, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, MAL AYSIA

Sabah Travel Guidebook  

Your guide to the what, where and hows of traveling in Sabah

Sabah Travel Guidebook  

Your guide to the what, where and hows of traveling in Sabah