Sabah, Malaysian Borneo is located on the northern portion of the island of Borneo and it is the second largest state in Malaysia after Sarawak. Sabah shares the island of Borneo withSarawak, Brunei, and Indonesian Kalimantan. Sabah’s strategic location, just on the South of the typhoon-prone region of the Philippines, has given its name as ‘The Land Below The Wind’ by the sea gypsies since the 13th century.
The western part of Sabah is generally mountainous, containing the three highest
mountains inMalaysia; Mount Kinabalu (4093m), Mount Trusmadi (2642m) and Mount Tambuyukon (2579m). Crocker Range is the most prominent range, which houses several mountains of varying height from about 1,000 metres to 4,000 metres. The central and eastern portion of Sabah are generally lower mountain ranges and plains. At the length of 560 kilometres, Kinabatangan River is the second longest river in Malaysia after Rejang River, flowing from the western ranges towards the east coast out into the Sulu Sea.
making the state as one of the 17 mega-diverse destinations in the world. Some of Sabah’s world class national parks or protected forest/wildlife reserves include Maliau Basin (The Lost World), Danum Valley Research Centre, Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Deramakot Forest Reserve, Crocker Range National Park, Kinabatangan Segama Wetlands, Kinabalu National Park (World Heritage Site),Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, Imbak Canyon Conservation Area, Kulamba Wildlife Reserve,Tawau Hills Park, etc.
Beyond the coasts of Sabah lie a number of marine sanctuaries such as Turtle Islands National Park, Sugud Islands Marine Conservation Area, Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, Pulau Tiga National Park, Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Mantanani Islands, etc.
as well as some world renowned islands for diving because of the magnificent and diverse coral reefs such as Sipadan, Lankayan,Layang Layang, Mabul, Kapalai, Mataking, (Boheydulang, Mantabuan, Sibuan, Maiga, Selakan, Sebangkat, Tetagan, Bodgaya) Gaia, Pandanan, Sibuan, Si-Amil, Bum Bum, Ligitan, Pom Pom, Timba Timba, etc.
There are currently 32 officially recognised ethnic groups in Sabah with the largest indigenous group being the Kadazan-Dusun people and the other ethnic groups are the Bajau, Murut,Rungus, etc. Apart from
the Sabahans’ very own diverse mother tongues, Bahasa Malaysia (national language), English, Mandarin (and some Chinese dialects) are widely spoken. It is customary to remove shoes before entering homes and places of worship. Visitors are also required to dress modestly. Sunbathing in nude is forbidden and pointing your index finger at others is considered rude (you have to use your thumb).
Other Important Information
Climate: Equatorial/Tropical—the climate is generally hot and sunny all year round; visitors need to wear comfortable clothing to avoid heatstroke.
Currency: Malaysian Ringgit (RM) – Travellers’ cheques and foreign currencies can be changed for Malaysian Ringgit at banks and hotels. However, there are also money changer kiosks available at major shopping complexes and airport.
Major Credit and Charge Cards: VISA, MasterCrad, American Express, Diners Club – credit and charge cards are accepted in almost all departmental stores, supermarkets, petrol stations and restaurants.
Local Time: Standard Malaysian Time is 8 hours ahead of GMT (GMT+8)
Banking Hours: Monday through Friday from 9.30am to 3pm
Usual Office Hours: Monday – Friday; 8am – 1pm, and 2pm – 5pm; Saturday from 8am – 1pm
Shopping: Shopping centres, supermarkets, restaurants are open daily; 10am – 10pm.
Tipping: It is not obligatory in most places.
Utilities: Electricity is on the 240 Volts AC/ 50-Cycle system; treated pipe water is available in most urban and sub-urban areas.
Communications: Mobile telecommunications cover many parts of Sabah with the exception of some remote areas. Public phones are scarcely available in most places.
Medical: Government hospitals, clinics and dispensaries 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 organise their own supply of medications.
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