These Sabah Attractions Will Promise an Adventure of a Lifetime

The Ultimate Sabah Adventure Guide for Newbies

Ready yourself for an ultimate adventure getaway!

A two-hour flight away from Singapore, a multilingual state, a range of cuisine offerings, and home to some of the most hospitable people in the world — there are plenty of reasons why you should travel to Sabah. But, once you’re here, what are the best adventure offerings in Sabah: a place where clear waters and natural attractions thrive? Here, we’ll show you the best attractions in Sabah to visit — where you’ll be in for the adventure of a lifetime.  

It’s time to reconnect with your adventurous side in the Land Below The Wind. If you’re planning to travel to Sabah soon, we’ve got good news. From now till 18 Sep 2022, AirAsia is offering flights from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu for just S$65 (all-in-one way fare)!

Book now via the airasia Super App and enjoy a thrilling getaway in Sabah you won’t soon forget!

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Get your adrenaline pumping with these activities in Sabah

1. Mount Trus Madi

sabah attractions mount trusmadi

Image credit: borneo rimbawan via Canva Pro

Away from the crowds of Mount Kinabalu lies Mount Trus Madi: the second highest peak in Malaysia.

Standing at 2,642 metres, Mount Trus Madi is known to offer a tougher climbing challenge than Mount Kinabalu. The trek takes about seven hours in total, so be sure to set off on this hike at about 2am (in order to catch the sunrise). 

From the peak of Mount Trus Madi, you can even see Mount Kinabalu. Trust us, the time and energy dedicated will be well worth it. On top of the stunning sunrise and blanket of clouds, you might even find yourself appreciating the quiet here as you watch the crowds of the latter. 

Pro tip: To really immerse yourself in this experience, join a 3D2N or 2D1N tour to ensure that you’ll have dedicated guides that will advise on setting off at the right time and the best paths to reach the peak. 

2. Bohey Dulang Island, Semporna

sabah attractions bohey dulang

Image credit: yusnizam via Canva Pro

Since Sabah is known as an outdoor paradise of natural landmarks, it wouldn’t be a list of Sabah adventure attractions without mentioning the many islands here! In particular, Semporna — a town on Sabah’s east — is the gateway to Tun Sakaran Marine Park, where a group of eight islands with dive sites and reefs reside. 

For instance, Bohey Dulang Island stands out for its 353-metre peak which takes about 45 minutes to reach. This hike will take you across the entire island, and you’ll be rewarded with mesmerising views of the lagoon on the way up. 

Pro tip: Ensure that you’re wearing proper hiking shoes for this walk; if not, you can rent a pair for RM5 (~S$1.54). 

3. Mabul Island, Semporna

Next, the waters at Mabul Island are primed for superb diving and snorkelling. There are plenty of scuba diving centres here, including lodging options that sit right on the water!  

Aside from diving, you can even canoe and snorkel here. Regardless of which water sport you choose, one thing’s for sure: The emerald waters and variety of colourful corals and sea life will be a sight that you’ll never forget. 

4. Mataking Island, Semporna

Approximately 50 kilometres away lies another pristine location for all things water-related: Mataking Island. With only one resort, this private island has been coined by some as “comparable to the Maldives”, where activities like scuba diving promise to be one of the best. 

Also, you’ll find a long strip of sand extending to the island’s north — so you know where to walk for a relaxing and quiet escape. 

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5. Bukit Tengkorak Archaeological Heritage Site, Semporna

Image credit: Irwandy Mazwir

Can’t decide between an afternoon of adventure or culture? Fortunately, at Bukit Tengkorak Archaeological Heritage Site, you’ll get to do both. 

Hike up Bukit Tengkorak by using the wooden staircase trail, and reach the archaeological museum at the peak, 500 feet above sea level. The museum is one of four in Semporna, where it features a showcase of artefacts and exhibits the history of the hill and its inhabitants from 3,000 years ago. 

Being at the peak, you’ll get a panoramic view of the surrounding waters and islands. 

6. Gomantong Caves, Sandakan

gomantong caves sabah

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Not for the faint of heart, Gomantong Caves is the perfect Sabah attraction to test if you’re truly adventurous. 

This cave network is accessible with a one-kilometre walk from the main carpark through a rainforest. At the entrance, you’ll spot raptors like the eagles and kingfishers. Then, step inside and say hello to a limestone cave where everything from bats to cockroaches live. The wildlife doesn’t stop there. You’ll also find orangutans throughout the cave! 

Pro tip: The best time to tap into your inner Indiana Jones at Gomantong Caves is between Feb and Apr or Jul and Sep. The other months are dedicated to bird nest harvesting. 

7. Danum Valley Conservation Area, Lahad Datu

No list of natural attractions in Sabah would be complete without mentioning the famous Danum Valley Conservation Area. This 438-square kilometre reserve is home to an extensive diversity of plants and wildlife with species such as rare Bornean Orangutans, gibbons, mouse deer, clouded leopards, and roughly 300 bird species. 

Luckily, the trail that courses through the reserve offers you uninterrupted views of everything to see here, including the world’s tallest tropical tree standing at 100.8-metres.  

If you’re a true nature lover, stay at the nearby rainforest lodge and sign up for a guided jungle tour. Doing so will ensure that you’ve got the most knowledgeable guides to bring you around — who’ll teach you everything to know about this 130-million-year-old forest. 

Relax at these unique attractions in Sabah

8. Batu Luang Beach, Kuala Penyu

batu luang beach

Image credit: Nik Mohd Najmuddin Nik Ariff / 500px via Canva Pro

Adventure is about excitement and upping your heart rate as you climb a mountain or soar across on a zipline. However, adventure can also be about venturing to (and/or relaxing at) an off-the-beaten-path hidden gem, like Batu Luang Beach

This Sabah attraction might be lacking in accessibility; but once you make your way here, you’ll be treated to a tranquil beach of rock formations and captivating sea views. The best time to come here? At sunset and when the tide is low, so that you can see the moss-covered bed of rocks against a stunning backdrop. 

9. Mahua Waterfall, Tambunan

mount kinabalu waterfall

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Another on the list of relaxing attractions in Sabah is Mahua Waterfall. A must-visit for any nature lover, this attraction is not quite hidden, as it lies just 500 metres away from the carpark. 

On top of being accessible, the waterfall promises a serene jungle walk en route, where you’ll be surrounded by towering canopies and flowing streams. If you’re willing to spend more than a quick dip here, bring along a picnic; and of course, don’t forget to pack a change of clothes as well! 

Also, even though the waterfall has been noted to be quite cold, it’ll surely make for the perfect refresher against the warm and sunny climate.

10. Poring Hot Spring, Ranau

mount kinabalu waterfall

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Finally, if you’d rather call the tranquil waters your home for a few days, opt for Poring Hot Spring

A resort complex lying at the base of Mount Kinabalu in Kinabalu Park, this area features a selection of natural, mineral-rich hot springs. Water flows down from Langganan Waterfall into either public or private tubs, and into sulphur, rock, or slide pools. 

Comfort and adventure are also wrapped into one here, as you’ll even find canopy walks and jungle treks nearby. What’s interesting to note is that on top of the conservation entry fee to these treetop trails, there’s also an additional fee for a smartphone or camera access. Not to fret, the fees will go towards the conservation and maintenance of the reserve. 

From offshore islands to massive reserves, it’s easy to see why attractions in Sabah make it a favourite adventure destination for many in the region. 

Besides, Sabah’s climate is a big reason why many love the outdoors here: Nicknamed the Land Below the Wind, Sabah lies just below the typhoon-prone region, letting it thrive with a clear, warm, and sunny climate. 

Who’s up for an adventure in Sabah? Start by booking your flight from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu for just S$65 (all-in-one way fare) via the airasia Super App.

Book from now till 18 Sep 2022 and travel between 19 Sep 2022 and 18 Apr 2023 to fulfil all your adventure needs and satisfy your wanderlust in the charming Land Below The Wind!

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Brought to you by AirAsia.

About Author

Cassandra Nerva
Cassandra Nerva

Cassandra seeks comfort in warm blankets, period dramas, and all things hazelnut. If she's not getting carried away with a wartime novel or decorating her house with plants & fairy lights, she's uncovering hidden gems around her as she continues to embrace her keen sense of adventure.