Sabah nature bucket list: 7 signature places you must visit

Source: Sabah Tourism Board

Often referred to as the “Land Below The Wind”, Sabah is crowned by the highest mountain in Malaysia, surrounded by world-class dive sites, and home to a diverse array of plant and animal species with more yet to be discovered.

Every visitor to Sabah will find a plethora of unique things to explore and enjoy. The Sabah Tourism Board has compiled a list of seven must-see natural features in the state. If you haven’t visited any of these places, whether you’re a local or not, it’s time to add them to your 2022 bucket list.

1. KINABALU PARK, Kundasang/Ranau

Part of the signature attractions includes Kinabalu Park, home to the majestic Mount Kinabalu (elevation of 13,435 feet/4,095 m). The park is also Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site. People from all over the world would travel here to scale its peak.


To observe Sabah’s wildlife in their natural habitat, one must visit the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary where the mighty Kinabatagan river is situated. On a river cruise you will have a chance of spotting Orangutans, Proboscis Monkeys, Borneo Pygmy Elephants and all eight hornbill species that can be found in Borneo.

Image by Nick Garbutt, published on


Dubbed as Sabah’s Lost World, nature explorers should visit the Maliau Basin as it is an excellent site for jungle trekking and bird watching. It contains an unusual assemblage of 12 forest types. The highlight of the adventure is to trek the majestic 7 tiers of Maliau Falls. At 130 million years old, Maliau Basin is one of the oldest rainforests in the world,  even older than the Amazon rainforest.

Maliau Basin, Tongod

4. DANUM VALLEY, Lahad Datu

Considered as one of the world’s most complex ecosystems and classified as Class 1 (Protection) Forest Reserve under the Sabah Forestry Enactment 1968, Danum Valley Conservation Area serves as a natural home for the unimaginable number of plants and wildlife species including the Sunda Clouded Leopard. Being remotely located from human habitation makes this place a naturalists’ paradise.

Image by Nova Renata, published in New Straits Times.


Situated within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre has successfully saved and rehabilitated orphaned orangutan babies back into the wild. Today around 60 to 80 orangutans are living free in the reserve. The centre allows visitors to learn about the rehabilitation process and observe the orangutans at a safe distance.

Just next it is the world’s only Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Founded in 2008, the centre currently has 43 rescued bears and 1 captive-born.

Image by fototrav / Getty Images
Image published in The Borneo Post


For the divers, the jewel-shaped island Sipadan located offshore Semporna has been cited as one of the top dive sites in the world. This protected island has been highly sought after by divers for its array of possible sightings and how its natural treasures still remain untouched after many years. Sipadan is made famous by Jacques Cousteau 1986 documentary called “Ghost of the Sea Turtle”. He remarked: “I have seen other places like Sipadan 45 years ago, but now no more. Now we have found an untouched piece of art.”

Image published in New Straits Times.

7. BOHEY DULANG, Semporna

Bohey Dulang Island is formed from remnants of volcanic activity. It is the second-largest island amongst the Tun Sakaran Marine Park Islands. This island should also be on the bucket list of anyone searching for an easy fun hike. Hiking up the 600-meter mountain trail rewards you with an uninterrupted panoramic view of the island.

Bohey Dulang, Semporna

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