7 Things to love about Kota Kinabalu, Sabah – Borneo

Today is my birthday.

This time a fair few years ago I was watching the snow fall at Heathrow airport with my family, wondering whether the flight would be delayed or cancelled.

Today the weather is ever so slightly better!

Today also had me reminiscing about that trip and the beautiful land below the wind…

Here are 7 things to love about Kota Kinabalu, Sabah (Borneo):

1. Jungle

The lush, green foliage of the jungle that serves as a backdrop to all things outside the city.

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2. Plant life

Borneo is believed to have the highest plant diversity than any other region on Earth.

Weird, wonderful and beautiful plants can be spotted everywhere you go.


3. The Rainforest
Experiencing the rainforest in all of it’s glory; the symphony of the creatures that inhabit it and the humidity (take a word of advice – DO NOT wear jeans) are experiences you will not forget in a hurry.

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4. Wildlife

Borneo is home to an outstanding amount of wildlife, including the endangered orangutan species…

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5. Sea Gypsy Villages

Absolutely fascinating nomadic tribes that build homes on stilts above the water (either on the ocean or the rivers).

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I was lucky enough to go on a trip to spend some time with a group, where they invited us in to their home and told us about their community as we sipped from coconuts and made traditional pancakes on an open fire.
Unfortunately, I was not able to take any photos inside as a lot of them, especially the elders in the community, still hold the belief that a camera steals a part of your soul when a photo is taken of you.


6. Amazing Sunsets

The most breathtaking sunsets I have witnessed thus far, were in Borneo, and seemed to vary in colour and hue on different evenings.

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7. The Mountains
Such as Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in Malaysia.

A Local told me a story of Mount Kinabalu…
A prince was shipwrecked on the island of Borneo. He was rescued by natives and fell in love with a local woman, they married and were happy, yet he grew homesick and yearned to return. 

He took a ship, and sailed to his homeland to assure his family of his safety. He promised his wife that he would return, but he never did.

The wife waited many months, climbing the mountain’s highest peak so that she could better view the ships returning to the island, but the ship was never that of her beloved husband.
Many years passed and one night she grew ill, and passed away on the mountain peak. The spirit of the mountain was touched by her love and loyalty, turning her into stone and facing the sea to always wait for her missing husband’s returning ship.

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Borneo is a magical place and I cannot wait to return and explore different regions!


“…[the birds] were the yellow of all yellows, the kind of yellow that every other yellow secretly wishes to be.”
― Redmond O’Hanlon, Into the Heart of Borneo

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