Experiences - Asia

Exploring East Malaysia – Sabah and Sarawak

If you are an adventure freak and love exploring new places then East Malaysia is your exotic adventurous destination.

Why? Because it has some of the best natural adventure activities that you don’t want to miss.

Sarawak is the largest state in Malaysia and is situated on the northwest of Borneo, bordering the state of Sabah to the northeast, Indonesia to the south with its capital being Kuching. Sarawak has more than 40 sub-ethnic groups, each with its own distinct language, culture and lifestyle. It is populated by Malays, Chinese, Indians, and a small percentage of Ibans and Bidayuhs.

Sarawak is a biodiversity hotspot and its main attractions include forests, caves, wildlife, mountains and beaches.

Top 5 things to do at Sarawak

1. If you love limestone formations then Gunung Mulu National Park is home to one of the longest networks of caves in the world with the world’s largest underground chamber that can occupy  about 40 Boeing 747 planes in the Sarawak Chamber. Key attractions include Deer Cave and Clear Water Cave. The massive caves here are home to millions of bats and cave swiftlets.

Deer cave- Exploring East Malaysia

Image Courtesy: Paul Williams used under the Creative Commons Licence

2. Visit Sarawak’s oldest park, The Bako National Park which covers an area of 27 km2. Known for its extraordinary natural scenery, habitats, plants and wild life, it is also the home to approximately 275 rare proboscis monkeys, found only in Borneo.

Bake national park- Exploring East Malaysia

Image Courtesy: stratman² (2 many pix!) used under the Creative Commons Licence

3. Sarawak is home to many national parks and The Gunung Gading National Park is home to the largest flower in the world, Rafflesia, which can grow up to one metre in diameter.

4. A visit to the Sarawak cultural village known as the ‘Living Museum’, showcases Sarawak’s cultural heritage which takes you on a tour of local culture and lifestyle. The village also has a theatre, where you can enjoy multicultural dance performances.

Long house of Orang ulu- Exploring East Malaysia

Image Courtesy: Winifred used under the Creative Commons Licence

5. If you have a feline fetish then the Kuching Cat Museum is a must-visit. It hosts 2000 exhibits, artefacts and statues about cats from all over the world.


Sabah is Malaysia’s easternmost state and is located on the northern portion of the island of Borneo. It is the second largest state in the country after Sarawak and the capital of Sabah is Kota Kinabalu, formerly known as Jesselton. Sabah is often referred to as the “Land Below The Wind”, a phrase used by seafarers in the past to describe lands south of the typhoon belt.

Top 5 things to do in Sabah:

1. Sabah is home to one of the pristine landscapes and highest mountains between Papua New Guinea and Himalaya, Mount Kinabalu, which is a famous trekking spot, along with other beautiful waterfalls and hot springs. Kinabalu National Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, covering an area of 750 square kilometers.

Mount kinabalu summit- Exploring East Malaysia

Image Courtesy: Stéphane Enten used under the Creative Commons Licence

2. It is also home to one of the best scuba diving spots in the world- Siapadan Islands, which also houses Turtle conservation.

3. A visit to Sepilok’s Orangutan Rehabilitation centre is a must. Borneo is one of two places in the world where wild orangutans can still be seen. This wonderful centre nurses the injured or orphaned animals.

4. The Danum Valley has an astounding diversity of tropical flora and fauna such as the rare Sumatran Rhinoceros, orang utans, mousedeer, leopards and more than 200 species of birds. You can also engage in activities like jungle treks, river swimming, bird watching, night and jungle tours.

Dusk at Danum Valley- Exploring East Malaysia

Image Courtesy: CIFOR used under the Creative Commons Licence

5. If you love diving then Mabul Island has 8 popular diving sports. It is located in the clear waters of the Celebes Sea off the mainland of Sabah, surrounded by gentle sloping reefs. A brilliant view of marine life can be seen in the surroundings like sea horses, starfish, fire gobies, crocodile fish, pipefish and snake eels.

Mabul island- Exploring East Malaysia

Image Courtesy: Kasia Wallis used under the Creative Commons Licence

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