Borneo, the third-largest island on Earth and the biggest island in Asia, is shared by Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. Malaysian Borneo, aka East Malaysia, consists of the states of Sabah and Sarawak as well as Labuan, which is a Federal Territory.
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The Shangri-La Tanjung Aru, Kota Kinabalu is the perfect location for a family getaway. It is a paradise for the senses and surrounded by natural beauty.
The capitals of Sabah and Sarawak, Kota Kinabalu and Kuching, respectively, are ideal bases from which to venture out and explore this massive island’s seemingly endless tracts of rainforest and string of sublime beaches. For those who enjoy city life as much as the great outdoors, look no further than coastal, cosmopolitan Kota Kinabalu. The city is not only the gateway to the rainforest, but Kinabalu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains four climatic zones, more than 4,500 species of flora and fauna, and Mount Kinabalu, the tallest mountain on Borneo. In town, the attractions range from the Atkinson Clock Tower, one of Kota Kinabalu’s oldest landmarks, and the Signal Hill Observatory Platform, which offers panoramic city and island views, to the Sabah State Museum and Kota Kinabalu waterfront, which is overflowing with bars, restaurants, and nightclubs.
Kinabalu National Park is one of Earth’s most significant biological sites and has been designated by UNESCO as a Centre of Plant Diversity for Southeast Asia. In fact, approximately half of the plant species in Borneo can be found in the park. Kinabalu National Park is also home to Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea. Another place not to be missed in Malaysian Borneo is Kuching, the capital of the state of Sarawak, whose most iconic area is its waterfront where you will find the Astana, or Palace. Kuching is also home to the stunning State Mosque of Sarawak and the Sarawak Museum. East Malaysia’s other must-see attractions include the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Mulu National Park and its expansive caves and limestone formations, and Sipadan Island, widely considered one of the world’s best places for diving and snorkeling.
The best time to visit Malaysian Borneo is between March and October, when it is driest, which is also the best time to see the orangutans. The wettest months here are December and January.