Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu is the charming capital city of Sabah which is part of East Malaysia. Distinct from Peninsular Malaysia which houses the capital city of Kuala Lumpur, East Malaysia has a completely different feel to it, and many people come here to take in a more rural side of the country, with lush jungles and towering peaks aplenty.

The main jewel in Sabah’s crown is Mount Kinabalu which stands just outside the capital city, and this is one of the main themes of a trip to Kota Kinabalu, as many of its main attractions lie out in the countryside, but are also possible to visit as part of a day trip. As a result, if you venture out of the city you can expect scenic train journeys, bubbling hot springs, and winding river cruises through mangrove swamps, or you can check out some of the best diving in the region just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu.

General Information


Borneo Island
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located at the centre of the Maritime Southeast Asia. This island is divided between Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. Nevertheless, for people outside of Indonesia, “Kalimantan” refers to the area which is occupied by Indonesia on the island of Borneo. Malaysia’s region of Borneo is called East Malaysia or Malaysian Borneo. The independent nation of Brunei occupies the remainder of the island, being the wealthiest of the rest. Once known as North Borneo, Sabah was under the British colony during the late 19th century till the early 20th century. Sabah gained self-government on the 31st of August, 1963. Sabah, together with Malaya, Singapore and Sarawak formed the Federation of Malaysia on the 16th of September 1963.

People and Culture
There are more than 30 indigenous groups in Sabah with the largest non-indigenous ethnic group being the Chinese and the largest indigenous group being the Kadazan-Dusun people. Three other larger ethnic groups in Sabah are the Bajau, Murut and Rungus. Apart from the Sabahans’ very own diverse mother tongues, Bahasa Malaysia (national language) and English is widely spoken; Mandarin and some Chinese dialects are also widely spoken. In Sabah, we greet people by saying “selamat datang” (welcome) and/or “terima kasih” (thank you) with a smile. Due to religious reasons, some may prefer not to have physical contact with others. However, a handshake is generally acceptable as a way of introducing oneself. It’s customary to remove shoes before entering a mosque as well as homes. In places of worship, visitors are required to dress modestly. Nude sunbathing is not allowed and is very frowned upon. Avoid pointing your index finger at others, as this is considered rude in the local custom.

Climate
Equatorial/Tropical—the climate is generally hot and sunny all year round; visitors need to wear comfortable clothing to avoid heatstroke. We also have scattered unpredictable rains, therefore, it’s advisable to always bring an umbrella in case it rains.

Currency
Malaysian Ringgit (RM). Foreign currencies can be exchanged for Malaysian Ringgit (RM) at a few 5-star hotels and foreign currency exchange counters located in major shopping complexes. Most major hotels charge a nominal fee for currency conversion

Time Zone
Kuala Lumpur operates on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 8 hours.

Electricity
220 – 240V AC at 50 cycles per second. Standard UK- type three pin plugs are used.

Water
Bottled mineral water is easily available in shops, restaurants and supermarkets.

Entry Requirements / Visa / Passport
Travelers must hold a valid passport or travel document with a minimum of six months beyond the intended period of visit. Most nationalities do not require visas for social or business visits. For more information, please check the status in www.kln.gov.my/ www.imi.gov.my or check with your local consulate.


× For more information on Sabah: www.sabahtourism.com