When I was told about the travel.earth FAM trip to Sabah organized by the lovely Sabah Tourism Board, I couldn’t help but think ‘Why Sabah?’ I had travelled to Malaysia a few times before and had visited Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bahru and Langkawi which were all lovely destinations, each with their own charm. I had also heard of the other cities in Malaysia that are popular among the Indian tourists but this was the first time I was hearing about a city called Sabah (and to check if this was just my ignorance, I checked with all my friends…they hadn’t heard about Sabah either!). I packed my bags not knowing what to expect.
The minute we landed in Sabah, it all made sense. We were greeted by the Tourism Board with lovely handmade beaded necklaces and the first thing I noticed was the warmth in their smiles. This magnanimity was something that followed us throughout our trip from the staff at our hotels to the driver of our tour bus to the lady who sold us noodles from the back of her van, people just overflowed with warmth and there was not a second we felt not at home.
The second thing I did not expect is the jaw dropping beauty of the island. In the seven days that we were there, we got to walk through the rainforest, watched the sunrise behind Mount Kinabalu, soaked our feet in the pristine aqua blue beach waters and went river rafting along the Kadamaian River without ever leaving the city! The list of activities available in the city is never-ending! If you’re someone who likes a relaxing holiday, however, do not fret, the hotels in Sabah are heavenly!
The first hotel we stayed at, The Sutera Harbour Resort had stunning views of the ocean wherever you looked. Our room was luckily a sea facing one which meant that waking up in the morning was no longer a task. I spent a few minutes every day just staring out of my window, trying to take as many mental photographs as possible because my phone was just not doing any justice! The second, more secluded, resort we stayed at was the Sabah Tea Resort which was away from the hustle and bustle of the city with gorgeous views of Mount Kinabalu. The third and final resort we stayed at was the Shangri-La Rasa Ria which was one of the most stunning hotels I have ever seen both in pictures and in real life. The sprawling 6000 acre plot gives you the best that Sabah has to offer with its sprawling private beaches, hotel owned protected rainforest and in house activities that range from watersports to golfing to nature activities.
If you’re someone who likes to jam pack your vacations with adventure and adrenalin or if you’re the type that likes to sit back, relax and sip on a coconut whole longing at the pool, Sabah has something for everyone! I am someone who likes doing something new every day and thanks to this trip, I have scored out more things from my bucket list during my week in Sabah than I have on all my other vacations combined. From parasailing to jet skiing, zip lining to snorkeling, ocean walking to kayaking, river cruising to water rafting, I conquered it all! The best part about it all is fatigue was not an issue because the fresh air and undying spirit of the city acted like fuel for my soul that kept me going throughout my journey.
All in all, my trip to Sabah, Malaysia was a dream come true and I will spend weeks, if not months, raving about my journey to a fairytale land that I didn’t even know existed, so stay tuned because there’s a lot more I have to say about the paradise that is SABAH.