AirAsia has been recognised for their contribution towards Sabah’s tourism growth at the recent Sabah Tourism Awards 2015 with their receipt of the ‘Best Airline Award’ for bringing the highest number of visitors to Sabah in the past two years.
With 698 weekly flights to and from Kota Kinabalu, Tawau and Sandakan in the state, AirAsia has carried over 8.4 million people in and out of Sabah in the past two years and sees great potential for future growth.
With Kota Kinabalu offering AirAsia’s Fly-Thru service, the airline has also seen a growing trend of guests travelling from the Asian region and Australia into Kota Kinabalu with Bangkok, Beijing, Shanghai and Perth the top cities for passengers connecting into Sabah for the past year.
AirAsia currently has 24 Fly-Thru routes into Kota Kinabalu, providing easy access and convenience for visitors across the region to visit Sabah. Malindo Air begins direct services to Sandakan and Tawau in early 2020.
What Can I do in Sabah?
Some ideas to get you started….
Despite the expansion of large scale plantations in the state, there are still many locations where you can enjoy the natural environment and see the unique wildlife in their natural habitat. Along the Kinabatangan River, a couple of hours out of Sandakan, there are a number of Eco-resorts. Stay a few days and enjoy early morning and dusk boat trips along the river. You’ll see orang utan, proboscis monkeys, colourful snakes and a wide variety of birds, all living freely. If you’re lucky, you may even see a few of the pygmy elephants that live in the area. Visit the Sepilok Orang Utan rehabilitation centre in Sandakan where rescued animals are prepared for return to their natural habitat.
Tawau is the place to go to jump off to some of the most beautiful diving locations in the world. Sipadan Island is a natural wonder. Despite it’s isolated location, it’s well connected and guarded so you may enjoy your stay.
Climb a mountain
Mt Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Borneo at 4,095m and attracts climbers from all over the world. The track was badly damaged in an earthquake in June 2015, but a new track has been completed. (Earthquakes are rare here!)
Important things to know:
- Experienced guides lead the climb
- You do need to be fit as altitude sickness is common
- It is cold, and the last part of the climb is made in the dark, before dawn, to catch the sunrise.
Fly in to Kota Kinabalu to start your mountain journey.
Sabah is well known for it’s long coastline and access to fresh and delicious seafood. There are plenty of restaurants with a wide choice.
Make a historical pilgrimage
Many Australians and others with links to the Second World War, visit the Sandakan Memorial Park, built on the site of the Japanese POW camp. The allied soldiers interned here between 1942 and 1945 worked building an airfield. As the war came to an end, ththe remaining prisoners were forced to march to Ranau, 260km from Sandakan. Of the 455 POWs who left Sandakan, only six survived.
Book your seat on the AirAsia website, the AirAsia mobile site or download AirAsia’s mobile app on iPhone and Android devices. For Malindo Air, go to their website. Malaysia Airlines also fly between Kuala Lumpur and Sabah.