Action, scenery and wildlife – Kota Kinabalu and its surrounds have it all. Many visitors head to this incredible region in Borneo’s Sabah state to climb south-east Asia’s tallest peak, Mount Kinabalu; or to admire its majesty from below in the lush Kinabalu National Park, a region awash with tropical rainforest, waterfalls and hot springs. At a towering height of 4,095 metres, the Mount Kinabalu climb is a long, steep walk – but the view from the summit is simply breathtaking. There are also plenty of nature trails around the base of the mountain in Kinabalu National Park and scenic helicopter flights for those who want to relish the spectacular views without the hike!
Kota Kinabalu itself is a bustling gateway city and a worthy stop on a luxury vacation in Sabah: above all, it's a hotspot for foodies, with countless restaurants and street food stalls offering lip-smacking Malaysian cuisine.
Just offshore from the city, the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park is a cluster of tropical islands, including our favourite, Pulau Gaya, or Gaya Island. Picture white sand beaches fringed by thick rainforest, swathes of turquoise sea concealing coral reefs beneath, spectacular wildlife like tropical birds and macaque monkeys, and a smattering of boutique hideaways that promise the ultimate luxury getaway in total seclusion.