Travel Tips

Sabah is generally mountainous, with central mountain ranges from about 3,000M feet to about 9,000 feet in height, with lower ranges of hill near the coasts. These mountains and hills are dissected by an extensive network of river valleys with occasional plains. Over three quarters of the population inhabit the coastal plains. The climate of Sabah is of course tropical but on the whole equable. Temperatures rarely rise above 32 degree celsius (90 degree F) except on extremely hot days, and along the coastal areas rarely drop below 20 degrees celsius (68 degree F) at night. However, in the interior and at higher altitudes it can get quite cold at night. The annual rainfall varies from about 150 cm (60 inches) to over 450 cm (180 inches) per year. In most parts of Sabah the wetter period occurs during the North-East Monsoon from October to February and the drier season during the South-West Monsoon from March to September but often there is a really sharp division between the two. It is enough to say that on the whole, sunny blue skies are the norm but when it rains, the heavens open. Sabah lies just south of the typhoon belt and outside of the Pacific earth-quake rim.



Equatorial/Tropical, with occasional rain-showers


Malaysian Ringgit (MYR) Travellers’ cheques and foreign currencies can be changed for Malaysian Ringgit at banks and hotels as foreign currencies are not accepted at most places. However, there are also money changer kiosks available at major shopping complexes and airport. Most major hotels charge a nominal fee for currency conversion.


Major Credit and Charge Cards

VISA, MasterCard, Union Pay, American Express, Diners Club—credit and charge cards are accepted in almost all departmental stores, supermarkets, petrol stations and restaurants.

Local Time

Standard Malaysian Time is 8 hours ahead of GMT (GMT+8).


Banking Hours

Monday through Friday only from 9.30am to 3pm.

List of Local Bank

such as Malayan Banking Berhad (Maybank), Public Bank, CIMB,Ambank (M) Berhad, Alliance Bank Malaysia Berhad

International bank such as HSBC, Standard Chartered, United Overseas Bank Malaysia Berhad (UOB) can be found in Sabah


Shopping centers, supermarkets, restaurants and mini markets are generally open daily from 10am to 10pm. As for tipping; food and beverages in exclusive restaurants, cafes and clubs, as well as accommodations normally include 5 per cent service charges. Tipping is not obligatory in most places.


Electricity & Water Facilities

Electricity is on the 240 Volts AC/ 50-Cycle system; treated pipe water is available in most urban and sub-urban areas.


Bahasa Malaysia (national language) and English is widely spoken; Mandarin and some Chinese dialects are also widely spoken.



Mobile telecommunications cover many parts of Sabah with the exception of some remote areas. Public phones are scarcely available in most places.


Government hospitals, clinics and dispensaries are available in all towns. The list of private medical practitioners and pharmacies are available in the local phone directory. However, those with specific medical needs are advised to have a good supply of medications.


Common Customs

In Sabah, a greeting with a warm smile will always be reciprocated with the same by the local community but some may not prefer any physical contact due to religion, especially when it comes to shaking hands with the opposite sex. When accepting or giving items such as food or drinks and eating with your bare hands, always use the right hand as the left hand is usually for ‘washing’. 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.


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