Here are some pictures from a two-week Christmas vacation trip to Sabah, Malaysia.
A few years ago I was diving in Bali, and a couple on the dive boat recommended Sipadan. So this year, as COVID restrictions were easing around most of the world, I wanted to go somewhere new, so Sipadan it was.
I did three days of diving in Sipadan. Sipadan is a famous diving destination, and I was impressed. We saw all kinds of creatures: jack fish, barracuda, bump head, white tip sharks, turtles, lion fish, cuttlefish, manta rays, sting rays, scorpion fish, frog fish, tuna, mantis shrimps. The schools of bump head were freaky looking, and we had some amazing barracuda cyclones. After Sipadan, I took a day for easy hiking around Semporna.
It's a quick flight up to Sandakan, and from there a short taxi ride to Sepilok and the urangutans. You can watch the urangutans get fed at the rehabilitation center. Next door is a sun bear rehabilitation center, which is also pretty cool. I also did some hiking at the Rainforest Discovery Center.
Next on the trip was the Lower Kinbatangan River. A three-day two-night package with mosquito-laden nature walks and mosquito-free river cruises revealed all manner of wildlife: long tailed macaques, proboscis monkeys, silver leaf monkeys, egrets, baby and adult crocodiles, hornbills, osprey, an orangutan, kingfishers, Pacific swallows, storm storks, Oriental darters, eagles, and more. There's a lot of beautiful nature in this country.
My last two days were in Kota Kinabalu, the state capitol. There is a museum, plus some mosques to see. Malaysia is not famous for its food, but if you look carefully there's tasty stuff to be found. I had some great seafood meals, and there are many good coffee shops to be found. A leisurely stroll through the city was a nice way to end the vacation.