Short hop to Sabah is 'world' away from HK
By Ceri Williams
More holiday-makers are choosing Sabah in east Malaysia. The region is popular with businessmen on tight schedules because it is just hours away from Hong Kong.
Nature lovers can trek through jungles and see the world's rarest plants, butterflies and exotic birds. They can also visit a major rehabilitation centre for orang-utangs or watch proboscis monkeys at play.
Kota Kinabalu - the highest mountain in Southeast Asia and also known as the 'Magic Mountain' - is one of the major attractions along with unspoiled beaches.
The rapids and waterfalls are known for their ferocity and many tourists go on them on rafts accompanied by experienced instructors.
Sabah tourist officials say the region also offers the chance for people to dive and snorkel among the tropical fish on the coral reefs.
Many people also choose to explore the area while staying at luxury accommodation in Kota Kinabalu, which is situated between the mountains and the sea.
Morning Star travel says many busy executives in Hong Kong find Sabah an ideal location because of its proximity.
For those who only have a few hours to spare but want a break from home, Sabah is an ideal choice.
A Morning Star spokesman said Kota Kinabalu had established itself as a holiday resort with five-star hotels such as the Tanjung Aru resort and the Rasa Ria resort.
'Guests can indulge in activities ranging from work-outs in the gym to fun rides in speed boats. There is also cycling and sports like golf, table tennis and tennis,' he said.
'The Rasa Ria resort has its own fine-sand beach.' Morning Star offers a five-day package at $5,390 from Hong Kong to Sabah, leaving Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The deal involves staying in the Berjaya Palace and touring Kota Kinabalu.
Attractions such as the Islamic Mosque, Signal Hill and the Sabah Foundation building in the city are popular with tourists.
Holiday-makers can stay at the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru resort on the second night and on the third day join the Sapi Island tour or enjoy the facilities at their hotel.
They are free to try out optional programmes on the fourth day then return to Hong Kong via Kota Kinabalu on the final day of the package.
Sabah has maintained its traditional charm and 'freshness' yet is well in step with 20th century life.
Its unique and unspolit character makes for a truly Borneo paradise.