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Sabah City Tour: How to Learn About the History and Culture of Sabah

Cultural village Sabah

Sabah, located on the northern part of Borneo Island, is one of the thirteen states of Malaysia. Sabah is home to diverse ethnic groups, such as Kadazan-Dusun, Bajau, Murut, and more. This diversity is reflected in the culture and history of the state. A Sabah City Tour is an excellent way to learn about the history and culture of Sabah. In this article, we will discuss how to plan a Sabah City Tour and what to expect during the tour.


Planning a Sabah City Tour

Before planning your Sabah City Tour, you need to do some research. Decide what places you want to visit, such as museums, historical landmarks, and cultural centers. You should also decide on the mode of transportation, whether you want to take a guided tour or explore the city on your own. Here are some of the top places to visit in Sabah:

Sabah State Museum

The Sabah State Museum is a must-visit for anyone interested in the history and culture of Sabah. The museum has an extensive collection of artifacts and exhibits that showcase the state's diverse ethnic groups. The museum also has a natural history section that highlights Sabah's flora and fauna.

Atkinson Clock Tower

The Atkinson Clock Tower is one of the oldest standing structures in Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah. The tower was built in 1905 and is named after Francis George Atkinson, the first district officer of Jesselton (now known as Kota Kinabalu). The tower is a great example of British colonial architecture.

Mari Mari Cultural Village

Ethnic groups Sabah

The Mari Mari Cultural Village is a living museum that showcases the traditional lifestyle of Sabah's indigenous groups. The village has different sections that represent different ethnic groups, such as the Kadazan-Dusun, Bajau, and Murut. Visitors can learn about the customs, traditions, and beliefs of these groups through demonstrations and cultural performances.

Monsopiad Cultural Village

The Monsopiad Cultural Village is another living museum that showcases the customs and traditions of the Kadazandusun people. The village is named after Monsopiad, a legendary warrior who lived in Sabah in the 18th century. Visitors can watch cultural performances, participate in traditional activities, and learn about the Kadazandusun's history.

What to Expect During the Tour

A Sabah City Tour is an excellent way to learn about the history and culture of Sabah. Depending on the places you visit, you can expect to see exhibits, artifacts, and cultural performances that showcase Sabah's diverse ethnic groups. Here are some things to keep in mind during the tour:

Respect Local Customs and Traditions

Sabah is home to diverse ethnic groups, and each group has its customs and traditions. When visiting cultural centers or attending cultural performances, it's important to respect the local customs and traditions. Follow any dress codes or etiquette rules and ask for permission before taking pictures or videos.

Try Local Cuisine

Local cuisine

Sabah's cuisine is as diverse as its people. During the tour, make sure to try some of the local cuisine. Some must-try dishes include nasi lemak (coconut rice), ikan bakar (grilled fish), and hinava (raw fish salad). If you're feeling adventurous, you can also try sago worms, a local delicacy.

Wear Comfortable Shoes

A Sabah City Tour involves a lot of walking, so make sure to wear comfortable shoes. You will be visiting museums, historical landmarks, and cultural centers, so you should wear shoes that can handle different terrains.

State Mosque

Next, make your way to the State Mosque, located in the heart of the city. Known as the Masjid Negeri Sabah in Malay, this mosque is an important religious site for the Muslim community in Sabah. Built in 1977, the mosque features a modernist design with striking blue and gold domes. Visitors are welcome to explore the mosque's interior, but remember to dress modestly and remove your shoes before entering.

Sabah State Museum and Heritage Village

To learn more about Sabah's rich history and culture, head to the Sabah State Museum and Heritage Village. This expansive museum is home to a vast collection of artefacts, exhibits and galleries that showcase the region's diverse heritage. Highlights include traditional costumes and jewellery, ancient weaponry, and dioramas depicting local life and customs. The Heritage Village, located adjacent to the museum, features replicas of traditional homes and buildings from various ethnic groups in Sabah.

Atkinson Clock Tower

End your city tour at the Atkinson Clock Tower, located atop Signal Hill. Built in 1905 in memory of Francis George Atkinson, the first district officer of Jesselton (the former name of Kota Kinabalu), this historic landmark offers panoramic views of the city and the surrounding islands. The clock tower has withstood the test of time, surviving the Allied bombing of Jesselton during World War II and the devastating earthquake that struck Sabah in 2015.

A city tour of Kota Kinabalu is an excellent way to learn about the rich history and culture of Sabah. From ancient landmarks to modern architectural marvels, there is plenty to see and discover in this vibrant city. So put on your walking shoes, grab a camera and embark on a journey of discovery through Kota Kinabalu.


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