Weather and Climate
It is very hot and very HUMID in here. So, put on comfortable cotton clothes, good pairs of comfortable walking shoes, bring your sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and make sure to drink lots of water (bottled / filtered water).
The climate in Sabah is tropical. It is hot and humid for most of the year and the wet season is traditionally from November to February, but it can get very unpredictable. It is best to accept the possibility of rain at any time.
Temperatures tend to remain fairly constant throughout the year averaging between 21 – 32°Celsius, with temperatures in the higher lands being a little cooler (but still humid).
The local currency in Sabah is in Ringgit Malaysia (RM). Banknotes come in denominations of RM1, RM5, RM10, RM50 and RM100. Coins are issued in 1 sen, 5 sen, 10 sen, 20 sen, 50 sen and RM1 denominations.
ATMs are widely available throughout major towns and cities, although quite sparse in outlying districts and the islands. Foreign currency is not generally accepted when making purchases in Sabah. Licensed money changers can be found in many shopping centres and malls, which will also be able to cash most popular types of travellers checks.
Culture & Custom
Sabah is a multicultural society with Malays, Chinese, Indians, Indigenous peoples including the tribal peoples of Sabah. From the indigenous Kadasan and Dusun jungle tribes of Sabah living in traditional houses; to the subsistence farmers living around Sabah; to the cutting edge middle classes of the cities – each group have their own unique customs, religions and sometimes even languages / dialects.
The locals of Sabah are generally very friendly and keen to help visitors during their stay. Although the national language is Malay, in practice, many people in Sabah are able to speak in English, especially in urban or tourist areas. Apart from the Malay language and its regional variants, various dialects of Chinese and Indian are commonly used by the respective ethnic groups, whilst the more remote indigenous tribes speak their own languages, including Kadazan, Dusunic, Bajau and Murut.
When calling Sabah from another country , the country code is +60. When placing an international call from Sabah, the international access code is 00. GSM and 3G network coverage is generally good, unless in very remote areas. Although international roaming is possible if your carrier allows it, prepaid SIM cards (including micro and nano-SIM) are widely available, with all of the major local carriers offering competitive rates.
Internet access for travelers is widespread and reasonably priced with a good choice of connection options. Our Borneo Sandakan Backpackers offer free usage of a laptop with free WiFi access to be used in our common living area!
Sabah has one time zone and is eight hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+8) and does not implement daylight saving.
Electricity in Sabah is delivered at 240 volts / 50Hz. Electrical plugs are type G, which have three rectangular pins as found in the UK. If you plan on using your own electrical equipment with a different plug configuration in Sabah, you will require an adaptor. If you’re staying at our Borneo Sandakan Backpackers, you need not worry about adaptors, we will have it covered.