General info of Sabah

If you’re planning your first trip to Sabah, here are some of the information and general rules of the thumb to abide by:

Climate 

Equatorial/Tropical—the climate is generally hot and sunny all year round; visitors need to wear comfortable clothing to avoid heatstroke. We also have scattered unpredictable rains, therefore, it’s advisable to always bring an umbrella in case it rains.

Average Temperature

Lowlands (Kota Kinabalu, Kudat, Sandakan, Tawau) – 32 degrees Centigrade
Highlands (Ranau, Kundasang, Tambunan) – 21 degrees Centigrade
Bear in mind though, that Mount Kinabalu has its own climate. Temperatures can drop to freezing level above 3500 meters.

Currency

Malaysian Ringgit (RM)
Travelers’ cheques and foreign currencies can be changed for Malaysian Ringgit at banks and hotels. 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, MasterCrad, 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 from 9.30am to 3pm

Usual Office Hours

Monday to Friday from 8am – 1pm and 2pm – 5pm; Saturday from 8am – 1pm

Shopping 

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.

Languages

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

Communications

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

Medical

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, we greet people by saying “selamat datang” (welcome) and/ or “terima kasih” (thank you) with a smile. Due to religious reasons, some may prefer not to have physical contact with others. However, a handshake is generally acceptable as a way of introducing oneself.

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.

Did You Know

World’s Highest Via Ferrata

The Via Ferrata located on Mount Kinabalu in Sabah. At 3,776 meters, it has been verified by Guinness World Records as the highest via ferrata in the world. The route difficulty grading is French AD or Italian 3C.

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