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The best place to begin exploring Sabah's marine wonders, wildlife and forests, adventure opportunities, and indigenous peoples is from its capital, Kota Kinabalu, also known as KK. Located on the west coast, it's where you'll find the headquarters for all of Sabah's adventure-tour operators and package-excursion planners.

Essentials

Visitor Information -- The Sabah Tourism Board (51 Jalan Gaya; tel. 088/212-121; www.sabahtourism.com) provides the most comprehensive information about the state. It's open daily: weekdays 8am to 5pm and weekends 9am to 4pm. Tourism Malaysia has a small office at Api-Api Centre, Blok 1 Lorong Api-Api 1 (tel. 088/248-698), but almost all of their information promotes travel in other parts of the country.

Getting There -- Because of Sabah's remote location, just about everybody will arrive by air through the Kota Kinabalu International Airport in the capital city (tel. 088/235-555; airport code: BKI), about a 20-minute drive south of the central part of the city. A surprising number of direct international flights connect Sabah to the region. Malaysia Airlines flies from Hong Kong, Manila, Osaka, Seoul, Singapore, and Tokyo, among others, and AirAsia flies from Bangkok. Both airlines also have direct domestic flights to Kota Kinabalu from KL, Johor Bahru, Kuching, Sibu, and Miri, with in-state service to Sandakan and other towns.

The most efficient way to get into town from the airport is by taxi using a coupon system. You'll pay about RM30 for a trip to town. Ignore the drivers that try to lure you away from the coupon counter; they will always overcharge you.

Getting Around -- In the downtown area, you can get around quite easily on foot. For longer trips, a taxi will be necessary; in town, trips cost about RM15. Taxis are flagged down on the street or by your hotel's bellhop.

Fast Facts -- The area code for Sabah is 088. While on the same time as KL, the sun rises and sets earlier than the peninsula. You'll find banks with ATMs conveniently located in the downtown area around Jalan Limabelas, Jalan Gaya, and Jalan Pantai, and ATMs in shopping malls throughout the town. While there are no large Internet cafes, you'll find access in small shopfronts around the main parts of town.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.