Across the South China Sea from the Malaysian Peninsula you'll find the Bornean territory of Sabah whose natural wonders and colourful multiethnic cultures offer such an embarrassment of riches that you'll have to plan your golf holiday in Malaysia carefully to try to see as much as possible between rounds of golf at Kota Kinabalu and Sabah, all offering tee times for reasonable green fees.
Set in a stunning national park, Mount Kinabalu is deservedly top of the list of reasons to visit. Despite being the second highest mountain in Southeast Asia, no mountaineering skill is needed to be able to climb it - all it takes is an early morning and some stamina to be able to enjoy the stunning sight of sunrise from the top. If that all sounds a little too much like hard work, there is world class diving around the island of Sipadan, the world-famous orang-utan sanctuary at Sepilok or the Poring Hot Springs where weary climbers come to soak their aching muscles.
Beyond its natural wonders, Sabah also has a fascinating ethnic heritage and is home to a number of tribes, notably the Kadazan and Dusun, whose healthy appetites for music and life in general means that a close encounter will be warmly remembered.
State capital Kota Kinabalu, the largest city in Sabah and where you are most likely to be staying, is an engaging, sprawling city with excellent budget accommodation and the best leisure and nightlife options in the state. It also makes the perfect base from which to embark on diving or fishing trips, go white water rafting, or the more relaxing option of a visit to a traditional visit.
There are five golf courses in Sabah, which together are more than enough to satisfy those of us obsessed with birdies and pars. Right in the heart of Kota Kinabalu City are the diverse and enjoyable 27 holes of Sutera Harbour Golf & Country Club which, given it boasts extensive recreational facilities on the attached resort as well as restaurants and a spa, makes for an excellent option for those with the family in tow. A tougher challenge is on offer at the Ronald Fream-designed Nexus Golf Resort, whose seaside location and championship calibre mean it should not be taken lightly.
While it's probably not worth the drive to the quirky but unspectacular Kudat Golf Club (although having to clear an office building off the 4th tee is fun), one course is definitely worth making a little effort for on your Malaysia golf holiday. The Jack Nicklaus-designed Borneo Golf & Country Club is a beautiful links-style championship course that more than justifies the pricey green fees, particularly on the signature 14th, where you have to send your ball out over the ocean and trust the wind to bring it back to safety. If that isn't tough enough then perhaps a trip to the spectacular yet uber-challenging Dalit Bay Golf & Country Club, with its plethora of water hazards, will satisfy the golfing masochist inside you.
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