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Kota Kinabalu, Sabahlaem, Malaysia

Kota Kinbalu is a large and important city on the island of Borneo, in the Malaysian section called Sabah. It was known as Jesselton during the British colonial period. The busy port is likely to reveal ships from every corner of the globe, including the itinerant Bugis sloops that dominate the interisland trade. The city has many reminders of different periods in its history, and a fascinating Chinatown called Gaya Street. The Mari Mari Cultural Village is a good place to get a handle on the cultures of Borneo’s numerous indigenous ethnic groups. Another fascinating local culture is seen in the stilt villages that line the coast, where generations live their lives suspended above the water and connected by precarious wooden walkways. Nearby, towering Mt. Kinabalu, Borneo’s tallest peak at over 13,000 feet, invites a sortie up its slopes, to view some of the over 1,200 species of orchids that bloom there.