World war 2 bombing campaigns deprived Kota Kinabalu of many of its old traditional andcolonial buildings but it also inspired the Sabah arts scene into creating a new complex to host the state museum and art gallery.
The Sabah Museum Complex which first opened its doors to the public in 1984 is located on Bukit Istana Lama (Old Palace Hill) in Kota Kinabalu.
The Borneo Art Gallery which opened in August 2008 is situated in the KK city centre within the Asia City Complex and it features a wide selection of artworks by Malaysian and Asian artists. The Borneo Art Gallery is open from 9am to 9pm Monday through Saturday, and 9am to 3pm on Sunday.
Next to the waterfront is the Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market that is well known for pearls, local handicrafts, pottery, rattan baskets, decorative candle holders, items of home décor, crystals and various souvenirs related to Sabah.
About 30 minutes drive from downtown KK is the Monsopiad Cultural Village named after the great Kadazan warrior and headhunter of the same name.
In a remote forest setting in Kionsom, Inanam there is the Mari Mari Cultural Village about 35 minutes from KK and a more natural beauty you could not wish for.
Another marvelous cultural village experience can be enjoyed at the Linangkit Cultural Village which is about one hours drive from KK in Kampung Selupoh.
Situated within the Borneo Marine Research Institute (BMRI) Complex whose purpose is to promote education, research and training in conservation and sustainable development of marine resources. This aquarium and marine museum is probably the best on the Island of Borneo.
The Labuan Marine Museum exhibits a variety of fishes, mollusks, crustacean and corals and as the name suggests focuses on pelagic life forms of the deep.
Labuan is home to two museums which are the Labuan Museum and the Labuan Marine Museum. The Labuan museum displays the history and culture of the island territory and covers its pre-historic era, the Brunei Sultanate, British colonial days, World War II and Independence declaration to modern day Labuan.
The Sabah Museum Heritage Village is situated within the Ethnobotanical Gardens displays replicas of traditional houses of the local communities from various areas in Sabah, as well as a Lepa (boat) from Semporna.
Another building hosts the Science and Education Centre which includes the Geology Gallery, the exhibition on petroleum industry, the exhibition on copper mining and the Multivision Theatre and the Sabah Art Gallery which is operated by the Sabah Cultural Board.
The design of the main building resembles a traditional Rungus longhouse and sets the tone perfectly for the interested visitor to immerse themselves in the history and art of Sabah.
Set in 43.3 acres of lush greenery and planted jungle the Sabah museum buildings depict the rich architectural heritage of Sabah and the complex is unique in Malaysia because it also houses in one place the state museum, art gallery, an ethnobotanic garden, a zoological garden and a heritage village.
Most cities have their museums and art galleries housed in historic buildings to create the ambience of heritage to set the scene to display items of either historic interest or artistic beauty.
Borneo Art Gallery
Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market
Sabah Cultural Villages
Set on the scenic Moyog River the traditional village is an interesting tourist attraction for a family day out enjoying all the staged village activities gives an insight into the lives of these proud people, you can also test your skills at blowpipe shooting or taste their local delicacies.
Here you can witness various cultural activities and an in depth look into the rich social and cultural heritage of the Lotud Sabahan people.
The guided tour includes trying on traditional costume, handicraft demonstrations, traditional food tasting, traditional fish netting and tapioca plucking, cultural show, river cruise and firefly watching with the addition of Traditional Lunch, Hi-Tea and Dinner.
Once in the village you will see the Bajau, Lundayeh, Murut, Rungus and Dusun houses which are built by descendants of the tribes which they represent. You get the opportunity to be acquainted with each tribes' fascinating village lifestyle, the ritualistic ceremonies and the origins behind their mystical symbolisms.
The main building comprises of exhibits depicting the Islamic Civilization, Archaeology and History, Natural History, Ceramic and Brassware, Traditional Costumes and much much more.
This is also a great place to purchase ornate wood carvings including exotic wooden masks, picture frames and even stunning wall panels.
Sabah Arts Scene
The Sabah museum opens daily between the hours of 9am and 5pm.
Back in KK the Aquarium and Marine Museum was opened in 1995 on the Universiti Malaysia Sabah campus.