Visitors to New York State who venture both downstate and upstate have an array of options unequaled elsewhere in the country. Besides the urban allure, culture, and shopping of Manhattan, much of New York State is still, in many ways, waiting to be discovered on a grand scale. The state is endowed with outstanding beauty and diversity of scenery from one end to the other. Although New Yorkers have long vacationed in the Catskill and Adirondack mountains, and at Long Island beaches, most have seen too little of the state between its tourist bookends, New York City and Niagara Falls. The historic Hudson Valley, a majestic river lined with elegant estates, is finally positioning itself as a destination, not just a day trip from the city. The great wilderness of the Adirondack and Catskill mountains is magnificent for outdoors and sporting vacations, but those spots are also home to the easygoing charms of small towns. The pristine glacial-lake beauty and outstanding wineries of the Finger Lakes make it one of the state’s most spectacular, yet lesser-known destinations. And Long Island is home to splendid sandy Atlantic Ocean beaches, but also the gulf of New York economic extremes, ranging from blue-collar immigrant enclaves to palatial summer homes in the Hamptons.
Planning a trip to a state as large and diverse as New York involves a lot of decision making, so in this guide we’ve tried to give some direction. We’ve chosen what we feel is the very best the state has to offer — the places and experiences you won’t want to miss. This section should give you an overview of New York State’s highlights and get you started planning your trip.
What to Expect
On your maiden visit to the Big Apple, be sure to allow a minimum of three days so you can take a breath and enjoy all the city has to offer without being in transit every moment of your trip. The following will only scratch the surface of what to expect but will arm you with information to feel confident during your time in New York City.
Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia. Your adventure begins with an important welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you have any free time beforehand, why not get out and explore this intriguing city that was born between the Borneo jungle and the South China Sea.
Modern-day ‘KK’ is a vibrant modern metropolis, having recovered from World War II bombings – the Sabah State Museum is a great place to immerse yourself in its backstory.
Leaving Kota Kinabalu behind, you’ll head for the hills and travel towards the unspoiled wilderness of the World Heritage-listed Mt Kinabalu National Park (approximately 3 hours). You will stop off en route at a local home in a Dusun Village. Sample the local foods with a home cooked lunch to get some insight into what it’s like to live in a rural village.
Later you can stretch your legs and soak up the mountain scenery with a stroll through Mt Kinabalu National Park. There are many walking trails from which you can bird watch. The Mt Kinabalu Botanical Garden is an excellent showcase of the diverse plant life on the mountain, as flora from all over the park has been replanted here. Spend the night in a mountain lodge close by to the park in Kundasang.
You might wake to the call of a Bornean gibbon, or perhaps a hornbill. Enjoy an early morning cruise down the river, searching for more birds and wildlife. Keep an eye out for Long Tail Macaques and Pig Tail Macaques – your expert leader can tell you the difference. Later that morning, take a walk to Bilit Village, home to the local Orang Sungei community.
The Orang Sungei, which translates to ‘River People’, are one of Sabah’s many indigenous communities and are very hospitable with a diverse cultural heritage. Enjoy some free time in the afternoon before another river cruise to see wildlife along the riverbank. This final river cruise will be your last chance to photograph or simply marvel at your surrounds. Spend one more night in your lovely accommodation right in the heart of the jungle.
Head back to Kota Kinabalu today by boat and minivan. This will take around 40 minutes. Optional activities include a visit the intriguing Mari Mari Cultural Village, nestled deep in the countryside. Here you will see how indigenous ethnic groups of Borneo used to live. Or a visit to the Sabah Museum to learn about Sabah’s past or do some last-minute souvenir shopping at the Filipino market. Tonight, perhaps head out for a meal with your group to celebrate your Borneo adventure.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.