Known as the ‘Land Below the Wind’, Sabah is as famous for its rich supply of handicrafts as it is for its natural wonders. Crafts from the local ethnic people are found all through this state making it a treasure trove of such items. Intricate beadwork, hand-woven baskets, the ‘Kain Dastar’ fabric, jewellery, shell and coconut décor and wood craft are commonly found here. An absolute must-buy is the pearls harvested from the surrounding seas and pearl farms.
Shoppers can purchase these in loose or pre-set jewellery forms; the variety includes pearls of various colours, shapes and grades. Handicraft shops in Wawasan Plaza in Kota Kinabalu and the Handicraft Market at Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens are popular with souvenir hunters. Mall enthusiasts can head to 1Borneo Hypermall Autocity, Warisan Square and Suria Sabah for local and imported goods and cosy cafes.
Lovely pottery, the exclusive fabric- ‘Pua Kumbu’, elaborately woven beads, bamboo and rattan objects, wood work as well as other mesmerising things like the salty yet exotic ‘terubuk’ fish, delicious layer cakes, Sarawak pepper and pineapples are top offerings of the ‘Land of the Hornbill’. Most of these items can be bought at quaint sidewalk stores or bazaars in Kuching, Sibu and Miri. The Boulevard Shopping Complex in Miri and The Spring, Hills Shopping Mall, Crowne Plaza Shopping Complex and Tun Jugah Shopping Complex in Kuching city on the other hand, offer a selection of local and imported goods.
Known as an off-shore financial centre, Labuan offers shoppers a selection of duty-free goods ranging from electrical items to pens, watches, perfumeries, cigarettes and chocolates. The island is popular amongst locals and visitors from Brunei. Textile vendors run a busy business here and bargains on high quality fabrics are common. If you take a walk down Jalan OKK Awang Besar, you’ll find many a vendor selling Oriental souvenirs such as Chinese jade, ceramic ware, furniture and embroidered material. More than shopping, Labuan appeals to those fond of sea sports such as snorkelling, fishing, eco and wreck diving and sailing.