Community Based Tourism in Sabah

Sabah Community Based Tourism

While North Borneo is well-known for its general tourism, ranging from stunning islands and beaches to centuries-old rainforest, there is also a unique local product called Community Based Tourism in Sabah, which many still need to learn about.

These types of tourism are usually found in the rural areas or villages around Sabah, driven by the local community of each place, and are sometimes known as rural tourism.

Community Based Tourism in Sabah

CBT or community based tourism is also often overlooked by the large companies who just want fast numbers and fast income. But despite the importance, local communities should be more concerned about this kind of tourism. 

Even today, many tourist destinations, tourism boards, or even tour operators overlook the local people or take advantage of them by using them as gimmicks and labour for foreign visitors.

CoBT Sabah
Some of the communities are quite creative in attracting visitors.

By right, the CBT is an initiative to promote sustainability and improve the community's livelihood in a specific area, whether on native land or in a self-sustained community area.

It emphasises the development and involvement of the people in developing and managing their own tourism products and destinations, including many cultural and ecotourism genres.

The good news is that in recent years, the Sabah Tourism Board (STB) has been working with local governments, communities, and the private sector to develop these community-based tourist destinations.

STB and the Tourism Ministry set up infrastructure and facilities to improve connectivity and protect these critical tourism assets.

The tourism board has also set up Sabah's rural community-based tourism or CoBT program and department where the local communities will learn how to cater to the people who seek to contribute to regenerative and sustainable tourism.

Not only that, the tourism board successfully launched the Community-based Tourism Roadshow in 2022, and another one is planned for November 27, 2023, at Kota Kinabalu's SICC in conjunction with the 6th World Tourism Conference.

In 2023, the Sabah Tourism Board and the Sabah Rural Tourism Association organised the Sabah Community-Based Tourism Fair in Kota Kinabalu.

Community Based Tourism Kedamaian
Stunning views of the local villages in Sabah.

Community Based Tourism and Rural Tourism Places in Sabah

Below is a list of the known CBT or RT places all over Sabah Borneo, clustered into individual districts. There are currently 74 places offering Community Based Tourism in Sabah.

Kota Kinabalu Community Based Tourism

  • Terintidon Village
  • Kolosunan Eco Tourism
  • Pinahawon Masakat View & Kolonutan Hill
  • Homestay Desa Cinta Kobuni

Penampang Community Based Tourism

  • Sinilou Kibambangan Water Park
  • Kamagi Riverside Retreat & Recreation
  • Tagal Tinopikon Park
  • Monsopiad Heritage Village
Papar Community Based Tourism 

  • Tagal Kampung Kinolosodon
  • Kinandukan Hill And Telinting Beach
  • Mandalipau White Water View & Fishpond
  • Seri Serbang River Cruise & Homestay, Bongawan

Tamparuli Community Based Tourism

  • Tamparuli Suspension Bridge

Beaufort Community Based Tourism

  • Homestay Kampung Suasa

Tambunan Community Based Tourism

  • Sinurambi
  • Mahua Waterfall

Keningau Community Based Tourism

  • Matanoi Hill, Kampung Matanoi Apin Apin
  • Kapayan Recreation Resources

Kiulu Community Based Tourism

About an hour's drive from KK, visitors can experience the popular Kiulu Community Based Tourism, which comprises several exciting products.

  • White Water Rafting
  • Mantob Farmstay
  • Poturidong Village

Kudat Community Based Tourism
A traditional Gong maker at Sumangkap Village in the Kuday district.

Kudat Community Based Tourism

  • The Tip of Borneo
  • Gombizau Honey Bee Farm Village
  • Sumangkap Gong Making Village
  • Kampung Bavanggazo Longhouse (Rungus Longhouse)
  • Tajau Laut Guesthouse
  • Secret Place Beach Cafe & Camping
  • Misompuru Homestay
  • Maranjak Longhouse Homestay

Tenom Community Based Tourism

Kinabatangan Community Based Tourism

Kinabatangan Community Based Tourism
One of the modern over-water chalets is done purely by community-based tourism in Kinabatangan.

Kota Belud Community Based Tourism

  • Tegudon Tourism Village
  • Melangkap Homestay
  • Villla Valley View Eco Tourism
  • Lobong Long Village
  • Borneo Bayau Flying Fox
  • Polumpung Melangkap View Camp
  • Kadamaian River
  • Mantanani Island
  • Nohutu Eco-Tourism
  • Nopungguk Homestay
  • Tanak Nabalu Homestay
  • Guas Nabalu Homestay
  • Anyaman Serdang, Kampung Pangkalan Abai
  • Nanamun Rampayan Laut
  • Parang Making, Kampung Siasai Jaya
  • Taun Gusi Homestay

Kota Marudu Community Based Tourism
  • Pantai Ria, Kampung Tangkol
  • Walai Tobilung Cultural Centre

Tambunan Community Based Tourism

  • Gunung Wakid
  • Tagal Kampung Kaingaraan
  • Tagal Kampung Tikolod
  • Tagal Kampung Menserulung
Nabawan Community Based Tourism
  • Batu Punggul, Nabawan

Tuaran Community Based Tourism

  • Marais Centre
Lahad Datu Community Based Tourism
  • Tambisan Island

Community Based Tourism in Kudat
Misompuru Homestay is one of the pioneer leaders of Community Based Tourism.

Ranau Community Based Tourism

  • Lombon Marakau
  • Arnab Village Purakagis
  • Kundasang
  • Mesilou Atamis Homestay
  • Walai Tokou Homestay
  • Bombon Marakau Village
  • Tukad Gonipis, Tudan Village
  • Tagal Sungai Moroli, Kampung Luanti 

Pitas Community Based Tourism

  • Supirak Island Malubang
  • Berungus Hidden Myths
  • Piniapat Hill
Sipitang Community Based Tourism

  • Long Pasia (Lundayeh Village)

Semporna Community Based Tourism

  • Bukit Tengkorak
  • Maglami Lami Waterhouse

Community Based Tourism in Kudat
The writer visited the Sumangkap Gong Village in Kudat.


Because of CBT's success, many other non-community-based tourism businesses wrongly utilise the name to lure tourists. This is found in highly popular tourist areas in Sabah.

If you are unsure about the place, you are advised to contact Sabah Tourism Board's office in Kota Kinabalu by visiting the office in Kota Kinabalu, visiting their Facebook Page, Twitter Page or calling them.

The walk-in office address is;

Sabah Tourism Board
51 Gaya Street,
88000 Kota Kinabalu,
Sabah, Malaysia


The above is an almost complete listing of all the Community Based Tourism in Sabah, and if there are new ones or any that I have missed, do let me know here, and I will add them in.

Again, these places are genuinely what Sabah is made of, and for visitors or travellers who want to experience the real Sabah Borneo, you should explore the places mentioned here.

And for those who want a unique and different experience, I would personally recommend trying out some of the places listed here. This is something unique about Sabah that is difficult to find in many other areas.

Malaysia Asia

Blogging since 2007, but writing online since 1997. I belong to the 1st generation of worldwide bloggers, which is of course old-school. Since 2008, I created Malaysia Asia and this travel, flood, gadget and lifestyle blog has won numerous physical awards from tourism boards around Malaysia. (Not those online awards). After 12 years of blogging, I have semi-retired and now blog about things I like, do product reviews and enjoy life. My work has been featured in Lonely Planet, CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Wall Street Journal, and many other international publications. Find out more about me and thank you.

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