Sabah culture is diverse due to a wide range of different ethnicity. In the coastal areas, Sabahan culture has been influenced by the Bruneian Malays and West Coast Bajaus on the west coast side while in the east coast it is influenced by either East Coast Bajau, Bugis and Suluk cultures with Islam being the important part of their lives. Christianity plays an important part to the indigenous cultures in the interior side in the daily lives of the Kadazan-Dusun, Lundayeh, Murut and Rungus beside their old practice of the traditional Animism and Paganism. Interracial marriage among the different ethnicity and religion are common in Sabah.
There is a number of cultural villages exhibiting Sabah indigenous cultures such as the Borneo Cultural Village, Mari Mari Cultural Village and Monsopiad Cultural Village, where cultural performances are also performed. Sabah Museum houses a number of collection of various artefacts, brassware and ceramics covering the diverse culture of Sabah, natural history, trade history and Islamic civilisation together with an ethnobotanical garden and science and technology centre. Other museums include the Agop Batu Tulug Museum, Agnes Keith House, Sandakan Heritage Museum, Teck Guan Cocoa Museum and 3D Wonders Museum. There is also a number of preserved British, German and Japanese colonial architecture such as the Atkinson Clock Tower, Batu Tinagat Lighthouse, Jesselton Hotel, ruins of Kinarut Mansion, the Sabah Tourism Board building, Tawau Bell Tower together with a number of memorials and monuments. Other unique tourist attractions include the Rumah Terbalik (Upside Down House) and Borneo Ant House.
Traditional houses in Sabah
The longest axis of the island runs approximately 1,790 km (1,110 mi) northwestsoutheast, crossing the equator near the centre. At its widest point, the island spans 435 km (270 mi). The interior of the island is dominated by two geographical regions: the Barisan Mountains in the west and swampy plains in the east. Sumatra is the closest Indonesian island to mainland Asia.
To the southeast is Java, separated by the Sunda Strait. To the north is the Malay Peninsula (located on the Asian mainland), separated by the Strait of Malacca. To the east is Borneo, across the Karimata Strait. West of the island is the Indian Ocean.
The backbone of the island is the Barisan Mountain chain, with the active volcano Mount Kerinci as the highest point at 3,805 m (12,467 ft), located at about the midpoint of the range. The volcanic activity of this region endowed the region with fertile land and beautiful sceneries, for instance around Lake Toba. It also contains deposits of coal and gold. The volcanic activity stems from Sumatra's location on the Pacific Ring of Firewhich is also the reason why Sumatra has had some of the most powerful earthquakes ever recorded: in 1797, 1833, 1861, 2004, 2005, and 2007.
The Great Sumatran fault (a strike-slip fault), and the Sunda megathrust (a subduction zone), run the entire length of the island along its west coast. On 26 December 2004, the western coast and islands of Sumatra, particularly Aceh province, were struck by a tsunami following the Indian Ocean earthquake. This was the longest earthquake recorded, lasting between 500 and 600 seconds. More than 170,000 Indonesians were killed, primarily in Aceh. Other recent earthquakes to strike Sumatra include the 2005 NiasSimeulue earthquake and the 2010 Mentawai earthquake and tsunami.
To the east, big rivers carry silt from the mountains, forming the vast lowland interspersed by swamps. Even if mostly unsuitable for farming, the area is currently of great economic importance for Indonesia. It produces oil from both above and below the soil palm oil and petroleum.
Sumatra is the largest producer of Indonesian coffee. Small-holders grow Arabica coffee (Coffea arabica) in the highlands, while Robusta (Coffea canephora) is found in the lowlands. Arabica coffee from the regions of Gayo, Lintong and Sidikilang is typically processed using the Giling Basah (wet hulling) technique, which gives it a heavy body and low acidity.
Most of Sumatra used to be covered by tropical rainforest, but economic development coupled with corruption and illegal logging has severely threatened its existence. Even designated conservation areas have not been spared from this destruction.
The island is the world's fifth highest island, and the third highest in the Indonesian archipelago.
Batang Hari River is the longest river in the island with its source in the Minangkabau Highlands, stretching around 800 kilometres eastward to its estuary in the Jambi lowlands.