Sabah in general is a safe destination with relatively low crime rates and no large cities. Tourists should exercise the usual precautions - not walking alone at night, not leaving valuables such as cameras and smart phones on display, using registered taxis, etc.
In recent years there have been a few kidnappings of tourists and locals around the east coast of Sabah
. Thanks to its proximity to the Philippines, this area is at a higher risk of this kind of activity. Travel to this area is largely trouble-free, but stay up to date with government travel advice on the FCO website
to be sure.
If you are travelling independently in this region - and particularly from the airport at Lahad Datu to your accommodation, you should be sure you are using transport organised by reputable companies.
Malaysia is a largely conservative, Muslim country, and you should dress modestly, particularly in rural areas, to avoid causing offence.
Homosexuality is not widely accepted (homosexual acts are illegal), so same-sex couples are advised to act discretely in public.