Get to know Pitas, Sabah Borneo as your next holiday destination

Get to know Pitas, Sabah Borneo as your next holiday destination

Have you heard of Pitas in Sabah Borneo? It is not a Pita bread. Pitas is actually a district that is located in Kudat Division of Sabah Borneo. Home to a majority group of Rungus, a sub-group of Kadazandusun people and Orang Sungai ( including the Tambanuo tribe). 

Pitas is originally called ‘Tupak, which derived from Rungus language means “across”. It refers to the local residents of Tombonuo tribe and Rungus tribe during the ancient time. After the commotion occurs between the two tribes in Bandau Bay, some of the residents in Bandau left the area to Bengkoka River in order to avoid from the “Sindaat Mongkorudu” (Black Magic) attack by Aki Palzavan and Aki Sook ( Aki means ancestor/grandfather). Since that day, the area name called ‘Tupak’ is changed into Pitas, as the local residents are no longer a victim of the black magic attack.

Apart from that, Pitas is also derived from the word of ‘Nopitas’ from Sungai language, which means “lost”. This refers to the local residents that escaped from the black magic and move to Bengkoka Village. Unfortunately, the Bengkoka River is often in a big flood which causes the river to cut off. The name subsequently enshrined by the locals until the time it became Pitas.

Not many people have heard of Pitas as it is only a small town, but it actually has natural charms that might get your attention. That is what makes Pitas a unique destination for holiday in Sabah Borneo. Get to know Pitas more below and make it as your next holiday destinations.

Natural Waterfall in Bongkol Village

Pitas, Sabah Borneo for your next holiday destination

Bongkol Waterfall. Photo: Aklee Madinjin

One of the interesting things in Pitas is the natural waterfall in Bongkol Village area. The Bongkol Waterfall is a new tourism destination in Pitas which discovered in 2014. It is about 21 km away from the Pintas town and another 5.5km trekking from Bongkol Village to reach the waterfall. The Bongkol Waterfall is suitable for visitors who are seeking for some adventurous and thrills holiday. The Bongkol Waterfall is located within a forest reserve area. Thus, there is no proper road trail to reach the waterfall. Visitors are required to go for a short trekking through the Borneo Jungle to reach the waterfall.

Unique Culture

Pitas, Sabah Borneo for your next holiday destination

Rungus Women. Photo: muslianshahmasrie

The major tribe in Pitas is Rungus, which is a sub-group of the Kadazandusun tribe. They have their own language, traditional costume, architecture, customs, and oral literature. Rungus tribe are well-known for their intricate design of beadworks that worn together with traditional costume. Apart from that, there are also other tribes live in Pitas, such as Orang Sungai (River People) include the Tombonuo tribe; Bajau; and other sub-Kadazandusun groups ( Kimaragang and Sonsogon tribe). With the diverse culture in Pitas, it is not a surprise that Pitas is one of the unique holiday destinations in Sabah Borneo.

Delicacies of traditional Food

Since Rungus is the major tribe that can be found in Pitas, there is also Rungus traditional food that anyone should get a taste of it. The traditional food of Rungus tribe is Sinasadan, or known as Tapai rice. It was made by mixing the yeast together with cooked rice, then left it overnight to produce the sweet taste and scent of Tapai. Sinasadan is famous among the locals in Pitas especially the locals from Narandang Kanibongan Village. Sinasadan is actually originated from Narandang Kanibongan Village, as the villagers are the original maker of the traditional food.

Pitas, Sabah Borneo for your next holiday destination

Sinasadan. Photo: Yefraim Yef

Legendary Island

Pitas, Sabah Borneo for your next holiday destination

Supirak Island. Photo: DaryIkless

Sabah Borneo is a state with many stories of myths and legends. It makes us feel fortunate to be in this state that is rich with unique culture and historical diversity. In Sabah Borneo, we do have a local folklore story about a legend of a rebellious child, which is the legend of Nakhoda Supirak. The legend of Nakhoda Supirak is closely related to the existence of Supirak Island, which resembles of a large ship at Malubang Village in Pitas. Most locals from Pitas and some in Kota Marudu can easily share the history and location of the Supirak Island. According to the story delivered by the locals for generations, the legend of Nakhoda Supirak is about a rebellious son towards his mother.

The story started a long time ago, a young man named Supirak lives together with his mother (Odu Gerawang). They were very poor which made Supirak wanted to sail to faraway lands. Supirak worked hard and eventually became a rich man. Then, he had his own ship and sailed with his entourage to many places. Somehow, they sailed to Supirak’s village. As the ship closer to the bay of Supirak’s village, his mother was waiting there for him. She immediately went to the place where the ship docked in hopes to meet Supirak as she longs to meet her son for a long time. Unfortunately, Supirak is ashamed to see his mother in that state, poor and stink. He then told his entourage that he knows nothing about the poor old women there and this made them chased her away.

Odu Gerawang was stunned as she could not believe that her son will disown her. Then, with tears and sadness, she prayed to the almighty to curse Supirak and his ship. It didn’t take long before that Supirak, his entourage and the ship turn into a large stone. According to locals, the story does explain the existence of the Supirak Island until now.

Apart from Supirak Island, there are also five rock wonders that can be spotted at the area. Batu Gerawang is believed to be the house of Supirak, which now it became a stone arch. Not far from the Batu Gerawang are the three freshwater wells, which is a water supply to the village area. Moreover, Batu Talam can be found in the area which the locals believed that the stone looks like a food cover. Next, the Batu Berunsai that looks like a group of people dancing together that turned into stone. Lastly is the Batu Dulang, three rocks with a flat surface are believed to be the plates of containers for the food.

In conclusion, Pitas is a very unique place that is worth to become a tourism destination. There are so many places in Pitas that are not yet explored by any locals and travelers, making it one of the hidden gems in Sabah Borneo. So, take the chance to make Pitas as your next holiday destination in Sabah Borneo!

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Always the Do’s – What About the Dont’s when travelling to Sabah Borneo?

Always the Do’s – What About the Dont’s when travelling to Sabah Borneo?

Always the Do’s – What About the Dont’s when traveling to Sabah Borneo?

03

August, 2018

Day Trips in Sabah Borneo

It would probably be a safe bet to make if I were to say that each time you make travel plans, there’s always a long list of Do’s that those around you so freely offer. To me, that’s the easy part. The tricky part is knowing the Don’ts.

Social rules are so diverse all over the world, that what seems acceptable back home may not be elsewhere. So before planning your next travel, make sure to brush up on cultural differences to avoid offending local sensibilities.

I’m no expert at the Don’ts for the rest of the world but I do know a Don’t or two for Sabah Borneo or affectionally called the Land Below the Wind, a term made popular by the American author Agnes Keith. So let’s get to it.

1) Don’t Strip Naked on the Mountain (or anywhere else public for that matter)

Don'ts when traveling to Sabah Borneo

Mount Kinabalu summit. Photo: meme_and_me

On May 30, 2015, 10 tourists summited Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea. At the peak, they stripped naked and took photos of their acts. You can read about it here.

To others planning on climbing the mountain, my advice is, please don’t do this – ever. It may seem cool to go home with a memento of you being stark naked on the majestic mountain but wouldn’t a nice selfie showing you made it to the peak suffice?

And before you say the selfie’s not enough, think of others when you do your full monty. Not everyone will a think a view of you baring it all is a welcome sight. The mountain is sacred to the locals and such blatant disrespect of it will not go down well.

If manners and thoughtfulness are not your cup of tea, then at least think of your body. At an elevation of 4095 m, it can get mighty cold up there on the peak.

2. Don’t show off your dancing skills at Places of Worship

Don'ts when traveling to Sabah Borneo

Kota Kinabalu City Mosque

You may be a serious artist who wants to make sure you are still honing your talent even when you’re on holiday but doing that in a skimpy outfit on the walls of a place of worship is not the way to do it.

Sometime in June 2018, 2 tourists were caught on video dancing barefoot on top of a wall outside the Kota Kinabalu city mosque. If that wasn’t bad enough, they were only dressed in crop tops and shorts.

This place may not be their place of worship but it is for others who practice the faith. That should be enough reason to respect it.

Sadly their actions had consequences not only for themselves but also for others. The mosque has now been closed for tourists.

3. Don’t endanger wildlife just for a photo op

Don'ts when traveling to Sabah Borneo

Selfie with Proboscis Monkey. Photo: Daxon

Sabah Borneo is a haven for wildlife, be it on land or sea. Some endangered and rare species can be found in Sabah Borneo. For example, the Borneo Pygmy Elephant, Banteng, Pangolin, Proboscis Monkey, Sun Bear, Hawksbill Turtles and so many more.

There are currently many educational and awareness programs in place by either the government or NGOs to preserve the natural habitat and avoid the extinctions of these species. Unfortunately, there are still those who prefer to flout the rules and harm them.

Something as simple as the act of picking up a Turtle just to get a picture to post on your social media page brings up so many detrimental consequences. Here’s an example. Or trying to get as close as possible to wildlife for a picture worthy of a year’s bragging rights with your friends back home – well, quite simply is just not worth harassing those poor animals for.

4. Don’t wear shoes in the house

Don'ts when traveling to Sabah Borneo

Remove your shoes when enter your host house in Sabah Borneo. 

This may seem like a matter of fact for most Asians but not so much for those in other parts of the world. And it’s understandable, as we said earlier, social rules are diverse the world over.

So it may be acceptable and polite in your home to use your shoes in the house but in Sabah Borneo, we walk barefoot in ours and expect our guests to do the same.

When you think about it, it’s quite reasonable and hygienic. No sense having all the dirt and dust from outside being trekked in all over the house. Plus with all the humidity around, your feet would probably thank you for the release.

Don'ts when traveling to Sabah Borneo

Paragliding activity in Sabah Borneo. 

So enough of the Don’ts. Now Do come to Sabah Borneo and let yourself have that holiday of a lifetime. And if you need help with either a Do or a Don’t, our lines are always open.

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Vacations in Sabah Borneo

Vacations in Sabah Borneo

Travel Sabah Borneo for your vacation of a lifetime

18
June, 2018

So you have a few vacation days coming up. Do you spend it going with a group of strangers on a cookie-cutter tour? Or do you make an informed decision of going where you know is gonna make it to your “memories-of-a-lifetime” wall of fame?

Decisions like that can be tricky but with a little bit of knowledge, you can definitely come out on top.

If Sabah Borneo is on your bucket list of places to go then here’s a list of 5 destinations that you definitely need to check out. It may not be on that cookie cutter tour of every tour provider in Borneo but it’s on ours and it’s definitely worth the trip. We promise.

Deramakot Forest Reserve

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Sunrise view from Deramakot Forest Reserve. Photo: lachibum

This is pristine forest, one of the few last remaining intact lowland Dipterocarp forest in Borneo. You can learn more about this type of forest here.

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
A group of Proboscis Monkeys on the tree. Photo: Mike Gordon
Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Orangutan in Deramakot Forest Reserve. Photo: Mike Gordon

About 75% of mammals in Sabah Borneo can be found in Deramakot. This forest reserve is a key habitat for five globally threatened large mammals, namely Orangutan, Bornean Pygmy Elephant, Tembadau (Banteng), Proboscis Monkey and Clouded Leopard. If you visit, make sure to bring your best camera lenses and binoculars.

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Going on morning safari in Deramakot Forest Reserve on 4WD vehicle.
Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Sunda Clouded Leopard. Photo: Whitworth Images

Going thru the forest either by foot or vehicle, you will soon come to realise how this forest is teeming with wildlife. Marbled cats, bearded wild pigs, tarsier, slow loris, flying squirrels, leopard cats, macaques, hornbills and the list just goes on.

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Bornean Slow Loris. Photo: Ichabum

Do both the day and night safaris. Don’t miss out on the diverse wildlife that come out both in the daytime and at night. Of course, remember that this is a jungle and not a zoo. So animal sightings are purely based on luck. But when you do spot them, that’s when the magic happens.

To quote a fellow traveler “ ethereal experience”…

Kawang Forest Reserve

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Kawang Forest Reserve

This is a recreational forest, and makes an excellent spot for camping as well as other recreational activities. In 1957 it was gazetted in an effort to preserve and maintain its biodiversity.

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Twisty tree found Kawang Forest Reserve
Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Wild Mushrooms in Kawang Forest Reserve

Kawang Forest Reserve affords you the experience to marvel at the diverse species of flora and fauna that it has to offer. It is a nature lover’s paradise. As you enter, you can see a river that runs near the entrance and this has been landscaped to form a beautiful picnic and swimming area. A great setting for some R&R time with friends and family.

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Tanaki Waterfall in Kawang Forest Reserve

For the more adventurous ones, there’s definitely no shortage of exciting nature activities for you to explore. From jungle trekking to waterfall swims to exploring the bat caves, it doesn’t disappoint. Take your time to breathe in the fresh forest air while you camp out in the wilderness.

Best part of it all is that it’s only a short 30 km drive from Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah Borneo.

Libaran Turtle Island

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Sunrise view at Libaran Island. Photo: Jensen Chua
Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Beautiful view from the Libaran Island

Libaran island is located about 45 minutes away from Sandakan, the second largest town in Sabah after Kota Kinabalu.

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Turtle Hatchlings released in Libaran Island. Photo: Slovenia- Explorer

Libaran combines something for both the conservationist and traveler in you. Libaran is home to a Turtle Conservation Program that collects and rescues eggs to ensure they hatch safely before being released back to sea.

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Glamping type accommodations in Libaran Turtle Island

Instead of the normal resort infrastructure, Libaran offers a low impact accommodation set up. Don’t be fooled tho, you won’t be expected to rough it on the beach, instead you will find they have taken camping to another level – with glamping.

Definitely not a bad way to disconnect from the rest of the world. Not bad at all.

Read all about it here in our Complete Guide to Long Pasia

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Long Pasia Villages

Located more than 250 km from Kota Kinabalu, Long Pasia has so much to offer not only in its rich plant diversity but also with its bountiful culture, history and natural heritage.

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Locals in Long Pasia harvest the rice paddy

The journey overland to Long Pasia is in itself an adventure. It is best to go in a four wheel drive. There are no hotels or resorts in Long Pasia, only homestays with a host family. A great way to really learn and immerse yourself in the culture of the locals.

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Nooh Dawa – Man of the Jungle

Long Pasia is home to an amazing tropical rainforest. Mostly untouched as the locals are very protective of the forest. One of the great legends to meet there is Nooh Dawa, better known as King of the Jungle. Read about him here.

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Maga Waterfalls in Long Pasia

Apart from the great treks along the scenic rivers and lush rainforest, one of the finest highlights of Long Pasia is the 5 tier waterfall known as the Maga Waterfalls.

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Maga Campsite in Long Pasia

Here’s a short video of what lies in wait for you at Long Pasia.

Tambunan

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Rice Paddy Field in Tambunan. Photo: Sylvia Soyoon

Located about 80 km east of Kota Kinabalu, Tambunan is a picturesque town with lush paddy fields lining its valleys.

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Mount Kinabalu view from the summit of Mount Trus Madi. Photo: Oliverd

Although always in the shadows of the more popular Mt Kinabalu, Tambunan has its own impressive Mount Trusmadi which is the second highest mountain in Malaysia at 2,642 metres. The trails are less tourist friendly. The hike is very challenging and requires great physical fitness.

Vacations in Sabah Borneo
Mahua Waterfall.Photo: Edmond Teng

Tambunan is also home to Mahua Waterfall which is nestled in the Crocker Range Park. This is a plunge type waterfall and offers an amazing experience. The trail leading to the majestic waterfall is just as beautiful as the waterfall itself. And the cold water that awaits at the end is the best reward of all.

Although small in comparison to Kota Kinabalu, Tambunan definitely has its weight in gold with all its amazing little nuggets such as the Kipandi Butterfly Park, Rafflesia Information Centre, Trusmadi Forest Reserve and so much more.

Now, are you ready for that vacation of a lifetime? Top Peak Travel Borneo does Sabah Borneo like no other, that’s for sure.

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Hari Raya Celebration in Sabah Borneo

Hari Raya Celebration in Sabah Borneo

Hari Raya Celebration

in Sabah Borneo

25

June, 2018
Off-the-beat path of Sabah Borneo

So we just had one of the most anticipated celebration here in Sabah Borneo. It’s the Hari Raya celebrations or more commonly known around the world as Eid Al Fitr. This celebration is the Festival of Fast breaking as it marks the end of Ramadan.

Just as it is in any other parts of the world, here in Sabah which is part of the island of Borneo, we celebrate the end of Ramadan together with all friends and families and the occasional stranger. Yes, what you’ve heard over the grapevine is true, we really are very friendly people. Other things that you may not know, we have an amazing Borneo rainforest (or you might know that already) and an even more amazing selection of food. For all you avid travellers out there, I say it’s not enough to be amazed by a new place for it’s sights or people only but let your taste buds experience a new euphoria too when you travel.

During Eid Al Fitr, other than celebrating the end of Ramadan, I would say one of the other highlights is definitely the food. The array of food served is just mind boggling and eating all of it is a feat equivalent to climbing the majestic Mount Kinabalu. I kid you not.

Sabahan comfort food
Kuih makmur

To start with, there are always local snacks served. These are bite-sized cakes, biscuits and starchy jellies prepared in all colors of the rainbow. My all-time favourite is always kuih makmur, a ball-shaped peanut cookie made with ghee and covered in icing sugar that just melts in your mouth. I have learned that the best (and most dignified) way to eat it is to pop it whole into the mouth. Then there is dodol, a sticky sweet dessert made from coconut milk, cane sugar and rice flour. So sweet but oh so yummy. As you can see from the photos below, I could not possibly name every single sweet delicacy served on Eid Al Fitr but suffice it to say, you may not make it to the main course.

Sabahan comfort food
Delicious sticky and sweet dodol
Sabahan comfort food
Sabahan comfort food
Sabahan comfort food
Sabahan comfort food

If however, you do make it to the main course then you are in for another treat. Food oh glorious food. There is chicken, beef, mutton, vegetables, more chicken, more beef and more vegetables. It’s all so wonderful. The all time crowd favourite is always the Rendang, be it beef or chicken . Insert your meat of choice into a concoction of coconut milk and spices then slowly cook it for a few hours, then voila, you get your Rendang. Then you take your Rendang and eat it with Ketupat. This is rice cooked inside weaved coconut palm leaves. Or forget the carbs and dive in straight to all the proteins. Serunding, Ayam Masak Merah, Satay and the list goes on.

Sabahan comfort food
Sabahan comfort food
Photo: Nuhaa All Bakry
Sabahan comfort food
Photo: lushprotein

So have I got your attention yet? Well what are you waiting for? Book your trip over now. And if you get an invite to an open house while you’re here, please bring me along.

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Sabahan comfort food to try on your next trip

Sabahan comfort food to try on your next trip

Sabahan comfort food to try

on your next trip

08

June, 2018

It’s not easy to forget the type of comfort food whenever I am away from my hometown, Sabah Borneo. The delicate taste of Sabah food is different than other countries. Not only it is so delicious, one serving of the food is never enough to meet their cravings! I remember last time I can eat 2 bowls of Ngiu Chap (beef mix noodles) at one my favorite local cafe, Loi Hin Coffee Shop. Just the taste of beef slices and meatballs cooked in yummy beef broth can please my appetite for a day. *tummy-rumbling*

But, nothing can beats when you get to try the local’s comfort food in Sabah Borneo. Though it has never gained popularity around the globe, Sabah Borneo food reigns as one of the glorious food that captures the local’s heart. No wonder Sabahan loves their food so much, right? It may due to the authentic taste of the food that is unique to many people. Sabah Borneo is the place to be when the weather is bad and all you can think of is a warm hug in the form of a meal.

So, if you are planning or already been to Sabah Borneo, you should give it a try to these comfort food of Sabahan for your next trip in Sabah Borneo.

1) Bambangan

Sabahan comfort food

Aaahh…it is just by saying the name of it, I can already feel the taste of the sweetness (or sour) on my tongue. Bambangan or wild mango is in a spherically-shaped. Its fruit is in yellow color that covered with brown skin. We don’t actually eat it straightaway raw like a mango fruit. Bambangan is usually cooked with fish soup or pickled it. Pickled Bambangan goes well with a plain rice and deep-fried fish or meat. But, my choice will be to eat the pickled Bambangan with sauteed pork meat with soy sauce whenever I am at home.

You can find the Bambangan in local market or Tamu. If you want to try the Bambangan, you can taste it at D’Place Kinabalu or Borneo Momogun Spice. Both outlets served traditional food of Sabah Borneo that you should try it when you are here. Yet, it’s better to taste it at the local’s home and nothing can beat fresh home-cooked food!

2) Steamed Tapioca

Sabahan comfort food

It may not as your usual snack but this is common in Sabah Borneo! I used to eat this as an afternoon snack during my childhood days. Grandma will steam the tapioca first and served it with a jug of black coffee from Tenom. Best to eat the tapioca with sugar as the tapioca itself is tasteless.

3) Sinalau Bakas

Sabahan comfort food

The Sinalau Bakas is the most popular native dish in Sabah Borneo. An iconic food for the locals of Sabah Borneo, especially to its major tribe – Kadazandusun people. Sinalau Bakas means smoked wild boar, sold mostly at the roadside stalls along the road from Tamparuli to Kundasang. You can find Sinalau Bakas at the interior districts of Sabah Borneo such as Kota Belud, Ranau, Tambunan, Keningau, and Telupid. A smell of the smoked wild boar is enough to make you crazy. Wait until you’ve tasted the meat, it is so juicy, tender and it will make you crave for more. I bet you’ll going to miss this food once you’ve tried this during your holiday here in Sabah Borneo.

Oh, did you know Sinalau Bakas was featured in the latest episode of Derek Eats That! And much to my surprise, Derek loves it and he even commented the taste of Sinalau Bakas on his youtube video. You can watch it below:

4) Ambuyat and Pinasakan

Sabahan comfort food

This is one the authentic dishes that you might go to miss when you are back to your hometown. Ambuyat is made from sago starch and it is one of the authentic local dishes in Sabah Borneo. Most Sabahan love to eat this exotic food and it is a kind of food that will always make us feel home. We usually eat the ambuyat by using a bamboo fork, rolled it and dip it into a sauce. Believe it or not, ambuyat is actually tasteless! So, we always have our own customized dipping sauce, such as:

  • spicy belacan chili dip
  • curry chicken/fish,
  • fried ‘basungan’ fish
  • Canned sardine with tomato sauce
  • Pinasakan (braised fish mix with wild takob akob, turmeric and salt)

But, the best dipping for ambuyat is pinasakan. It gives every scoop a superb spicy taste with a little extra of flavors from the fish.

5) Ngiu Chap

Sabahan comfort food

As I mentioned before, Ngiu Chap is definitely crossed my mind whenever I am away from home. It is also one dish that you must try it for your gastronomic journey here in Sabah Borneo. Ngiu Chap is a mixed beef noodle. It contains stew meat, meatballs, tendon, tripe, liver, heart, and other parts of cow/buffalo. Moreover, it usually cooked in delicious beef broth (Yummy!). There are several outlets that served the best Ngiu Chap noodles in Kota Kinabalu, you can read the article by SabahEats.

6) Tuaran Noodle

Sabahan comfort food

Who can resist the delicious egg noodle and you can only get this in Sabah Borneo? Mee Tuaran is a traditional handmade egg noodles which originated from Tuaran Town itself. Similar to Laksa representing Penang state and Kolo Mee for Sarawak Borneo state, Tuaran Noodle is representing Sabah Borneo. The tastes of Tuaran Noodle is different than any other noodle.It is best when it is fried, served hot with egg roll slices, roasted pork slices and local green vegetable.

7) Hinava

Sabahan comfort food

Hinava is one of the key parts in Sabah Borneo cuisine and it is the most popular dish among the Sabahan. Whenever the hinava dish is mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind will be the delectable taste and homely comfort food. Without any doubt, hinava is a must to try for your trip here in Sabah Borneo. Hinava is a pickled raw river fish. It will freshly cut into small slices, then mix together with several ingredients, such as:

  • Red onion (diced)
  • Ginger
  • Red Chili
  • Bitter gourd
  • Grated bambangan seeds
  • Lime juice.

Just talking about it, it makes me salivate and I might need to go find the dish later. (hihihi)

There you go, these are some of the Sabahan comfort food that you should try for your trip in Sabah Borneo. Apart from that, you can also try the must-eat food in Sabah Borneo that we have listed out for you. Click here to read.

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A true Hidden Gem of Sabah Borneo – Batu Luang Beach

A true Hidden Gem of Sabah Borneo – Batu Luang Beach

A true Hidden Gem of Sabah Borneo – Batu Luang Beach, Kuala Penyu

An unplanned trip is often the best one! Why would I say this? It happened to me last weekend. I was excited to go to a festival that I’ve never been before, which is Odou Bakanjar that was held in Kuala Penyu, Sabah. Kuala Penyu is in the interior division of Sabah Borneo, a 2-hour drive from Kota Kinabalu City. It is home to one of the indigenous tribe of Sabah Borneo – Dusun Tatana. Odou Bakanjar Festival is always celebrated on the 15th day of Chinese New Year. Everyone can see the culture of Dusun Tatana with its dance, traditional food, and games. 

Batu Luang Beach Kuala Penyu

Poster of Odou Bakanjar Festival 2018

As excited as a dog taken for a walk, I went there with two of my friends last Sunday. Upon arrival, I sensed something was wrong. There was no people! We got to know the festival ended a day before we got there. It was my mistake for not checking on the date of the festival before going to Kuala Penyu. What’s more, Kuala Penyu is a dead town during the weekend, so we didn’t have many things to do while being there.

So, not wanting to spoil our Sunday, we’ve decided to check out the legendary Batu Luang Beach, which was not far from the Tempurung Seaside Lodge and it only took us about 15-20 minutes to reach from the town itself ( Thank you Google Maps!).

I knew about the Batu Luang Beach back when I saw someone posted a photo of it on Instagram. It was so beautiful! I thought the photos are from a foreign destination, but it was actually in Kuala Penyu. Wow! Now, Batu Luang Beach is one of the popular spots for photography. Avid photographers will come here to take photos of the sunsets and Batu Luang rock. The Batu Luang rock surrounding is full of mossy green rocks during low tide. Here are some of the photos of Batu Luang Beach which was captured by some amazing photographers:

Batu Luang Beach Kuala Penyu

Amazing photo taken of the Luang Rock and the mossy green stones. Photo by Sazali

Batu Luang Beach Kuala Penyu

This photo resembles a movie scene in The Chronicles of Narnia:Prince Caspian. Photo by Adam Lai

Batu Luang Beach Kuala Penyu

Capturing sunset in Batu Luang Beach is the best! Photo by Asmar Abdul Hamid

Batu Luang Beach Kuala Penyu

Does this feels like you are in heaven? Photo by Nik Najmuddin Nik Ariff

Apart from that, Batu Luang is also an Instagram worthy destination in Sabah Borneo. There is actually a story about the Batu Luang, and the story goes like this:

A wedding celebration held at the bride’s home. After few days celebration, the couple and their families walked to the house of the groom on one fine morning. Once they arrived at Batu Luang Beach, there was a sudden wind, dark clouds, and even heavy rain. They ran to seek shelter in one of the many caves at the base of the huge rocks along the beach. When the storm was over, the group then moved out from the cave and the couple was the last one to exit. Unfortunately, before the bride could step out from the cave, it collapsed. The groom, who had stepped out moments earlier, grabbed her hand to pull her out. Much as he tried to pull her out, he failed and her hands slipped from his grip. Leaving behind her wedding ring which fell into his palm. Then, the bride was gone, sealed in the cave forever.

As tragic as story the story goes, this destination is a place that anyone should come to see the uniqueness of the area. Apart from that, Batu Luang Beach is like a secret hideaway for a unique photography spot.

Back to my story, we finally reached at the Batu Luang Beach. But, we would need to park the car uphill and walk for a few meters down to the beach area. Once we reach down, we can see there are two hills side by side as if like a giant gate welcoming us.

Batu Luang Beach Kuala Penyu

Two hills welcoming us like a gate arch

We were in awe to see the beautiful scenery in front of us. There were so many pebblestones at the beach and smaller caves at the base of the hill. Apart from that, we can also see many mossy green stones surrounded the Batu Luang rock. Thus, we took the chance to capture as many photos and selfies in the area.

Batu Luang Beach Kuala Penyu

Loving the pebble stones below our feet.

Batu Luang Beach Kuala Penyu
Batu Luang Beach Kuala Penyu
Batu Luang Beach Kuala Penyu
Batu Luang Beach Kuala Penyu
Batu Luang Beach Kuala Penyu

I found out that January until June is the best time to see the mossy green pebbles and rocks at Batu Luang Beach. As the monsoon season changes, the waves will wash away the sand and cover the rocks. There is not much we can do there except be mesmerized by the scenic view and take more photos.

Finally, it’s time to head back home. Though we did not get to see Odou Bakanjar festival, we manage to witness the legendary Batu Luang beach. It is one of the hidden gems in Sabah Borneo that any travelers should come here for Borneo Holidays!

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