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Ultimate Guide to Gaya Street Sunday Market

Ultimate Guide to Gaya Street Sunday Market

Ultimate Guide to

Gaya Street Sunday Market

12

March, 2018

Will you be spending your weekend Borneo Holidays in Kota Kinabalu City? If you are, don’t forget to drop by Gaya Street Sunday Market. Gaya Street is well known as Bond Street during the British Colonial era, established in 1902. Besides, Gaya Street is also known as Chinatown of Sabah Borneo as there are many Chinese coffee shops and restaurants operating in this area. One of the many attractions here is the Chinese architectural arch which was built in 2005.

Main attraction which pulls local and tourist alike to come here during the weekend is the Gaya Street Sunday Market, located in the heart of Kota Kinabalu City and held on Sundays. Locals and travelers will roam around the market to see some local goods and food sold at the market.

 

Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu

Every sunday, early in the wee hours of the morning, the road from the Chinese architectural arch to Jesselton Hotel area will be closed. The market will start as early as 6 am in the morning until 1 pm in the afternoon. If you’re not a fan of having tan lines, make sure to use sunscreen and a hat as the weather tends to get hotter pass 8am.

From selling local handicrafts, freshly ground coffee beans of the famous coffee from Tenom Town, everyday clothing, sunglasses, hats, accessories, local handmade soaps, arts and crafts, to local jungle produce, you’ll be sure to find interesting things which you can take back with you as gifts or remembrance.

Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu

You can see Chinese Architectural Arch at the Gaya Street Sunday Market

Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu
Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu

Gaya Street Sunday Market is famous amongst the local and tourist alike. Do be mindful when strolling along the market!

Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu

Antiques and traditional instruments from Sabah Borneo sold at Gaya Street Sunday Market

Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu
Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu

Fancy for some unique pottery vase as souvenirs? Check out this hand-carved pottery vase made by locals and based on Borneo tribal motif.

Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu

How about some local made necklaces and crafts that you can bring back to your hometown? There are various designs and patterns that you can find at the Gaya Street Sunday Market. Be sure to use your negotiation skills when you bargain for a cheaper price.

Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu
Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu

Have you ever seen these many colorful dreamcatchers in front of you? Fascinating, right?

Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu
Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu

Myriad of seashells! Handpicked or farmed by locals, and some even crafted intricately for interior designs

Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu

If you’re into local produce without leaving the city, here is the best place to try some!

Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu

Did you know locals plant their own roselle fruits? It is deemed to give many health benefits to anyone. Some locals usually use roselle to make juice/tea drink, cakes, or even homemade jam.

You can also find handmade natural soap bars sold there too. Made by the locals using the natural jungle produce, herbs, flowers, or more. There is one handmade soap bar that caught my attention, which is Montoku soap bar! Montoku is a traditional alcoholic beverage for Kadazandusun tribe, and now it can be used as soap too. Wow!

Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu
Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu

Want to beat the heat? Have some ice cream! The Caprilla ice cream truck is the oldest ice cream truck since 1987 and it is still operating until now. (Photo: AYK26)

Gaya Street Sunday Market Kota Kinabalu

Green water fountain in the middle of the market and also a roundabout for vehicles.

Gaya Street Sunday Market is also a perfect place for street photography. You can take pictures of almost everything there to show off its striking beauty and colorfulness. Although it will be very hot and crowded, it is still worth it in your Borneo Holidays trip! Want to know other interesting things to do in Kota Kinabalu City? Click here to read!

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Kid-friendly destinations in Sarawak Borneo

Kid-friendly destinations in Sarawak Borneo

Kid-friendly destinations in Sarawak Borneo

27

February, 2018

Sarawak Borneo Tour Package
Kid-friendly destinations in Sarawak Borneo

Travelling with kids to the “Land of the Hornbill” has become more popular nowadays. Sarawak Borneo is rich with green tropical rainforests, teeming with rare species of flora and fauna;- from the carnivorous pitcher plants and the rare Rafflesia flower, to the cute orangutans and proboscis monkeys. Traveling with your kids to Sarawak Borneo will let them gained a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

To help you plan your holidays in Sarawak Borneo, we bring you 6 kid-friendly destinations in Sarawak Borneo to go to during the summer holidays or spring break. Feel free to bookmark our article and read it again when the holiday comes around!

1) Kuching City

kid-friendly destination in Sarawak Borneo

Sarawak River in Kuching City

The fascinating capital city of Sarawak Borneo, Kuching City offers many travelers with many ethnic tribes, history, and interesting places to discover. Not forgetting, the fantastic fusion cuisine of Kuching City awaits you and your kids to indulge. Walking around in Kuching City is suitable for your children, not only is it safe, but clean too! (You won’t get to see a single trash on the roads!) Don’t forget to bring your kids to experience river cruising along the Sarawak River using a wooden boat or tambang and get to explore every aspect of this historic riverine capital.

Want to take a walking tour of Kuching City? Read our article here

2) Cat Museum

kid-friendly destination in Sarawak Borneo

Cat Museum with the kids. Photo by TimeOut

The word Kuching means “cat” in Malay, which is why you’ll get to see many statues of cats around the town area and it can be a good photography subject for a family portrait. Apart from that, if any of your kids (or yourself) is a cat-lover, take a trip to Cat Museum, which is located at the Kuching North City Hall. The Cat Museum exhibits many feline things, such as a collection of articles on cats, artifacts, cat statues, and figurines from all over the world, as well as cat posters and souvenirs. The good thing about it is there is no entrance fee but you do have to pay a small fee for bringing in your camera. Trust us, you will want to bring your camera inside as there will be many photo opportunities which can be taken there. It can be a quirky activity to visit Cat Museum, but there are also other quirky things that you can do in Malaysian Borneo.

3) Sarawak Cultural Villages

kid-friendly destination in Sarawak Borneo

Ulu Tribe House in Sarawak Cultural Village

This outdoor museum showcases the traditional houses of various ethnic groups in Malaysia and Sarawak Borneo, such as Bidayuh, Iban, Melanau, Penan, Orang Ulu, Malay, and Chinese. Your kids will be given a ‘passport’ to get stamped while going for a relaxing stroll around the village and witness the traditional houses. Each traditional house showcases different types of demonstrations that include wood and bamboo carving, reed weaving, beadworks, pounding rice or crushing sugar cane, as well as other traditional activities. Don’t miss out to enjoy the multi-cultural dance performances in the village’s own theatre or let your kids experience blow dart. There also have few good restaurants and handicraft shops for you and your kids to have some snacks or purchase some local souvenirs to bring back home.

Did you know that the Rainforest World Music Festival is a 3-day music festival which held yearly in Sarawak Cultural Village? Feel free to read our guide to Rainforest World Music Festival article. 

4) Semenggoh Wildlife Centre

kid-friendly destination in Sarawak Borneo

Get a closer look of orangutans at Semenggoh Wildlife Centre. Photo by XIA

Let your kids experience Borneo Wildlife for your family holidays in Sarawak Borneo by visiting Semenggoh Wildlife Centre. A centre that is established for the purpose of rehabilitation and conservation for orangutans before being released back into Sarawak Borneo’s rainforest. This centre is about 20 km away from Kuching City, your kids will get the unique opportunity to get a closer look on the semi-wild orangutans from their natural habitat. The Semenggoh Wildlife Centre is not a zoo as the orangutans are not kept in cages and are free to roam around the thick, green forest. Therefore, orangutans are hardly seen around the centre as they are shy and reclusive animals. So, it is best to go there during the feeding times, which are at 9:00 am and 3:00 pm.

5) Bako National Park

kid-friendly destination in Sarawak Borneo

The Bako National Park beaches can be seen above.

Though Bako National Park is one of Sarawak Borneo’s smallest park, it is also one of the most interesting and diverse of 7 distinct plant ecosystems that can be found there! Your kids will love to explore the park as they will have the chance to see the iconic primate in Bako National Park, which is proboscis monkeys. Other Borneo Wildlife that can be found there will be the charming yet shy silver langur, Bornean bearded pigs, long-tailed macaques, flying-lemurs and more. In fact, wildlife encounters are almost guaranteed and it is perfect to let your kids experience it during your family holidays to Sarawak Borneo. Best of all, Bako National Park is only less than an hour from Kuching City, includes an enjoyable longboat ride across the bay.

6) Gunung Mulu National Park

kid-friendly destination in Sarawak Borneo

The amazing sight of Mulu Pinnacles

The largest national park in Sarawak Borneo and also Malaysia’s first World Heritage Area (awarded in 2000). It is known for its iconic limestone pinnacles, which somehow resembles Putangirua Pinnacles in New Zealand that was once a film destination for one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s famous fantasy novel; The Lord of The Rings. Interesting right? Other than that, the main attractions in Gunung Mulu National Park are the chamber caves ( Deer & Lang Caves, Clearwater Cave, and Wind Cave), bat observatory, rainforest canopy skywalk, adventure caving and Mulu Summit Climb. Bring your kids to experience the stunning show caves and the amazing bat exodus from Deer Cave, this is something that your kids will remember for the rest of their life!

Travelling with kids is no longer a trend, but it is an absolute must-try! When you bring your kids to experience Sarawak Borneo, it eventually will open up their little minds with some of the exotic cultural experiences, discover Borneo Wildlife from their natural habitat, see the unique species of flower and plants in Sarawak Borneo, and explore the tropical Borneo Rainforest.

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The origin name of district’s area in Sabah Borneo

The origin name of district’s area in Sabah Borneo

The origin name of district’s area

in Sabah Borneo

14
February, 2018
Sabah Borneo Tour Package
zipline and white water rafting adventure

Lupa Masa Jungle Trekking

Sabah Borneo is a unique place to visit, not only is it known to have many tribes living here, its diverse culture and tradition, but also the beauty of the places in Sabah Borneo as there are still many natural forests that are still left untouched and conserved. Not forgetting, the food in Sabah Borneo is to die for! It is so delicious that any travelers will certainly miss the unique taste of Sabah’s delicacy when they are back to their hometown.

When visiting Sabah Borneo for Borneo Holidays, there will be several districts that we either pass through or encounter. We may find that the name of each district in Sabah Borneo is unique and special. Therefore, this article will explain to any travelers (and locals too!) the origin of the districts’ name in Sabah Borneo.

First off, let us get to know Kota Kinabalu.

The origin name of district's area in Sabah Borneo
Kota Kinabalu City view from Signal Hill Observation Tower

Kota Kinabalu is the capital city of Sabah Borneo, which is located on the northwest coast of Sabah Borneo facing South China Sea. Formerly known as Jesselton during the British Colonization in 1800, it is a major gateway to explore the wildlife and nature in the northern region of Borneo Island. Kota Kinabalu is named after Mount Kinabalu (the highest mountain in Malaysia) and “Kota” which in the Malay language means fort, town, or city. Read our article on Traveler’s Guide to Kota Kinabalu.

Next, we’ll go to the outskirts part of Kota Kinabalu City, which is Penampang.

The origin name of district's area in Sabah Borneo
Sigah (headgear worn by Kadazan Men) Roundabout in Penampang, to symbolizes the Kadazan tribe.

Home to one of the major tribes in Sabah Borneo – Kadazan, and is considered as part of Kota Kinabalu area. Penampang is derived from an old village that is within the district itself, the village name is “Pampang” derived from Kadazan dialect, meaning big rock. There were many big rocks found in the village a long time ago. Eventually, the term “Pampang” was changed into Penampang.

Next, let’s ride down to the agricultural town of Papar, which is about 45 minutes drive from Penampang.

The origin name of district's area in Sabah Borneo
Papar Town. Photo by David Lim

Papar was originally ruled by the Brunei Sultanate. Thus, the name Papar comes from Brunei dialect which means a flat or open land. It is no wonder that Papar is known as an agricultural town due to many flatlands that are used for the purpose of growing rice and fruit orchards. In addition, if you’re feeling slightly adventurous, you can go on the North Borneo Railway Train to reach Papar, passing through the lush landscape of the coastal and rural regions of Sabah Borneo. Moreover, travelers can enjoy a typical ‘tiffin’ colonial lunch that will be served on the trip.

Afterwards, let’s head to a small rustic town of Menggatal, located on the west coast side of Sabah Borneo and is under the jurisdiction of Kota Kinabalu City Hall.

The origin name of district's area in Sabah Borneo
An old colonial building in Menggatal Town. 

Some locals might find Menggatal name is very funny and unusual, because the word Menggatal means flirtatious or provocative in Malay language. However, the people in Menggatal are not like that. The name Menggatal actually derived from a mango tree grown in the area, which is Mangga meaning mango, and Gatal meaning itchy in Malay language. So, whoever consumed the mango fruit, they will feel itchy as its side effect. Therefore, the locals there named the area as “Mangga Gatal”, but after awhile, the name somehow was shortened and became Menggatal.

Next, let’s venture further up to Tuaran, which is about an hour drive from Menggatal.

The origin name of district's area in Sabah Borneo
Drone view of Tuaran Town by Shariff Putra.

The name Tuaran is believed to be derived from the Malay language, “Tawaran”. Tawaran has two meanings; the first meaning is freshwater, which refers to the abundance of freshwater in the area. Apart from that, another meaning is to bargain, as it is fact that trading activities had been taking place within Tuaran area before the British Colonization commenced in 1884. Locals from interior parts of rural villages will come to Tuaran Town to sell their jungle produce to the local communities that live in the coastal part.

After that, let us get to know the land of the cowboys in Sabah Borneo, which is Kota Belud.

The origin name of district's area in Sabah Borneo
Kota Belud Horsemen. Photo by Adam Lai

Kota Belud is home to one of the tribes of Sabah Borneo, which is Bajau tribe. Its name is derived from a combination of one Malay word and one Bajau (dialect) word, Kota meaning fort, or city, and Belud meaning hill. There is actually a story behind Kota Belud’s name, in the past, there was hostility among the races of different villages in the area. Therefore, in order to defend themselves and to avoid enemy attacks, they decided to choose a hill as their fortress. Thus, the name of Kota Belud referred to as “Defense Fortress on the Hill”.

Afterwards, let’s go uphill through the mountainous region of Crocker Range, where we will reach Ranau district, home to almost entirely Dusun tribe community.

The origin name of district's area in Sabah Borneo
Panorama view of Ranau Town. Photo by Steve Benedict

Ranau name is actually from the word “Ranahon”, which means rice fields in Dusun dialect. Most Dusun people who live in Ranau mostly cultivate rice paddy fields either on the hilly terrain or on the flatlands (for the interior part of Ranau). Sooner or later, the term “Ranahon” was shortened to become “Ranau”. In addition, to visit Ranau, a traveler should do these interesting activities in Ranau that should not be missed out!

In a nutshell, getting to know the history of each district area in Sabah Borneo can be very interesting. However, it would be much more interesting and fun if travelers can get to spend their Borneo Holidays in these district areas of Sabah Borneo.

KotaKinabaluTravelGuide

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People of Sabah Borneo – Kadazan Tribe

People of Sabah Borneo – Kadazan Tribe

People of Sabah Borneo –

Kadazan Tribe

24

November, 2017

Borneo Tour Packages

Taste of Borneo Cooking Class

Mari Mari Cultural Village

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

A group of Kadazan tribe. Photo by: Willbord Sikodol

Kadazan is one of the biggest indigenous ethnic group in Sabah Borneo. They are predominant in West Coast of Sabah Borneo; Penampang, Kota Kinabalu, Papar, Tuaran, and Ranau.

What is the meaning of “KADAZAN”?

As a Kadazan myself, I never knew the history of the word “Kadazan”. After reading several articles on the internet, I found out there are many theories on the origins of the word “Kadazan”. A former principal of SMK Majakir Papar in 1979, Mr. Richard F. Tunggolou, stated that the word “Kadazan” comes from :

1)  “Kakadazan”, which means “town”, in Tangaa’ dialect due to the reason that Kadazan people mostly live in towns. We need to know that there are several Kadazan dialects predominant to different districts.

2)  Kadazan term was adapted from the word “Kedayan”, which is an ethnic group from Brunei and Labuan. However, there is no valid explanation and it was just an assumption which is in a linguistic way that the word “Kedayan” sounds similar to “Kadazan”.

3)  According to a high priestess or Bobohizan, the true meaning of the term “Kadazan” means ‘the people of the land”.

In short, the Kadazan term means “the people”. Thus, I will be sharing some of the values that are practiced among the Kadazan people.

Paddy Rice as their source of income

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

The tapai will be put in a jar to preserve the taste of the alcohol

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

Tapai drinking session

The Kadazan people, originally Borneo headhunters, are the first Borneo people that uses the plow for farming rice and it became as their main source of income. Prior to that, they are known as agriculturalists, where almost all the rice cultivated in Sabah Borneo is grown by them. As a result, they can create the rice into various delicacies and alcoholic drinks through home-brewed fermentation processes. Tapai and Lihing are an example of Kadazan alcoholic drinks that are made from rice.  Therefore, these alcoholic drinks are usually served during any festive season (Kaamatan or Harvest festival), social gatherings and wedding ceremonies.

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

Performing ritual by a group of Bobohizan( priestess of Sabah Borneo) during the Kaamatan celebration

Kaamatan or Harvest Festival is the main festival for Kadazan people, making it one of the main highlight of annual celebrations done here in Sabah Borneo. This festival is not only to honor Bambaazon, which is the spirit of rice paddy for the beginning of harvest, but it is also as a thanksgiving to Huminodun, the daughter of Kinoingan (which means God) for sacrificing her life to save her people from famine. Read here to know more about Kaamatan story.

Today, Tadau Kaamatan festival is celebrated with a lot of interesting and fun activities, such as exhibitions of Borneo culture, sports competitions, traditional handmade crafts, food and beverage exhibition, performances by local artists and traditional musical group, as well as the Unduk Ngadau beauty pageant.

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

One of the important ritual during the Kadazan wedding, Miohon Pinisi, as a symbol of a reunion of two people

A long time ago, Kadazan culture believed in arranged marriages, as the children in the olden days did not have money or dowry required to get married like today, making them highly dependent towards their parents for choosing a lifetime partner for them. Initially, the parents from the young man side will go visit the family of a prospective bride and discuss to wed their son to the future bride. The parents of the bride will be left to consider the proposition, sometimes they will ask for a picture of their future son-in-law. Most importantly, they will want to know if the young man’s family will be able to come up with the required nopung (which means dowry).

Once the parents of the bride agrees, there will be a second visit in order to arrange the date for engagement and the discussion of the dowry. Some parents of the future bride may ask for a higher price on dowry and bargaining will be expected until reaching to both side’s agreement. I was told by my grandmother that Kadazan women from Penampang are known to have the most expensive dowries! (How lucky I am! Hahaha…)

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

The gongs are beaten by some of the local Kadazan women

When there is a wedding ceremony or any festive seasons, you will have the privilege to witness the Kadazan tribe’s own traditional dance. We called it “Sumazau”, and usually, we will dance with the sound produced by “Magagung” (gong beating), “Bungkau”, “Sompoton” and “Suling” (Flute). The dance consist of a couple of males and females, dressed in beautiful traditional attire, accompanied with the rhythm from the traditional music instruments. However, different districts in Sabah Borneo will have different ways of beating the gong and dance style.

Want to learn the Sumazau dance in Sabah Borneo? Participate in any Harvest Festival or get invited to a Kadazan wedding ceremony!

Sabah Borneo Culture - Kadazan tribe

Kadazan delicious delicacies. Photo by: Tourism Malaysia

For Kadazan people, the food is basically cooked in a healthy way. Either we boil or grill using a little bit of cooking oil, and use some of the locally available ingredients, such as bamboo shoots, sago, and freshwater fish. One of the famous traditional dishes would be “Hinava”, a raw fish salad that is freshly cut fish into small slices, mix, and marinate with diced red onion, ginger, red chilli, bitter gourd, grated Bambangan seeds and lime juice. Apart from that, there are also Tuhau (wild ginger), Pinasakan ( Braised fish mixed with wild fruit, takob akob, turmeric, and salt), and more. Read here to know more other traditional dishes in Sabah Borneo.

Wherever we travel, understanding one’s culture is what makes the travel worth it. So, when traveling to Sabah Borneo, don’t be surprised to meet few other cultures in Sabah Borneo, as there are about 32 recognizable ethnic groups in Sabah Borneo that you need to discover, and Kadazan is one of it. Isn’t this interesting to know some of the Sabah Borneo cultures? Kadazan culture is definitely the biggest representative culture of Sabah Borneo, the land below the wind.

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Raise Your Glass to The Sunset in Borneo!

Raise Your Glass to The Sunset in Borneo!

Raise Your Glass to Sunset in Borneo!

12

September, 2017
Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

The Beautiful Panoramic view of the Sunset Bar

When it comes to watching the sunset, Kota Kinabalu is one of the best places to experience it. If you happened to be in Kota Kinabalu, and if you’re looking for a good place to chill, lay back, enjoy the breeze and have a couple of drinks with your friends and family, why not stop by at the Shangri-La Sunset Bar in Tanjung Aru. It’ll be a completely different experience that you will get there if compared to any other places in Kota Kinabalu.

Yes, you can watch the sunset almost anywhere in Kota Kinabalu but why not do it the classy way at the Sunset bar. The setup of the place is quite unique too as it is in something like a small island that’ll give you that private island feel to it. The Sunset Bar is also a good place to take some good photos for your Instagram, facebook, and other social medias, so boys and gals whip out your phone get in angle and time to snap some good memorable photos.

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

Whip out that phone and get that Perfecto shot!

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

Bartender is ready to serve you your drinks

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

Amazing view of Sunset can be seen

Not only the Sunset Bar has a wide variety of drinks that they serve, but there are also a variety of mouth watering food for you to choose. From satay to burgers, and all sorts of tidbits for you to try, so let your appetite go wild and pick one or maybe two or three hihi. The highlights of the Sunset Bar is definitely the drinks that they serve there (apart from the Sunset of course). You can choose all sorts of cocktails and mocktails at the bar and they have a few signature drinks too. Indulge yourself with the Royal Mojito, Pepperita, or some of the Borneo-Inspired cocktails like the Lepa-Lepa and the Kota Kinabalu Fruit Punch.

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

Satisfy your thirst with some cold Cocktails and Fresh Fruit Punch!

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

A big grilled Beef Burger

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

Enjoy some super appetizing Satay together with that superb view of the Sunset

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

Chilling at the sofa facing the sea 

The Sunset Bar can easily accommodate up to 100 person so don’t worry much about the space and they also provide a selections of seats for you to choose from. You can just chill down at the sofa facing the sea or just relax at the bar. The Sunset Bar offers two different happy hour time duration which is from 4-5pm and continuing on from 8-11pm. So more drinks anyone? hehe..-

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

Chilling at the sofa facing the sea 

If you’re lucky they might also have some local performers for your entertainment. A little smooth and soft jazzy tunes won’t hurt right? It’ll add up to that relaxing vibe and experience. Enjoy the sunset with some cocktails and some relaxing music, now that’s first class!.-

Sunset in Shangri la Sunset Bar

That fantastic view of the Sunset only at the Sunset Bar! An experience that you must not miss in Kota Kinabalu

So now you know about the Shangri-La Sunset Bar, here’s what you have to do. Why don’t you grab some friends and family or maybe a date hehe… And hit the bar, order some drinks, some finger foods, and just chill. That’ll be great for you to de-stress yourself. –

Are you looking for leisure activities in your Sabah Borneo Holiday trip? Here are our Top 5 leisure activities in Sabah that you should do while traveling to Sabah Borneo. 

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RELEASE THE TURTLES!

RELEASE THE TURTLES!

RELEASE THE TURTLES!

10

September, 2017
Green Turtle hatchlings released in Kudat Sabah Borneo

Baby turtle released into the sea!

I had the privilege of experiencing a very awakening moment just a few weeks ago. We headed down to Kudat, north of Kinabalu, and also home to the Tip of Borneo where the Sulu Sea meets South China Sea to be a part of a hundred Green Turtle Hatchlings being released into the wild.

It was organized by Kudat Turtle Conservation Society (KTCS), a small society with big dreams to help save and create awareness amongst local and tourist alike in regards to conserving and improving Sea Turtles population in Marine Parks at Kudat Area. At a glimpse, it all looked like a huge success done overnight, but as I got to talk to one of its Co-Founder, Mr. Roland Agansai, what seemed like a day’s work, is actually months and months of hard work preparation and determination on not giving.

Green Turtle hatchlings released in Kudat Sabah Borneo

Turtle Eggs

I say hard work and determination on not giving up is because most of us take these little creatures for granted. Sea Turtles used to be abundant in Sabah waters. When I was a little girl, my parents and I would always do road trips around Sabah, and they would be natives selling their workmanship or farming goods at the side of the roads. You’ll be able to encounter all sorts of local/exotic delicacies! They will be selling wild boar meat, deer meat, snake meat, live pigeons, dead bats, even turtle eggs! Back then, Sea Turtles were not endangered, and locals do eat its eggs for protein.

Nowadays, selling or even consuming these delicacies are not allowed and against the law because Sea Turtles are in the brink of survival currently, like many other wild animals. Back date to ten years ago, Adult sized Sea Turtles would come to the shores of Kudat Beaches to lay their eggs every night. Each night, you’ll be able to find 3-5 Sea Turtles laying their eggs. Each Sea Turtle would lay around 100 eggs on average. That’s around 500 eggs a night!! But that was ten years ago. Now, to get one Sea Turtle come to shore to lay its eggs in a month is considered as great work for KTCS and the Wildlife Wardens who watches over the beach lines every night.

Out of the hundred percent hatches, only ten percent will survive and have the chance to grow up to be an adult. It takes ten to fifty years after hatching to reach maturity (depending on what species), will they then be able to mate. Within that time, they will be able to mate every two to four years over the course of their adulthood. Female Sea Turtles will come ashore to lay their eggs, and they always return to the place where they were born. How cool is that knowing that those baby Green Turtles that was released recently has a ten percent chance of coming back to the same beach I stood just a few weeks ago. Ten percent, that’s one Sea Turtle returning after a decade at Sea.

Green Turtle hatchlings released in Kudat Sabah Borneo

Turtle Eggs

The reason why chances of them surviving in the wild is extremely and alarmingly low is because of humans;-

  • Destruction and degradation of their nesting and feeding grounds
  • Fisheries by-catch
  • Poaching of turtles and their eggs both by locals and offshore poachers
  • Entangled and killed by marine debris that is mistaken for food
  • Killed by boat propeller 

-Retrieved from KTCSBorneo

Green Turtle hatchlings released in Kudat Sabah Borneo

Awareness presentation

Green Turtle hatchlings released in Kudat Sabah Borneo

Sunset View from the Kudat Beach

Green Turtle hatchlings released in Kudat Sabah Borneo

More spectators, local and visitors came to witness the released of the baby turtles to the sea

Green Turtle hatchlings released in Kudat Sabah Borneo

Go..GO..GO..free to the sea baby turtles

At such a low rate, it broke my heart learning that our future generations will not have a chance to even know what a Sea Turtle is unless they read it somewhere or saw a picture. But to see it in person, to view its majestic beauty with their own eyes… I doubt that can ever materialize for them if we do not do something about it.

As of now, KTCS welcomes more organizations and individuals to be part of their family and spread the love about Sea Turtles. These gentle giants, though with a sturdy shell, are very fragile creatures that need our help for a chance at surviving our ever growing era.

If you readers are interested in learning more on how you can help, do not hesitate to contact us or KTCS directly. You can read also our experience on Turtle Island Adventure in Sandakan Borneo too!

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