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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Linangkit, Sabah Borneo traditional embroidery

Linangkit, Sabah Borneo traditional embroidery

Linangkit, Sabah Borneo

traditional embroidery

Most people know Sabah Borneo as “Land Below the Wind” due to its geographical location. But Sabah Borneo is also known for its richness in culture, tradition, and heritage. Sabah Borneo has more than 32 ethnic tribes, with each of the tribes having their own cultural heritage. Apart from that, the tribes also have their own traditional costumes. These traditional costumes are handmade with needle-stitch, beaded embroideries, sequins, and other ornaments.

 

Linangkit
Linangkit

Woman enjoying making Linangkit. Photo: Jesse

“Linangkit” is a form of embroidery made by women from several native tribes in Sabah Borneo. In the olden days, the cloth was woven by hands-on back-strap looms and has a limit to certain dimensions. Thus, traditional skirts are usually extended using two pieces of cloth. The purpose of “Linangkit” embroidery is to add decorative features of the costume. While at the same time hiding the seams of the fabrics joining together.

The “Linangkit” embroidery is like the European technique of tatting or frivolity. It is an intricate form of embroidery as you will need to use a needle. From a thin thread, you will need to loop it into many interconnecting of identical knots. Continue to weave the identical knots until it produces a strong, long and thick fabric. The knee-length skirt, circular sash and men’s trousers are all decorated with “Linangkit”.

In Sabah Borneo, several tribes create the “Linangkit” with different pattern and color. To which the pattern and color are portraying their own cultural identity. “Linangkit” is not just a piece of fabric or clothing. It represents the ancient heritage, knowledge, and tradition that was pass down by their ancestors.

Linangkit

Colourful and intircate designs of Linangkit on the dress

Linangkit

The design of Dusun Lotud’s traditional costume

You can find the “Linangkit” embroidery in the northern and west-coast part of Sabah Borneo. The Dusun Lotud people from Tuaran district is well-known for being a skillful weaver. Their traditional costume is one of the most elegant costumes in Sabah Borneo.  

Apart from that, there are other terms of “Linangkit”. For Rungus people of Kudat, they called it Rinangkit. They usually design the pattern of Rinangkit based on the elements of their daily lives. Such as:

  • Butterflies
  • People
  • Pythons
  • Leaves
  • Stars
  • Shells and more
Linangkit

Linangkit on Rungus costume

Linangkit

Linangkit design on Bajau costume

For Bajau people of Kota Belud, they called it berangkit. It is a long and wide band of berangkit that is in front of a long black matrimonial skirt. Bajau people prefer to create the berangkit with nature that represents a new life. The berangkit on the bridal costume is designed with cotton flower and bamboo shoot motifs.

Linangkit

The design of Kadazan Papar traditional costume

For Kadazan people from Papar, they called it langkit. They decorate the langkit embroidery on the knee-length part of the black skirts. But, the origin of the “Linangkit” embroidery is from the Maranao and Magindanao people of Mindanao Island in the Philippines. They too refer the needlecraft as langkit and it also bears the same purpose – decorates and joining two seams.

If you are interested to learn more on “Linangkit” embroidery, there is cultural village which is located in Tuaran, roughly one hour drive from the Kota Kinabalu City. Apart from learning more on the “Linangkit” embroidery, you can get personally acquainted with the Lotud people at the “Linangkit” Cultural Village, where you can experience their daily activities and taste the local delicacies. There are several cultural villages that you should visit when you are in Sabah Borneo, feel free to read our choices of cultural villages tour in Sabah Borneo.

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A surviving tradition in Sabah Borneo

A surviving tradition in Sabah Borneo

A surviving tradition in Sabah Borneo

29

April, 2018

I still remember when I saw my grandmother’s red teeth for the first time! It was so terrifying because I thought her gums were bleeding. But, my grandmother told me that she was chewing on betel-nut which causes her teeth to turn red (phew!). Old habits die hard. Chewing the betel-nut plays a big role in the social customs of Kadazandusun people. Especially among the elders of Sabah Borneo.

 

Betel Nut Chewing Tradition

Ingredients for Betel-Nut chewing

When chewing betel-nut, you will need to combine many ingredients together before chewing. The ingredients that you need to combine are:

  • Fruits from Pinang Palm tree (Areca catechu)
  • Sirih (Piper betel) leaves
  • The white slaked lime paste obtained from sea-shells

Sometimes, you’ll add other ingredients such as:

  • Gambier resin (made from the leaves of the climbing vine Uncaria Gambir),
  • Tobacco
  • Cinnamon spices

Then, you wrapped these ingredients together forming a quid, before chewing it. In the olden days, the ingredients and equipment are kept in a small brass container. The equipment consists of betel-nut crackers and a small knife. Apart from that, you can find them in a rattan basket. Today, many replaced the brass containers or rattan basket with a small pouch. That way it is easier to carry anywhere.

 

Betel Nut Chewing Tradition
Betel Nut Chewing Tradition

The betel-nut chewing is a fascinating tradition. The Kadazandusun elder women practice the habit, especially during the social activities. It’s not surprising to see older women selling betel-nut and other ingredients at “Tamu” (local market). Whenever I go with my grandmother to “Tamu”, she always stops by a stall to chit-chat and chew the betel-nut.

Betel Nut Chewing Tradition
Betel Nut Chewing Tradition

Besides, betel-nut chewing offers some health benefit to those who eat it. Such as:

  • Overcoming digestion problem
  • Comforts the brain
  • Strengthen the teeth
  • Relieves fatigue and stress

Not only that, it could suppress the appetite, enhances energy, and heightens the senses. This is important for rural area people to keep them energetic while doing the village work. It’s not all fun and games though. If you take it in high doses or for long periods of time, betel-nut chewing is considered unsafe. Some of the chemicals in betel nut is poisonous and can cause cancers.

Other side effects may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Gum problems
  • Increased saliva
  • Chest pain
  • Abnormal heartbeats
  • Low blood pressure
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid breathing

Although betel-nut chewing is likely to have negative effects, it is not addictive. In comparison, you’re more likely to get addicted to cigarettes, alcohol, caffeine or other drugs than betel-nut. Even so, betel-nut chewing is a social activity that can tear down cultural barriers. You’ll strike up conversations and create friendships along the way.

Betel Nut Chewing Tradition

A group of women enjoying their betel-nut chewing while talking

Apart from that, betel-nut chewing plays an important role among the Kadazandusun people. “Bobohizan”, a shaman woman, conducts a ceremonial ritual with tobacco, rice, a jar of alcoholic drinks, chicken, pigs, and other things.

Betel Nut Chewing Tradition

Betel-nut as ritual offering. Photo by Murphy Ng

In short, Betel-nut chewing is a common social practice in Sabah Borneo. Offering betel-nut to visitors is an important gesture to make them feel welcome. It is their way of accepting the visitors into the family or community. So, when an elder people in the rural area offers you betel-nut, it shows that you are being accepted as part of the community.

Feel free to read our articles on cultural villages in Sabah Borneo that you should visit for your holiday in Sabah Borneo, click here.

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Spectacular waterfalls in Sabah Borneo

Spectacular waterfalls in Sabah Borneo

Spectacular waterfalls in Sabah Borneo

23

April, 2018

Sabah Borneo’s geographical structure is not only a mix of beaches and tropical rainforest, but it also has mountainous terrain, which is mostly in the western part of Sabah Borneo. Apart from that, this mountainous terrain has one of Malaysia’s highest mountain being part of it, located on the Crocker Range; Mount Kinabalu is truly a sight to see (4,095 meters above sea level). There are also several mountains and hills in Sabah Borneo that are traversed by an extensive network of river valleys and most are covered with dense tropical Borneo Rainforest. With these mountainous terrains of Sabah Borneo, it is not a surprise that Sabah Borneo is also rich with many spectacular waterfalls, some are not known to many and probably have not even been discovered yet! For the ones that are known or have been discovered, below is the list in which you can put into your Borneo Holidays wish list.

1) Langanan Waterfall, Poring Hot Spring, Ranau

Spectacular waterfalls in Sabah Borneo

Langanan Waterfall, Poring. Photo: Epicphals

Langanan Waterfall is located in Poring Hot Springs, Ranau, and it is considered one of Sabah Borneo’s highest waterfalls at about 120 m in height. It is suitable for adventurous trekkers as it requires about 2 hours (or more) trekking through the lowland tropical forest in order to reach the waterfall. Just don’t forget to wear leech socks and wear some waterproof shoes or jungle rubber shoes known as Adidas Kampung to avoid the slippery ground.

2) Kipungit Waterfall, Poring Hot Spring, Ranau

Spectacular waterfalls in Sabah Borneo

Kipungit Waterfall, Poring. Photo by: Wen0329

Kipungit Waterfall is also located in Poring Hot Springs and it takes about 20-minutes walk from Poring Hot Springs to reach there. With a height of only about 12 meters, this waterfall offers a perfect place for group or families to go for a picnic and enjoy the refreshing bath.

Read this ( You'll gonna love it!)

Things to do in RANAU, Sabah Borneo

3) Mahua Waterfall, Tambunan

Spectacular waterfalls in Sabah Borneo

Mahua Waterfall, Tambunan. Photo: Borneo Rimbawan

Take a 1 hour and 30 minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu City, passing through small villages and forests on the Crocker Range, until reaching the serene district of Tambunan, where it houses one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Sabah; Mahua Waterfall. A pristine natural waterfall that is nestled deep in the tropical forest of the Crocker Mountain Range, it became one of the top local destination among the locals for a weekend getaway. Apart from that, Mahua Waterfall area also offers nature enthusiast to witness the various species of flora and fauna.

4) Ulu Kionsom Waterfall, Inanam

Spectacular waterfalls in Sabah Borneo

Ulu Kionsom Waterfall, Inanam. Photo: Bearnerd Bondly

Ulu Kionsom Waterfall is the closest recreational park in Kota Kinabalu City, as it is only about 20 km away from the city or a 30-40 minutes drive from the city. To reach the park, you will pass the entrance of Mari Mari Cultural Village, which is one of the famous tourist destination that showcases Sabah Borneo’s cultural heritage. The recreational park is also known as waterfall park because of its unique features of having multi-tiered cascades of waterfalls over a hill slope. The lowest level is easily accessible via a cement walkway and it is a famous spot for families as well as groups to gather for picnic. However, the upper tiers can only be accessed through a steep jungle trail from the entrance. Please be cautious when walking every step as it is slippery!

5) Gelas Hill Waterfall, Tawau Hills National Park

Spectacular waterfalls in Sabah Borneo

Bukit Gelas Waterfall, Tawau Hills Park. Photo: Zulhelmy Abdul Rahim

Gelas Hill Waterfall is located in Tawau Hills Park, which is about 24 km and a 30-minute drive from Tawau Town. A lush green forest and protected park that offers naturalist with its diverse species of flora and fauna that can be found there. To reach Gelas Hill Waterfall, a jungle trail is provided and you will need to walk through the trail for about 2.4km (Note: Be careful when walking on a jungle trail when it is raining, as it will be very slippery and muddy). However, once you reach Gelas Hill Waterfall, get ready to be in awe by the marvelous waterfall view and feel the tranquility of the area. In addition, Gelas Hill Waterfall is also known for its famous picnic spot for families and friends, some adventurous and nature lovers can also camp there in order to experience more on the nature’s beauty in that area.

6) Tawai Waterfall, Telupid

Tawai Waterfall is considered the biggest and least-known waterfall in Sabah Borneo. With its height about 95 meters, it is located deep inside the Tawai Forest Reserve, a Class I protected forest managed by Telupid Forestry Department. Therefore, you would need to apply for a permit from Sabah Forestry Department Headquarters before entering the protected area. To reach Tawai Rainforest Camp, you would need to drive about 4 hours to reach Telupid Town first from Kota Kinabalu City, and another hour drive from Telupid Town to Tawai Rainforest Camp (depends on weather and road condition). Once arriving at Tawai Rainforest Camp, continue on a jungle walk and witness many species of Borneo Pitcher Plants along the way until you are welcomed by the spectacular view of the waterfall. Don’t forget to wear proper hiking shoes and bring some drinking water while trekking to the waterfall.

Spectacular waterfalls in Sabah Borneo

Tawai Waterfall, Tawai Forest Reserve Telupid.

6) Murug Turug Waterfall, Tamparuli

Murug Turug Waterfall is the newest tourist destination especially for those who are into hiking activity. One of the hidden gems in Sabah Borneo and located at Minangkob Village in Tamparuli district, which only takes about 1 hour 30 minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu City (For more information, you can check on their facebook page). Before reaching there, you will need to make some booking first before going there, and there are three packages offered ( Package A: Murug Turug Waterfall – 4km return; Package B: 5km return – 3 waterfalls; and Package C: 12km return via Malas Kalas Trail & witness 7 waterfalls) for you to choose. In addition, if you are interested to experience the natural wonders of Murug Turug, be sure to wear proper hiking shoes or the jungle rubber shoes which known as “Adidas Kampung” when you go for a hike and exploring the area. Moreover, feel free to bring some extra clothes, just in case you feel tempted to go for a swim at the clear emerald green river of the waterfall.

Spectacular waterfalls in Sabah Borneo

Murug Turug Waterfall, Tamparuli. Photo: Kierra Sally Tan

8) Madai Waterfall, Kunak 

Spectacular waterfalls in Sabah Borneo

Madai Waterfall, Kunak. Photo: Imran Kadir

Listening to the gushing sound of waterfalls are always nice to hear, especially when you are there to witness it yourself. A delightful sight when you get to see the 40-meter Madai Waterfall, which is located in the Madai Baturong Forest Reserve, about 15 km from Kunak Town. It attracts many locals and tourist to witness this interesting waterfall which is often referred to as the twin waterfall because it cascades down on two separate sides but merges together when there is a heavy downpour of rain. However, be cautioned not to swim beyond the shallow part of the river because it is known that there is a deep hole at the center of the pool area, plus there is no lifeguard in that area. Therefore, for safety precaution, you can just soak your feet in the shallow water and be mesmerized by the beautiful sight in front of you.

9) Maliau Waterfall, Maliau Basin Conservation Area 

Maliau Waterfall, Kunak. Photo: Patrick

An unusual sight if you get to see the 7-tiered Maliau Waterfall for your holiday adventure in Sabah Borneo. It is located deep within the Maliau Basin Conservation Area or known to many as “The Lost World of Sabah”. If you are an avid trekker, this place is considered an adventure to you with its surrounding unspoiled nature, rare species of plants, animal sightings and the Maliau Waterfall as your reward. However, you must obtain a permit to enter Maliau Basin in advance from Yayasan Sabah before deciding to go there. Moreover, you will need to venture into the pristine rainforests that took about 2-3 days(depends on weather condition) to reach Maliau Waterfall.

Apart from these nine waterfalls discussed above, there are still many waterfalls in Sabah Borneo that are yet to be explored. Whatever it is, all waterfalls in Sabah Borneo are amazing when you get to witness it firsthand, and it will be hard for you to not remember the delightful sights of waterfalls as well as its beauty. Can’t wait to dip into the cooling waters of the waterfall? Then, start planning yourself to make a trip to Sabah Borneo!

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Tawau – 5 Things to do for Sabah Borneo Holidays!

Tawau – 5 Things to do for Sabah Borneo Holidays!

Tawau – 5 Things to do for Sabah Borneo Holidays!

Have you ever been to Tawau before? It is the third largest city in Sabah Borneo and it plays an important role as major producer of tobacco, cocoa, and palm oil. It is located on the south east coast of Sabah Borneo, and shares a border with North Kalimantan, Indonesia. However, most travelers will only stop by Tawau for a short trip as it is a main gateway to the fabulous world’s top diving spots of Sipadan Island, which is located in Semporna.

Although Tawau itself is not popular among tourists, it actually has many interesting destinations that no one ever notice before. So, here are 5 things you can do in Tawau after your diving activities in the islands of Semporna.

 

Tawau - 5 Things to do for Sabah Borneo Holidays!

You can find the Tawau Mural Art at the town area

1) Teck Guan Cocoa Village & Cocoa Museum

Tawau - 5 Things to do for Sabah Borneo Holidays!

Teck Guan Cocoa Village Entrance

Since Tawau is one of the biggest producer of cocoa in the world, for sure there will be a production area in Tawau, and it is known as Teck Guan Cocoa Village & Cocoa Museum. The cocoa museum was open for public in 2004, located within a village area called Tanjung Batu, which is roughly 20-30 minutes drive from Tawau City. However, an advanced booking is needed before going for a tour at the cocoa museum and it is recommended to go there in the morning. Fret not, there will be an in-house guide to show you around the museum, starting from watching a 20-minute short clip on cocoa history, to cocoa sampling kitchen, and finally to cocoa processing factory. In addition, you can also experience the nature and fresh air by going for trekking along the tropical rainforest of Cocoa Culture Spring which is about 1-2 km that will lead you to the waterfall.

2) Tawau Tanjung Market

Tawau - 5 Things to do for Sabah Borneo Holidays!

Colorful local vegetables at the Tawau Tanjung Market

Looking for the best dried seafood in Sabah Borneo? Then, you should make a visit to Tawau Tanjung Market to purchase it. Equipped about 6000 stalls inside it, this 3-storey market is known to be the largest indoor market in Malaysia! This is because you can find everything here under one roof, as it offers almost all kinds of daily essentials and other goods, from the freshest vegetables, sea and agriculture produce, local snacks, dried seafood, handicrafts, pots and pans, toys to clothings. Apart from that, you can also find interesting products from Indonesia that are being sold there too. This is a good place for you to come as your last stop to purchase souvenirs or dried seafood before departing. Just don’t forget to haggle (even the locals do too!) when buying something from the market.

3) Eating in Tawau

Tawau - 5 Things to do for Sabah Borneo Holidays!

Fresh Seafood can be found in Tawau!

When coming to Tawau, you should not miss out to taste the delicious food that can be found in Tawau! One of the top things that you need to do in Tawau as the food is a mix of Indonesian and Sabah fusion, due to Kalimantan Indonesia being the neighboring state to Tawau. Moreover, Tawau is also known for not only among the freshest seafood in Sabah Borneo, it is also considerably cheap too! So, if you are a foodie type of traveler, a visit to Tawau will be like a food paradise for you.

4) Gemok Hill Nature Reserve

Tawau - 5 Things to do for Sabah Borneo Holidays!

Strap those hiking shoes and starts to explore the Gemok Hill Nature Reserve

An avid hiker? Then, you should hike and explore the untouched Borneo Jungle which can be found in Gemok Hill Nature Reserve. It is a perfect place for a day hike, where the jungle offers you with it abundance of Borneo Wildlife, interesting species of plants and the tranquility greenery environments. There are seven resting huts provided for you to catch a breath as it will be an hour plus (depending on your fitness level) in order to reach the hill. After hiking, don’t miss out to go on the amazing canopy walkway which is known to be one of the longest canopy walkway (231 meters) in Sabah Borneo. Be amazed to witness the stunning scenery of Tawau Town, the picturesque coastline and the surrounding area.

5) Tawau Hills National Park

Serene river amidst in the tropical Borneo Jungle in Tawau Hills National Park

For nature lovers, a visit to Tawau Hills National Park is a must! It is located about 20 km away from Tawau Town which takes around 30 minutes to reach the quiet and secluded park while passing by hills of oil palm plantations. This park offers many locals and travelers a place for picnic, swim at the river, camping sites and chalets. However, the main highlight activities that can be done in the park is to witness some of the world’s tallest tropical trees, hiking through the lush greenery Borneo Jungle, witness diverse species of flora and fauna, birding activities, visit the spectacular Gelas Waterfall, Sulphurous Springs, as well as climbing the Magdalena Hills(1310m).

There you go, these 5 things to do in Tawau will surely fill your Borneo Holidays with the memorable and exciting trip before or after you go to Semporna for diving activities! Spend a day or two in Tawau and you will eventually experience the unique adventure that you thirst for. Happy travels!

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