7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

06

July, 2017

Sabah is known for its reputation of being one of the worlds’ beautiful places, due to its naturally dense rainforest, tropical islands, and colorful cultural. While visiting Sabah, the eco-natural activities are not the only main reason for travelers to discover the beauty of Sabah. The historical buildings in Sabah are also one of the main factors that make it an amazing holiday destination trip.

No matter if you are a tourist or local who wants to get a dose of history from the past, it’s always good to know a thing or two about the history of the city that you are currently in. Check out the list below for my suggestion of historical buildings in Sabah that you should visit.

1. Sabah Tourism Board

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Old photo of Jesselton Post Office

Old Post Office Building, now is Sabah Tourism Board Building

One of the oldest building in Kota Kinabalu city. It is formerly known as Jesselton Post Office during the World War II (WWII), and it is fortunate enough to not be destroyed by the 1945 allied bombing in the Jesselton area back then. The Sabah Tourism Board building will be exactly 100 years old next year since its opening was officiated by governor Mr. Pearson on March 16, 1918.

2. Atkinson Clock Tower

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

The original look of Atkinson Clock Tower ( Photo by: Heritage Sabah)

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Atkinson Clock Tower now.

It is located on the bluff along the Signal Hill Road which is overlooking the capital city of Sabah. It used to be known as Atkinson Memorial Clock Tower, as it was built in the memory of Jesselton’s first district officer who died of Malaria at the age 28, Francis George Atkinson. The construction of Atkinson Clock Tower is unique because it is an all-wood and no-nails structure built by people of the past. The clock tower was used as a shipping navigation landmark in the 1900s, but now it serves as helping locals to be conscious of the local time in Sabah in order to assist them in their daily chores.

3. Deparment of Social Welfare

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Old Social Welfare building(Image source : TH YEE)

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Department of Social Welfare became an unofficial street art gallery.

It was constructed between 1918 – late 1920s, and it is one of the British Colonial building that survived in the 1945 allied bombing. It used to be Lands and Survey Department Building but was later changed to Department of Social Welfare. Unfortunately, it was destroyed by fire on December 31, 1992, and there is no development since then. In 2010, it became an un-official Street Art Graffiti Gallery, where the local artist used it as a canvas to express their art creativity, as well as preserving the historical site.

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4. Jesselton Hotel

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Picture of Jesselton Hotel on 28th November 1961.

(Photo source: Jabatan Penerangan Sabah)

Department of Social Welfare became an unofficial street art gallery.

Jesselton Hotel is the oldest and first modern hotel built after the World War II (WWII). Following the devastation of Jesselton town ( known as Kota Kinabalu now) at the end of WWII, Sir Herbert Ralph Hone, as the Colonial Governor of Jesselton, encouraged the British Hong Kong Chinese businessmen to invest and rebuild the Jesselton town area. Thus, the hotel was built in 1954 at Gaya Street and it attracts locals and tourists’ attention because of the structure building that gives a little touch of colonial and its doorman wearing a colonial uniform.

5. St. Michael’s and All Angels Church, Sandakan

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Old photo of St. Michael’s and All Angels Church, Sandakan

St. Michael’s and All Angels Church, Sandakan today.

The oldest stone church building in Sabah, and also a part of Sandakan Heritage Trails which connects few historical sights and monuments in Sandakan. The building was first constructed using ironwood timber, then followed by bricks, and finally stone. The church took more than 30 years to complete, started in 1893 and completed in 1906. The church manage to avoided major damage during WWII in the 1940s, and served as a resting place for Prisoners of War(POWs) who trekked the Sandakan Death March.

6. Agnes Keith House, Sandakan 

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Agnes Keith House, Sandakan

Agnes Keith is an American author, who wrote her life experience in North Borneo (now – Sabah). Her house was once a British Colonial Government Quarters, called Newlands, and now it is one of the famous landmarks in Sandakan. Agnes Keith and her family lived in the house until 1942 and came back to Borneo again after the WWII. However, they realised the house was burnt down due to the war and they rebuilt the house from scratch with the same design as the old one. Agnes Keith and her family continued to live there until they left Sabah in 1952. Today, the house was restored back after 50 years by Sabah Museum and opened for public in 2004. The house now turned into a museum portraying the life Agnes Keith and her family through documents, pictures, and portraits. Moreover, the house was furnished with colonial furniture and genuine antiques, which makes you feel like a step back in time to British colonial era.

7. Bellfry or Bell Tower, Tawau 

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Bellfry Tower in 1949. Photo source by e-tawau.

7 historical buildings in Sabah that you need to visit

Bellfry Tower today. Photo source by e-tawau.

The Belfry was constructed in 1921 by the prison labour, and it is the only historical building in Tawau to survive the WWII. It was built to commemorate the signing of Armistice following the World War I in 1918, when Japan was an ally of Great Britain. The bell tower was used to indicate the time back then, and the hours rung at intervals by the police guard. However, there is no bell in the bell tower now and it became a mystery in Tawau history.

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Bizarre fruits in Sabah that you might never hear before!

Bizarre fruits in Sabah that you might never hear before!

Bizarre fruits in Sabah that you might never hear before!

12

June, 2017

When you visit Sabah, be sure to try out some of the bizarre fruits in Sabah. Refrain yourself from buying fruits in the supermarket because it is too common for you, instead, go to the local market which offers a wide variety of delicious and rare fruits that Mother Nature has in store for you. Get ready to open your eyes to a ‘new world’ when you taste the bizarre fruits in Sabah!

Here are some of the bizarre fruits in Sabah that you never heard before: 

1. Tarap Fruit or Marang

Bizarre fruits in Sabah
  • This is one of the native fruit that I am sure most Sabahan love to eat. However, for the first-timer or visitors, they may hate the fruit, and some eventually get used to the smell and they like it! Some say it’s due to its smell that makes them not too likable to the fruit, but I personally don’t feel the smell is as strong as the durian smell.
  • The skin of the Tarap is covered with soft and blunt spines, which doesn’t prick at all. When it is ripe, it is easy to tear open because of its rind that turned soft. The flesh of the Tarap is so appetizing, sweet soft, and creamy white. The seed of tarap can also be eaten by frying it with a little bit of oil. Somehow, looking at the picture makes me crave for Tarap fruit now!

2. Bambangan or Wild Mango Fruit

Bizarre fruits in Sabah
  • It is a seasonal fruit which Sabahans love to eat. However, this fruit will not be eaten raw (usually), but will be pickled, or use for cooking with fish, such as Pinasakan ( steamed fish).
  • The bambangan is spherically-shaped, brown skin and yellowish in color. It taste a bit like mango fruit, as it can be sweet or sour, due to it being a seasonal fruit. It is known to contain health-giving additives and can reduce cardiovascular diseases.

3. Breadfruit or Buah Sukun

Bizarre fruits in Sabah
  • This is one of the fruits that can keep you full for the next few hours. I have tasted this fruit in the form of fried fritters at the tamu (local market), and it tastes so delicious and filling. The breadfruit is a versatile type of crop, which you can either eat it raw or cooked, even when it is not ripe.
  • The breadfruit is usually round, oblong, or oval in shape, with a rough surface and can weigh up to 6kg. When the breadfruit is unripe, the flesh is in white color, starchy, and fibrous. If it is ripe, the flesh is in yellow color and creamier. Breadfruit is high source of gluten-free carbohydrate, calcium, iron, and minerals, as well as being a low fat, and cholesterol fruits. Breadfruit can help people in maintaining a good diet and healthy lifestyle, for those who consume it.

4. Pulasan

Bizarre fruits in Sabah
  • Some people might confuse with this fruit, as it is closely similar with rambutan due to its shape and outer look. However, pulasan is extremely sweet and juicier than rambutan, the rind is thick and dark red in color, which is covered with blunt spines.
  • Pulasan name is originating from a Malay word ‘pulas’, means to twist as we need to twist the fruit in order to open it.
  • One of the good thing about pulasan fruit is its high content of Vitamin C and can help for those who are trying to lose weight, or maintain a healthy body. Traditionally, the leaves and roots of Pulasan tree can be used for healing of the wounds.

5. Jackfruit

Bizarre fruits in Sabah
  • Jackfruit is almost exactly the same as Cempedak, but it is slightly larger than the latter. Good thing about this fruit, it is available all year round! It has a distinctive sweet and fruity aroma, and its flesh is starchy and fibrous. Jackfruit is considered as a source of dietary fiber.
  • Jackfruit can be eaten raw, cooked as a dish, or can be as a snack food in form of fritters. Some say the taste of Jackfruit flesh when it is ripe is similar to a pulled pork or chicken, which is why jackfruit has become a meat substitution for those who wanted to cut meat in their diet.
  • Jackfruit can be used in making anything from curries, noodles, deep fried snack to ice-cream! Its golden yellow flesh is not sweet and is rich in potassium, plus the seeds are edible as well and a good source of protein.

6. Eggfruit Canistel or Buah Lemak

Bizarre fruits in Sabah
  • This is one of the exotic fruit that I have never tried (yet). I have seen this kind of fruit at the roadside local market in Kundasang, Ranau. Never crossed my mind that this is a fruit and is edible too!
  • The eggfruit is a similar shape like a small mango or apricot because of its skin in yellow color. However, its size can differ, it can be nearly round shape, somewhat oval, spindle-shaped or sometimes heart-shaped. Interesting isn’t it?
  • The eggfruit flesh when ripe, is sweet and musky, and taste like an egg yolk or mashed sweet potato. Apart from that, it is rich in nutrients because it contains beta-carotene ( an essential nutrient for the eyes), iron (good for anemic), and antioxidants (aid to fight diseases).

7. Tamarillo fruit

Bizarre fruits in Sabah
  • Tamarillo or known as Tree Tomato plant, because of its look resembling a tomato. In Sabah, Tamarillo can be found in the cool climate and highland area at Kundasang. It has a unique and exotic taste. Tamarillo flesh is mildly sweet and tangy, it can taste very similar to jams, jelly, and passion fruit.
  • Tamarillo fruits are in oval and egg shape with smooth skin. The fruit itself is rich with vitamin A, vitamin C, minerals and antioxidants, can be consumed for healthy well-being and meeting our nutrient requirements.
  • Tamarillo fruits can be eaten raw as fruit, can be used in making juices, and very filling. In Sabah, some local use Tamarillo fruit to cook with fish as a dish or make a pickle.
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WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL WITH YOUR FAMILY?

WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL WITH YOUR FAMILY?

WHY SHOULD YOU TRAVEL WITH YOUR FAMILY?

12

May, 2017

Traveling can be life changing…

Where you get to kick back, relax, and rediscover your true self. Yet, we tend to put off traveling plans due to bearing the responsibility as a parent, work obligations, finances, and/or some other reason. However, you shouldn’t allow all these reasons to hinder you from traveling, especially if you have kids.

I love traveling with my family. Every year we will always have plans to go somewhere together for the holidays, be it an overnight in Kundasang, Ranau, or a week in Sandakan. It is always fun when you are traveling with your family.

Here’s why you should go traveling with your family:

1) Best Family Bonding Experience

Going for a movie night or having dinner together, could be a good family bonding time. However, traveling with family is definitely the best time to bond, as it reinforces the fact that quality time spent together is essential. Traveling with family could help cut out from all the distraction of school, work, digital world, and more. You will have the chance to sit down and have a conversation with your children or vice-versa without being interrupted in new and exciting places.

2) Create Fond Memories Together

Years from now, when you look at the album or your vacation videos, you will eventually relive the wonderful memories of your vacation with your family. Memories with family are to be cherished and remembered for as long as you live. Moreover, the best and unforgettable memories are made when they occur unexpectedly.

Who could forget the time when my brother was showing his stunt splash jumping into the swimming pool but it went wrong, as he accidentally slipped due to the slippery deck. Ouch! Or even during our family trip to Manila a few years back, we won’t forget the crumbling feeling we felt in the pit of our stomachs when we realized that we’d gotten lost somewhere in the city as we made our way back to the hotel.

3) Break Away from Stress and Relax

Traveling with a family will definitely put aside the daily routines in our lives, and allow us to enjoy and relax on the trip together. Most families will spend their days with work deadlines, school activities, extracurricular activities, household duties and errands, which resulted in stress to our daily lives. Having stress in our lives can be good, but too much stress without any relaxation could lead to harmful health. Thus, a break from the busy and repetitive daily routines, even if it is only a weekend getaway, could help to relieve the stress.

4) A Chance to Learn and Experince New Things

There is no doubt that you and your family will learn and experience different things while taking your family to travel out of state, or just around the corner. For example, if you and your family are traveling in Sabah Borneo, drop by to Mari-Mari Cultural Village where your family can experience Borneo culture, people, and languages first-hand, in order to change their perception of the world around them. Not forgetting, kids being the observant ones, will cherish and appreciate more the new things that they have experienced, in which they will share their experiences with friends or peers alike.

Two months ago, I have joined a private family tour to Weston River Cruise for work purposes. I can see that the children were so excited to see the Proboscis Monkeys and Fireflies in real life. Thus, this new experience could lead the children to easily express themselves more knowing that they have experienced something different. (Stay tuned for my next blog post, I’ll be talking about my experience joining in the private family tour to Weston River Cruise)

5) Becomes a Model Problem Solver for Your Kids

No traveling experience is perfect, even traveling with family too! Unfortunate events can sometimes occur that you and your family didn’t plan for. Either the flights got delayed, your kids get sick, a flat tire before reaching to a destination, traffic jams, or weather change, can disrupt your meticulously thought-out plan. These situations are unavoidable, and parents will be put in the position to deal with this kind of situation on the spot. This is a good opportunity for the parents to be a real-life model problem solver for the kids, which will let them adapt the situation easily through understanding self-reliance and encourage them to be independent.

Having read those 5 reasons why you should travel with family; – does it trigger you to plan your next travel adventure? And this time, with your family? Do consider bringing your little ones too for a staycation, weekend getaway, a short out-of-town trip and/or adventure travel. Traveling with family creates unforgettable memories, so do cherish it while you can. You can read our blog on our 5 quick tips about family travel in Borneo

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Trip to Kinabatangan River

Trip to Kinabatangan River

Trip to Kinabatangan River

05

May, 2017

“Sabah Borneo is well known for its beautiful nature and wildlife that is still protected and undisturbed.”

Trip to Kinabatangan river

Yes! living in Sabah, Borneo, as my hometown is a privilege for myself and every local people that live here should also feel the same.

My life as a nature tour guide was never a burden or boring for me. In fact, it made me fall in love with God’s Nature and wildlife that comes in different type, size, sound, and shape. Every single day of my life I go for touring and of course, I am proud introducing my own heritage to the tourist that come from all around the world that puts Sabah, Borneo, on their bucket list as a place that they MUST VISIT!

There are so many places I’ve been in Sabah, but one place incomparable to the rest is Kinabatangan River which is the longest river in Sabah;- 560 kilometers in length. Why? Reason being, this is the best place to have such a great escape from a busy life and stressful work. Along Kinabatangan River, you can see beautiful lodges to stay and to calm your mind away from cities and problems! You might choose any resorts or lodges, or even bed & breakfast to stay, depending on your budget or demands. It is up to you as all the lodges along this river do the same activities and program!

Talk about the cruise? Yes . It’s such a fun relaxing excursion cruising in our little amazon. Hahaha.. I always get fascinated even when I’ve been doing this cruise every single day, learning each day on how the wildlife lives in their own habitat. I mean for real! They have to find their own food, shelter to sleep and avoid from being hunted by predators, and it’s totally different with the animals that you see locked in cages at the zoo or sanctuary. 

Trip to Kinabatangan river
Trip to Kinabatangan river

I just love the sound of the Proboscis Monkeys jumping from one tree to another, with the smell of the Borneo Pygmy Elephants popoh which was a good possibility the elephants are coming out and when it does come out… Booyah! Everybody’s super happy with a big smile on their faces and yeah! It’s like a party fever in the river, all boats from different lodges will speed up their boat ride and come to the area where the Pygmy Elephants are as it’s one of the highlights of Kinabatangan River to see them in the Wild.

Trip to Kinabatangan river
Trip to Kinabatangan river
Trip to Kinabatangan river

Not only that, different types of monkeys such as Silver Langurs, Macaques, Crocodiles, and birds, can also be found along this river. In other words, all you want to see, you might see it here!

Trip to Kinabatangan river

When you’re surrounded by nature, you will definitely have the feeling to explore it by doing the Jungle Trekking activity! Don’t ever miss it! It’s normally done in the morning at the oxbow Lake. It’s a beginner’s trek, so no worries to the first timers! The trek takes around two hours in which you will have the chance to see Orang Utans up on the trees in their nests, but most of all, you’ll gain knowledge on Borneo plant species and trees along the way to the jetty. Touchdown! It’s paid off your efforts to reach to this jetty as its time to enjoy the natural Borneo fish massage at the river while enjoying the calming nature and experience that you will never get anywhere else.

What else is interesting apart from the wildlife and nature? For sure it’s the culture of the villagers that live there which is mostly the riverine people. During your free time in the afternoon, it’s the perfect time to go for a walk around the villages and see the houses built on stilts. Sometimes you will have the chance to go inside of the house that belongs to the villagers there and witness their daily routine.

Trip to Kinabatangan river

Being a nature lover, at the same time share it with my guests, is such a great opportunity as it makes me appreciate more of what we have in our own place and share priceless information that will open up the eyes of every guest that come a million miles away to visit Borneo and catch their attention on the importance of protecting and preserving animals and nature. Besides, I always tell each of my guests that if they are looking for a perfect gateway, this is the best place for relaxation and they’ll definitely have such an unforgettable memory to bring home!  What else is there to it? Start planning and put this on your list!

You can join our Kinabatangan River Safari to experience it yourself! Click here for more information.

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Travel Guide to Sandakan

Travel Guide to Sandakan

Travel Guide

to Sandakan

07

April, 2017

Don’t have any idea where to go in Sandakan? Some guides for you to make your Sandakan trip exciting!

Sandakan, the second largest town in Sabah after Kota Kinabalu, is located on the northeast coast of Borneo. Sandakan was the former capital of British North Borneo until 1946, due to its busy port with visiting traders from around the world. Sandakan town has a history that is very important to the Australians and British for its infamous Death Marches which commenced here in 1945 during World War II (WWII). After WWII, the capital moved to Jesselton ( now Kota Kinabalu).

Not only does Sandakan hold precious history to the Australians and British, it also serves as the gateway to Sabah’s best ecotourism destinations for travelers. Read here for more information on Sandakan. In this blog post, we will share some of the attractions around Sandakan and food to try.

Top 5 Alternatives to Mount Kinabalu for trekking in Borneo

Sandakan is so worth visiting for its proximity to some of Borneo’s most accessible wildlife attractions. Just over 30 minutes drive from Sandakan town, Sepilok is one of the main attractions in Sandakan. The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is the place that travelers should go to watch Orangutan up close in their natural habitat. Beside to it, travelers can go to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Just nearby to Sepilok, Rainforest Discovery Centre is also worth a visit by travelers when in Sandakan, as it offers jungle trails and magnificent canopy walk for travelers to get intimate with nature, as well as get in some birdwatching activities.

In addition, travelers can go to the Turtle Island Park for a rare experience to watch turtle nesting and laying eggs, as well as witness turtle conservation at work. Travelers can check out our tour information on Turtle Island Borneo Conservation Project for booking. Other places of interest in Sandakan which can be visited by travelers would be the Sandakan Crocodile Farm which is located at Labuk Road and have over 3000 reptiles. If travelers want a chance to see the big-nosed Proboscis Monkey, then Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is the place travelers should visit on a combo day trip tour.

For more wildlife destinations, travelers should head to Kinabatangan River – Sukau and Bilit for more Proboscis Monkey sightings or head to Gomantong Caves to see how the edible bird nests are harvested. Travelers can also continue overland and south of Sandakan to the Tabin Wildlife Reserve and Danum Valley. Our company does provide these tours for travelers to get the chance for a wildlife adventure in Borneo.

 

Sandakan was the major port for early settlers to Sabah. It is nicknamed as “Little Hong Kong” due to many Chinese settlers coming from Canton to Sandakan. Thus, this is the reason that until today the Chinese people in Sandakan have a stronger Hong Kong – Cantonese accent compared to other parts of Malaysia. A spillover effect of this, one of the places of interest in Sandakan is Puu Jih Shih Chinese temple, built for the Chinese people in Sandakan, a majestic temple definitely built to awe as it faces the Sandakan Bay.

Another must-visit attraction is the Sam Sing Kung Temple – the oldest temple in Sandakan that was built by the four main Chinese communities in Sandakan, namely Hakka, Cantonese, Hainanese, and Teochew.

Travel Guide to Sandakan
Travel Guide to Sandakan

Sandakan also was known as Sabah’s most historic town, has many other places of interest, which travelers can go through while doing the Sandakan Heritage Trail which covers the historical points of interest and sights around the city. The walk can take about 2 hours or more, and it commences at the 100-year old Masjid Jamik, then to the Pryer Monument –  a granite structure erected to honor the founder of Sandakan, William B. Pryer.

Travelers can climb up to the Stairs with Hundred Steps which will lead you to see a panoramic view of Sandakan town and bay. Along to that, travelers can also visit the Agnes Keith House – which used to be the home of the famous American writer who penned “Land Below The Wind” in 1939, and next to it is the English Tea House and Restaurant. Travelers will have the option to have refreshment and enjoy the view overlooking the town.

Next stop, travelers can go to the remains of an old staircase, that was once a part of the Chinese Consulate before the war. Visit the Goddess of Mercy Chinese Temple, which was built in the 1880s. Then, continue the journey reaching the St Michael and All Angels Cathedral, which was erected in the late 19th century and one of the oldest stone buildings in Sabah. The Sandakan Heritage Trail ends when travelers pass the Malaysia Fountain and can see the Harrisons Trading Building and two oldest banks in town, HSBC and Standard Chartered.

When in Sandakan, trying out Sandakan food should not be missed! Since Sandakan is located next to the sea, seafood in this town are so much fresher, and it makes up the town’s favorite and popular eats. Drop by to Sim Sim Water Village (Bridge no.7) to try out the tasty springy noodle, served with dim sums, century egg dumplings, and curry laksa. Travelers also can try grilled fresh fish at Pasar Sim Sim, served with amazing home-made sambal chili. Moreover, travelers should stop by at Nam Chai Restaurant for the famous seafood Bak Kut Teh or travelers can eat more fresh seafood at the 1Malaysia Steamboat Restaurant located at Trig Hill for only RM30.00 per person.

Travelers can drop by at Pasar Kim Fung located at Mile 4 for a quick delicious bite, available for dinner or supper too! Another do-not-miss food item is the Sandakan famous UFO tarts – a thin butter sponge cake as the base, top with a meringue enclosing a yellow center of eggy custard, which is so yummy to eat with a cup of hot tea/coffee and can be found in any Chinese bakeries in Sandakan.

Travel Guides to Sandakan

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