Remarkable places to visit in Tambunan
The tiny village of Tambunan is a hidden gem of Sabah. There are many remarkable places to visit and things to do in Tambunan. We’ve compiled this list of some of the remarkable places to visit in Tambunan for those of you looking to do something different and perhaps get off the beaten path.
Located just about over an hour from Kota Kinabalu, Tambunan makes for a great day trip. If you have a bit more time we definitely recommend you stay the night in this quaint town.
Before we get started, we’ll tell you a bit about Tambunan. Tambunan is one of the 25 districts in Sabah and part of what is known as the “interior division”. It is about 81 km east of Kota Kinabalu. Tambunan is nestled in a valley of sorts that sits in Crocker Range mountains.
Tambunan is surrounded by lush green terraced paddy fields. Those paddy fields are bordered by tropical rainforest which climbs up the hill sides. Apart from that, there are many bamboo growths that can be seen everywhere in Tambunan area.
The large amount of bamboo here is a leftover of the British colonial period, which required that people plant 20 bamboos sprouts for every bamboo that was cut.
Tambunan is also known for the producing the best quality of rice wine around. They locally famous for two styles of rice wine which are konwn as Lihing and Tapai.
Mahua Waterfall is one of the remarkable places in Tambunan and it is worth to visit. This pristine natural waterfall is easily accessible off of the main road and it is located just a few kilometers from Tambunan. Mahua Waterfall is 17 meters tall and has a pool depth of about 1.3 meters. After paying the entrance fee, walk for about 500-metre walkway to reach the waterfall. Along the way, there are many endless towering of trees with huge trunks, wild orchids, and insects. Be sure to take some photos of the falls and the surrounding area. Feel free to go for a swim at the falls or enjoy a picnic by the river. Hostel-type accommodation and camping are available for those who wished to overnight there.
Batu Gong – Gong Rock
Photo: Batu Gong Facebook Page
Batu Gong is quirky attraction in Tambunan. The Aptly named Batu Gong, which means gong rock, is a rock that when it is struck emits a reverberating sound similar to a gong.
Watch the video below to see the locals beating the Gong Stone and producing a sound similar to a gong.
Sunsuron Homestay Tambunan
If you are going to stay the night in Tambunan, check out Sunsuron Homestay. There is a lot of history here at Sunsuron.
More than a hundred years ago, Sunsuron Village was a headhunting and tribal war zone. But, in 1885, the unrest was finally put to an end when the British North Borneo Chartered Company build a police base in the Village.
There are several homestays available that allow you to experience the local culture. You can sample the delicious traditional homemade dishes at a homestay or partake in the homemade rice wine (highly recommended). Besides that, you can go around the village area and see the iconic landmarks of the village. If you are feeling adventurous, you can head out for some quad biking on the trails surrounding the village.
Sinurambi – Tambunan View Point
Sinurambi Tambunan Viewing Point
If you want to witness a great view of Tambunan, we recommend you go to Sinurambi Tambunan (Tambunan Viewing Point).
The tower was built in conjunction with the “Visit Tambunan Year 2017” campaign. The tower was constructed to resemble Borneo’s traditional bamboo basket, known as a Wakid. The multi-level tower offers a breathtaking view of the paddy fields, the mountains, and Tambunan. can be seen at the top. This is also a good spot to get some night time shots of the stars.
Trekking in Tambunan
Wakid Hill. Photo by Joe Lorenzo
There are a number of great hiking trails around Tambunan.
One of the more enjoyable treks is Mount Wakid. This hike can be done in a day and it leaves from Sunsuron Village.
The Mount Wakid hike starts off easy, but gets increasingly hard towards the top of this 1372 meter mountain. You should be in decent shape for this trek since it is a bit challenging towards the end, but it’s easily doable in a day. On the way down, you will pass by a waterfall known as Kolopis.
Mannan Trail from Sinua. Photo by Oliverd
Mount Trus Madi
Mount Trus Madi is the second highest mountain in Borneo at 2,642 m. Reaching the peak of this mountain is a multi-day affair. Many people who climb this mountain attest that it is more difficult to reach the summit than Mount Kinabalu.
Although Trus Madi is considerably shorter that Mount Kinabalu, this is the mountain you should climb if you are looking for a hard core adventure. One of the trails to the top takes off just out of Tambunan.
Similar to Mount Kinabalu, Trus Madi is a hotspot for biodiversity and the cloud forest surrounding the mountain is really beautiful.
If you want to climb this mountain, you will need to arrange in advance as permits are required. If you are curious about climbing, contact us for details.
Many Nepenthes species at Mount Tusmadi. Photo by Sunrise Odyssey
The Salt Trail is a traditional route that was used by local villagers to reach the coast. Historically, villagers in places like Tambunan would carry their goods down along the Salt Trail to trade for salt at the coastal villages.
The Salt Trail is another hardcore trek. It takes about about 4-5 days to complete it. The Salt Trail journey begins from Tikolod Village in Tambunan and ends at Inobong Substation in Kota Kinabalu.
This trek will take you through mountain villages that remain isolated to this day. It is hard to believe, but a few of these villages do not have roads to access them.
Tambunan is blessed with many interesting destinations and activities. We definitely recommend spending some time in Tambunan when you visit Borneo.
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