Saturday, January 3, 2009

Kundasang, Sabah.

That sunrise greeted me after my Subuh prayers on that morning of Idul Adha from my hotel room in Kundasang. Thank you Allahfor this wonderful view. To my left I could see half of the peak of Mount Kinabalu. Not knowing that there was a mosque nearby, I decided to go out early and do a photo shoot of whatever I could find.

I was taking shots of this flower when a voice behind me told me that the flower is edible. I turned around to see this man who after a short conversation told me that his name was Koh and he came from Sungei Petani Kedah.

Earlier I had seen him standing infront of his shop. I couldn't figure who he was but he was definitely an early bird. He was waiting for his workers to report for work on that morning of Idul Adha. It was a working day for him and perhaps for some of his workers.

After further probes he told me "Semua ini saya punya" (all these are mine) while making a small circle with his fore finger. I can understand that he owned the farm but there was also the hotel which was opened a year ago. I had stayed the night at his hotel. Next to the hotel was a hardware shop and another shop dealing in agro products like fertilizer and chemicals. Yes he owned them all. Hey this is a very rich man I was talking too.

Later I talked to his wife as the friendly Mr. Koh had gone down to Kota Kinabalu and won't be back till evening. Mrs Khoo whom his workers called her as Nyonya. Her name was Woo Mei Yin. Mrs Koh who came from Kota Kinabalu Sabah. She said Mr. Koh came to Sabah in 1972 and worked as a lorry driver. Wow, this is really a rag to riches story.
Mrs Koh and me in front of her shop selling agricultural produce.

The hotel business was managed by his manager Mr. Michael Chong while his sons took care of the Agro and hardware businesses.

The ever friendly Michael Chong manages the hotel. He will greet every customer who came to stay at Cottage Inn especially those who came to dine at the restaurant.

The hardware and -Shop belonging to Mr. Koh.

We didn't know there was a mosque in Kundasang until my son in law made an enquiry. All the while we thought the nearest mosque was only in Ranau some 20 odd kms away. Thank Allah, we would be able to do our Idul Adha prayers.

The mosque was just within walking distance but nevertheless we rode the car to there as it was atop a hill.

Ustaz Markhizam led the prayers. I have never heard such melodious and lilting recital of the surah during a prayer. With him leading the prayers, I could pray behind him all day and not feeling tired.

After the prayers Ustaz Fadley delivered the Khutbah. He exhorted on the danger of Muslims questioning tha Fatwas (edict) by the ulamas.

I can't really discern the locals among the congregation but most noticeable was the presence of Indonesians and Bangladeshis as significant. Thus when we did the Takbir, there was a distinct group of people with two different timings.

Mount Kinabalu as viewed from the mosque.

At about 10.00 AM, we checked out of the hotel to begin our tour of Kundasang.

15 months old Balkis was the most eager to move out. She immediately climbed into the car after seeing her dad seated behind the steering wheel.
The next stop was barely five hundred meters away at The Kundasang War Memorial. The memorial was established in 1962 to commemorate the death of hundreds of Prisoners of War comprising of the British and Australian soldiers who died in the march from Sandakan to Ranau, a distance of more than 200 kms in the harshest of condition. The memorial is a must visit when you are in Kundasang. The three gardens in the memorial compound are simply amazing especially the Contemplation Garden with Mount Kinabalu in the backgaround. Read more about it here.

The entrance to the Kundasang War Memorial.

She will approach you as you walked up the steps to collect maintainence fee. Its maintainence fee not entrance fee OK?

They installed CCTV to deter thieves from stealing the plants inside the memorial.

This is the route for the march, 265 kms of hell.

The contemplation garden. The pool is well stocked with kois.

Next we stopped at the Kundasang vegetable market since this was my other half's first visit.
This vegetable market could do with a better well structured building. As it is, the place is quite unattractive.
Just like Cameron Highlands, beside fresh vegetables, colorful cut flowers are the main attraction.
Next on our destination was Poring Hotspring, quite some 32 kms away on the same way to Ranau.

The entrance tickets to Poring Hot spring which is a World Heritage site. Don't throw these away as the same ticket will allow you entrance to the other park where the hiking trail to the summit of Kinabalu begins. If you feel charitable, buy a new ticket at the other entrance like I did during the first visit.

The manay outdoor pools. This is the third generation pool as they keep on improving the design of the pool. According to Dr. Zhaini Shaarani who is a prominent adventurist, Poring Hotspring is the best in the world in term of layout and design. Any other hotspring development should follow the concept done here.

This is the source of hotspring and this pool is out of bound. From this pool the hot water is channeled to the other smaller pools via an underground pipe reticulation.
Each tub is drainable so you can always bather in fresh water and not feel scared of what germs the previous user may have left. There are two faucets to each tub, one delivering the hotwater and the other the cold spring water. You can mix the two to get your own preferred temperature.

Balkis thouroughly enjoyed the bath. Here they are waiting for the tub to fill up.

If you are ealy you may book the chalet and bathe in privacy. Of course you may have to fork out abit more.
The general view of the open air bathing area.There is also the bigger childrens pool with life guard to look after them.

The signboard to other facilities at the hotspring.

The last time I came I didn't get to see the butterfly farm. It was a disappointment as there were not many butterflies were found. I managed only to sight one Rajah Brooke and a papilion other than the other smaller butterflies. Thus I had to resort to taking photograph of the butterflies set in display cases.

Butterflies mounted in a box on display

Kipungit Waterfall can be reached after a trek up along a clear forest trail. I took this shot during my June visit.

I promised these youngsters that I will put their pictures in my blog. So here it is tokeep to my promise. Unfortunately for then rain started coming and they decided to turn back with me.

We stopped for lunch at a stall in Ranau which was located infront of this lodge. There are a number of lodging places in Ranau so if you can't find any place to stay in Kundasang, try you luck in the town of Ranau. A friend of Lokman came without prior hotel bookingand he found a nice homestay around Ranau complete with cooking equipments and stove. He was very happy with it.
Next we stopped at Kinabalu National Park Base camp.

This is the main entrance.

We drove right up to this point where climbers will strat their hike. There is a lodging place near here so climbers can start their hike very early in the morning.
By the time we got back to base camp, the cloud was so low that we couldnt see anything from the yet to be completed Vista Point.
We drove down the mountain in early evening on our way to Kota Kinabalu. The cloud was so think and it was raining. Visibility was so bad that we could hardly see the tail light of the car infront which we used as the guiding light.

Due to the bad visibility, we missed the stop at Pekan Nabalu. From my previous trip, these pictures at Pekan Nabalu excited Fatthiyah so much and she wanted to see it. We overshot the place but in that condition of visibility, making a U turn was just too dangerous.

The watchtower
The signboard.
The handicraft at the stalls. On a clear day, the sight of Mount Kinabalu summit is best seen from this town.The last time we went up to Kundasang, we came via the old town of Tamparuli to see the famous Jambatan Tamparuli made famous by the song of the same name. There is another bridge beside it which is passable when the water level is low.

This is a picture of the old shop house in Tamparuli which I captured while on the move when passing by the town in my previous trip. Later we came to know that these old wooden shops were razed down by a fire. What a loss.

We checked into Tune Hotel in Kota Kinabalu. We bought 2 rooms over the internet and paid a total of less than RM80 for two rooms for 2 nights. Later when we extended our stay, the same room cost us RM80 per room per night.

That night Balkis had a bad fever. The medication we got from a clinic in the One Borneo Complex didn't seem to help. We had to compress her fever using ice cubes. We had to take her to another clinic the next day.
The last time we came back from Kundasang she had fever too. This was how she looked then.

That was how she looked when she had the same fever about 6 months ago.

The next post will be about Kota Kinabalu and the trip back to Labuan. It will be the finale to my trip to Borneo.


Oldstock said...

Salam Zawi,

I have always wanted to visit Sabah. Your interesting post has made me all the more determined to make this come true.

Looking forward to read your forthcoming post.

Zawi said...

Since this seems to be your first comment on my blogsite, I would like to welcome you. I am happy that you like it.I just narrate it BBB, blow by blow as Mekyam described it once.
The next post will be mostly on KK and the return trip to Labuan.

Akmal said...

Salaam Ayoh wi, guana pasir mas, banjir?
Sooo~~~ this is the place you had your Raya haji, while we are having hard time 'kasi tumbang sama itu lembu-lembu', yeah?:D
Greet every customer, man, that is a big plus in his business, I am sure.
Anyway, yeah, it is risky lah to make u-turn in such bad weather. Pekan Nabalu ain't running away, I'm sure there will be other times for you guys :)
Balqis nampak macam galok jah tu? hehehe...

Zawi said...

Hujan tengah lebat lagi ni. Kemungkinan banjir tidak dapat di ramal atau dielakkan. Sekiranya hujan berterusan di seluruh Kelantan, bah besar la agaknya.
Cuma cikgu yang beria nak singgah di Pekan Nabalu. So ok la tak singgah.
Balkis cukup enjoy dalam pengembaraan tersebut.

uncleawang said...

Kudasang is my dream place to visit,perhap this 2009 New Year.
By the way Happy New Year may health & wealth be with you and Family through th year 2009.

Zawi said...

Go there soon, you will enjoy it. Just follow my steps, you wont go wrong.
Happy New Year to you too. May the new year brings you loads of happiness.

sherry said...

Salam Pak Zawi.

...terus teringin nak pergi Sabah bawak anak2.

As usual, your interesting post menawan kalbuku.

Zawi said...

Sabah is an interesting place to visit. Though I have been there a few times, I have yet to see them all. There is the Kudat and Tawau side to discover.
Make it your next holiday destination. It is definitely something the whole family can enjoy and cost wise, it is comparatively cheaper than an overseas destination especially now that we have the budget airlines to serve us.

louis said...


Your narrative and pictures brought back very pleasant memories of my visit to KK and Kundasang and a delightful soak in the hot springs of Poring.

Zawi said...

I have yet to show you KK. I guess your recollection of KK must still be very vivid and fresh in your memory.
The last visit to pouring was not so good as there was too big a crowd and the hot water was just trickling that we had to wait very long for it to fill up.
Pls come back for the KK trip and let us see if there is anything new for you to see.


That was great journey. I like all the photos. great.


Zawi said...

It was a tiring but enjoyable journey. I hope you followed the earlier posts on the same journey which began in Labuan. We are using the same type of camera so the pictures are almost as good as yours.

Covert_Operations'78 said...

I love your travelogue. You look like a giant next to the dimunitive Mrs. Koh!

LOL @ you having to be 'charitable'
and buy a new ticket! Okay, got it, it's maintenance fee, not entrance fee. Ha ha.

Kesian Balkis. Hope she has made a full recovery. She certainly is a well-travelled baby, though!

Best wishes for the New Year,

mamasita said...

Hai Zawi.
Baru tengok your long hardwork as a cameraman during your trip to Kundasang.Comelnya Balkis!Especially part yang dia nak naik kreta sendiri.Teringat kat my eldest daughter masa kecik2.Pintu 7-eleven pun dia nak bukak sendiri!haha

Wah.You make us feel as though we followed you for the whole trip!Thanks!
Rajinlah you.Boleh dijadikan tourist phamplet Wi.Salam pada Fatthiyyah!

Zawi said...

You made me so happy when you say that you like my travelogue. Really worth the effort when I hear people enjoying it even though it was just a chronicle of my own travel.
Though Mrs. Koh may look dimunitive, she is a giant among the people of Kundasang being one of the richest around Kundasang.
Balkis is fully recovered. We keep viewing her daily via YM so we don't miss her too much.
Thank you for the NY greetings.

Zawi said...

Datin mamasita,
I felt the same thing when I saw her climb into the car. She seemed so anxious to get a move on. Kids are like that, they want to be independent right from an early age. It is moments like this that are worth recording.
This is my small contribution to Malaysian tourism. Some readers have already indicated their desire to follow my footsteps right from Keningau.

Jaanvi said...


beautiful pictures and beautiful place... your kid is so very cute... :) even in fever,she is smiling beautifully..

Zawi said...

Being the first comment from you here, I would like to welcome you to my humble blogsite.
I think I agree with you here that my grandaughter looks cute even while having a fever. That one was from the earlier trip 6 months ago.

VersedAnggerik said...

Balkis is sooooo mega comel!

I miss my daughter at that age!

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

Pak Z,

its fully understood that you were in sabah with missus and all, but takkan satu pun takde gambar gadis2 kadazan kot? kihkihh...

oh and by the way, did you manage to visit Jambatan Tamparuli while there? heard from some people its basically nothing but a hanging bridge. but i'm sure there are more than just a bridge that someone made it an effort to write a beautiful song as a dedication.

Zawi said...

A child of that age is at his/her playful best. Now she started mimicking the singing of Burung Kakak Tua and it is definitely something to remember and reminisce later. I can understand you when you missed your daughter at that age. As a granddaughter, she is reliving this part of her mother's life at that age.

Zawi said...

Gambar budak-budak Kadazan? They were out of bound for me with the 'policewoman' restraining me from freely taking shots of them hehehehe.
Kerp, now I must say you didn't scroll down all the way as I have a photo of Jambatan Tamparuli of my previous visit in the blog. Yes it is just a Jambatan Gantung solely for pedestrians. Have a look again.

Mat Cendana said...

The rags to riches stories like this are the ones I'm impressed with. These are people who "build things".

It's not the same as people who make a fortune through speculations in financial instruments and futures markets. Oh, the money is just as `laku'...but what "is built" along the way?

Your description of Sabah is very good. The life there seems like something that I could live with...

Zawi said...

Mat Cendana,
I was impressed with Mr. Koh myself that is why I featured him prominently hoping that his story will be noticed and emulated. It doesn't matter where you start really. Mrs. Koh wasn't ashamed to reveal her husband's early life and I think she was very proud of it. Thank you Allah, you didn't miss my point.

Karin said...

My goodness you live in a GOOORGEOUS area - and are taking FANTASTIC pictures! I really enjoy looking at them ... thank you so much!!

Zawi said...

Thank you for the visit and those kind words.
You have such nice wheels behind you there.

Chet said...

Beautiful! Just Beautiful. The pictures you have taken allows me to feel the beauty of your country. They tell a story in such a way that I would love to be there. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

salam pak zawi,

when pelangi mall will open its door??

can u put latest picture of kbtc mall? really want to see the progress.

that is true mydin face to face with giant at tunjong?

what i know mydin under construction at kubang kerian and giant at kbtc mall..

klateselangor said...

i was read from internet that rado openned its 1st boutique at kota bharu?that's true? can u show me some pictures....:-)

Zawi said...

Rado did open an outlet in KB. I will post the picture once I get it.

Al-Manar said...

Salam Zawi,
With time to spare I roam about and right now I am in your domain. Kundasang, Sabah certainly caught my eyes and attention. Then I saw ‘Kota Kinabalu’. All these flood me with memories, happy memories of a certain period in time when, soon after my marriage, I took my newly acquired other half to a quiet town to make a living. The place was JESSELTON. I wonder how many of the present generation know WHAT (not where!) Jesselton is. To me, Kinabalu was a mountain, never the name of a place.
Pak Cik

Zawi said...

Al Manar,
Now there is only Hotel Jesselton in the town once known as Jesselton to remind us of the town that was then. I can't fathom the reason for the need to change names. Such names are part of history.
You must have loads of beautiful memories of the days you were in Jesselton.

temuk said...

Assalamualaikum. Mohon izin mampir ke laman blog sdra. Saya pemblog baru (walau usia sudah emas). Masih terkial-kial, terpadam kandungan, hilang gambar,lambat macam kura-kura, dan macam-macam yg frustrating berlaku. Dalam pada itu pula, asyik "kehilangan masa" oleh godaan dan tarikan cerita & gambar-gambar pemblog spt sdra. I love your pictures, and of course the accompanying cerita. Cheers!

Zawi said...

Sebagai pengunjung baru ijinkan saya mengucapkan selamat datang kepada temuk. Saya amat senang dengan kehadiran temuk disini.
Gambar yang banyak membuatkan downloading agak sukar tambahan pula kalau internet connection yang perlahan. Sabar la ya.
Kunjungi lagi ya?

Hajjah zaini said...

assalmualaikum , what shall i call u,, probably abang zawi hehehe.... terpesona dengan kecantikkan photo2 yang abang zawi hidang kan di blog ini,,,saya rasa terpanggil untuk pergi menjengah ke tempat2 yang telah di photo kan. akan saya jadi kan panduan apabila saya kesana kelak,, sekarang ni , masih tercari2 tempat dimana yang paling indah untuk say tempah nanti ,, terima kasih di atas segalaketerenagan yang lengkap berkenaan, kundasang, my dream places to go, next.

Zawi said...

Saya dah 58 tahun pasti dah pangkat abang pada Hajjah. Kalau nak panggil Pak Zawi pun tak ada masalah.
Sebenarnya ada lagi cerita masa di Kota Kinabalu yang saya belum tulis. InsyaAllah besok boleh cuba sambung cerita supaya pembaca dapat tahu apa lagi yang boleh di alami di Kota Kinabalu.
Kalau dah nak pergi ke Sabah sila baca blog saya yang awal mengenai Labuan. Labuan juga patut di kunjugi walaupun untuk 2 hari.
Memang tujuan saya blog untuk share pengalaman dengan rakan dan taulan sebagai panduan.

cokefLoaT said...

nice journey..
hope u have a superb fun my hometown.. kundasang (n_n)
nice posting.

Zawi said...

I enjoyed Kundasang so much that I visited the place twice with a span of 3 months. Did I miss anything on Kundasang? Yes how I wish the governemnt will provide better gerai to the retailers.

Anonymous said...

Hi there im worked 8 Tune Hotel.. browsing around to complete my Hospitality assignment and came accros to ur blog here.. nice post! :)

Zawi said...

I have alot more to write about Tune Hotel but I never get to doing it. I will do it when I stay in that hotel again in the future.

Anonymous said...


saudara zawi,
terima kasih banyak kerana dapat mempromosikan tempat kelahiran saya, KUNDASANg, Ranau.

walau pun saya telah berhijrah ke semenanjung sejak 2005, untuk mencari kerja, tapi saya memang tak dapat lupakan tempat kelahiran sendiri, lagi pun saya sebelum ini merupakan pemandu bertauliah di taman kinabalu, kundasang, ranau.
pengalaman bekerja sambilan dan menjadi tetap dalam beberapa tahun kat sana memang tak dapat dilupakan, memmang seronok setiap kali menjejakkan kaki ke puncak2 kinabalu yang berlainan pemandangan dan suasana cabaran pendakian....
so, saya ucapkan terima kasih... memang seronok dan gembira sesiapa yang datang ke Kundasang dan sekitarnya dengan suasana yang sejuk adn sebagainya.


Pak Zawi said...

Salam kembali.
Lawatan tersebut adalah lawatan kedua saya setelah kesana tak sampai setahun sebelumnya. Kali ini saya sempat melihat Kundasang dan kawasan sekitarnya dengan lebih teliti.
Sekarang and kerja dimana? Dulu saya juga terlibat dengan pelancongan dengan mengurus Kesedar Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd dan pakej kami yang utama adalah Berakit di Sungai nenggiri dengan menggunakan improvised dinghy dan juga rubber dinghy. Aktiviti seronok tetapi memenatkan. kini sudah bersara.

Anonymous said...

I was doing a search for villages name around Kundasan and found your site. Thank you for posting those beautiful pictures of our country Sabah Malaysia. Tenom is my home town, although I have left home for many years now - Malaysia still is my country. I have been in Canada for over 20 years now. Do take a look at this web site

Blessing to you and your family

Philip Tham

Pak Zawi said...

Philip Tham,
Thanks for the visit. I will make a reciprocal visit to your site.

Anonymous said... asal kundasang...just nak buat pembetulan bukan ustaz Markhizam tp ustaz Khairul nizam...tq...

marria said...

Hi,terima kasih kerana sudi datang ke kundasang.kami sebagai msykt kundasang akan bersungguh-sungguh memelihara dan memulihara setiap keindahan alam yg ada di kundasang.sudilah datang lagi..