This is the kind of trip that we have been planning for a while back in 2019. After our short stint of working in Penang for a year after graduating, I decided to bring my girlfriend around Sabah for a few week before continuing our Master study at Kuala Lumpur.
There was number of places I wish to bring her but the trip is a bit of a nostalgic visit for me. Places that we intend to cover was Membakut, Tenom, Keningau, Tambunan, Ranau, Tuaran, and Kota Kinabalu.
The idea was to show the variety of culture and geography of Sabah. Having live in number of places around Sabah, I understand the beauty of my own places which many from the Peninsular Malaysia tend to miss. The food was one of our priority but to be honest, I didn’t plan it that detail. I did the basic reservation of hotel and places but other than that, I personally prefer to fill in the activity when we are there.
Our first destination is Tenom where the entire trip might take about 8-9 hours in total, including our 1 hour and half ferry trip to Menumbok. For this, we took our sweet time in stopping on some of the interesting spot that I wish to show to her.
Our first destination for our trip is Tenom, a small town located in the middle of Sabah. The town is famous for its culture and nature where it is more commonly known for the Coffee that they produce call ‘Kopi Tenom’. One of the best way to get to Tenom is by the railway and I suggest anyone interested to study the train schedule properly as it tend to be not so consistent.
For our visit to Tenom, we stayed at Fatt Choi Cabin which is located right next to the famous Fatt Choi Coffee factory. Its a good and affordable place to stay but the sound proofing between the cabin need some improving.
The next day, we took our time to get some breakfast at the main market. I remember when I was young, my father would drive all the way here to buy some vegetable and meat. Breakfast is the typical Chinese breakfast (i forgot the name) and wash it all down with Kopi Tenom.
This place hold a special Childhood memory for me but coming back after 12 years, it was a good feeling. Plus, the place haven’t change much to be honest.
For our next destination, we are heading to Polumpong where the famous campsite offer a good view of Gunung Kinabalu. After Tenom, we decide to stop by at Keningau again to visit my old home and school before heading to Tambunan to visit the famous Viewing platform.
Our decision to stay the night in camp at Polumpong was actually to experience a different side of Sabah where instead of holing in a hotel like most tourist, a night in the camp is definitely much more closer to nature.
To keep it short, the place we stay is one of the few operator that provide a campsite along the Polumpong river. You can bring your own camp or you can rent one just like us. The package include sleeping bag and tent. Overall it cost us just about RM30 per person. (If not mistaken).
For the experience and view, I recommend everyone stay for the night before heading to the nearby attraction. Just avoid school holiday though.
That morning, we woke up extra early to catch the sunrise and to actually see a clear view of the Kinabalu Mountain before the afternoon cloud blocking it. The effort was worth it and to be honest, the fresh air combine with this extra ordinary view is totally worth it.
Missing a good coffee and breakfast though.
After Polumpong, we decided to opt for a slightly better stay where we went up the mountain area closer to Ranau. This time we are hoping to visit the Dairy Farm and explore the Ranau town a bit.
Being closer to Ranau, there is a wide choice of places to stay for this time we choose Ayana Hotel Resort, simply because of the easy to spot entrance and wide parking space. As in any hotel or resort in the area, there is no aircond provided as temperature is on average 24°C and can get as cold as 16°C at night.
After a night spent at the hotel, we decided to went out early for our breakfast and also to avoid the crowd that will come later on. We took our time around Ranau area that day before checking-out that afternoon.
After checking out, our next destination is Tuaran but before that I decided to visit my mother village before having our late lunch later at Tuaran town for its famous Mee Tuaran. We also manage to drop-by Kota Kinabalu and deliver some photobook to a friend of mine for their upcoming Photo Festival, Kinabalu Photo Festival 2019.
We went back to Membakut to stay at our family home for the night. We intend to spent the next day visiting some of the places at Kota Kinabalu before driving all the way to Kiulu to visit a friend family farm.
It was a refreshing trip as we manage to catch up with some old friend while enjoying a little bit of nature goodness.
Before concluding our trip, I brought my girlfriend to the War Memorial area before heading home. The 6 day trip is rather pack but given the circumstances, even 2 weeks are not enough to explore most places.
Next time I wish to go around Sabah on Motorcycles, provided at that time we are healthy enough for a decent adventure. Time will tell until our next trip around the place where I call home.