Pay this house a visit: Rumah USBA, Tawau

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Hi!

Last February, I flew to Tawau for my SPP interview. But mind you that this isn’t a post recounting my SPP experience because to be honest, I’m still processing the whole experience. But if you want to know anything about SPP interview, you can reach me personally. Just click on the the CONTACT tab.

This post is dedicated to one unplanned visit to Rumah USBA, Batu Payung in Tawau. Initially, our plan was to spend the last few hours in Tawau before we boarded the plane at the Batu Payung’s jetty. It was quite well known among the locals there. We’ve been there before.

However, what we did not know was across the jetty was a house worth to visit. We saw one notice inviting people to the house to see antique stuffs and straight away we decided to abandon our plan and crossed the road to get to the house. I mean, who would pass such opportunity? Not me.

At first, we were a bit hesitant. Afraid that our visit were not welcome since people actually live in that house and you don’t just come to people house, right? Plus we didn’t see anybody around except for voices inside the house. But me being insistent assured my friends that it was okay, after all, there was notice being put up inviting people to visit.

Not waiting for long, we ascended the stairs and one old man (he asked us to call him Om)   invited us to come in cheerfully and instantly I felt welcome. Without wasting any time, Om began showing us his antique collections and offered us some information about all the old stuffs he kept.

Portable lighthouse, spotlight, gas stove, iron, vintage bicycle, telephone, and gramophone were just few examples of old stuffs you could find in Om’s living room. And oh he also showed us his impressive old vinyl records collection and we got the opportunity to enjoy music from Jefridin’s era.

Apart from that, Om also shared with us Batu Payung’s history and showed us rocks in his backyard that resembled frog, lion, elephant and turtle.  It was quite fascinating especially when you saw the resemblance.

The highlight of this visit was, of course, the chance to know Om. He was the epitome of living life passionately. His eyes beaming with passion whenever he talked and explained things to us. You can see that he did things with all his heart. You’ll understand what I’m talking about once you sit and talk to him. Om reminded me to pursue my passions and put my heart into anything that I do. He’s a living inspiration!

A bit of information about Om, he used to work as a cameraman and he has 2000 pieces of photos in his collection if I’m not mistaken. In addition, he and his wife were the one who painted 1Malaysia mural all over Tawau between 2011-2012.

It’s true that sometimes inspiration knocked on your door in a way you never expected.

So if you ever find yourself in Tawau, pay Om a visit 🙂

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Island Hopping in Semporna: Gusungan, Mabul & Kapalai

Though the post title indicates that we went to three places, you’ll read and see photos of Mabul more than the other two places since we spent the majority of our time there.

Gusungan Island & Kapalai

Gusungan Island is basically just a small island with only two or three trees and inhabit by the Sea Gypsies. While Kapalai is actually a resort where you’re not allow to enter unless you’re staying there (that’s what we were told by the boatman/guide). You’re only allow to snorkel around the resort area and from what I heard Kapalai is where you can see more turtles. However, due to strong current we didn’t see any turtle in Kapalai though. We were only there for about 30 minutes I guess.

Mabul Island

Mabul is just as beautiful as you imagined it to be.  I fell in love with the island the moment I set my eyes on it. A love at a first sight! It took my breath away with its crystal clear water and by far the bluest sea I’ve ever seen. You need to see it yourself! We were literally ‘wowwing’ the whole time we were there. There’s a bungalow resort where you can walk around freely while you’re there. But I’m sure the cost to stay there will definitely make a hole in your pocket. But it’s a nice place to explore.

And while you’re there, you must go snorkeling. Or diving. It was a great experience to see the turtles, the corals, the fishes and the the starfish. Ahh, I can still remember all the details clearly. If you don’t know how to swim and afraid of water like me, it’s time to challenge yourself. I had no single regret and definitely will do it again.

After Kapalai, we went back to Mabul. This time we didn’t snorkel. Instead, we went around the island. Which was also my favourite part of this trip. If you come to Mabul you should not miss out on exploring the island and see the life of the people there. My friend said to me that seeing people who live life different than the life we used to was an eye opening. She was right. These people were happy people despite their living conditions. I was truly humbled by this experience.

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Gusungan Island

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Till next post 🙂

Island Hopping in Semporna: Sibuan & Bohey Dulang

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Tun Sakaran Marine Park was gazetted in 2004 as Sabah’s seventh park. It consists of eight islands. Pulau Bodgaya, Boheydulang, Tetagan, Selakan, Sebangkat, Maiga, Sibuan and Mantabuan.  This marine park presented one of the best view in the world.  With that in mind, I was so eager to go for an island hopping in Semporna so when my friends agreed to go I was thrilled.

We started our journey from Tawau to Semporna at around 6.30 am and reached our destination at around 7.30am. Our boat set off from the Jeti Awam at 8.30am. We were supposed to go to three islands. Sibuan, Mantabuan and Bohey Dulang. However, due to low tide the boat couldn’t get to Mantabuan. So we only went to Sibuan and Bohey Dulang. At first, we were to hike Bohey Dulang but due to the heavy rain early in the morning we were told that we’re going for snorkeling first in Sibuan island.

Sibuan Island

This island was our snorkeling destination. We paid RM15.00 for a set of snorkeling equipment. Because of the strong current we were told to not go farther into the sea. I was frustrated as I didn’t get to see much. There were only few fishes and that was that. I didn’t see any coral though. From what we were told, we need to get farther to see the corals. However, the stunning view made up for my disappointment.

One thing I noticed beside the  beautiful beach with white sand was the rubbish there. I was disturbed by the fact that people came to the island and left their rubbish behind. If you can’t make the commitment to take care of the place you visited then you better stay at home. Let’s be a more responsible visitor. Take care of our nature.

If you don’t know, Sibuan island is the most photograph island after Sipadan. Can you imagine what will happen to the beach if we don’t take good care of its environment?

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Semporna’s Jetty

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The weather was gloomy the whole time we were there

Bohey Dulang Island

Like I mentioned earlier, we were supposed to go to Mantabuan but because of low tide we couldn’t get in. We then went to the next island, Bohey Dulang. Usually people go to Bohey Dulang for a hike. The hike to the peak is 600M and the trail is quite challenging for some people. But the view you get once you reached the viewpoint is so worth it and you’ll thank yourself for not giving up halfway 🙂 The hike took me around 30 minutes.

While up there, I was so hungry and kept on thinking about the lunch we packed for this trip. Luckily we packed ourselves some lunch if not we would have to wait till we get to the main land to fill our hungry stomach. Some tour provide lunch but if you’re like us then you definitely have to bring some food and water.

You can read details about Bohey Dulang HERE

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The breathtaking view from the peak of Bohey Dulang

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Hiking in Bohey Dulang and seeing the colour of the ocean during the boat ride were the highlights of this trip for me. We even saw turtles swimming freely in the ocean.

If you really want to go to these islands, you should definitely go.


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Let’s look at our cost as I’m sure this is a frequently asked question.

There are so many boat operator you can find on the internet. Do a comparison and pick the one that suits your budget or preferences.

Our cost per person are as shown below:

COST

Boat:

RM550/ 10 = RM55

Other fees:

Conservation = RM3

Jetty = RM 2

Snorkeling = RM15

Gas = RM10 each

Total budget per person= RM85

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Till my next post!

Have a good day 🙂

Mamut Ex Copper Mine, Ranau

img_1125Mamut ex copper mine is relatively new to many people. That include me. I only knew about this place last year through Instagram though I read about this place while in school but never had I imagined that one day I’ll be able to see it with my own eyes. Though Mamut Copper Mine is not officially open for visitation it has gained attention from many these past few years.

We went to the ex mine on the first day of our Ranau trip. However, the main gate is closed and we need to walk by foot to reach the mine. It was getting dark that time and we decided to come back the next day.

As planned, we reached Mamut Copper Mine main gate the next day at noon and parked our car at the main gate. There were few other cars being parked there so we felt a bit safe and started walking to get to the mine. It was not an easy walk I must say especially for people like me who has weak cardiovascular system. But if you take it slowly and just enjoy the walk you’ll definitely get there. The walk to the mine from the main gate took us about an hour. But it will be different for different people. It depends on your stamina. Some can even do it under an hour.

Mamut ex copper mine is a beautiful place. It’s a perfect place for a photo shoot. However, don’t expect too much as all you see once you reached the place is an abandoned copper mine. We didn’t really explore the place actually. Some people went down the hill to get closer to the mine. We didn’t. I personally feel that the view is already worth the walk to the mine.

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Side note:

In 2015, there was a plan to close the mine by filling the open pit due to its acidic water. It’s been said that if the wall of the mine break it could cause harm to people. However, the cost of filling the open pit will cost at least RM100mil and takes 10 years. You can read more about it HERE and HERE.

Desa Dairy Farm & Kundasang’s Market

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After Crystal Hill, our next stop was the famous Desa Dairy Farm. This was my first visit there though I’ve been to Ranau quite a number of time. So of course I was excited. It is the Sabah’s New Zealand after all.

We arrived at Desa Dairy Farm at around 10am or so and it was already packed with people. The thing I don’t like about going to mainstream place is the crowd. It suffocates me. But it’s something I have to live with anyway.

Once we entered the building, we straight away went to get some gelato. I opted for the chocolate but having tasted the yogurt flavour from a friend I think yogurt won over chocolate. So go for the yogurt one if you go there. But it would be best to try both so you can decide for yourself which flavour  you like the most.

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As expected, the view is astonishingly beautiful. However, due to the rain I didn’t really get to see the view that I saw all over the internet. We didn’t even get to see the full view of Mount Kinabalu. Thanks to you, rain.

While there we were practically just walking around the building, bought a cold sausage and fresh milks, and also fed a cow with a grass that you can buy at the counter. Our time there was mostly spent inside the building. So I was a bit frustrated not having the chance to actually enjoy the beautiful scenery. Definitely will come back. So did Desa Dairy Farm reached my expectation? Definitely. I love the picturesque scenery.

We then headed for Dreamworld Resort but it was raining heavily and we only stayed in the van for about 30minutes. Because we couldn’t get out, we decided to go to the Kundasang’s famous market. It was still raining when we reached there. Though I was frustrated with the rain, it didn’t really spoiled my mood as I was happily buying some fruits though I was freezing to death. Hehe.

After buying everything we wanted, we headed to our next stop which was the Arnab Village. A new attraction site in Ranau but I’ll do a separate post on that.

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Madai Cave, Kunak

 

Our last destination for our road trip to Lahad Datu and Kunak (fyi, we had another short road trip shortly after this trip and I’ll blog about it soon) was the Madai Cave. This cave is not under any management agency as it is own by the village people, specifically the Idahan people who have lived there for so long. So there’s no entrance fee but if you go there it is advisable to hire a guide. If you’re concern about the fee, fret not as they will only ask you to pay them by the amount you’re willing to pay them. But I think since it is their source of income we should pay them accordingly.

If I were asked to compare my experience exploring Simud Hitam cave with Madai cave I would say that exploring Madai cave was more adventurous. Before this trip my friend and I read that there are people being raped inside the cave. We don’t know if the story is true. Having read such news terrified us as we’re with no man. And when all the guides were male we all became terrify for a moment and when we talked about it after we got out I found out that we’re all actually planning about how to escape if something happened to us. I thought I was the only one.

We still couldn’t stop talking bout how grateful we were nothing happened to us. Instead, we had loads of fun and got to learn new things about the cave and also the work as a bird nest collector. Our guides were all friendly people and took good care of our safety. They even told us that we came at the wrong time. Supposedly, we come during the harvesting season so that we can see how the work done inside the cave. This year, the last harvest season is in December. So if you’re planning to go and see this cave you should come during that time.

We didn’t get to the top of the cave because it had just rained and the trails were slippery and the guide said we shouldn’t risk our safety.

We were also shown the places where collectors fell and died. The remnants of the ropes are still there.
This is an ancient coffin found inside the cave.
If anyone of you wonder what is there to see..well, a cave. I know not many people fond of the idea of exploring a cave. It’s dark and full with bats’ shits and cockroaches. It’s not a place for everyone. But I think that it’s the sense of adventure that matter. And you’ll learn more more than what you learned at school. Learning about the work as bird nest collector make me realise how comfortable my life is.
I had mixed feeling about this trip. At one point it was disappointing but towards the end I felt happy, blessed and grateful. Whatever it is, I feel like I need to get out more and explore. Remember, adventure doesn’t mean trip across the ocean or climbing the top of a mountain only. It’s more than that. It’s up to you what kind of adventure you want to experience. Do it for the experience. Do it because it enriches your life.
If you do thing to impress and compete with people, where’s the life in it? Hope y’all have a good day. If adventure is at your door step by all mean grab it and fully experience it. Till then.