5 places you should go in Kundasang, Ranau

There are so much to see in Kundasang/Ranau.  But because I have all the time in the world I narrow it down for you. After doing some research, reading reviews and from my own experiences I picked five places that I personally think you should go while in Kundasang/Ranau.

Desa Cattle Dairy Farm

img_1000img_3258

Dub as New Zealand in Sabah. Need I say more?

More info HERE

Sabah Tea Garden

Away from the hustle and bustle of city life and offers you beautiful surrounding. Perfect place to wind down during the weekend.

Extensive info HERE

War Memorial Park

photo2663

A must visit as it is one of the firsts memorials to commemorate the brave Australian and British Prisoners of War who died in Sandakan and during the tragic death marches to Ranau during World War II.

More info HERE

Kinabalu Park

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

You’ve not been to Kundasang if you’ve not visited Kinabalu Park. While there may be no specific reason as to why, I just think it’s a compulsory for you to see Mount Kinbalu from here.

More info HERE

Ranau sport and paragliding complex

img_1086p_20160911_104857

 For the adrenaline junkies. Read more on paragliding in Lohan, Ranau HERE.

I said five but I also said there are so many to see/do so here’s one more thing that you need to do in Kundasang. CLIMB MOUNT KINABALU! Read my experience climbing the mountain in 2012 HERE.

dsc_0089

p/s:

This is my own list. My own opinion. My own pick. It really depends on your own choices anyway. So share with me your own list if you have one 🙂

Hope this helps to narrow down your choices!

Till next post 🙂

Advertisements

Island Hopping: Pulau Tiga (Survivor Island), Kuala Penyu

Hello everyone!

It’s my first post of the year and we’re already in the second month. How’s your year so far? Have you give in to your goals? I hope not. Whatever your goals are for this year, I hope you’ll keep on working on them. Don’t give up! Sure, some days we feel demotivated and defeated, but that’s just a reminder that you’ve been working hard and need to step back and breathe. So do that and come back stronger. You got this! Okay?

For my first entry of the the year, I’d like to share our Pulau Tiga experiences. We planned this trip about one month before the actual date. But the funny thing was I only knew we were going to Kuala Penyu two days before the trip. I even confidently told my friend that we’re going to take the boat at Jesselton Point. Hah! That’s what happened when you don’t Google your destination.

Moving on, Tiga Island is also known as the Survivor Island because the first season of Survivor was shot there. Though, admittedly, I never watched the show and never took interest to watch it. However, this island is actually less known compare to the islands around KK and Semporna. There are also less people there.  So if you want to escape from the crowded beaches then Pulau Tiga is just perfect for that.

Our boat set off from the Kuala Penyu mainland at around  8.30 in the morning. It took about 40 minutes if I’m not mistaken to reach our first stop, the Sandspit. It was a inhabited island with white sand where you can take loads of pictures if you wish to. If I’m being honest, you actually can skip this island and spend more time for snorkelling or do other activities. This time, my snorkelling experience was more exciting since I had more confident and didn’t depend on guide to assist me like in Mabul. We saw more fishes here. Way too many fishes that it got us super excited.

After snorkelling, we then went to Pulau Tiga. Checked in, settled down before we proceeded with another activity. Floating on the volcano mud! From our hostel, we need to walk for about 30 minutes I think, to get to the volcano mud. At first, I was a bit reluctant, thinking ‘what if I get drown? It looks deep’ over thinking always gets the best of me. But the moment I felt myself floating on volcano mud, I couldn’t help but to smile and a sense of relieved wash over me. I had a good time floating!

The highlight of this trip for me was witnessing the sun set. It was utterly beautiful. Pure bliss. If you’re in Pulau Tiga, you should not miss the sun set. But let’s just hope the weather permit. At night, we had barbecue and played some games. Sang songs. It was a good time.

We spent only a night there, so we left the island around ten in the morning. It was such a short trip but wonderful nonetheless.

Check out sumandak_project on Facebook to see our videos!

img_1520img_1528img_1573img_1584img-20161207-wa0011img-20161207-wa0016img-20161207-wa0018img-20161208-wa0015img-20161208-wa0020img-20161210-wa0006img-20161210-wa0016

Till next post 🙂

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.

img_1337dscn3097

Gusungan Island

img_1326img_1353img_1348img_1415img_1387img_1368img_1365img_1460img_1449img_20161108_153338

img_1489img_1483img_1470

Till next post 🙂

Island Hopping in Semporna: Sibuan & Bohey Dulang

dscn1636img_1164

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?

img_4581

Semporna’s Jetty

dscn1564dscn1565fhd0080dscn1630fhd0026img_4592

img_4591

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

img_5236img_1281

img_1222

The breathtaking view from the peak of Bohey Dulang

img_1221img_1213img_1263img_1197img_1191img_1296img_1302img_1315

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.


dscn2999

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

img_1310

Till my next post!

Have a good day 🙂

Road Trip: Bukit Tengkorak, Semporna

On our way to Semporna I took out my camera to record a video but then I realised that I forgot the battery!
You don’t know how frustrated I was by the fact that I charged the battery the night before and yet I still forgot about it. Even though my friends have a camera and iphone it still didn’t make me feel any better. Personally, I love taking my own photos because I wanted to see the places we went to through my own lens. And when I scan through my friends’ photos I can see different different angles. It really tells our own perspectives and personality. Anyone else feel that way?
I guess this incident forced me to practice ‘yoga’ off the mat. I forgot the battery. So what? I have my phone. And besides it’s not the photos that matter. It’s the experience. The sense of adventure. These things cannot be captured even by the most expensive camera you could have. I’m glad that I didn’t let this tiny matter got the best of me.
Let’s put that aside and get on with my main point which is our trip to Bukit Tengkorak in Semporna. So here’s an excerpt I got from HERE that I want to share so that you know what’s the hype about this place is all about.
 
“Bukit Tengkorak is a volcanic rock-shelter site and a part of volcano mouth of 2km in diameter. Bukit Tengkorak Archaeological Site is the largest pottery making factory in Southeast Asia during the Neolithic period. The hill slopes are littered with numerous pottery shards with various patterns dating 3,000 BP. An ethno-archaeological study shows that pottery making is still practised by the Bajau of Semporna today.”
Few years back, I went to this place but didn’t get the chance to do the hiking. You can read about it HERE. I tell you, this place is truly beautiful! You have to see it with your own eyes to agree with me on this. My friends and I couldn’t stop wowwing (if that’s even a word) the whole time we were there.
The only thing that disturbed me when I was there was the vandalism happened around the place. I’m afraid that if the maintenance of the place is being neglected soon enough it will lose its charm. And that would be a great lost.
There’s a boardwalk provided for visitors but if you want to explore the place more you have to brave yourself to follow the trails less taken. But make sure you’re not alone. Especially if you’re a woman. My friends and I decided to follow an abandoned trails and it was truly the best decision ever. We found a beautiful spot to take photos.
This is the famous ‘Sleeping old man’. It comprises three islands which are Bohey Dulang, Tatagan and Gaya. When you see it with your own eyes you’ll know why the people of Semporna named it as the ‘Sleeping old man’ (because you can’t really sees it through photo). Legend has it that these islands were actually a family who didn’t want to be apart so they went to see a shaman to make them stay together as a family forever. The shaman then turned each of them into an island which is now known as Bohey Dulang, Tatagan and Gaya. However, scientifically these islands are in fact the rim of a huge volcano that erupted million years ago. Whatever the truth is, it’s always fun to learn something new.
The last hut where we had our lunch. Just like our previous road trip, we packed our own lunch to save money.
The beautiful spot. Again, you have to see it with your own eyes because this photo cannot do the justice on how breathtakingly beautiful the view is.
After exploring the hill, my friends and I spent some time at the gallery to learn about Bukit Tengkorak and its history. I love it that the place has enough information for visitors who are interested in learning about the hill.
Is this place worth visiting? Yes! Provided you spent some time to actually explore it and enjoy the beauty of its surrounding. It’s also a great place for family picnic. Besides you don’t have to pay to enter. Yes, it’s free of charge people! If you’re a history enthusiast you can learn about the hills and the archaeological aspects of the place at the information center/gallery. If you come to Semporna this place should be included in your itinerary. I guess that’s about it. Hope y’all have a good day. Till then.
Sidenote:
I’m sure that most people are thinking about the pristine beaches and crystal clear waters when they think of Semporna. We haven’t gone island hopping yet. But it’s in our plan. I forecasted that next year would be pack with going here and there. Nothing is fixed yet as we want to take thing one step at a time and be flexible with our plans. Can’t wait to see where life take us to next! Fingers crossed for more adventure!