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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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

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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

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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

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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

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 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.

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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 🙂

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!

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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.

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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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