Travel Spotlight: Kundasang, Malaysia

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DailyStraits.com editor visits Kundasang, Sabah for the first time. Here is what she thinks of the place.  

By June Ramli

I recently visited Sabah after a long hiatus.
A ten year hiatus to be exact.
This time I was invited to the state by the Sabah Tourism Board as a media guest for their World Tourism Conference
After the two day conference was over, we were taken on a media familiarisation trip throughout the state.
Our first stop was Kinabalu Park.
The journey to Kinabalu Park took us about two hours from our hotel, the Hyatt Centric in Kota Kinabalu.


We were driven there by an amazing guide – Ray from Amazing Borneo and our first stop was at the Sutera Sanctuary Lodges where hikers who are interested in conquering Mount Kinabalu would need to make a pit stop here in order to book their porter.
If you are interested in hiking Mount Kinabalu please do check out the site in order to plan your next hike there. 
Our guide Ray also told us that anyone interested in wrestling Mount Kinabalu would need to be fit.
If you aren’t fit then make sure you do some exercise, he recommended swimming and also taking the staircase four weeks before you are due to climb Mount Kinabalu.
Ray himself has been on the mountain top 33 times mainly for work.
He said the first time he reached the top, it felt surreal, like he had accomplished something impossible in his life.
I did a TikTok interview with Ray and he gave us some useful tips on those interested in climbing Mount Kinabalu.

@dailystraits

DailyStraits.com manage to score its first excursion to Sabah, Malaysia. Here are some snippets in video interview form from that marvellous trip. #Sabah #Malaysia #mediatrip #WorkTrip #AmazingBorneo @sabahtourism

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Raymond of Amazing Borneo speaks exclusively to DailyStraits.com.

I did see the peak of Mount Kinabalu but it closed soon after. 
We spent about 20 minutes at the Sutera Sanctuary Lodges before heading to the Kinabalu Park where we feasted our eyes with thousands of interesting flora and fauna that were unique to Borneo.
There was no Rafflesia but to my surprise you can find the Australian Gum tree standing tall there.

You can find the Australian Gum tree at the Kinabalu Park as seen here in this Tik Tok video.


Kinabalu Park requires an entry fee which differs between the local and international visitors.
After the visit to the park we headed to the Kloud Restaurant, Bar & Cafe at Mountain Valley Resort for some sumptuous lunch.
Check out the TikTok video below for the menu and range of prices. 

@dailystraits

DailyStraits.com manage to score its first excursion to Sabah, Malaysia. Here are some snippets in video interview form from that marvellous trip. #Sabah #Malaysia #mediatrip #WorkTrip #AmazingBorneo @sabahtourism #kinabalupark

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The Kloud cafe near the Kinabalu Park offers guests a sumptuous Malaysian lunch.


I didn’t eat that much because the ride up to the Kinabalu Park had made me a little nausea with my ears also being slightly blocked owing to the increase in pressure as we were now at the hilltop.
Once we were done with lunch, we were driven by Ray to meet the founders of Taman Budaya & Inovasi Kundasang, Sabah (TABIK) where we spent two hours just jamming with the folks there alongside with their bamboo instruments.

@dailystraits

DailyStraits.com manage to score its first excursion to Sabah, Malaysia. Here are some snippets in video interview form from that recently concluded marvellous trip to the land below the wind #sabahancrew_fams #Malaysia #mediatrip #WorkTrip #AmazingBorneo @sabahtourism #tamaninovasibudayasabah #kundasang

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The head of the TABIK group giving her welcome speech in Malay.

The place got its head start all thanks to COVID. 
While everyone was kept under lock and key, these groups of boys met and built all these bamboo instruments using their imagination and tenacity. 
At the Taman Budaya Inovasi Sabah you can also try on their traditional costumes and jam with the musicians.
They can play anything with those bamboo instruments and many of them are good singers who can sing well in Bahasa Melayu and in English.
Take a listen of some of their music played with their handmade instruments here:

@dailystraits

DailyStraits.com manage to score its first excursion to Sabah, Malaysia. Here are some snippets in video interview form from that recently concluded marvellous trip to the land below the wind #sabahancrew_fams #Malaysia #mediatrip #WorkTrip #AmazingBorneo @sabahtourism #tamaninovasibudayasabah #kundasang

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After we were done, we soon left for KK (Kota Kinabalu).
But not before stopping by at the selfie spot in Kundasang in Sabah. 
Over here, you will come across some folks dressed in superhero costumes like Spiderman, Superman and also Pikachu.
Taking pictures with these figures would cost you at least RM5 per shot.

Kundasang, Sabah, Malaysia.
The paid selfie booth in Kundasang, Sabah, Malaysia.

There is also a selfie booth not too far away where these figurines are stationed and that is a paid experience too.
We didn’t have time to check out the scenic Kundasang views that are similar to New Zealand as it was getting late by the time we were done.
Heading back to KK from the hilltop of Kundasang can be rather challenging if it rains and gets foggy and so we left as soon after we took a couple of selfie shots at the Kundasang roundabout.
We arrived in KK close to 8pm that night and met up with the Sabah Tourism Chairman Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.

Datuk Joniston Bangkuai.


During dinner, I asked him what can be done to turn Kundasang or any parts of Sabah into another Bali.
He said that in terms of that, it was quite hard to emulate as what Bali had achieved would be hard to follow suit among other tourism players.
But he did say that in order for more Australians to come to Sabah, connectivity between Australia and Sabah must be improved.
At the moment there was only one flight that connected the two together which was via MAS (Malaysian Airlines) and it was between Perth and Sabah.
He said this direct flight was mainly filled with Malaysian diasporas from Sabah who now call Perth home. 
In other words, there is still a lot of work that tourism operators must do to get more Australians to visit Sabah, which happens to be Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s birth place. 
I hope my next article about the wonders of Sandakan will entice you to want to visit Sabah as soon as the time and resources permits you to do so.

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