Assalamualaikum and hello everyone,
Last few weeks ago we had this amazing trip conquering Ranau and Tambunan area. But for this post, it will just be about Ranau. Although I live in Ranau and knew pretty much a lot about the place but the word ‘trip’ always excites me. It always feels different to visit the same place after a long time of not visiting it.
Since it was our a week of mid-break for this semester, and to treasure the amount of the time we have left for our final year, we thought we would plan a short trip to Ranau and Tambunan. Andd since our dear friend from the peninsular hasn’t had the opportunity to go to these two places after 5 years of studying in Sabah, and she wanted to go this time around, so the plan was just perfectly right on time. I am apparently visiting my own hometown!
Two days prior to leaving off for the trip, we went to buy our bus ticket at Tawau Bus Centre (although there isn’t any sign stating its name). We opted for the Optis Jaya bus knowing that Transedar is no longer had the route to Kota Kinabalu passing by Ranau at 2 pm. Luckily, we had the very front seats booked for ourselves. Front seats always win!
The bus came to fetch us around 3 pm on Friday afternoon. We arrived at the small pekan of Ranau around 10.30pm that night. It was a pleasant ride, although it got a little too fast after we stopped by the RnR to have a late dinner. Nevertheless, we arrived safely and that the only thing that matters. We then went to the homestay of my brother-in-law with the help of BIL’s BIL (you get it) and my close friend who happened to be working at night shift and was willing to come help us get to the homestay. Many thanks to both of them.
Once we arrived, we chatted a little bit and proceeded to take a well-rested sleep after performing wayfarer prayers.
We woke up early to perform morning prayer and getting ready for the adventure ahead. Can’t you feel the excitement? We cooked simple fried noodles for breakfast along with a coffee. We then waited for our male friend, who is also from Ranau, to come and fetch us for this trip. What a very helpful friend indeed.
Getting to Crystal Hill, Kundasang, Sabah:
Our first destination was non-other than to ‘hike‘ the crystal hill. I called it ‘hike‘ simply because there was no real hiking to get there except for a little steep road you need to walk up (if you park in a little bit away) before you came down to its trail. You literally just walking down the hill rather than going up, because the road was above the location of the crystal hill. But then, you will need to hike on your way back and it could be pretty challenging when you run (we did as there was a storm coming up to us that morning).
What’s interesting about Crystal Hill was without a doubt, the amazing view of Kundasang. If you haven’t gone to Kundasang yet, you probably do not know how it looks like. It’s windy all the time, chill air with Mount Kinabalu and many other hills surrounding the area. Kundasang is the most visited place in Sabah, Malaysia. My best recommendation when visiting Crystal Hill is to take time to enjoy the view, as it really is beautiful and morning would be the perfect time to come by. Oh, and it’s free. If you came from afar, there is a lot of lodges, hotels, and homestays nearby the area and yes, they are within walking distances (but if you walk, then you had to bare in mind that it literally means ‘hiking’). The closest accommodation would be Crystal Hill lodge (www.crystalhillborneo.com or call this number +6016-5846116).
Getting to Desa Cattle Dairy Farm:
This place is by far the most visited place in Kundasang. I haven’t been there for years, it was in 2009 and after 7 years, there has been quite a lot of positive changes. We didn’t get to stay a bit longer at Crystal Hill due to the storm, so we thought we would proceed to our next destination, Desa Cattle Dairy Farm. By its name everyone would have noticed that it is a farm of animals but mind you the farm was located just at the foot of the magnificent Mt. Kinabalu and the surrounding was full of greenery. I can vouch you that people are not actually interested to see the cows or the goats, but the setting and the views there are just beautiful. Pre-wedding photography was done there as well. It was pretty amazing especially for those you haven’t been to any farms before. It took us less than 30 minutes to get to Desa Cattle from the Crystal Hill.
What’s interesting about Desa Cattle apart from the view, of course, was its own dairy product. I need a drum roll for this as I am pretty pumped up to share with you all,
- The Yogurt and Chocolate Ice creams! You can opt two main ice creams either yogurt or chocolate with different toppings like blueberry, strawberry, and many others. (RM5-RM7 each)
- Desa Cattle own dairy milk! Guys, the milk have no preservative ingredients whatsoever which mean it lasted just a couple of days before it expires. Health freaks should love this. They are trying to have different types of flavour like plain milk, chocolate and the latest one, coffee. My friends didn’t like the taste of the coffee but I personally loved it, the coffee was very strong in it and I didn’t feel anything wrong with it. If you are a lactose-intolerant person, then make sure you do not drink the milk too much during your trip as there is a lot of lactose in there, therefore you would pretty much have to find a toilet every other time (based on experience).
- Hot sausages & Pizzas!
- The views. I know I’ve told it earlier but try to drive further after the main building area. You will get what I mean.
p/s. To get in, each person is charged RM5 for Malaysian.
There was a storm approaching while we were at the barn feeding the cows. It only went heavier right when we left the head quarters, although we felt like going further up to the hillside of the desa. Nevertheless, it was really fun!
Getting to and What to Buy in Kundasang Market:
Kundasang Market is highly visible as it is located just on the side of the main road of pekan Kundasang. There is a long line of permanent stalls selling a range of vegetables, fruits, and flowers. Our recommendation is to try out the fruits already packed and peeled and you can get three packs for an affordable price, RM5 only. Vegetables are a little pricey to my opinion as you could get the them all in Pekan Ranau Market for much better bargain. Andd flowers are everywhere! you could get a heart attack from seeing live flowers available for sale. There is also fresh roses which you could buy and give to someone you love, if you want to.
Getting to Arnab Village, Kg Purakagis:
Arnab Village is what it is called, not Rabbit Village or Kampung Arnab. This place is by far located at a remote area in between Kundasang and Ranau town. It is not very far from the main road however you still have to be aware as the road may get you lost. Thankfully, the owner of the Arnab Village had just placed signboards along the way from Kundasang to Kg. Purakagis so do look out for the signs as you might missed it.
To get here, you may need to search for Kg. Kibbas as it is the first Kampung you will see first. Take right if you came from Kota Kinabalu or otherwise if you came from Tawau or Semporna. Do be careful to drive, although the road is fully tarred, considering the landform of Sabah (mountainous and uneven), you will find a lot of cracks and potholes.
We were lucky to get a very small fee which was has not been finalised yet, only for RM1 per person. The place is very much new therefore there is still quite a bit to improvise. But we guarantee your kids would be very much happy to be there as the rabbits are pretty much approachable and cuddly. They can even sit on you lap to eat from you palms! Just make sure to wash your kids’ hands afterwards. The rabbit foods are available for RM1 each packet. Do support our people to grow their businesses!
Getting to former Mamut Copper Mine, Ranau:
From Kundasang, it will take around 30 minutes to reach Ranau town and from Ranau town to the copper mine it will take about 30-1 hour to reach the place although it is less than 15 km away. The mine is located at the summit of a hill and the road to get there is a the 90% graveled. There is no public accommodation you could have to get there, unless you have rented a car (4 wheels preferably) or ask your local friend to bring you there. Frankly, this former mine was ceased for operation in 1999 and it is not open for public even for visitation purposes as it is located within the circle of reserved forest. Therefore, we are not sure of its clear status on whether people are allowed to see the ex-mine.
Although I live in Ranau my entire life, I never had the chance to actually go there and all I heard was the story of its looks and the history. One thing I knew was that the mine had given such impact on the locals migration as a lot men came to work there thus their families were brought to live nearby. As seen now, there is a heavy population down the hill and also along the way to the mine. I’ve also heard about the amount of accumulated water in that former mine could actually drown the whole Ranau town, if it breaks. Looking at the hugeness of the former mine and the stagnant water in it, I could relate to that rumous and its possibility of ‘drowning’ the Ranau town, as Ranau is just located down the hill. It is actually very dangerous. and to make it worse the water is highly acidic.
Consideration: The view up there was majestic and it was worth the hike. However, as of late (mid 2016), the mine can only be accessible by car up to 3/4 of the road. Due to some irresponsible people trying to take advantage of visitors by asking for some money to see the place, therefore the road is closed and now there is a locked barricade that prevents vehicles from reaching the mine. However, you can park to the side and walk you way up to the area, which in my opinion was a little challenging but the experience would be a lot more meaningful. It will take you around 25-40 minutes to walk, depending on how fit you are (yes, you are hiking the road). You are welcome.
Come and see the copper mine. I was personally astonished looking at the view that I was sitting there and enjoying the cold breeze surrounding the place. It’s noon but it’s chilly (summit, remember?). We couldn’t see the Mt Kinabalu, the clouds were everywhere and they looked very close too. Please do not litter and if you do not have the gut to bring your own stuff back to your car then do not bring anything there. It’s a place to be visited not for people to leave their rubbishes around. Oh, if you are a nature seeker, there is a homestay available at the top (google ‘homestay Mamut’). You may be lucky to be accompanied by a family of husky-mixed dogs on your way back (one of the puppy had two different eye colors).
Other Must-Visit/Do Places/Activity in Ranau:
- Paragliding at Paragliding and Sport Complex Ranau (Will post soon!)
- Sabah Tea Garden
- Fish-spa at Kg. Luanti (Feed the fish, Feet or Body fish-spa)
- Poring Hot Spring (Take a Bath, Walk the Canopy, Hike to Langanan Waterfall, Butterfly Garden, Camping etc)
- Kundasang War Memorial Park