Assalamualaikum and Hi!
Tambunan is a very small town in between Ranau and Keningau town. This town is quite unknown when it comes to tourism around Sabah, probably because it is located in the deep area of Sabah. The majority of people who live here is Dusun tribe, the second largest community in Sabah, after Kadazan.
What I love most about Tambunan is the beautiful scenery of paddy fields, especially during the waiting season where we can see greenery even from afar. It is one unbusy surrounding, perfect place to unwind with 100% natures around. My mother lived and grew up here and every now and then we would come and visit our late grandmother back at my mom’s childhood home.
This year, Tambunan is promoting a lot more places to visit and various local activities to be held, in conjunction with the #visitTambunan2017 event. The aim is to introduce Tambunan as another tourism attraction in Sabah and get to know their cultures in general, comprising the way of living, type of foods, celebrations and the gems of the environment.
I have been to Mahua Waterfall twice, first in 2014 and the latest was in September 2016. Mahua Waterfall is a 17 m tall waterfall located within the infamous Crocker Range (second largest range in Malaysia after Titiwangsa Range). This waterfall was believed to be named upon its nearest village, which is Mahua Village.
How to get there
So easy! Ask the locals. Tambunan people are such friendly folks, and I can guarantee you Tambunan is probably the safest place in Sabah. Therefore, you can just park anywhere and ask people. The people are more shy than you, so just ask away.
Upon arrival from KK, you will see the roundabout of Tambunan, displaying the signature of the town which is the machete and the ginger statue, then from there, you will have to turn left. For the record, you will not get to encounter Tambunan town as it is on the opposite road of where the waterfall is. find this village called Patau. It is just on the side of the main road, leading to Ranau town. There is a school and a field there for a hint. And I am sure you will find the signboard of Mahua Waterfall along the road. From Patau area, there will be another 10 minutes (or so) before you reach the main station of Mahua Waterfall. (ps. I personally loved the scenery from Patau Village leading to Mahua Waterfall. It is strangely unique as you would find little flowers with multiple colours grow wildly along the way, surprisingly on a peak of a hill road!)
You think you could see the waterfall right away? No. There is another 500meters walkway to get there. Firstly, you will need to buy tickets are the counter. This website has a complete information about the admission fee for both Malaysian and non-Malaysian visitors. If you are hungry and you have no food with you, you can have a lunch at the restaurant nearby the parking area.
What to do at Mahua Waterfall
This is a recreational place suitable for all age groups. Do mind that Mahua is the most visited place in Tambunan and receiving visitors nearly every day. Here is the list of activities you can do in Mahua, and my best recommendation is to do it with a friend of a group of them:
Mahua Waterfall is almost 17 meters high but the its pool is only less than 1 1/2 meters deep. I’ve had the experienced swimming there with my colleagues in 2014. The water was so insanely cold! Once you step in, it’s better not to get your body out of it as almost immediately you will shiver. Don’t try to take a shower underneath the waterfall as it is very strong and it is not safe. If you are bringing your kids, please take better precautions on their actions. Oh, and you are not allowed to jump from the top.
- Picnic (no BBQ)
Last 2014 we went to Mahua and brought our own home cooked meals. It was a very memorable experience to us. We’ve had sausages, fried chickens, fried rice, nuggets and sambal (?). We were starving right after we swam and the best thing is yet to come which is to eat with a great view. Mahua has a damp, chilly surrounding where you can easily feel hungry. There are a number of recreational huts, trash bins, viewing platform, toilets and changing rooms available nearby the waterfall so I am convinced it will be a hassle-free picnic day for you. You can also eat while soaking in your feet in the water. Highly recommend for a family day gathering.
- Jungle Trekking
I am not a fond of jungle trekking mainly because I am not a friend of leeches. Especially in a tropical forest like Crocker and Sabah in overall, it is the home of leeches. But if you are a hiker and you don’t mind this stuff, good for you. They are offering a jungle trekking experience as well. There are other paths provided for this, which allows people to explore the jungle and find some mountain which I am not so well acknowledged about. But I am sure that it is a long distant journey on not an easy, paved route like the one provided going to Waterfall area.
That is it for Mahua Waterfall. I hope it has been beneficial for you. Do share if you’d like to!