Category Archives: Discover Sabah

Jari-Jari, Body & Mind Relaxation – Massage therapy center in Kota Kinabalu

My wife who currently expecting, is on her 7th month of pregnancy of our third child. Her moves has become slower and she started to complain to me that her lower body, especially her pelvic joints becomes intermittently painful and sometimes discomforting. I did give her massage for once or twice, hoping to relieve her symptoms, but unfortunately, it didn’t. And I don’t encourage her to take pain killers to relieve the pain, although we know that it would help her condition.

So, I brought her to Jari-Jari, Sabah’s latest location for high quality indulgence, a massage therapy center that is situated in Tanjung Aru Plaza, Kota Kinabalu. It is a perfect place to restore and rejuvenate your body with various treatments and massages, which is done by skilled local Dusun therapists, blended with sensuous oils that can really calm your mind and body.

She was a bit reluctant at the beginning, as she had never been offered to be “pampered” like this before and slightly anxious whether the massage would disturbed her pregnancy. However, after discussing with her massage therapist, it is quite safe to have a massage during pregnancy, provided that the masseur do not disturbed her tummy.

There are various packages available, starting from just a “Signature Massage” which cost about RM140++ (their website state RM160++) for 1 hour and 15 minutes up to RM670++, depending on the packages that you choose.

I was told that they have a very special promotion for locals, which would only cost us RM98++ if we decided to choose one of their “Signature Massage”. As this is our first time, I decided to utilize the promotion and opt with their Award Winning Best Traditional Treatment – Dusun Lotud Inan Body Therapy.

This relaxing massage uses techniques passed down from generation to generation among the Lotud Dusuns, a group from the Tuaran District just north of Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Their distinctive massage technique involves applying pressure with the thumbs to the various pressure points in the body, magically unlocking the flow of energy, releasing tension and relaxing the muscles.

The session started with a 15 minutes of Floral Foot Bath, Foot Scrubs and followed by the “Dusun Lotud Inan Body Therapy”. I managed to get some photos of the place while my wife was gets the treatment.

Jari-Jari, Body & Mind Relaxation - Massage therapy center in Kota Kinabalu

We were served with herbal tea (which taste really spicy) while my wife was filling up her particulars on their reservation form.

Jari-Jari, Body & Mind Relaxation - Massage therapy center in Kota Kinabalu

The front entrance of Jari-Jari at Level 2, Tanjung Aru Plaza, Kota Kinabalu.

Jari-Jari, Body & Mind Relaxation - Massage therapy center in Kota Kinabalu

Babysitting my children while my wife gets her treatment.

Jari-Jari, Body & Mind Relaxation - Massage therapy center in Kota Kinabalu

Inside view of the foot treatment place.

Jari-Jari, Body & Mind Relaxation - Massage therapy center in Kota Kinabalu

Jari-Jari, Body & Mind Relaxation - Massage therapy center in Kota Kinabalu

Jari-Jari, Body & Mind Relaxation - Massage therapy center in Kota Kinabalu

Jari-Jari, Body & Mind Relaxation - Massage therapy center in Kota Kinabalu

Jari-Jari, Body & Mind Relaxation - Massage therapy center in Kota Kinabalu

Jari-Jari, Body & Mind Relaxation - Massage therapy center in Kota Kinabalu

My wife with the therapist inside the private room.

While flipping through their brochures, I saw an interesting package, which tailored specifically for Mount Kinabalu climbers – SABAH JUNGLE TREKKERS AND MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS PACKAGE. The session take 2 hours @ RM 345.00 ++.

A reward for all those who have completed their jungle trek, or reached the summit of one of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia. This proven treatment is designed to relieve stress from tired and aching muscles.

5-Step Treatment

  • Floral Footbath
  • Foot Scrub with Borneo Coffee
  • Foot Therapy
  • Fatigue & Tension Relief (oil free) Therapy or ‘Tungku’ Relaxing herbs Hot Compress Therapy
  • Dusun Ulu Tanggara Body Therapy with Muscle Rub Aromatherapy oil

Care to have yourself pampered?

*If you are wondering, this is NOT a sponsored post…

A family trip to Tuaran Crocodile Farm (Taman Buaya Tuaran), Sabah

I managed to spend some quality time with my family last weekend, after 2 weeks of non-stop working. We went to Tuaran Crocodile Farm, a crocodile adventure land which situated 32km from Kota Kinabalu city center. Just want to share and show my little boy real crocodiles as compared to what he usually see in Animal Planet.

The crocodile farm is the largest crocodile farm in Sabah. It accommodates more than 1,000 crocodiles in the land below the wind. Open daily from 8.30am to 5.30pm, it is one of the place that you can bring your family for an adventure. They also have crocodile show time, twice a day from Monday to Saturday (at 11.00am and 3.00pm) and additional show at 1.00pm on Sundays. The show can be just anything from kissing the crocodiles up to boxing with them.

We arrived just half an hour before the farm closed. I only managed to go around the farm and take photos for less than 20 minutes, but it was worth the time. Enjoy the photos!

Tuaran Crocodile Farm

My wife and two little angles.

Tuaran Crocodile Farm

The view of the farm as you walk in the entrance door.

Tuaran Crocodile Farm

It’s a “preserved” crocodile. And no, we don’t have any relationship with Crocodile Hunter.

Tuaran Crocodile Farm

My son riding a SEEDOO with a crocodile. Hahaha…

Tuaran Crocodile Farm

Riding a crocodile trishaw…

Tuaran Crocodile Farm

Tuaran Crocodile Farm

Tuaran Crocodile Farm

Few crocodiles seen in the pond. There were actually many more crocs, but I don’t think there would be any significant differences on the photo.

Tuaran Crocodile Farm

Naturally bisexual crocodile? Hmm…. interesting.

Tuaran Crocodile Farm

This is a very interesting crocodile:

Tuaran Crocodile Farm

Now we know why he got there…

Tuaran Crocodile Farm

There’s a Murut Longhouse inside. Cultural dance is shown half an hour after every crocodile show time in here.

Tuaran Crocodile Farm

Bamboo House. It’s already closed when we got there.

Tuaran Crocodile Farm

I wonder why they put Terengganu flag up there?

Mengkabong River

A view of Mengkabong River. You have to cross this river if you are driving from Kota Kinabalu using Sulaman highway.

Mengkabong River and Bridge

Mengkabong river and the bridge.

Mengkabong River

Another view of the river.

Mengkabong River

A nearby jetty. Photo was taken from above the bridge.

Jambatan Tamparuli: the bridge and the song it’s based on

“Jambatan Tamparuli” is the title of a Kadazandusun song composed and sung by Justin Lusah in the mid 1970s. In my opinion, Justin Lusah is Kadazandusun’s greatest ever songwriter. This song first appeared in his 2nd album. Also in my opinion, it is not his best song, and I can name several of his other songs which I think has better melody, but I am digressing here.

The song has reached heights never reached by other Kadazandusun songs before or since – it has been recognized as a national heritage, in essence, a national monument.

Well, now let’s see the actual bridge the song is based on.

Tamparuli town is located near the Tuaran river. There are 3 major bridges over this river, as can be seen from this Google Earth image. The image below is approximately at 6°8′ N, 116°15’E:


#1 in the pic above is the new (high) suspension bridge, officiated in the early 1980s by the then Chief Minister of Sabah, Datuk Harris Salleh. It is intended for the use of vehicles and pedestrians. About 50m in length, this bridge is a real lifesaver. Before it was built, if the low bridge #4) is flooded, tamu traders, towkays and general townsfolk have to stop their cars on the other side of the river and get to town via the hanging bridge (#2) carrying all their things.

#2 is the original hanging bridge, *the* Jambatan Tamparuli. Hence, the basis for Justin Lusah’s 1970s song. This picture must have been taken on or near the low bridge on Tamparuli town’s side. We are looking downstream. Thanks to Charsuede for the picture.


It was washed away in the biggest flood ever to hit Tamparuli in January 1999. From the picture above you can imagine how high the floodwater must have climbed! The previous worst flood was reportedly 37 years earlier, in the early 1960s.

I only saw the partial extent of the flood myself 3 days after its peak on 5th January 1999 and I must say I have never seen the river that angry and fast-flowing – it was at least 10 feet above the low bridge – if even an Olympic swimmer ever decided to try to swim across I doubt he’d make it. I am still kicking myself for not taking pictures then.

This is a picture of the same place taken in August this year – taken from the top of the new hanging bridge. Of course the old hanging bridge has been gone for 8 years.


#3 is the new hanging bridge (i.e. Jambatan Tamparuli as it is known to the world now). The following is a picture of what it looks like as you stand on it (the little guy is a tad more than 3 feet tall) and look on the right hand side as you walk towards Tamparuli town. As you can see, the low bridge (#4) is quite near. A local joke is that accidents might happen (vehicles might plunge into the river etc) because the drivers might be too preoccupied with checking out the girls in short skirts walking on the bridge above.


The construction of this new bridge started not long after the old bridge was destroyed. It is very steady, no rocking at all, even at the ends, unlike the old bridge, where people would hold on to dear life when getting on or off it.

#4 is probably the oldest: the low bridge. Some people might mistake this as the bridge in Justin Lusah’s song. Having said that, I think this bridge is more intriguing than the hanging bridge. Built in the 1950s (I might be wrong here), it is testament to its fine engineering that it is STILL standing after being hit by many logs and floodwaters over the years. And yes, even after *the flood* of ’99, it is still there.

Back to the song, I think its fame reached its zenith in July 2005 when Marsha (herself a Tamparulian) sang it live during the 7th Akademi Fantasia season 3 concert. The popularity of the reality show must have guaranteed millions of primetime viewers for the then 30-year old song. The picture below (courtesy of Astro) showed the host Aznil Nawawi attempting to dance the sumazau with Marsha during a solo break in the song.




Ben GodomonBen Godomon is a guest blogger from Chronicles, Unconventional World Records, Money Talks, IT Security News and Our Music Portal.

Journey to Kunak, Sabah – A travelogue by Kay Stanford Jr Kastum

For those of you who are a Sabahan or have been to Sabah before, you would definitely agree with me on this one; Sabah is pretty much still in touch with nature. There are still so many places for you to discover. From the mountains to the valleys, there’s always a new place to experience and visit in this great place dubbed ‘Land Below the wind’. I’m sure most people have heard of Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Tawau or even Kudat. But have you heard of a place called Kunak?
Parents home in the Estate

Some of my friends here in Kuala Lumpur, in peninsular Malaysia would mistaken it for ‘Kudat’ most of the time. Kunak is actually located in the east-coast of Sabah. Our whole family relocated to Tawau and eventually to Kunak from Kudat. My dad works with an oil palm estate company then known as Mostyn Estate. Now it’s known as Golden Hope Plantation.
My friend Jai, a Bugis

I stayed in Kunak mostly during my school days breaks. I stayed in Tawau town since I was studying there. The distance between Kunak and Tawau is around 83 kilometers. So, what’s up with Kunak? Well, based on my experience living in an plantation estate, life is good here!

Madai waterfallsmadai-waterfalls.jpg
I believe the Kunak population is mostly Bugis and Bajau. There are quite a number of Kadazan dusunpeople here who owns lands through the efforts of Tun Fuad Stepehens? as I was told. They were relocated from Kota Kinabalu area for some kind of program. Thus we have this area in Kunak just before the town called ‘Kampung Kadazan’ where most of the families who runs and owned agricultural lands (mostly for palm trees) are concentrated and lived quite close to each other. Other races includes Chinese, ‘Orang Timur’ (Originally Irian Jaya descendants from Indonesia), the Suluks, Cocos and the Tidungs to name a few. The Cocos also have a great history. They were descendants from the Cocos (Keeling) Islands now under Australia.

Agricultural is the main business in Kunak, palm oil mostly. These crude palm oil (CPO) is exported to other countries like Japan as well as for the Malaysian market. Second biggest plantation in Kunak would be the cocoa. Have you eaten ripe cocoa? It taste so good!
My sister,Madai tree-hugger

Anyway, since Kunak is situated near the sea, fisheries are the other important source of income for this little town. You get only fresh seafood here. Very reasonable price too. When you have a chance, go to one of these restaurants: Fook Seng Restaurant or Vui Kee. They are the best in town my friend! For your info, if you are a Muslim traveler, Vui Kee is a ‘Halal’ restaurant. By the way, locals here refer’s Kunak as ‘Pekan Koboi’ or cowboy town. No horses here but I guess it’s because it’s a small town.
Canopy Walk

There are one or two hotels in town but their operations are a little bit suspicious. (If you know what I mean). There are of course government rest house which I believe you can rent? Can’t help you there with that info. Otherwise you can contact me and I will ask my mom to let you use my old bedroom for a night or two 😀

I love trees!my-tree-custom.jpg
A great place to visit while in Kunak just have to be the ‘Madai waterfalls’. It’s just less than 1 kilometers from Kunak town. This 40 meters high waterfall is really awesome and beautiful as well as breath taking especially when it’s not a dry season. The area is managed by the state forestry department of Sabah and you need to pay a small fee to enter. There will be staircase to reach the waterfall area. You can even swim in it if you want to. Within the compound, there is also a canopy walk. Really fun stuff. You would be able to spot some forest wildlife as you go about.

Another must see or should I say a must-experience place would be the Madai Caves. It’s not far from the main road and you can go there after visiting the falls. Madai caves is also a habitat of these birds called ‘swiftlets’.
Road entrance to Madai Caves

The friendly locals

They made their nest using their saliva and that my friend is like gold. These natural product are highly sought after for it’s medicinal purpose. It’s called ‘birds nest soup’. In the Hong Kong market, it is said that price can fetch up up to USD1500.00 per kg!! The bird’s nests are harvested twice a year. If you are thinking of going over the next season to harvest, well chances are very slim. Only the ‘Idaan’ people are given the exclusive rights to do it. They have been doing it for hundreds of years.
My sis again :|, background is the cave

If you are planning to visit the caves, it is advisable to bring a local guide at least. I heard stories of western ladies being raped after going into the caves without any guides etc. But I believe that’s not true, but then again just be cautious.
Near the cave mouth

Cave Entrance

Once reaching there, all you need to do is get permission from the elders and you should be fine. They may be some folks there who will offer to be your guide. It’s up to you to use their services or not. Oh by the way, Madai has also been an archaeological sight to the discovery of ancient civilization that can be dated as far as 15,000 years. Cool eh?
They say this one looks like the statue of ‘Mother Mary’

Other interesting things to check out in Kunak would be the natural hot springs as well as the local wine made by Puan Catherine Makansang in Kampung Kadazan. She makes the best ‘Montoku’ drink! 😀 (Montoku is a local alcohol brew made from fermented rice)


Kay Stanford Jr. Kay Stanford Jr Kastum is a guest blogger from and A Sabahan who live in Kuala Lumpur, has an interest in stuffs like music, photography and video editing but does not have the right tools to do it.

10 more Tip Of Borneo @ Tanjung Simpang Mengayau Photos

I posted few photos on Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, aka The Tip Of Borneo few months back while I was on holiday with my family. I guess, it is better for me to share with you another 10 photos that I took during that time. I don’t want it to be buried inside “My Pictures” folder of my notebook. I used Sony Cybershot S40 digital camera (which is dead) and Google Picasa for image editing.

Tanjung Simpang Mengayau

Tanjung Simpang Mengayau

Tanjung Simpang Mengayau

Tanjung Simpang Mengayau

Tanjung Simpang Mengayau

Tanjung Simpang Mengayau

Tanjung Simpang Mengayau

Tanjung Simpang Mengayau

Tanjung Simpang Mengayau

Tanjung Simpang Mengayau

Hope to see you there!

5 things you should taste before you leave Kinabalu

I received another email from our good friend, Cikgu Ismail yesterday. This time he shared with me his experiences with some local fruits and jungle resources after reading the red colored durian post few weeks back. In conclusion, there are 5 things that you should taste before you leave Kinabalu (according to Cikgu Ismail):

1. Buah Tarap (tarap fruit), Artocarpus odoratissimus (the Moraceae family)

Tarap fruit

Tarap is a tall tropical tree which is native to Southeastern Asia. It has large lobed leaves, and edible fruits which can weight up to a few pounds. The fruit of tarap(also known as marang) is edible, oblong, about 12 in (20 cm) long, and can weight a few pounds. Its skin is covered with soft spines, and has an appearance which is close to that of the durian or the jackfruit. Its pulp is generally eaten fresh, and has a good aroma. Its seeds can also be eaten when roasted. It is reported that young fruits are sometimes eaten as vegetables.

You can get this fruit almost anywhere in Sabah. It is usually sold at stalls beside the main road, from Kota Kinabalu to Kundasang. If you do not able to get it while on your way to Mount Kinabalu, go to Kundasang town and get one before you leave.

2. Buah Bambangan, (Mangifera panjang)

Bambangan fruit

Bambangan, or some say Membangan (Mangifera panjang) is found extensively in Borneo island as scattered trees in the backyards. The huge majestic columnar tree prefers well drained alluvial soils, but will also thrive on upland soils. The huge trunk supports a dense canopy of dark green leaves. Bambangan is seasonal, producing fruits mainly in the month of August. At flowering in March, the entire crown is covered with brilliant red inflorescence.The tough outer skin of the fruit can be removed easily. After making longitudinal cuts the thick skin can be peeled from the peduncle to the apex. The bright orange delightful mango fragrance is highly esteemed by Sabahan. Pleasantly sweet and juicy, the flesh is fibrous. Some cultivars have less fiber with smooth juicy flesh.

Local Sabahan make bambangan as their local delicacy, and usually eaten with rice. I never touched bambangan dish, although my wife really like to eat it. This fruit is also abundant in Sabah.

3. Tapai Beras (fermented rice), NOT rice wine

Tapai Beras

The rice will be mixed with yeast and wrapped with a giant elephant ear leaves, Alocasia macrorrhiza, (some says it is similar like a yam plant), which then will be kept in cool and dry place for the fermentation to take place. The process will take couple of days, until the rice will be soft and fermented, but not to the stage where it produces alcohol.

Tapai Beras

It has sweet taste and very nice odour (from the fermentation process), and can be eaten anytime. Not like its other derivatives (rice wine or they called it montoku here in Sabah), this fermented rice will not cause you to get drunk. Some stalls / coffee shop add this into their ABC (air batu campur). Cikgu Ismail got this fermented rice on his way back from Mount Kinabalu at the small town, Tamparuli.

4. Jungle Cocktail

Jungle cocktail

Cikgu Ismail said, this drink should not be missed by any climbers who completed their Mount Kinabalu climb. Claimed to be one of his favourite ‘exotic Sabah drink’, you can only get this at Restoran Bayu Kinabalu, a local restaurant which is situated just opposite Kinabalu Park Headquarters at Kota Kinabalu-Ranau main road. You can easily spot the restaurant when you arrive at Kinabalu Park HQ. Open daily, they also serve other meals, mostly local.

I did not manage to ask on what were the ingredient inside the drink, but looking at the photo, I could see some banana there! And that glass cost him RM5…

5. Young coconut juice and ‘meat’

Coconut ‘meat’/jelly

The meat in a young coconut is softer and more like gelatin than a mature coconut (so much so, that it is sometimes known as coconut jelly). For that reason it is sometimes called a tender coconut.

Coconut, (Cocos nucifera) is grown throughout the tropical world, for decoration as well as for its many culinary and non-culinary uses; virtually every part of the coconut palm has some human use. The cavity of coconut filled with water which contains sugar, fibre, proteins, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. Coconut water provides an isotonic electrolyte balance, and is a highly nutritious food source. A very suitable drink for you to take after a strenuous Mount Kinabalu climb.

You can also get this delicious coconut juice and jelly by the roadside anywhere between Kota Kinabalu and Kundasang. Cikgu Ismail suggested you to taste ‘burned young coconut’, which available in Jalan Sulaman – KKIP (Kota Kinabalu Industrial Park), outskirt of north Kota Kinabalu.

Articles by Ismail MYAR
Photos by Ismail MYAR & Ganesh C

Red coloured durian – only in Sabah…

Red durianI received an email from my good friend, Cikgu Ismail yesterday. He attached few photos on the interesting things that he found in Sabah, and not found anywhere else, especially from the Peninsular Malaysia. One of the photo that he emailed me was a red coloured durian – which currently claimed to be found ONLY in Sabah (correct me if I am wrong).

Durian, or the scientific name is Durio zibethinus, is widely known and revered in Southeast Asia as the “King of Fruits,” the fruit is distinctive for its large size, unique odour, and a formidable thorn-covered husk. Its name comes from the Malay word duri (thorn) together with Malay suffix that is -an (for building a noun in Malay), meaning “thorny fruit.”

The fruit can grow up to 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lbs). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown and its flesh pale-yellow to red, depending on species. The hard outer husk is covered with sharp, prickly thorns, while the edible custard-like flesh within emits the strong, distinctive odour, which is regarded as either fragrant or overpowering and offensive. The taste of the flesh has been described as nutty and sweet.

The durian smell…
Quoted from Richard Sterling, a travel and food writer, said:
… its odor is best described as pig-shit, turpentine and onions, garnished with a gym sock. It can be smelled from yards away. Despite its great local popularity, the raw fruit is forbidden from some establishments such as hotels, subways and airports, including public transportation in Southeast Asia.

You can be fine with durian!Well, as I am a local Malaysian, I don’t think could agree with him. And I don’t think that it smells like pig-shit. Anyway, don’t forget to try one when you are here. If you can’t get hold of the red coloured one (usually available almost all around Sabah), try the original cream coloured one. You can get it almost from anywhere in Malaysia.

Good luck!


Borneo people are remote and primitive?

TarzanI still remember when I was packing my way up to Sabah, Borneo. One of my friend ask me, “Hey, I heard Sabah is still very primitive and people there still wears pieces of cloth. Is it true?”. It did cross my mind also, but after living here for the past 6 years, it is actually not true.

See what an Englishman have to say about Borneo.

Sabah Parks – The body who manage Mount Kinabalu

Sabah ParksSome of us may not know that Mount Kinabalu is managed and conserved by Sabah Parks, the trustee body which was constituted since 1962. The functions of Sabah Parks are ” To preserve for all time areas which contains significant geographical, geological, biological and historical features as a national heritage for the benefit, education, and enjoyment of the people”. Sabah Parks also support an ongoing research and conservation project in all the gazetted parks under the trustee.

For your information, there are another 6 parks apart from Kinabalu, under their trustees, i.e:

  1. Tunku Abdul Rahman Park
  2. Turtle Island Park
  3. Pulau Tiga Park
  4. Bukit Tawau Park
  5. Crocker Range National Park
  6. Tun Sakaran Marine Park

If you notice, Sipadan Island is not under Sabah Parks – yet. That is why the management of the island is some kind haywire…

More information on Sabah Park here.