Fun things to do at Tambunan, Sabah

Tambunan is one of the 25 districts in Sabah. It is located 80 km east from Kota Kinabalu, and is reachable by Kota KInabalu-Tambunan-Keningau Highway. The journey from the capital will take about 1 hour and a half drive. Tambunan is almost isolated from the west coast of Sabah due to the Crocker Range bordering the district with the west coast.

There are terraced paddy fields peppering Tambunan valley and if visited at the right time, visitors will be amazed by the vast expanse of green paddy fields at the foot of the mountain range. Furthermore, the dense bamboo forest around Tambunan is also a sight to see. The bamboos are a legacy of British colonial period, during which an edict stated that 20 bamboo sprout had to be planted for every bamboo cut. There is also a Bamboo Village here where you can learn how to make Tapai, a traditional rice wine.

One of the top things to do at Tambunan is visiting Kipandi Butterfly Park. The park is surrounded by the hills of Crocker Range and is lying at 700 m altitude. There are over 1500 butterfly specimens and over 100 species of butterflies can be found at the park. Besides butterflies, visitors can also see various species of beetles, Hoyas (a climbing or sprawling evergreen shrub with ornamental foliage and waxy flowers), native orchids, flowers and even ‘carnivorous’ pitcher plants!

 

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Image credit to Sabah Tourism

The other attraction at Tambunan is Mahua Waterfall. It is located at Kampung Patau, 10 to 15 minutes’ drive from Tambunan. After paying entrance fee of RM3 for Malaysians and RM10 for foreigners at Mahua Sub-station, the visitors will have to walk along a 500 m trails to the waterfall. Along the way, you will see butterflies, insects and many interesting flora and fauna. At the end of the trail, you will be treated to a magnificent view of the waterfall, freefalling from the height of 9 meters. There is also a hostel if you want to stay overnight there.

Mahua Waterfall

Mahua Waterfall

Image credit to Sabah Tourism

Another attraction is The Rafflesia Centre. The centre opens on Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 3 pm. The Rafflesia only blooms for three to five days so the chance of seeing the flowers bloom will require good timing. You can alsways give a call to the centre to know if there are flowers blooming or visit their information site. The only species available at the centre is Rafflesia pricei. Even though one might not be able to see a blooming Rafflesia, visitors can see many rafflesia buds on the forest ground. Each bud will takes about 6 to 7 months to bloom, though not every bud will bloom as there might be animals destroying the buds.

Rafflesia

Rafflesia

Image credit to Sabah Tourism

Although tourists are less familiar with Tambunan, the district’s abundance of greeneries and untouched nature makes the valley enchanting. To get to Tambunan, you can get a bus for long distance travel next to Merdeka Field in Kota Kinabalu at RM15 per person for one way.

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