Troubles In Paradise….My Story about Sabah

Article and Photos by MizaKL
MizaKL previously contributed an article, here is the LINK


A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the beauty of Sabahans.  After reading it, I assumed (I hope it is not true) that some would think I was exaggerating about it.  Nothing is perfect in this world, not even Miss Universe.  I managed to visit Kundasang, a quiet small beautiful town.  I would say this is the heart of Sabah since you can find Mount Kinabalu here. Therefore, this would be the main attraction of tourists.  Besides the majestic mountain, there are a few tourists spots too nearby like Poring Hot Springs, Sungai Moroli Fish Massage and Desa Dairy Farm. Sabah Tea plantation is also around this area.

Amazing View of Mt. Kinabalu

The scenery is breathtaking. The morning air cleanses your lung. You are surrounded by lush green trees that soothe your tired eyes. I was fortunate enough when I travelled there, I travelled with friends who were willing to drive. Thus, I managed to visit the places I mentioned before.  For backpackers, either local or foreign, they will not be able to visit those places unless they walked or hired a car. The only available transportation was the public buses, which, of course, use only the main road. I cannot comment about the reliability of the buses since I didn’t ride on one, but a friend who travelled with me described his difficulties when he went backpacked a few years back.

Breakfast at Fook Yuen..

He and his friend had to sit on the steps of the bus since it was so difficult to get one. They managed to get one after a long wait since most of the buses were overcrowded and not willing to stop. I myself even saw two tourists, a foreign couple who stayed at the same lodging as me, walking down the road from D’Villa Lodge towards the town. At that time, I was on my way back to Kota Kinabalu, after visiting Desa Dairy Farm. They were in front of Ceaser’s Place, another tourists’ lodging.  As I am writing this article (or story, if you want to call it), I could only remember how my friend had to drive slowly due to the lorries in front of us and never because of the buses whether we went up the hills or down the hills.

You need your own mean of transportation to reach these places:

Sungai Moroli Fish Massage
The Fish Massage….
Poring Hot Springs..
Walking towards the Hot Springs…

Mind you, I never slept during the journey in the car, so that my friend who was driving wouldn’t feel alone. To keep ourselves awake, we chatted about the difficulties of public transportation and we came up with the idea of having the lodgings renting bicycles or motorbikes to the tourists. The idea was shot down by another friend who said that some tourists may not return the bicycles or motorbikes. Still, if a deposit is being put and only given back after the bicycles or motorcycles are safely returned, it shouldn’t be a problem. So for those backpackers, if you intend to go to the places I mentioned before, you need to be aware that you might find them difficult to reach using public transportations. You need to have plans for transportations.

Thanked God that we rented a car to reach this place…

Another thing I find lacking in Sabah is the easy access to the local foods. I mean I know they are famous for seafood, but what about the traditional foods? If you go to Sarawak, they have Laksa Sarawak, Medini (I think, a local vegetable), Umai, Gula Apong Ice Cream. What about Sabah? What kind of food that could be link to Sabah like Kimchi to Korea? I did ask a local there, but she couldn’t specifically mention the local foods.  As a food lover (as long as it is halal), I love to try the local dish of the places that I go, especially street foods.

As you can see, the Murtabaks are all gone..

Though I must mention the ‘murtabaks’ that I ate at an Indian Muslim restaurant in Ranau was delicious.  All of us were surprised with the taste. Probably, we were so used to the factory minced meat, but at that restaurant they used the unprocessed meat. I won’t deny the fact that I could be ignorant about the local foods because I didn’t google about them. In terms of food, I would prefer mouth-to-mouth like when I told my colleagues that I was going to Sabah, and they immediately mentioned ‘Amplang’ and ‘Kuih Cincin’. It is like Laksa Johore to Johoreans, Laksa Sarawak to Sarawakians, Laksa Sabah to Sabahans?

Miza note:

Thank you so much Miza for you constructive criticism. We appreciate your opinion so much and I do believe Sabahans in general will do their very best to improve whatever lacking here for the benefit of future visitors. While we do love reading good things about Sabah, we actually want to know what others think about Sabah especially when it comes to the areas that need improvements or perhaps major upgrading. I believe the Sabah Tourism Office with the help of Sabah State Government are doing their very best to improve things in Sabah. On behalf of all Sabahans, thank you for your views and we do hope to see you again soon in Sabah. Perhaps your next visit will be a much better vacation. The welcome any open letters/articles from travellers that highlighted either good or bad experiences while vacationing in Sabah. That way, we will be able to improve. Again thank you for the article Ms. Miza and thank you for visiting Sabah.