The Love Story of Jambatan Tamparuli (Bridge)-A Fantasy or Reality?

Written by @joehairie
Photos by @curiostraveller & credited sources)


Not long ago, I contributed a short article for this blog (Here is the LINK). It was about Jambatan Gantung Tamparuli and how it’s related to my experience when I was still a child. I also briefly wrote about ‘Solungkoi’. In this article, I will explain further about ‘Solungkoi’ story. Each time I want to visit a place, I will sure to do my homework by doing some research, well, at least using the MR Google help. It is mandatory for me to know the exact location, degree of attractiveness, story behind such places and many more. I will feel comfortable and super ready for doing such trip. It so happened that I had the need to re visit the famous Jambatan Tamparuli.

Jambatan Gantung Tamparuli 

(Not to be confused with Jambatan Tamparuli)

In English, Jambatan is a BRIDGE. So off I went there together with @curiostraveller and Mr. Oscar (The Traveling Beruang, click HERE to know who Mr.Oscar is). Don’t be confused though. The current Jambatan Tamparuli actually refers to the old bridge (lower bridge) that built by the British Engineer during the post 2nd world war. Next to the Jambatan Tamparuli is a higher bridge named as Jambatan Gantung Tamparuli. In English, it means Tamparuli Suspension Bridge which is built for pedestrians. Here are some images of that Jambatan Gantung Tamparuli.

Photo credit: Victor Wah, Lee Man Printing Sdn Bhd

Perhaps the image above was the bridge looked like for the older Jambatan Gantung Tamparuli before it was destroyed and replaced by a new stronger suspension bridge. The photo is actually re-produced from a very old postcard and taken by Mr. Victor Wah that was printed by Lee Man Printing Sdn Bhd.

The new and stronger Jambatan Gantung Tamparuli

The image above is the current Jambatan Gantung Tamparuli, which 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. Look at the right hand side (ground/earth level), there is a road that leads to the Jambatan Tamparuli.

There is actually a song about this particular Jambatan Gantung Tamparuli. Here are the lyrics and a Video clip taken from YouTube.

Pak pak kang ku doh
Sumunsui doh jambatan
Jambatan doh Tamparuli
Bakasut tinggi oku

Sumunsui doh jambatan
Jambatan doh Tamparuli
Pak pak kang ku doh
Bakasut tinggi oku

Silaka nodi kasutku
Naratu lo jambatan
Tinggal poh doh sutakin
Nowid ku di numuli

Ontok di hari 3
Tamu lo Tamparuli
Mingusuk poh hilo kadai
Mogihum doh kasut tinggi

A prominent blogger, Murphy of translated that Dusun Language song into the English version. Here is his translation…

I’m making a “Pak Pak” sound
As I walk along the bridge
The bridge of Tamparuli
while wearing high-heeled shoes

As I walk along the bridge
The Bridge of Tamparuli
I’m making a “Pak Pak” sound
while wearing high-heeled shoes

But damn my shoes
they fell off the bridge
only socks are left
which I brought home

On Wednesday
It’s the Tamu in Tamparuli
I go around the shops
Looking for high-heeled shoes

[Note: “Tamu” of course means “weekly open market” as is practiced in Sabah]

Jambatan Tamparuli

For this post, I am to uncover the forgotten story of the Jambatan Tamparuli. My research using the Google concentrated on one particular website, here is the link:

It’s so interesting to know some facts about this particular Jambatan Tamparuli. According to the Author/Writer (Mr.Harry George) of the above website:

The stories about the British Engineer to build the suspension bridge was a good story and become a legend for me. This story is being told again and again by my mother, grandmother and other elders living in my village Kg Kionsom Baru the nearest village to Tamparuli Town. This story told about a young women that being captured by the “Head Hunter” and hand over to the British to be scarified for the “Tambuakar” living inside Tuaran River.

The British already try many times to built the bridge but it was wash away by the river again and again. So they scarified this beautiful women for the ” Tambuakar ” to calm down the devil will. My grandmother said that this beautiful lady being crush by concrete, she keep on crying again and again and swear that a white man must also be scarified to calm her down. If you swim under the bridge you will find a plaque mention the name of “ Solungkoi ” who being sacrificed for the good of the bridge. The exact location will be keep in secret but many Tamparuli citizen knows about it.

Jambatan Tamparuli (Before & Now)

Indeed I became more curious so I did more readings from plenty of websites (again using the help from MR Google)..if you must have the link, well here it is:

After all the readings, I came to a short version of the story behind the erection of the Jambatan Tamparuli. My short version/Summary goes like this…

Look at the bridge down there (right hand side).. that’s the Jambatan Tamparuli. The one I was sitting on-The new Jambatan Gantung Tamparuli

If you care enough going under the bridge and do a bit searching, you will find a name ‘SOLUNGKOI’ written somewhere on the metal. It was written by a British Officer, ROBINSON in the 1950’s right before he commited suicide-jumping to the river to his death. SOLUNGKOI and ROBINSON were a couple. They loved each other until a local man, INTANG meddled in as he adores SOLUNGKOI as well. Robinson was in charge of building the bridge but everytime he built one, it will be destroyed by the river strong current. He consulted Intang and Intang met a local SHAMAN, Odu.

Tamparuli River as seen from the Suspension Bridge

Odu said the spirit of the river ‘TAMBUAKAR’ demanded a sacrifice, a girl. Desperate to have stronger bridge, Robinson believed the ‘verdict’. SOLUNGKAI was chosen and made to drunk intentionally in a big vase, alive and later woke up and cried, pleading for release. She was buried alive under the very first pillar of the bridge. Before that, she swore that the bridge will never withstand the current unless Robinson blood spilled to the river. Later, Robinson felt quilty and killed himself. The bridge is still there until now, no matter how strong the current is, it will still be there.

Tamparuli River as seen from the Suspension Bridge

So, what do you think of this story? Is it true? Or just a myth? Perhaps we really need to find that name on that piece of Metal under the bridge. What if we managed to find it? Spooky huh? Is this a sad story or perhaps one misunderstanding in one relationship between two lovers that came down to the confusion of which was more important..the bridge or the future bride? Some say… love is blind …. If you are about to visit Sabah, especially in the West Coast area, visit Tamparuli town and see for yourself this amazing old bridge built by the British in the 1950’s. See if you can unearth the tragic ‘love story’ and decide whether it’s a real thing or a fantasy…. oh before that, this Plaque might help you to decide, the authority even validated the story as it’s clearly printed on it… spoookyyy!!!! Come here, then decide…


Note/Tips: Visit Tamparuli town on Wednesday as there will be weekly local market named as Tamu. Here you get to see some interesting local things from traditional food to daily needs..



  Tamu Tamparuli (Every Wednesday) Photo Credit: Chef Arlinsia Agang


Tamu Tamparuli (Every Wednesday) Photo Credit: Chef Arlinsia Agang


Mr.Oscar, the travelling Bear, scared of the height!


That was me, taking picture of the lower bridge, Jambatan Tamparuli


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