Sukau Rainforest Lodge

Sukau Rainforest lodge was opened in May 1995 by Albert Teo and adopting a Green Policy with self sufficient, water and power supply- utilising rainwater and solar hot water heating. SRL also minimise noise and air pollution when river safari tours to wildlife areas used electric motors instead of fuel powered motors.

Sukau Rainforest Lodge is a sister company of Borneo Eco tour also runs their own non-profit community and environment foundation “Borneo Ecotourism solutions & technologies Soceity”. Kinabatangan Wildlife Corridor Rehabilitation Program (KWICORP) tree planting program is one of their successful project. Besides they also run three medical project in Kg Sukau, Abai and Bilit providing free medical and dental treatments benefitting more than 2000 villagers since 2003.

Under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), the lodge also donates RM4 per adult to BEST soceity for every International Guest who stays with the Lodge while Borneo Eco tourism foot another RM8.00.

Sukau located at Km 130 can be reached from Sandakan Town, Sabah by road.

Image

Location map of Sukau Rainforest Lodge. Credit to Mark McGinley. More photos of SRL on his blog.

Sukau Rainforest Lodge gain international recognition and named Finalist for Responsible Tourism Awards in the Most Inspiring Responsible Tourism Accommodation Provider category. The winners and finalists were announced at ITB Asia on Friday 25th October in Singapore.

Image

ImageImage

Malaysia Airlines – The Way I See It As A Passenger

Malaysian Airlines
Malaysian Airlines

 

I can’t remember when was the last time I fly on Malaysian Airlines (MAS) since my organization changed our travels to Airasia. It was in the mid 90s. Since then I had no opportunity to fly on MAS until recently.

Mot much changes on the outfit of MAS except with the addition of new plane to its fleet and changes on their body paints.

I saw this original MAS paintwork on one of their aircraft at Kuching airport with their original Wau Bulan Logo. It is a good idea to keep this original design as a nostalgic monuments in the history of Malaysia Airlines after their separation from Malaysia singapore Airlines in 1972

Original Desing on Malaysian Airlines Plane
Original Design on Malaysian Airlines Plane
among ther earlier MAS fleet of aircraft, with the original design
Among the earlier MAS fleet of aircraft, with the original design – Photo from Going Places April 1997

During my last flight to and fro Kota Kinabalu from KLIA I was ware the changes in crew attires and also the interior finishing of their new fleet pf boeing 737-800. I fly Malindoair to Kuching two weeks before and both on the same type of aircraft. MAS had changed from their batik motif seats to the leather look with tone of maroon (on the plan I was on) Not sure if all their 737-800 fleets has the same colouring.

Meals on board not much changes only that the present caterer is Brahim’s istead of MAS Catering. Well, is MAS Catering still in business? with Brahim’s, the Briyani Chicken was superb and the smell caught the nostrils immediately when the crew starts preparing to serve when the seatbelt sign was switched off. I did not take any pictures of the meal sets since there not much difference from the last.

Touch Screen facilities for your In Flight entertainment
Touch Screen facilities for your In Flight entertainment

When I was on Malindoair flight earlier I thought they had outsmart MAS but my thoughts was wrong. In fact maybe all Boeing 737-800 comes with inflight entertainment facilities.  So if your mobile gadget is running out of battery juice, just remember to bring along your USB cable to charge and of course its included in your airfare.

With the entertainment screen in front of every passenger, there is no more opportunity for SOME male passengers especially to voyeur on the cabin crew demonstrating the safety procedures. (LOL)

There’s a selection of entertainment to suit all passenger if not 100%. Movies, Music, Cartoon all in the package. There is also the Quran on screen if you want to read the Quran while in flight. Musics include most genres including Nasyid and after finishing The Heat acted by Sandra Bullock, I entertain myself with Nasyid number from Maher Zain. flying on MAS will now not be a boring one unless you want to doze off all the way.

FYI, I still keep this copy of Going Places, a special Wings of gold Commemorative Issue for 50th anniversary of Malaysia Airlines. I know it will be an antic publication many-many years to come and I will keep it for monetary purpose. I have two copies of the issue, but trying to locate where’s the other one.

 

SABAH VISIT–STOP OVER KUNDASANG MEMORIAL PARK

This trip was done in February 2011 when was on my family’s trip to Sabah.

Our journey to Ranau gives me the opportunity to stop at the Kundasang War Memorial Park that is dedicated to

IMG_7309

IMG_7307

This is not my first visit though but I can see the changes since my first visit to this memorial in the 70s while I was serving in Kota Marudu and travel to Ranau or Sandakan.

Kundasang is popular with her vegetable product and almost everybody who travel on this route will make a stop at Kundasang to buy fresh vegtable to take home.

As in most public places visitors has to be reminded on ethics and here are some placed within the Garden to remind visitors.

View album

Signages within the Garden

The garden has been segmented and dedicated to the various parties involved in the memorial.

View album

Australian Garden

The administration area. Here video clips and memorable photos is being displayed for visitors.

IMG_7305IMG_7306

View from the Garden

IMG_7323IMG_7324

Sabah Trip – Langkon Stops

Langkon is not actually a town but just a small RnR stop along the way from Kota Kinabalu to Kudat or Kota marudu or vice versa. It is located at a junction to Kudat and Kota Marudu if you are from Kota Kinabalu or Kota Belud.

 The facilities is not what is expected on normal RnR on highways but just enough for travelers to stop and buy some essentials especially snacks and drinks. Do not miss out the groundnuts or the crackers. I bet it taste better than the popular brand groundnuts sold in supermarkets. The nuts are not hard but quite soft and fluffy. I think its the produce from farmers around the area.

Dataran Tomborungus, Kudat, Sabah

I had the opportunity to visit the weekly tamu at Dataran Tomborungus in Kudat Town. Tamu is a congregation of small time business enterpreneur just like the pasar malam or night market in other places. However tamu is mainly for local farmers to sell their product and it is a form of direct sales- fresh from the farm.
This concept is now replicated by FAMA who organised the Pasar Tani.
The pictures below was taken during the tamu.


Traditional medicine also make its presence at the tamu.

Flying without wings? Oh….its chicken wings roasted over charcoal fire. Chicken wing is becoming a popular delicacy in Sabah and Sarawak.

Fresh from the farm: It is not only fresh but cheap too.

Coconut has been the symbol of Kudat since it was the main product before being taken over by oil palm.

Coconut juice from young fruits is a refreshing drink on a hot day and the soft flesh is so soothing to eat.

Nostalgic Trip Kudat Kota Marudu, Sabah

I was a teacher in SMK Kota Marudu, Sabah from 1976 – 1980 and when I had the opportunity to revisit the town, it was very nostalgic. I could reacll all the sweet memories of my early life when I start to make a living. When I came to Kudat in May I took the opportunity to go to Kota Marudu and my former student accompanied me.

A satelite map from Google Earth showing the town of Kota Marudu.

Along the was, I saw one Rungus longhouse and how they cope with modern living. Modernisation and traditional can be seen here. See the Astro receiver dish?

This is a view along the road leading to Kota Marudu from Langkon, the junction to Kota Kinabalu, Kota Marudu and Kudat. Mount Kinabalu can be seen in the background.

On the way to Kota Marudu. The bridge crosses over Sungai Bandau. Bandau is the former name of Kota Marudu.

The main roundabout before entering Kota Marudu new township.This roundabout is at the new Goshen town. In the background is the SMK Kota Marudu. I did not have the opportunity to teach in this school because my contract expires in the year before this new school start operating.

The Kota Marudu mosque situated at the Pekan Lama (old town). This Pekan Lama is non existence anymore after it was moved to a new township. It was at this mosque that we congregate for Friday prayers and religuous activities.

This is a community hall. Inside this building, I gather the youth of Kota Marudu for theatre and dance practice for my group “Anak Seni”

Kg Sumangkap – Gong Cottage Industry

When I was in Kudat, Sabah, I had the opportunity to visit a village in Pinawantai that is synonym with a traditional musical instrument – Gong. The village, Kampung Sumangkap is situated in Matunggong District, on the way to Kudat and is about 92 kilometres from Kota Kinabalu City. 

Top: small gongs that can be bought as souvenirs

I was on my way from Kudat to Kota Marudu with my former student and he made a stop at the village. He knew the village and the people well since he is a teacher at a local primary school, SRK Pinawantai. 
As soon upon entering the village, gong producing sheds can be seen on both sides of the road. This village seems to be the cottage industry under the one village one product concept. According to my student, the gong produced are made from zinc sheets and not bronze anymore like in the olden days. 

The gong is one of the compulsory musical instrument in all Sabah ethnic celebrations. Gongs comes in many sizes and it is either singlely hanged or arranged on a special rack. Gong is not alien to people of Malaysia either in East Malaysia or Peninsular Malaysia, since some officiating ceremonies need the VIP to hit the gong symbolising the launch of the activity.
For the rest of the story I’ll let the pictures do the talking. 

Northern Tip Of Borneo

When I knew that I was going back to Kudat, I set up my objective to visit the northernmost tip of Borneo Island, the third largest island in the world. And my objective achieved. I went with a group of friends on one evening and had the opportunity to catch the sunset too.

Aerial view of Tanjung Simpang Mengayau as seen on Google Map showing the distance from Kudat Town.
Tanjung Simpang Mengayau gets its name from Sampang Mangazo in the Rungus dialect. Its a stretch of beach that ends with a rocky headland. Click the photo below to read more about the place that is considered as the best viewpoint of Simpang Mengayau

Read some history from the photo below that has something to do with the area

  

Thats the northernmost tip of Borneo

This is the tip. The rock at the tip of the Cape. Well, I dare not go to the end because its a bit slippery. 

Just the proof that I have been here. 

This is actually the farthest visitors can go. Going beyond this is at the visitors risk. I and my friends defy this notice and go down to the rocks down. 

View of Simpang Mengayau Beach

Entrance to Tanjung Simpang Mengayau Homestay

Just relax at one of the shelter sipping cool drinks while enjoying the cool breeze and the view of The Sulu Sea. 

The homestay compound

One of the huts at the homestay near Tanjung Simpang Mengayau. This hut can accomodate three person and is priced at RM 100 per unit. 

Souvenirs can be bought at the cafe and souvenir centre at Simpang Mengayau

Sunset viewed from Simpang Mengayau Beach
There are two good hotels in Kudat that is Hotel Ria (You Tube) situated in the town of Kudat and has internet access in the lobby. There is also a cafe on the ground floor with WiFi facilities. Another hotel is the Kudat Golf and Marina Resort located a bit out of town. There is a marina here and sailors can berth here. There is WiFi facilities at the lobby on the first floor and the coffee house on the groundfloor. For budget travellers on shoestring budget, there are some budget hotels in the town. 

A Trip To Sipitang,Sabah

It was my first trip to Sipitang, a town located at the south west of Sabah. It is 144 kilometres away and reachable by road. A ride from Kota Kinabalu will take one through Papar, Kimanis and Beaufort. 
Sipitang has became a stopover town for those travelling from Brunei to Kota Kinabalu and vice versa. 

Above: The main road in Sipitang Town
I stayed at the Venture Reach Motel by the seaside and of course it is not as good as Port Dickson or Batu Feringgi in Penang. However the pounding of the wave is clear. The motel is also known as rest house and it was the government rest house before being taken over by a private company. There is only  5 rooms and all with seaview. 
Rate is only RM 65. A restaurant is also present within the building and guest has no problem to dine. Food is nice and service is quite fast. All food served are freshly cooked. 

The beach behind the motel
If one prefer the cheaper stall typeof food, there is a row of stalls just less than 5 minutes walk away. However only one stall is open until midnight whereas others close around 9.00 pm.

 There is also a few curry house restaurants for those who savour mamak dishes. I saw only two banks in Sipitang that is Maybank and Bank Simpanan Nasional. Maybe there is also other banks hidden somewhere. 
When I was in Sipitang I had an opportunity to make a short trip to the town of Lawas in Sarawak. It is only about an hour drive away at highway speed. To go to Lawas one has to pass the Immigration check point at the border. I am not sure of the procedure for non Sabah or Sarawak residents travelling between the two states. But according to the stamp on my passport, I was given permisison to enter and stay in Sabah and nothing mention about Sarawak. Since I travel with a local in his car, maybe I did skip that procedure because he was not asked to stop at the check point. 
At Lawas I only go to the market and bought a basket and rock salt. Below is row of hill padi and bee honey sold at the market. Since we arrived a bit late in the evening, most of the stalls were closed.
My friend bought and presented me with this hat made from park of tree.