Things To Do In Kundasang, Sabah
Kundasang is a town in the district of Ranau, Sabah. Also home to Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain at home at 4095-meters high! More often than not, tourists allocate a one-day itinerary for their Kundasang trip only, missing out on many other worthy spots. To those who have more time to spare, I recommend at least 2-3 days in Kundasang to make the most out of it!
10 places to visit in Kundasang, Sabah:
- Visit UNESCO World Heritage Kinabalu Park
- Feed the squirrel at the foot of Kota Kinabalu
- Take a group shot at Kota Kinabalu information center
- Soak in a hot sulphur bath at Poring Hot Spring
- Sample the local milk at Desa dairy farm
- Get educated at Sabah Tea Garden
- Dip your feet in a local fish spa
- Tour the Kundasang War Memorial
- Buy local produce from Nabalu Market
- Taste local wild boar Sinalau Bakas
1. Visit UNESCO World Heritage Kinabalu Park
Kinabalu Park is not the same as hiking Mt. Kinabalu, mind! In fact, this is the first Heritage Site in Malaysia! If you don’t plan to hike up Mt. Kinabalu, then you still have an option to stroll the Kinabalu Park!
Learn about the different species of floras at the Botanical Gardens or take on one of the many hiking trails in the park! If you’re lucky, you might even chance upon the largest flower on earth—Rafflesia!
These are a few trails you can take at the Kinabalu Park:
- Silau-silau Trail: Catch different wildlife birds on this famous 3km trail! It is an easy walk and you don’t even need to complete the entire trail!
- Bukit Burung Trail: Another trail for those who enjoy bird-watching!
- Mempening Trail: This is another easy trail with plenty of flat walks. It takes roughly 2 hours.
- Liwagu River Trail: For those who want to take on a more challenging route, try the longest trail in Kinabalu Park. You’ll find yourself trekking along the river and rugged landscapes. Takes more than 2 hours.
2. Feed the squirrel at the foot of Kota Kinabalu
At the Timpohon Gate’s deck, also the start of the hike to Mt. Kinabalu, buy packets of nuts from the counter and feed the wild, but tamed squirrels! The squirrels seemed to have learned how to grab food from the visitors’ hands from experience, scurrying away to a safe spot on the tree to munch on the nuts that they took. Though adorable, they were extremely shy!
Note: To get the squirrels to run up to your arms, don’t put the food in your palm. Instead, place the food on the bend of your arm or toward your shoulders so they can climb up! Be as still as you can!
Location: Timpohon Gate, Kundasang, Sabah
Hours: Daily 7 am-5 pm
Fee: Pay for squirrel food (Optional)
3. Take a group shot at Mt Kinabalu Information Center
Behind the information center, there’s a lookout point overlooking the distant mountains. On a clear day, stand on the deck and you can even see Mt. Kinabalu standing gloriously in front of your eyes!
Location: Kinabalu Park Office (Round the back)
Hours: 6 am-1 pm (Monday To Sunday)
4. Soak in a hot sulphur bath at Poring Hot Spring
Situated in the lowland rainforest, Poring Hot Spring is famous for its iconic canopy walk. However, there’s an additional fee to it, and only one camera is allowed. No cheating because the staff will be standing at every point, watching the visitors. At the end of the canopy walk, you will come to the hot spring.
The locals believe that there are sulphuric minerals in the hot spring, which are said to have healing properties, hence the reason for the hot spring’s popularity amongst the locals and tourists. In fact, it is a must-visit attraction in Kundasang. That, and Desa Dairy Farm too.
Location: Poring Hot Spring, Ranau, Sabah
Hours: Daily 8 am-6 pm
Fee: Entrance fee (RM3 for locals; RM15 for foreigners)
5. sample the local milk at Desa dairy farm
Do you dream of going to New Zealand? DESA dairy farm lets anyone who dreams of going to New Zealand have a taste of this lush greenery often seen only in pictures. It is located at the foothill of Mount Kinabalu, so it makes for a scenic drive on the way there! Unsurpassed views will greet you, along with the cool breeze. Most of the cows in Desa are Friesian cows, known to produce the most amount of milk compared to other breeds.
Things to do at Desa dairy farm:
- Take many scenic photos
- Feed the calves
- Watch how the milking process takes place
- Learn how milk is processed
- Feeding the goats
- Taste the locally-made gelato ice-cream and fresh milk
Location: DESA Cattle Dairy Farm
Hours: Daily 8 am-5 pm
- Local RM3
- International RM5
- Local RM1
- International RM3
Extra fees apply for feeding the cattle, buying the ice-cream and milk, and watching how they collect the milk.
6. Get educated at Sabah Tea Farm
Take a trip to the largest tea plantation, Sabah Tea Farm, a one and only pesticide-free tea farm in Borneo! This tea farm is an ideal place for a breezy retreat to the farm with its low temperatures.
Things to do at Sabah Tea Farm:
- Get educated at this tea farm by paying a fee to go on a tour around the Tea Factory
- Collect tea leaves the traditional way at the tea plantation!
- Process the tea leaves and make your own tea!
- Go bird-watching
- Hike Kamunsu Hill to catch the sunrise or sunset
- Hunt for insects at night!
- Sample tea cuisines and drink tea!
- Join the story-telling session at the long-house!
Stay at Sabah Tea if one day isn’t enough! Choose from traditional long-house accommodation or English cottages! We usually see pictures of long-house on our history textbooks, but I didn’t know we could actually stay in one of them!
Interested to book a stay with them? Check out the price and availability before they run out of rooms!
Location: KM 17, Jalan Ranau/Sandakan Kampung Nalapak, Beg berkunci, No.2, 89309 Ranau, Sabah
Hours: Daily 7 am-8 pm
Entrance Fee: No admission fee. An affordable fee is charged for the tea factory tour.
7. Dip your feet in a local fish spa
Have you ever tried a fish spa? Maybe you have tried small ones, but have you tried giant ones? These fishes are koi-like fishes, though I’m not entirely sure if they’re full-koi. What impressed me the most is that the fish-feeding is done in a natural habitat, in flowing rivers, instead of a more commercialized setting. As a result, there is an authenticity to this activity, making the experience special. Two famous rivers to feed the local colored Koi fishes are Sg. Moroli and Bombon Kg. Marakau.
Tip for Bombon Kg. Marakau fish spa: First, grab a handful of fish food and clench them in your fist. Next, dip into the water to make them wet and mush them up in your fist to form a clump. Put it back into the water. When the Koi fishes come to you, don’t release your fist and let them suck on your fist. It’s really an otherworldly experience. Then, use that opportunity while they’re trying to suck the food out of your fist to feel their smooth bodies, or even raise them up!
Bombon Kg. Marakau (Fish Spa)
Address: Key in Bombon Kg. Marakau (Fish Spa) in Google Map (Near Marakau Cabin Lodge)
Hours: Daily 8 am-5.30 pm
Fee: RM3 (Adult) RM1 (Children) Fish food included
Sg. Moroli Fish Spa
Location: Ranau Tagal Sg. Moroni
Hours: 8.30 am-5 pm (Except for Saturdays)
Fee: RM2 (Adult) for a 15-minute experience
8. Tour the Kundasang War Memorial
History buffs will enjoy the Kundasang War Memorial. Go back in time and learn about the history during the occupation of the British in Sabah during World War 2. In total, there are 4 gardens: Borneo, Australian, English Gardens and Contemplation Garden and Pool. Learn also, about the Sandakan Death March here and remember the sacrifices the heroes have made during the war.
Address: Jalan Kundasang Kauluan, Kundasang, 89300 Ranau, Sabah
Hours: Daily 8.30 am-5 pm
Entrance fee: RM2 (Malaysian) & RM10 (International)
9. Buy local produce from Nabalu Market
Take a break from the long journey and tour the local authentic fresh produce market! And a good place to start is Nabalu Market! It is set by the roadside with an idyllic view of Mt. Kinabalu and Crocker Range! Most of the goods sold are either local produce or craft items, which will make for a good place to get your souvenirs! Go early as they might close their stalls early!
Local tip: You can bargain with the owners for a good price!
Address: Nabalu Kundasang, Jalan Kundasang Kauluan, Kundasang, Sabah.
Hours: As early as 6.30 am to around 3 pm
10. Taste local wild boar Sinalau Bakas
Also known as Sabah’s most popular food. In English, Sinalau Bakas is called grilled wild boar. Their stalls are normally found all the way downhill (or uphill) of Kundasang, scattered throughout the windy roads. This exotic meat is the local’s favorite! However, the wait time can be painstakingly long as the meat needs to be cooked thoroughly, especially when they’re using charcoal. Although the meat was really hard to chew on, the fragrance was hard to resist. Expect to smell like charcoal when you leave.
Location: Along the long stretch of winding hilly road down.
Hours: Differs from stalls to stalls. Most of them close around the evening.
Price: Varies (Roughly RM22/kg)
Getting to Kundasang, sabah
- Hire a car
- Drive to Kundasang on your own! It’s easy as you can just hire your own car and tour Kundasang tweaking your itinerary however you want! We recommend rentalcars.com for quick, easy, and affordable rentals straight from the airport!
- By Taxi
- I wouldn’t recommend taking a taxi to Kundasang as it will be between RM100-300 for the 2-hour journey! Make sure you agree on a price with the taxi driver before getting on!
- By Bus
- Taking a bus from Kota Kinabalu to Kundasang or Ranau costs about RM15-20 depending on the bus company. Hail a taxi over to the Inanam bus terminal and book your bus, or you can book ahead with easybook.com online! The journey will take around 2-4 hours based on the number of stops the bus makes.
- By Tour
- Undoubtedly, joining a tour company will get all your transportation sorted out. Let them manage your transportation as you sit back and relax during the long journey to Kundasang!
GetYourGuide is a trustable tour company around the world. All your transportation needs will be sorted out as long as you book a tour with them! I’ve personally been to the Twin Islands, Kinabalu Park and Poring Hot Spring, so I definitely recommend you try both of them out when you visit Kundasang! Whereas Mari Mari Cultural Village is a significant tourist spot to learn about the native tribes of Sabah!
Where to stay in kundasang
- Suang Noh Homestay: Stay here if you want to stay close to DESA dairy farm! Enjoy uninterrupted views of Mt. Kinabalu straight out of the window!
- Kinabalu Valley Homestay: Another homestay with a panoramic view of Mt. Kinabalu! The front desk is open 24 hours and has barbeque too!
- Kundasang Guesthouse: Feel like you’re staying in an English mansion at Kundasang Guesthouse! The house is close to Kundasang town and is praised for its cleanliness!
- D’permai View Kundasang: Large families can consider D’permai View for its spacious rooms and houses that can accommodate up to 10 people or more! It is also affordable!
In a nutshell, Kundasang is an ideal retreat for those looking to have a relaxing getaway with family or friends. Spend a day or more than a day in Kundasang, but make sure you don’t rush things! Otherwise, you won’t be able to take in Kundasang’s beauty in its entirety!
As the temperature is cooler in Kundasang, be sure to prepare an extra jacket to get through the cold nights! Also, bring some mosquito repellent and lip balm just in case!