Tuesday, 24 May 2016

KINABALU: Hot Spring

I thought hot spring bath can only be experienced at the Yellowstone National Park in USA or we have to travel all the way to Iceland to enjoy the water. But it is right here; a two hours drive from my hometown in Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu). Right in our own backyard! It's call the Poring Hot Spring or Poring National Park. Hot spring is a geothermal heated water coming from the earth crust. Many of the spring produce tolerable hot water and therefore pleasurable to bath with. But many are also too hot and dangerous. The heat is unbearable and could kill people if come into contact. But this one at Poring is indeed comfortable. The park does provide pools for visiting tourists and the guests and they can also mix the hot water with cold one. It is believed hot spring contains minerals beneficial to our health.

Nearby, we can also experience "sky walking" where the park provided a platform for the guests to walk among the canopies of the tropical hardwood forest, untouched by men (at this moment). The scenes are breathtaking. Platform 3 is the highest and the longest; and the scariest!

The Poring Hot Spring National Park is located at the highest mountain of North Borneo (Sabah) and it is one of the Kinabalu areas. There are many more beautiful places to explore here but at this moment, time only permit us to see a few.

The first English romance-thriller from Borneo

Thursday, 12 May 2016

KINABALU: The Sabah Tea

I only saw inspiring images of tea plantations in Ceylon and also Cameron Highland (West Malaysia) and never for once thought there is a tea farm at our own backyard: at Nalapak, not far from the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, Mount Kinabalu! But here we are, making our trip to one of the highland paradise for the very first time. The view of the majestic mountain can be seen in the background. It is not as well-maintained as other tea plantations around the world; but nevertheless the view is quite breathtaking! The farm is known as The Sabah Tea.

Tea is an evergreen plant and the younger and smaller the leaves plucked, the higher the quality will be the tea.  I am made to understand the word tea is a Chinese word. The history of tea (camellia sinensis) started around the year 50BC in ancient China. In the early 1800's the population of Great Britain and Ireland were devastated by cholera. Million died of this disease. Then British traders introduced tea to their society. Because drinking tea involved boiled water, dying from cholera was dramatically reduced. Today the people of Great Britain and Republic of Ireland are the biggest per-capita consumer of tea in the world. In fact drinking tea had become their culture.

The Sabah Tea Farm is about thirty minutes drive from the Kinabalu National Park and two hours thirty minutes from the city. It is also very close to the Luanti Fish Spa.

The first English romance-thriller from Borneo

Sunday, 8 May 2016

KINABALU: Trip to Luanti Fish Spa

I once operated a spa before. Those who ever dealt with this business will know how nightmarish was it to manage the human resources department. But for fish spa; it's cool men! Having common carps as your staffs definitely are dreams of a lifetime! Not only employing them are free, they also accept peanuts! In fact better; fish feeds! In Malay it is called dedak.

The fish here are known as the Ikan Pelian or Malaysian Mahshee (cyprinidae) which is a family of freshwater fish also called the carp family. They are stomachless as well toothless and they consume their food by sucking. Putting your foot down into the river does make one nervous and as the fish scrambled around your foot, the feeling is ticklish! For the first ten seconds you feel like giving up and you want to rush out from the water, but if we are patient and we let the fish do their job, soon our fear and nervousness will disappear. A lady next to us screamed on top of her voice but fortunately she endured the "suffering" and reaped the pleasure. After that, she refused to go out letting the fish feeds the psoriasis on her feet.

The operator told me this spa is operated by the Luanti village cooperative. Once the fish were almost extinct and the government encouraged them to practiced Tagal which mean "no fishing" in the Dusun language in the late 1990's. Within 15 years the population of the fish exploded and it is no longer considered endangered. Now there are thousands of them in this river. Kampung Luanti is located in Nalapak, Ranau about two hours and thirty minutes drive from Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu). It is also not far from the Kinabalu National Park. Coming here is indeed a great experience.

The first English romance-thriller novel from Borneo