Monday, 21 May 2018

TENOM: The Sabah Agriculture Park

The Cannon Ball Fruit tree

WILLIAM STEWART CAME FROM a small town called Tenom, a remote place in Malaysian Borneo. His father, David Stewart, was a successful real estate broker. William’s grandfather was an American planter from California. 
THE EURASIANS Chapter 9, Page 39

North Borneo (Sabah) offers many interesting places to see. And yet many of us; both local and foreigners are not aware of it or simply not bothered. There are the famous spots like Mount Kinabalu, which is among the highest mountain in Southeast Asia and also the wonderful islands of Gaya and Mantanani which have crystal clear seawater displaying diverse underwater creatures. There are also the lesser known ones, such as the Kokol Hill and the Salt Trail in Tambunan. I consider the Sabah Agricultural Park (Taman Pertanian Sabah) also to be one of the less known places.

The Sabah Agricultural Park is located at a 400 acres site at Lagud Seberang; just a 15 minutes casual drive from Tenom Town (Pekan Tenom). Tenom Town itself is 176 kilometers from Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu), the capital of North Borneo. Traveling from Jesselton to Tenom Town takes about 3 hours drive. We can also reach Tenom by train. According to the Sabah Railway Department schedule available on its website, the train leaves Jesselton at 7.45am and reaches Tenom at 10.30am daily. The train will leave Tenom at 4pm to go back to Jesselton. The site is maintained and developed by the Sabah Agriculture Department. The park indeed offers useful recreational and educational activities.

The Giant Water Lily

The most interesting thing to watch at this park is the Cannon Ball Fruit Tree. Fascinated at watching the fruit my friend who also visited here told me that the Cannon Ball Fruit looks like “Kiwi Fruit on steroid!” Many visitors marveled at the sight of these fruits and its trees and it would be a waste if nobody comes here to take pictures of it. I was informed by one of the officer that the name of this unusual fruit is Courouptia Guianensis and it originated from South America. Believe me; taking portrait with these trees is indeed awesome. Another species that is unique and interesting is the Giant Water Lily. Victoria Amazonica is so big that a baby could easily sit on one of its leave! It also originated from South America and many people come here to see this plant. Unfortunately, this plant is slowly disappearing from this park. I had visited this park three times and every time I came here, I see less of this plant. Probably with my next visit, the plant will no longer exist.

Honolulu creepers meant to attract bees

If you visit this park with your family, your kids will definitely enjoy this place. The park itself is very big. So in order to get around, the Department used this circus train to bring the visitors around! I am very sure children will be very excited to get a chance to ride this train. Even adults! The train moves on schedule every half an hour. The train will bring you to the Cannon Ball Fruit trees and the Giant Water Lily. It also stops at the Orchid Garden. This garden display about 400 species of orchids and among them is the rare Elephant Ear Orchids. The train also stops at the Ornamental Garden and Model Garden.

Riding the circus train around the park

Since my family is also involved in landscaping and gardening, I am impressed by the way the agriculture department planted the ornamental plants along the train route. In some areas they mixed these flowers with wild native vegetation; and indeed it looks awesome! What I love the most is the abundance of Honolulu Creepers. The department deliberately planted a lot of this creeper because the flowers attract bees. So if you are walking around this huge garden, you will also notice that there are many species of bees flying around. If you have the time, you could also visit the bee farms. If you are afraid of being sting, then go to the stingless bee hives; definitely you will not be sting! Then you have this huge open space where your kids could run freely. Nearby you have the lake which is so pleasing.

The wide open space inside the park

To my readers, I implore upon you to visit this park. If you are locals, please set one of your weekends to visit this place. For foreign tourists, please make the visit to this park as one of your itinerary. The agriculture department officers and their workers had done a good job to beautify this park. Remember; parks provide intrinsic, environmental, aesthetic and recreational benefits for visitors. It will definitely help to reduce your stress and who knows; lower your blood pressure.

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