Kundasang is a quaint little town in Ranau district of Sabah, Borneo. It is located at a distance of 6 km from the Mount Kinabalu National Park and is at an elevation of 6200 ft. This makes it the highest inhabited town in Malaysia.
The pristine beauty of this town situated right in the lap of Mount Kinabalu is unparalleled. This is perhaps the reason why Kundasang is lovingly referred to as the “Scotland of Borneo”.
While the town is popular for its fresh vegetable markets, there is a lot that it has to offer to tourists planning a trip to Kundasang.
Read on to know more about this mountain getaway and the interesting things you can do/places that can be visited when you’re there.
The Journey from Kota Kinabalu
While Mt Kinabalu and Kinabalu National Park are popular tourist hubs within Sabah, Borneo, many people are not aware of this picturesque town nearby. This is perhaps the reason why Kundasang is not very well connected to various other cities in the region.
The easiest way to go to Kundasang is hence via Kota Kinabalu. Taking a road trip from Kota Kinabalu is the best way to reach Kundasang. Additionally, it is also the best approach to explore the natural beauty and scenic locations on the way to the town.
You can hire a cab from Kota Kinabalu (or Kinabalu Park) or even decide to self-drive a rented car. Cabs are easily available at the Kota Kinabalu airport to Kundasang, Sabah. Alternatively, you can get a cab at the local transportation agencies. Online booking options are also available.
Bus rides can be taken from the Wawasan Terminal in Kota Kinabalu for a cost of RM 20.
The drive up the mountain with Mt Kinabalu in the background will want you to stop every now and then to take in the view. The cool Kundasang weather, fresh vegetable plantations, pristine mountain forests, and the misty air is a gateway to a rejuvenating holiday.
Accommodation Options at Kundasang
Multiple accommodation options ranging from homestays to luxury hotels, private chalets and resorts are available in Kundasang. Various good hotels in Kundasang are also located on the way to the town.
Homestays in Kundasang are recommended for budget travelers. However, if money is not a big concern, it is best to choose a hotel or a resort for a relaxing holiday in this mountain town. Most hotels in Kundasang offer great views of Mount Kinabalu as well as the valley.
Top 7 things to do at Kundasang
While the Mount Kinabalu views could keep you glued to your hotel window all day long, there are various other attractive places to see in Kundasang, Sabah. Following is a list of some “must do” things while you’re in the town.
Visit Desa Dairy Farm
A short road trip will bring you to the Desa cattle farms are the most visited tourist spot in Kundasang. You could capture some postcard-worthy pictures while you’re here. With the Friesan cows moving around a landscape of meadows and rolling hills, the views are breathtaking.
The park entrance fee to the farm is RM 5 per person. The trip includes strolling around the scenic locales within the farm, watching the process of milking and Desa cattle feeding.
While you’re at the Desa Dairy farm, you could try out some fresh milk, yogurt, and other dairy products too. It is recommended to visit the place in the morning hours with breakfast at the farm.
Relax at the Sabah Tea Gardens
The tranquility offered by the Sabah tea gardens nearby is unmatched. The sprawling tea gardens along with the cool freshness of the mountain air makes up for a perfect rejuvenating holiday.
There is no admission fee to the Sabah tea gardens. However, for a small fee of RM 14, you can get a guided tour of the tea factory to observe the tea making process.
Finally, you can’t leave the tea plantations without tasting Sabah’s best organically produced tea. Even if you’re not a tea person, you’ll just fall in love with the aroma and rich flavors of the finest tea in Sabah produced right here.
Explore the Kundasang Market
The valleys in and around Kundasang have rich soil that supports farming conditions. Fresh vegetables, fruits, flowers, etc are the key farming produce of this land. The town of Kundasang is a local hub for farmers and traders for selling their farm produce.
The array of colorful stalls displaying the freshly harvested products in the Kundasang Market is a sight to behold.
In addition to the local farm harvest, the daily market also has a good number of stalls displaying local handicrafts and clothing items. Remember that bargaining is a commonly accepted practice here and you could pick up a good souvenir or two if you’re good at it.
Try out Tandem Paragliding at Ranau
For adventure seekers, Tandem Paragliding in Ranau is a perfect adrenaline rush activity to take up. The experience of flying in the valley with the lush forest beneath cannot be summarised in words.
The fee is RM 250 for international tourists and RM 190 for Malaysian nationals. It is also important to note that paragliding operations are dependent on wind and weather conditions of the day.
Visit Kundasang War Memorial
The Kundasang War Memorial is a place to honor the Australian and British soldiers (Prisoners of War). The infamous death marches to Ranau during World War II left thousands of soldiers dead. Additionally, various Bornean nationals lost their lives to help these prisoners of war.
The memorial is a joint commemoration of the brave heroes of different nationalities. The building is surrounded by four beautiful gardens in memory of the war heroes. The Australian Garden, the English Garden, the Borneo Garden, and the Contemplation Garden sit in perfect harmony with each other.
The admission fee to the memorial is RM 2.
Try Fish Foot Massage
During your trip to Kundasang, driving around to see some local villages is the best way to feel the culture of the region. Some of these villages like the Tagal Luanti Fish Massage Village offer natural fish spas.
The massage includes sitting at the bank of a pool with your feet dipped in the water. While hundreds of tiny fish nibble over the rough skin on your feet, you get the best foot spa ever!
Relax at the Hot Water Springs at Poring
A short 45-minute drive from Kundasang will bring you to Poring Hot Springs. A popular destination with the tourists, this complex is a part of Poring Hot Spring Nature Reserve. While there are various other things to do here, it is primarily visited for the natural sulphur rich hot springs.
The hot water infused with sulphur and rich in various other minerals are known to have therapeutic and healing properties. Multiple pool options (at different costs) are available for people to soak in and relax.
Various other fun/adventure activities include the famous Poring Hot Springs Canopy Walk, trekking to the Kipungit and the Langganan waterfalls, etc. The Nature Reserve also hosts various gardens like the Butterfly Garden, the Tropical Garden, the Bamboo Garden, the Bat Cave, and the Orchid Conservation Centre.
The serene beauty of the hilly town of Kundasang, Sabah adds to Borneo’s abundant natural wonders. The tranquility of this small town is perfect for those looking for a peaceful Borneo getaway. The cool weather, floating clouds, untouched forests and the perfect backdrop of Mt Kinabalu makes it one of the most beautiful hill towns in Malaysia.
When you’re in Sabah, Borneo, saving a few days for this misty mountain town is a must. Plan out your Kundasang holiday now!