Situated in the heart of the pristine rainforest, Sabah tea garden is a sprawling plantation surrounded by cool mountain air. It is located in the city of Ranau, Sabah, Malaysia. Also, Kota Kinabalu and Mount Kinabalu Park are in close proximity.
It is the only organic tea farm in Borneo spread over 2,480 hectares. It 100% free of pesticides. It offers visitors an unusual tour that is both educational and fun.
One can go for trekking along the trails to the peak of Kamunsu Hill or can embark on a night-walk to check out the unique insect life. The obstacle-crossing in the Sapaon area is yet another fun activity to experience.
The growing popularity of this region makes it an ideal location for a weekend getaway. Being 692 meters above mean sea level, the cooling highland provides an escape from the hot weather of cities.
If you are planning a rejuvenating holiday to this tea forest then keep reading to know more about it.
An ideal tour package to this splendid destination is the ‘Sabah Tea Adventure 2 Days 1 Night’. It won the first Tourism Malaysia Award for Best Tour Programme For Educational Tourism. It’s the most popular among students and outdoor enthusiasts.
It includes a tour at the tea factory and plantation. For more adventurous travelers, a basic jungle survival skills course is provided. Along with it an understanding of rivers and how to cross them safely and obstacle training is also covered.
Other packages have also been created to cater to different travelers like the 3 day-2 night tour.
The Quailey’s Hill Tour is targeted at Australians. It is created to learn about World War II Sandakan-Ranau death marches and pay respect to a fallen Australian soldier.
Sabah Tea Rainforest Conservation And Global Warming Prevention Programme are particularly aimed at Japanese University students. Those who wish to play a part in the conservation efforts can opt for this 3 day-2 night stay tour.
A range of accommodation options is available in the Sabah tea garden. Vacationers can plan to stay at the traditional longhouse, a cozy bungalow, English cottages, nearby hotel or a resort.
It can fit 75 people at a time. It has 25 rooms with 14 shower rooms and 6 toilets. A single room can be shared with three people.
These come in 4 units and have the capacity to host 48 people. A total of 16 rooms is available having 1 Queen bed with a twin bed. It provides the facility of air-conditioning, hot shower, and TV.
Sabah Tea Farm Activities:
To give a soothing farm stay experience to the visitors, they have put some fun things in the plantation like:
- Flowers and herbs
- Colorful ornaments
- Fish pond
- Bunny Villa
Other activities include:
- Swimming in cool mountain water.
- Jungle trekking at Kamunsu Hills.
- Bird watching
- Night walking for spotting insects.
- Mountain bike races for cycling enthusiasts.
It hosts the Sabah Tea Adventure Race on the 40 km long racecourse. It combines off-road mountain biking, jungle-running, obstacle course, and river crossings.
This place also provides various facilities for companies and government departments. Recreational activities are planned for those who opt to hold their meetings, seminars or conferences here.
A serene venue amidst tea plantations and rainforest can be more inspiring instead of a mundane hotel room.
Enriching Tea Experience:
Having a history of 3000 years, tea is the most consumed beverage in Ranua. The garden association offers “The Journey of the Tea” tour to those who have an interest in how tea is processed.
The tourists get a chance to harvest, process and sample the tea. They are provided with a native hat and Wakid (basket). Then they are briefed about the right way to pluck the leaves and buds from the plantation.
After an hour of harvesting tea leaves, the freshly collected leaves are put to dry and wither. Later, these are used to make oolong and green tea in the traditional manner.
The tea product is of high quality since it is not blended with other plantations. It is a single estate plantation. The quality is also controlled to ensure consistency. It is certified for organic production and processing by SKAL International B.V. of the Netherlands.
The staff conducts tea talk for the tourists as they are always keen to share their knowledge. This is to provide a better understanding of the tea culture.
Sabah Tea is used in food too. Their dishes like chicken soup cooked with vegetables and young tea leaves, tea pancakes with honey, and one-of-a-kind dessert cannot be ignored.
Other local cuisines available include:
- Fish with Bambang (the fruit is indigenous to Sabah only)
- Tuhau Beef (wild ginger beef)
- Sabah Tea Black Pepper Lamb
- Butter Prawns
- Soy Sauce Free-range Chicken
Sabah Legend Tour:
The largest native group of Sabah is Kadazandusun. According to their legend, Kadazandusun people originated from Nunuk Ragang.
The stories go like this that everything began with a father and his 3 sons, who later split and migrated. They formed three different tribes namely, Rungus, Kadazan and Dasun in different parts of Sabah.
At Sabah tea, this legend is narrated by the staff in the longhouse. They showcase traditional clothes, baskets, handicrafts, farming tools, hats, mats, etc to make it interesting. They display musical instruments in the hallway to give a glimpse of the culture of each tribe.
Some points to keep in mind for day-time travelers:
- The opening hours of the tea garden are from 8 am to 4:30 pm. It is best to visit before noon.
- It takes two hours and 30 minutes to drive from Kota Kinabalu city to reach this place.
- There is no entrance fee for visitors. However, the cost of guided tea factory tours is USD 3.41 or RM 14 per person. The lunch cost is USD 7.30 or RM 30 which has to be paid additionally.
Surrounded by lush green scenery of the never-ending rainforests, the place is an absolute beauty. A morning walk during sunrise in the misty mountains can be very soothing.
The breath-taking view of the plantation with majestic Mt. Kinabalu as the backdrop will make you fall in love with this place.
If you are looking for a trip more than just a scenic view, then this is your destination.