Stuif's Adventures

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Sabah November 2013
It took me some time to fulfill my promise to visit my friend Joe Yap in Sabah again, but finally I booked a flight on 29 November to Kota Kinabalu, where she picked me up from the airport. We had decided to visit Sandakan, drive there on Saturday, stay two days and drive back on Monday to KK, in time to get my flight back in the evening. That left us the Friday afternoon.
After lunch, we first visited a nice Taoist temple, the Peak Nam Tong. In KK itself there is not much interesting to see, so I suggested that we could go again to the Kasih Sayang Resort, high up in the hills above KK. Famous for the views of the Kinabalu mountain and the town. But during my last visit it had been raining cats and dogs, no view at all.
This time it was not much better, both town and mountain remained shrouded in clouds.So we went home and had dinner in a Philippine restaurant.

Lunch in Janggut
 

Peak Nam Tong
 

Entrance
 

Inside the temple
 

The roof
 

The pagoda
 

Kasih Sayang Resort
 

Very scenic views
 

A nearby church
 

Joe's condo
 

Preparing for the trip
 

The next morning started with a blue sky, after breakfast we started our long (~340 km) drive to Sandakan. The road is very scenic, we were lucky to have good views of the majestic Kinabalu mountain, especially near Tamparuli, where a hanging bridge crosses the river.
Our next stop was at the Kundasang cow farm. A COW FARM? Yes, with Friesian cows...:-). Quite amazing. There was also a calf and goat nursery and a shop where you could buy fresh milk.
An unexpected surprise in tropical Malaysia!

Where Joe is living
 

Old bridge near Tamparuli
 

View of Kinabalu
 

One for the album
 

Close-up of the jagged mountain ridge
 

The Kundasang cow farm
 

Unexpected to see cows here
 

Cows with a cattle egret
 

A real Friesian cow
 

Another one for the album
 

Nice with the clouds
 

Joe and the mountain
 

Me as a conqueror
 

Young goats
 

So cute (the goat)
 

When we next visited the War Memorial in Kundasang, we did not realise that this visit would change our trip program considerably..:-). It was here that we heard for the first time about the Sandakan Death Marches. In 1945 the Japanese Imperial Army forced more than thousand Australian and British Prisoners of War (POW's) to march from the POW-camp in Sandakan to Ranau on the slopes of Kinabalu mountain. None of them survived, except six Australians who managed to escape.
The memorial erected here, not far from Ranau, is quite impressive. It consists of four gardens, an Australian and an English one, one for the Sabahans who died during the occupation, and a tranquil Contemplation Garden with all the names of the POW's. Joe told me that at the Sabah Tea Plantation, our next stop, there was more information. The route of the Death Marches passed here, and there is a memorial for a POW who was killed here by the Japs. We had lunch, enjoying the fast changing cloud formations. In the shop I found a book, Sandakan: A Conspiracy of Silence and I could not resist the temptation to buy it.
It was still a long drive from here to Sandakan, where we arrived at our hotel around 7 pm. Dinner in the Sim Sim seafood restaurant. A popular place, with delicious (fresh)seafood.

Entrance of the Memorial
 

The British garden
 

The Australian garden
 

The Contemplation garden
 

The names of those who died
 

Kundasang village
 

Lunch at the Sabah Tea plantation
 

The book I bought
 

Cloudscapes
 

Quailey's Hill
 

More information
 

Swiss Inn Waterfront hotel
 

Comfortable room
 

Sim Sim seafood restaurant
 

Delicious and fresh
 

The next day we explored Sandakan, the weather was unstable, with quite a lot of rain. Sandakan has been bombed in 1945 by the allied forces and destroyed by the Japanese, so there is not much of interest. We visited a nearby fishing village,where we had an early lunch. On the hill slope above the village the beautiful Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple is located. From the terrace we had a nice view of the coastline and the sea.

Morning view
 

Fishing village near Sandakan
 

One of the jetties
 

Remnants of a boat
 

Drying fish
 

Hanging next to the laundry!
 

More drying fish
 

Restaurant in the village
 

Entrance Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple
 

Buddha statues along the access road
 

In the main hall
 

Beautiful
 

View from the temple terrace
 

One of the few buildings that have survived the war bombings is the Sam Sing Kung Temple, built in 1887. We also visited the Church of St Michael, in itself not spectacular, but now with the added interest for us, that it was in this church that the POW's spent their first night, after being transported by boat from Singapore, in July 1942. As it was a Sunday, there was a service going on (in Bahasa!), so we could only get glimpses of the stained-glass windows, commemorating the WWII tragedies.
Next we visited the Keith house. Agnes Keith was an American novelist, living from 1934 with her husband in Sandakan, until she was interred by the Japanese. Coming back after the war, and finding their hilltop bungalow destroyed, they rebuilt it on the same location. It is now a museum. I would not mind being the owner of such a beautiful house...:-)
Opposite the Keith House, you can have food and a drink at the English Tea garden

Sam Sing Kung Temple (1887)
 

Interior
 

A deity near the entrance
 

Detail
 

Church of St Michael
 

Sunday service in Bahasa!
 

Entrance to the Keith House
 

Keith House
 

The interior of the bungalow
 

The Tea garden
 

The restaurant of the Tea garden
 

Originally we had planned to visit the Orang Utan Sactuary at Sepilok, but with our sudden interest in the Sandakan Death Marches, we decided to visit the Sandakan War Memorial instead, about 13 km from the town center. It was at this exact location that the infamous Batu 8 POW-camp was located, where the POW's stayed and died. Not much is left of the camp, which housed more than 2400 POW's. The Japanese tried to obliterate all traces, as they knew that their treatment of the prisoners was a flagrant violation of the Geneva convention. The visit left a deep impression on both of us.
Back in Sandakan the rain had stopped, so we could enjoy a spectacular sunset before we went for our dinner.

Sandakan War Memorial
 

Visitors
 

Scanty remains
 

The boiler
 

An excavator
 

Serene atmosphere
 

Sandakan sunset
 

Beautiful
 

Almost night
 

The next day, on our way back to KK, we visited the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. I had read mixed reviews about this sanctuary, that it was too zoo-like. Groups of these splendid animals come daily from the mangrove jungle to the center for their food. They are used to humans, so you can approach them closely, although you are not allowed to touch them. I found it a unforgettable experience to come so close to these monkeys, almost family members, as they are called orang belanda in Malay. Translated: dutch men. Are our noses really so big...:-)?
There were also Silvered Leaf Monkeys and Hornbills. Foreigners have to pay RM 60 for entry plus RM 10 to take pictures, so not cheap, but definitely worth the money.

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
 

Male orang belanda
1 comment

Female, smaller nose
 

Pics of the two males
 

Females with kids
 

What is happening there?
 

Yummie!
 

Lunchtime
 

Male with his harem
 

It was raining
 

They look unhappy.
 

Impressive
 

They are a photographers delight
 

Compare the two noses
 

Silvered Leaf Monkey
 

Having lunch
 

Joe and monkey
 

It was still a long way to KK. On our way back we came across a few signboards marking the route of the Death Marches. And we had a last view of the Kinabalu mountain. Back in KK there was just enough time for a final dinner (delicious pork noodles) before Joe dropped me at the airport.

A memorable trip


Oriental Pied Hornbill
 

Signboard from the POW route
 

Near the Labuk river
 

Last view of Kinabalu
 

The food we have enjoyed
 

RIS wrote on Dec 8, 2013:
So you are convinced it's a male;-)

Kwai Loh wrote on Dec 8, 2013:
Yes, males have a longer nose. Or did you mean something else..haha?

lightlingmk2 wrote on Dec 12, 2013:
Of course you are surprised - you don't expect cows in grassland - they live in condo ! Thanks for sharing, orang Belanda. How are things with you ? Want to come over for CNY gathering 2014 ?

Liz wrote on Dec 14, 2013:
You didn't have afternoon tea or dinner in the tea house? Or play croquet? Pity.

Kwai Loh wrote on Dec 14, 2013:
It was a Sunday afternoon and too crowded. About croquet, we are not British, lah!

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