Stuif's Adventures

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Visiting Sabah and Joe Yap, March 2012
When my waterfall friend Joe Yap moved to Sabah last year, it was quite a surprise for me and many of her friends.
She has settled down there now, so it was time to fly to Sabah and visit her.
After a 2.5 hour flight to Kota Kinabalu, I met Joe at the airport.

The plan was to visit the Kiansom waterfalls, but the weather looked not very promising, so we decided to go to a cultural village instead. But first we met Caleb, another friend, who was going to join us for the rest of my stay. It was a nice surprise, I had met him in Peninsular Malaysia and not realised that he was now living in Sabah.
Of course we had lunch first, savoury beef noodles. The village contained a variety of Kadazan/Dusun houses and traditional tools and decorations.
Later we visited the Filipino Market and had a delicious seafood dinner there. Finally we picked up Jimmy, Joe's friend from his work and had a drink at one of the popular nightspots of KK.

The next morning we did a short city tour. Kota Kinabalu (formerly Jesselton) has been almost completely destroyed during WWII, so there is not much interesting to see. The clock tower is one of the few remaining buildings.
Our program for the day was to visit the Crocker range and the Mahua waterfall. It was a long drive, but interesting. We had to pay an entrance fee for the waterfall, different for locals and foreigners. Quite expensive, but it must be said that the park was well maintained and completely free of the usual (Peninsular) rubbish.

The following day our target was the Kinabalu mountain. Not to climb it, but to get more information about the waterfalls on its slopes.
First we drove to Tuaran to have breakfast with the famous seafood noodles. We visited (and climbed) the Ling San pagoda and had a look at the Tamparuli hanging bridge, made famous by a Kadazandusun song.

After that we took the winding road to Ranau. When the weather is good, you have fabulous views of the mountain and you can see several tall waterfalls.
We were not lucky, it was clouded. The road to Ranau follows the ridge, to start trekking to these waterfalls you will first have to go down to the river, many hundreds of meters lower. We tried two roads down. The first one led to two small kampongs, each with their own church. All the catholic churches are signposted in Sabah by uniform signboards, donated by a rich Chinese businessman, after his wife was miraculously cured from a sickness by prayer.
We asked a local for information about guides, but got only vague answers. Our second try led to a school where we had a simple lunch. Here also no useful information, although from here it is only about 5 km to the base of the fall.
Preparing this report I came across a useful link. We were close! In the kampong near the school we should have asked for a guy named Ginik, who has guided people to the fall.
Next time better luck.

From the ridge road we had only occasional glimpses of the falls...:-(
So we drove on and went to kampong Luanti Barau, near Ranau, where there was a Fish Spa. I had heard about fish spa's in town, where tiny fish nibble your feet. This was different...:-) After paying your entrance fee, you just walked into the river, and there were hundreds of quite big fish "attacking" you. Tickling, sometime a bit painful. A hilarious experience.

On our way back, we took the side road to Mesilau, hoping for some views of Kinabalu. It was still clouded, but we could see the mountain, actually the clouds made it extremely beautiful and scenic.

The following day there was time to visit the Kiansom falls, as I was flying back in the evening. These falls are very close to Kota Kinabalu and consist of several tiers. The main fall is really beautiful. When we came back to the car it started raining. We took a scenic route back to KK, but it kept raining heavily, so no views. Another reason to come back to Sabah soon.

Altogether a rewarding trip, with thanks to Joe and Caleb for their hospitality!

Joe's condo in Kota Kinabalu

Her nice apartment

Lunch after arrival

Beef noodles... yummie

Meeting Caleb

The cultural village

Various styles of houses

Traditional tools

The Filipino market

Large variety of seafood

Here they grill the fish

The tasty result
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Visiting a nightspot

Having a drink

Morning view

Threatening clouds


The Jesselton clock tower

Mighty Kinabalu mountain

With Caleb, Crocker Range

Crossing the Crocker Range

Forest destruction also here..:-(
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Signboard for Mahua waterfall

Different rates for locals and foreigners
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Well maintained

Nice cascading stream

Mahua fall from a distance

A real vertical fall

One for the album

My personal marker

Even a lifeguard!

Caleb and Joe as photographers

Interesting rock formations

A forest giant

A characteristic Sabah church

Breakfast in Tuaran

Very friendly waitresses

Ling San pagoda

View from the top

The temple from above



With the friendly caretaker

The Tamparuli bridges

The famous hanging bridge

For pedestrians only

Morning market

Vegetable sellers

Kinabalu recce

Church signboards

Down to the river

Crossing the river

Strange bedrock formation
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Kg Lobong-Lobong

One of the villagers

Another hanging bridge

Kg Kaung church

Famous viewpoint, but no view

Where are the waterfalls?

Here is one

Lower part of Kadamaian

A natural fish spa!


The spa!

Big fun

As you can see

Tickling, sometimes almost painful
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Everybody happy

Kinabalu mountain from Mesilau

Very scenic clouds

Ragged peaks

Joe with the mountain

Caleb getting rid of his balls

Sunset over KK


Kiansom lower fall

Middle tier

Another tier

The main Kiansom fall
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Powerful shower
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Proof that I was there

Be careful

A shelter in the middle of nowhere

No view this time

Church with, far away, Kota Kinabalu

wrote on Mar 18, 2012:
the fish thought , " yeh! so many tiny black earthworm."

wrote on Mar 18, 2012:
Heavy stuff! I like

Liz wrote on Mar 19, 2012:
I've seen convoys of these in the southern parts of Sabah.

Liz wrote on Mar 19, 2012:
Sabah is unfortunately getting very expensive for foreigners - to climb Mt K now is a ridiculous price. At least RM10 here is not so bad.

Dan wrote on Mar 19, 2012:
Strange indeed ..... carved by the wind/water I think..

Dan wrote on Mar 19, 2012:
I wanna try it too :) .... I remember my previous experience at Erawan falls(Thailand), they too have big fishes like these nibbling on anything they could get their mouth on.

Kwai Loh wrote on Mar 19, 2012:
When you pay a bit more you can take a full body dip. In which case it makes sense to wear a tight-fitting swimming trunk..:-)

Dan wrote on Mar 19, 2012:
oh u need to pay to get bitten? hmmm .... then no TQ lah .. lol

Dan wrote on Mar 19, 2012:
What a gorgeous waterfall..

Dan wrote on Mar 19, 2012:
hmm nice place.... I thought she is there working on some projects, or something like that for a short period .... didn't know she actually moved there. I like the idea of moving there, I like Borneo.. I wanna move there too !!

Kwai Loh wrote on Mar 19, 2012:
But do they have marathons there?

Dan wrote on Mar 19, 2012:
yeah ... they do, I going there this 4-6/May in fact, I'll beep Joe for a quick meal // :)

wrote on Mar 21, 2012:
Now how did you get this photo Jan? From where?

Kwai Loh wrote on Mar 21, 2012:
The photo was taken from Signal Hill, KK, around 8:30 am

wrote on Mar 27, 2012:
yeah..if that was 3 times the height and a falls clear of the cliff..that would be a handsome waterfall...nice place though..

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