The charm of the “New Zealand of Malaysia”

By Nurul Azirah Binti Japin

Often described as the “New Zealand of Malaysia”, Kundasang, which is located on Borneo island, has become one of most awaited tourism sites to reopen post-COVID-19 pandemic.

Living up to its glorified nickname, Kundasang fulfils the requirement for people who are planning for a vacation.

Situated almost 2,000 metres above the sea, Kundasang acquired the cool and fresh climate that goes along well with any season and festival time, which is an ideal getaway especially for family.

Among the famous tourist attractions in Kundasang are the “hobbit house”, tea plantation, selfie corners, Desa Dairy Farm, and the latest one is the Alpaca Club, located just seven minutes’ drive from the famous Desa Dairy Farm in Mesilou.

In October 2020, alpacas were brought all the way from Australia and were shorn before being flown to Sabah. It is most suitable for a family-friendly visit where kids will love to get close to the fluffy creatures and feed them with dried grass.

Talking about Kundasang, it is not valid if no mention is made of Mount Kinabalu which is one of the must-go places for tourists to visit when they come to Kundasang.

Becoming the tallest mountain in Malaysia, one of the highest mountains in Southeast Asia and the 20th tallest mountain in the world, with the summit, Low’s Peak, sits at 4095.2 meters (13,435 feet) above sea level, Mount Kinabalu has become the hot place for hikers to explore, both local and foreign tourists.

The maximum daily limit for climb permit is 185 people per day as issued by Sabah Park and there are fixed number of climb permits to be reserved for the people of the state and the country as follows: 10 persons of Sabahan only, 25 person for Malaysians only, and 150 for Malaysians and foreigners.

Desa Dairy farm is no longer foreign to the ears of tourists, as it has become to be known as the mini “New Zealand of Malaysia” where people can enjoy and experience very beautiful and fresh scenery just like in New Zealand with the backdrop of Mount Kinabalu.

Located at the foothill of Mount Kinabalu, Desa Dairy Farm offers the most breath-taking and amazing scenery that one could envision, not to forget the cool and fresh breeze that Kundasang has to offer.

The hobbit house located in the alley in Kundasang are places that are inspired from the series “The Lord of Ring”, where the hobbits live. Not only adventurous but also nature-loving people.

That amazing place in Kundasang allows visitors to enjoy the full J R R Tolkien’s ‘The Hobbit’ experience from where people waking up to opening the famous circular door to be greeted by beautiful mountain.

According to Kang Fairuz, the designer and owner of the Humble Hobbit Home, the homestay is not centred on building themed-homes but aims to provide guests with an excellent stay.

Besides the resemblance of the great work of Tolkien, it seems that the splendid view and the adorable design is also what makes other attracted to it.

Sabah tea farm that is located at KM17, Jalan Ranau also provides the journey and experience for those who have great interest in tea or prefer light activity for family.

With the range of options for accommodation, visitors can choose wherever they want to stay, be it a traditional long house, a cosy bungalow, or a campsite for those who wish to sleep under the stars.

Visitors can also enjoy a variety of recreational activities such as trekking trail to the peak of Kamunsu Hill, obstacle-crossing in the Sapaon Recreational Area or embarking a night walk to check out the unique insect life.

Although some of the places mentioned above already reopen, a limitation had been set to control and manage the situation, so only a few people can go to one place at one time.

Hopefully, the tourism industry in Sabah will continue to give its pleasing and memorable experience to all tourists who come to the state and visit Kundasang, in particular. ***

(This article is written as part of the individual assignment series for Feature Writing class)

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