Lots to do in Tamparuli


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  • Monday, 18 May 2015

The scenic walk starts here: One side of the suspended Jambatan Tamparuli.

Pak pak kang ku doh, Sumunsui doh jambatan, Jambatan doh Tamparuli, Bakasut tinggi oku.

So goes the opening line of the Kadazandusun folk song called Jabatan Tamparuli.

The song dating back to the 1970s tells about how a young Kadazandusun lass garbed in her finest is heading to the weekly tamu at Tamparuli town on a Wednesday.

As she crosses the town’s suspension bridge, her high-heel shoes get stuck in the wooden planks and she can’t pull them out.

Left with her stockings, she can do little but to continue her trip to the tamu barefooted.

Like many Sabahans, veteran tour guide Daniel Doughty immediately thinks of that song whenever he hears the word Tamparuli, the name of a town about 35km from Kota Kinabalu.

Nature at its best: Adventure lovers usually head further inland to indulge in white-water rafting along the Kiulu river which flows at a calmer pace (below) as it meanders through Tamparuli.
Nature at its best: Adventure lovers usually head further inland to indulge in white-water rafting along the Kiulu river which flows at a calmer pace (below) as it meanders through Tamparuli.

The song brought fame to the town at the foothills of the Crocker Range.

Tamparuli is popular stop for travellers heading to the Kinabalu Park, Kundasang, Ranau and the east coast of Sabah as it is located along the Kota Kinabalu-Sandakan trunk road.

The suspension bridge has become an attraction in its own right as tourists love taking photographs of local folk using the swaying structure located about six metres above the Sungai Kiulu.

Just next to it is a low-lying bridge with vehicles crossing the river barely 0.3m above the waterline

Kiulu river in Tamparuli.
Kiulu river in Tamparuli.

The normally quiet Tamparuli town is a hive of activity every Wednesday when the tamu or farmers’ market is held along the banks of the river.

There farmers from nearby villages bring their produce such as tuhau or wild ginger, local fruits such tarap and vegetables to be sold there.

Nearby coffeeshops offer the town’s speciality— Tamparuli mee — locally made noodles that are blanched before being quickly stir fried.

Visitors are also streaming to Tamparuli for other recent attractions namely the Rumah Terbalik — an upside down house complete with an upside down car parked upside down inside its garage.

Curious attraction: Tamparuli’s upside down house comes complete with an upside down car parked upside down inside its garage.
Curious attraction: Tamparuli’s upside down house comes complete with an upside down car parked upside down inside its garage.

Just nearby is the Chanteek Borneo Gallery containing a collection of dolls garbed in the traditional costumes of many of the 30 ethnic communities in the state.

As Daniel puts it there is more to Tamparuli than all these as the town sits smack in the middle of a natural family adventure destination.

Tamparuli is within the Tuaran district that boasts seaside resorts such as the Nexus Karambunai and Shangri La Rasa Ria with its own 26ha nature reserve that has some iconic orang utan as well as being home to some 60 bird species.

Town’s pride: The Jambatan Tamparuli suspension bridge, made famous by a folk song of the same name, is popular with tourists to the town.
Town’s pride: The Jambatan Tamparuli suspension bridge, made famous by a folk song of the same name, is popular with tourists to the town.

Further inland is Kiulu with its fast flowing river that is suitable for white-water rafting.

“The best part is that is the type of water rafting in Kiulu is suitable for novices and families,” said Daniel.

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