KOTA KINABALU: “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 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 gets stuck in the wooden planks and she can’t pull them out.
All that left are her 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 35 kms from Kota Kinabalu.
The song brought fame to the town at the foothills of the Crocker Range that was usually a stop for travellers heading to the Kinabalu Park, Kundasang, Ranau and the east coast of Sabah since it was located along the Kota Kinabalu-Sandakan trunk road.
The suspension bridge has become an attraction in its own right with local folk using it becoming the subjects of visitors taking photographs of the swaying structure located about 6 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
The normally quiet Tamparuli town is 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 coffee shops offer the 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 in upside down 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 where with major seaside resorts such as the Nexus Karambunai and Shangri La Rasa Ria with own 26ha nature reserve that has some iconic orang utan as well as being home to some 60 bird species.
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.