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Tour de Interior
Sabah has a lot to offer to cyclists that going 150km further into its interior is a beauty one must behold. Cycling from Keningau to Tambunan, Ranau, and Kundasang, is an extreme adventure through nature’s splendour.
Named after a cinnamon tree, 1. Keningau is rich with timber. This agricultural town sits in a valley surrounded by the Crocker Range, a forest reserve, and the Trus Madi Range where the second highest peak in Malaysia, Mount Trus Madi is situated.
Beginning from the town, the ride took us to narrow and winding state roads. 2. Paddy Fields and 3. Kampung Houses are seen along the route. Heading towards Tambunan, the route elevated metre by metre until 760m at kilometre 39 before cyclists took a breather to enjoy the fruits of nonstop grilling climbs coupled with occasional descent.
Cows and Cattles
Although there were not many cars and heavy vehicles plying along the route, the roads did not offer cyclists a carefree ride. 4. Cows and Cattles were seen walking along the roads leaving behind litters. Beware that certain uneven road sections may pose danger to cyclists.
This first 58km journey ended nicely when we walked through the 5. Night Market at the town of Tambunan. It was interesting to have the opportunity to taste the 6. Local Delicacies. Some fried and barbequed snacks might look almost similar to those in Peninsular Malaysia. Don’t give them a pass. The snacks have their own unique local tastes, especially the barbeque chicken wings.
Cycling Route - Tour de Interior (Day 1)
Waking up to a peaceful breezy morning accompanied by sounds from birds and insects, minus the noise of road traffic made a serene start to our continued journey through Sabah. We set off at 8:45am before the temperature rose by noon.
Crocker Range Park Mahua Sub-station
The ride in the first 5 minutes towards Ranau was rather easy on flat road just before the elevation began. We took a turn along the way to the 7. Crocker Range Park Mahua Sub-station. Crocker Range Park is the largest state terrestrial park, approximately 75km long and 15km wide. The park is home to 106 mammals including endangered species like Orang Utan, Sun Bear and Clouded leopard, 265 species of birds, 52 species of reptiles, 67 species of frogs, 26 species of freshwater fish and several hundred insects.
If you are lucky, you might catch the opportunity to see 8. Rafflesia, one of the largest flowering plants in the world. Rafflesia may have 28 species in the family; some species may grow larger than 100cm in diameters and weigh up to 10kg. Rafflesia is also known as corpse flower, as it reeks a strong rotten body stench that attracts insects.
The entrance fee to the park is only RM3.00 per person (RM10.00 for foreigners). We paid and walked our way to the breathtaking 17m tall 9. Mahua Waterfall. Visitors are allowed to dip into the 1.7m deep waterfall pool, although the water is extremely cold due to the naturally low temperature in the park. Here is a gentle reminder to equip yourself with a pair of hiking shoes as walking in the park may be slippery and rocky. If you would like to experience living in a forest; camping grounds, chalets and hostels are available for rent.
Fruits and Hawker Stalls
About one hour and a half, 41.6km, into the ride, we took a rest at 926m elevation. It was one of the highest climbs along the route before descending to Ranau. This mountainous ride turned to be exciting as we saw a long stretch of 10) Fruits and Hawker Stalls by the roadside at Randagong. Our group made a quick stop to sample the local fruits, such as durians and bananas. Food would definitely make a more fulfilling ride.
The convoy reached the hilly 11. Ranau Town before noon, just in time for lunch. Situated 1,176 meters above sea level, Ranau is the largest producer of highlands vegetables in Sabah. The district is inhabited almost entirely by Dusun ethnic community. We paused for an hour to refuel before setting off for the last 20km climb to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kinabalu Park, at Kundasang.
This 143km Tour de Interior is probably one of the most physically challenging bicycle tours there is. The elevation started from 283m on the first half to 1,526m on the other before the tour ended with a spectacular view of Mount Kinabalu.
Entrance of Kinabalu Park
Kinabalu Lodge Chalet
Although this ended at the 12. Entrance of Kinabalu Park, it is recommended to put up another night at the park, albeit the extra cost. The 13. Kinabalu Lodge Chalet where we stayed for the night was strategically overlooking Mount Kinabalu. One could spend hours sitting by the corridor of the chalet just to see the multiple shades of 14. Mount Kinabalu that change with each passing hour.
The ever changing wind directions, lofty clouds and sunlight transform the picturesque Mount Kinabalu into a slideshow before your eyes.
Cycling Route - Tour de Interior (Day 2)
This cycling tour package is provided by: Trek Finder Tours Sdn Bhd
Lot 42, 2nd Floor, Grand Millennium Plaza, Penampang Bypass, 88200, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah. Tel: 08-873 1480