My husband adored the cool climate in Tambunan, my father’s hometown, being on a highland and still surrounded by thick forests.
Perhaps it’s also because Kota Kinabalu, being a congested city, can be extremely hot for us who are used to cooler Lumut – my kids can play outside comfortably until 9 am at home while in Kota Kinabalu, 8 am is already scorching hot.
So after asking for nearly every trip that we made back to Sabah, I finally gave in to my husband and on our recent June trip, we made a one night stay in Tambunan.
From Penampang onwards (the last town before it started going uphill), the road is very windy and it’s good that my kids sleep easily in the car.
I was also happy to note that there were less logging trucks that used to be a bane to cars as it’s hard to overtake what with being uphill and very tight corners.
Mu husband was excited with having to drive through thick fog and I was thrilled to see our thermometer registered a cold 19°C as we reached the summit of Gunung Alab, where we stopped for lunch and where I found very delicious soto.
My father’s village in along the Tambunan-Ranau road and I was informed that Brunei-registered vehicles have been spotted along the road, perhaps on their journey to and fro the east coast towns (Ranau, Sandakan & Tawau).
On the evening that we arrived, brought the kids to Tambunan Village Recreational Centre (TVRC) for their fish pond. My kids had a taste of walking along the suspension bridge and I was impressed that both of them had no problems with this.
Like the rest of Tambunan, TVRC was also quiet but the kids had fun feeding the seriously huge fish that filled the pond and we even saw one that was probably about one metre long!
We spent the rest of the evening and morning at home, enjoying the lush scenery as we had open fields in front of our balcony, the cool breeze and peace. This is another village whose youths have mostly migrated to the urban areas and on ordinary days, there are probably less than 200 people around.
Averaging at only 28°-22°C throughout our stay here, it had ceased to be as cold as it used to be decades ago when it was practically freezing for our young bodies and my grandparents then-bamboo house guaranteed constant flow of cold breeze day and night.
20 years ago, there were no electricity and food was cooked on wooden stoves and even now, whenever I smell any wood burning, it would instantly brought me back to the days when we visit my grandparents.
Like my husband, my father adored the peace and cooler temperature that his kampung afforded and it’s no surprise that the1.5 hour drive from our Kota Kinabalu home is not on obstacle for him and although he has settled out of Tambunan for decades, his heart is still here and there is little that he does not know about his hometown – even the rarely climbed Gunung Trusmadi which my parents scaled last year.
We did not manage to introduce the kids to the fun of bathing in the river and we missed the opportunity to visit Mahua waterfall, which is a mere 5 km from our house.
But we enjoyed the short trip and perhaps next time, we will stay longer.