09 November 2009

Promoting KENINGAU - The Place That I Call HOME..

I’ve been blogging about a lot of places in my previous entries but I haven’t really blogged about one place - Keningau. Somehow, looking at it now, there's a guilty and betrayal feeling of some kind, tugging inside me like Petrus denying his involvement whatsoever to Jesus in the Holy Bible. Errrr, I know I’m overexaggerating this but my point is, somehow I feel obligated to the idea of blogging about this place now. After all, it is my hometown. I was born there. Right here :-)
Keningau is the most prominent district in the interior part of Malaysian state of Sabah. Just like most other districts in Sabah, it is a multi-racial place with Dusun &Murut being the major ethnics. Located just about 2 and half hour’s drive from Kota Kinabalu, I’d say it is a place worth considering a visit for.

OK. If I were to list down places of interest in Keningau, I would have my own picks. You’d just have to read on and follow this entry to discover more about this wonderful district. And I’m saying it for real.

For one, Keningau’s landmark is of course its 17km of straight road stretching out from Apin Apin all the way to the town center and further on to a village called Kg. Bakiau.
Ok, it does stray off a little especially after this roundabout here.
But still it is the longest straight road in Sabah. It is actually almost so straight that you can even steer your car by using you feet, hands-off!
Well, I’d say doing a car race along the stretch is not a good idea because you’d never know what might come up your way. Animals are known to cross the road anytime of the day, day and night. Accidents involving silly crashes with animals used to be rampant but people seem to have smartened their asses up.
Oh, and just in case you didn’t know, Keningau Heritage Museum is now OPEN! I happened to know this place almost by accident when I was passing by the area of its location while I was on my way driving my sister to her workplace. I only got to visit it over a month later and I was glad I did. Keningau Heritage Museum is worth visiting.
The place really caught me off-guard because I had come to know that I didn’t know as much about Keningau as I thought I did. I mean, who would have known that some Murut sportsman from Keningau had actually represented Malaysia to the Tokyo Olympics?? I had only known of Martin Guntali to have represented Malaysia to the Commonwealth Games and he’s not even from Keningau!
Well, while I grew up knowing of some people that had shaped the history of Keningau into how it is today, I only knew them BY NAMES and nothing more. People like OKK Sodomon must have contributed so much to the Keningau people in the past that a road in Keningau was even named after him.
So is OKK Gunsanad. One of the most prominent schools in Keningau was even named after his name.
Errr, wait a minute. Not one but two wohh! There is now the SMK Gunsanad 2! Whoa! I wonder if there would ever be any school named after me.
But then again, I only knew these people by names. Here in Keningau Heritage Museum, I got to have my very first glimpse of them.
Didn't even know they were father & son.
My 30 years of questioning how they looked like had finally been put to rest.

And it really good to see quite a number of gallery collection featuring the earliest photos to have been taken of Keningau township area – which was back then only dots of downright square shoplots. It was fun to try ‘figuring them out’ and putting them into today’s views and locations.
Ehhhh, is that my ex-English Teacher Sir Hendry's house in there..??

Well, there were other things to check out for in the museum such as the traditional costume exhibition room and this one here of the Dusun’s tribe Ganna is my favorite.
Errr, don’t they look too.. Caucasian? Aren’t they supposed to portray the shorty-stocky image of Sabahan people? Aiyoo. They look nothing like Dusun people at all.

One of the rooms portrays the office room of the District Officer (DO) in the yester-years. Hanging on the wall were pictures of all the Keningau's DOs starting from this man..
Up to the current DO..
And the future DO..
Well, enough being funny, you'll know just about everything of Keningau once you set foot at the Keningau Heritage Museum.
Well, I would say that Keningau is located in one of the most beautiful valleys in Sabah. Surrounded by green and beautifully shaped hills all around it, I could only say that a view from a high standing point is very much desired for. Errrr, forget about taking the risk of being whisked away by the eagle-eyed security-guards at the 8-storey Hotel Juta. Instead, take a little drive over to the Guang Ji Temple.
Believe me, you won’t regret it. Not when you have this magnificent view of Keningau Valley right in front of you.
Guan Ji Temple itself it such a beautiful place to wander around.
It is very visitor-friendly with quite a number of concrete tables and benches ready to serve you with the comfort of savoring the beautiful view and letting your skin be chilled with the wind that blows up from the valley.
If you have a skin that is made of wax though, it is only wise to go there any time after 4 pm. Otherwise, you’d liquidate under the tropical hot sun of Keningau and my mom knows best. LOL!
Another beautiful view of Keningau to savor..
Just a few hundred yards away from Guang Ji Temple is the Keningau’s one time favorite getaway – the Hill View Resort.
This place used to be so popular among couples (married or not married alike) in Keningau that bringing your partner to anywhere else would be considered rude or simply unromantic. Errr, in fact, due to its location which is quite far from town, it had been widely utilized by many married men as some kind of an affair hideout hotspot.
Well, thanks to the consistently cursing worried and angry wives, there seemed to be a significant decline in business for Hill View Resort over the years. A big portion of the resort had been closed for public and the only portion that is left of it is this.
Even all that is left of the one time favorite swimming pool is this small little pond of water even any duck has no appetite of dipping into.
Still, a visit to Hill View Resort is still relevant if you go there just for the view.
And the resort is actually STILL THERE.

If you’ve got some more time to waste, it’d be mostly recommended that you drive up to the other side of the hill to get a little bit of the beautiful country side of Keningau in the form of errrrr, cattle field.
With an area covering hundreds of acres of a sprawling cattle field, Keningau Farming Station (translated) has got to be the largest of its kind in Sabah. And believe me; the view that comes with it is so beautiful that I suddenly cursed myself for being overly-fascinated by the cattle field with those stupid pieces of rock.
Just bear in mind that this place is Government-run it is just OK to drive in and further up to the barns without getting worried of getting sniped down for trespassing.
You might see cows everywhere else but seeing baby cows being fed with their nutritional needs is just so soothingly beautiful.
Some of them were born less than 6-hours at the time when this picture was taken. You can see that some of them are still struggling to stay standing. So cute one..
I could even get to do the milking.
OK. That was a lie. It didn’t work. Not on that cow.

Another place that is worth visiting when you are in Keningau is the Tai Pak Kung temple. Located in Keningau center, you can’t miss it when you’re doing a walking tour in Keningau township area.
As far as I could remember, this temple had already been there when I began to have my early memories of Keningau. The ever-smiling God of Prosperity, or fondly called ‘The Fat Man’ used to scare me as a kid that I would make a brisk walk every time I had to walk past it.
Now as a grown-up, I have developed some kind of appreciative feeling for him because somehow he has this imaginary ‘WELCOME HOME’ expression printed across his face.
In fact I grew quite too fond of him that I liked to tease his belly and he'd laugh.
Another place of interest in Keningau is the hometown favorite Night Market (Pasar Malam). Taking place on a daily basis from 2 pm onwards, the Night Market is probably the most visited place in town.
It was sometime in the 90’s relocated to the now Tamu Ground area but there had been an uproar among the public who thought the new place was not strategic enough. The night market was then returned to its original location up until today.
People in Keningau have every reason to come here. They come here for the foods..
Or the largely ignored used-clothes section..
.. or just to just saunter up around for a good evening walk.
But of course, mostly for the foods..
Well, just like most other towns in Sabah, Keningau too has its own weekly open market or popularly known in Sabah as Tamu. It is quite similar to the night market, only much bigger in scale and definitely with more interesting things to see.
Good thing about Tamu is the fact that people come from all over the district of Keningau as well as other neighboring districts to trade a vast variety of things.
Errrr, just like in the past, you STILL tend to bump into the ever talk-active medical practitioners complete with now much more modern errrr, marketing accessory. You know, those ‘jual ubat’ ones.

I can’t believe people still fall for them when the biggest general hospital in Sabah is located just a few kilometers away.
They even have a non-halal section selling the rare meat of wild pig. Ohh, that’s ‘bakas’ in the local Dusun language.
Being a 'bitch-less' district, Keningau people have their own places to do their picnics. The most popular one is probably this place called Bandukan.
Fondly called Bunsit among the locals, it is a classic favorite getaway with people come flocking up in hordes almost every weekend. Mind to tell you it can get a little overcrowded on a public holiday.
Located on the upstream of Bandukan River, it is easily accessible by road via a village called Bingkor.
If you’re into clubbing and nightlife, Keningau is known to have quite a number of nightspots that outstation trips to Keningau are highly favored by many private and government officers. Well, while it is not easy to make a pick when you’re in Keningau for the first time, it really depends on your taste, and money.
If you’ve got more money to spend, then just head to Keningau Recreation Center (KRK). It is the longest running night club in Keningau and probably the most popular one.
With the Karaoke Lounge and restaurant sharing the same space, I don’t really like to come here. I just don’t like the idea of getting drunk with kids running around and giving you those curiously innocent looks.
Ohh, and if you’re into jack-ass-potting- KRK is just the right place for you.

If you’ve got the voice of a croaking frog and too shy to sing publicly, then go to Mirage Karaoke. They’ve got private rooms in which you can sing till you lose your voice and your get your wallet TOTALLY dried out.
There are some other nightspots that are worth mentioning here such as the spacey and highly favoured City Karaoke..
and 6988 (sound system umpphh!)
Errrr, those are the places that are free of the disturbingly so-called lady’s drink but then if you’re into it (minta ku ladiesssss bah..), you can go to this place – it is another Keningau’s longest running nightclub.
Euwwww.. ahaks!

But believe me, there are just so many nightspots all over Keningau that I can’t even list them all down here. I've even just discovered that R&B has already opened its branch here, at a place that is just so.. out of place.. LOL!
OK. If you know EVERYTHING about Keningau, you better think again. Did you know that Keningau has its own CAVE? Yes, there is a cave in Keningau. A real cave, not like those you see inside the Sabah Museum in Kota Kinabalu. I wouldn’t go into details about it here now because I’m thinking of allocating a blog entry just for this hidden treasure of Keningau soon.

You know, my idea of experiencing the true 'inner' beauty of a foreign country is by going to its lesser-known places instead of those overexposed and overly-commercialized ones. Those places tend to run things to suit their tourism needs and demands and hence the true local culture and lifestyle are made hidden beneath somewhere. Being a relatively lesser known to the outside world, people in Keningau do their things in their truely local ways.  Experiencing Keningau is experiencing Sabah. That's my point. I mean, you go to Tawau or Sandakan during the day, you'll feel more like being somewhere on the outskirt of Jakarta, and Manila during the night. In Keningau, you are in Sabah day and night. So, what are you waiting for..?

Note: Keningau is easily accessible by road from Kota Kinabalu via Papar or Tambunan. Public transports including buses, mini-buses and taxis are available on a daily basis.


chegu carol said...

Well done!
Love this post.
Ive not been to the Kgau Heritage Museum myself u know.
And lamanya sdh didnt go to Bunsit.

Btw, 17km kah? Not 21km? cos everytime I fill up my mileage claim form, the officers keep telling me the distance frm apin2 to kgau town is 21km and they always pitied us cos our school is short of just 4km from getting the critical allowance.

JIPP said...

thanks Carol. Proud to be from Keningau. hehe. I actually took the mileage by using my car. but it was only from the straight end of Apin2 to the roundabout nearby Perkasa Hotel (17km). 21km to the town is quite reasonable. hehe. yeah, the 25km min rule. hehe.

Kota Kinabalu Tourism said...

I was surfing the net, trying to get more info about Keningau and I found your blog. You sure have done a lot of work here...lots of nice pictures and intro on places of interest in Keningau. I've visited Keningau a few times but didn't get around much and I've stayed at Hill View Resort once. It used to be managed by a couple who happens to be my friend. I've heard they've sold it...I hope when I go there next time, I'll get the chance to visit the museum and cattle farm. Thanks for sharing good infos. - http://hellokotakinabalu.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing the info., am planning to visit Keningau before end of this month and at the same time attend a wedding reception, i was searching places to stay like budget or cheap and clean hotels (hope next you could also give some info. on the hotels, hahaha) and also places to visit during my 3 days visit to Keningau, luckily i came across ur blog,you have done a great job and i like it esp. after looking at the great pictures of the cattle farm and also the temples, i think i'll come down and visit this places too! :)thanksss...

Lays Liau said...

i really don't have idea how to explain if ppl strt askin me to recommend nice place @ my hometown Keningau. and this post wakes me. woah. Kgau are beautiful. I want to go back :')

Anonymous said...

You Left-out Kedai Kopi Bunga Raya near CIMB bank... the best PAU ever found in keningau. Also Cristvin...

thomas said...

Looks like there are quite a number of interesting place to visit in Keningau,maybe i will roam around if i have my own transport.

Pete Malone said...

Nicely done there! I might do my own post about Keningau soon...

JiNdy said...

Anyone know there's a keningau temple named 天上宫?

Jindy said...

And where exactly is the place? 天上宫

Anonymous said...

Uve done such a great work in promoting keningau, as a student's of tourism faculty, ive also being asked about the speciality of Keningau,..well, its hard to answrr that. After visiting ure blog, i realize tht theres places tht can be visited by outsiders. About the cave, can u please elaborate about it more? Ive never know that keningau owned a cave.

Anitha said...

Thanks for your post on Keningau. Went there yesterday and visited Bunsit :) kids enjoyed the river and the new suspension bridge there. And visited the Pusat Kraftangan Sabah, many export quality handicrafts, so much better than the usual cheap stuff you find in the shops. But the govt run cattle station is now closed to the public so kids could get to see the baby calves. Didn't have time to drop by the museum and the Oath stone. Overall a good 1 day trip.

Rahul Patel said...

Wow nice snaps.....you also get the various fun places in pench.Pench is a beautiful resort.It is famous for its tracking.For more details visit pench safari online booking

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