Purpose Driven Team Building

Why are the employees reluctant to go for trips? Many would give an excuse as mundane as no one to look after their pet cat or need to be around their children during the holidays.

For them, going on team building trips is a complete waste of time as it is tearing them away from their work desk would mean that they would come back later to office with a mountain high of paperwork. Now, this is from the view point of the employees but from the viewpoint of the employer, their end result is to reach specific goals for their team members. For example, when one MNC decided to get their sales team to climb Mt Kinabalu, their sales team members were apprehensive as they had never climbed Mt Kinabalu before and they have only 2 months to prepare. This activity was chosen by the management so that the sales team members would develop rapport and trust amount the group members. They were broken up into a group of 4 members and they had to work together and push each other to reach the peak. The winning group would be the one to reach the peak first. It was a great challenge, as they not only had to fight within themselves to not give up but reach the peak but also not to disappoint their group members as they wouldn’t want to be the reason that their group member lost to the other competing groups.

This activity is useful for building effective working relationships because people are doing something unfamiliar, leading them to depend on each other to reach the peak.

Creatively designed programme proved that company retreats do achieve something useful rather than nothing. The programme must beside having fun along the way also apply something back to their work place.

Then they will understand how the skills developed at team building can become a workplace habits, a productive one, and reaching the specific goals of the company.

An engaged vs. disengaged employee

All companies want to have an engaged employee to that of an disengaged employee. For example, an engaged employee would want to see the company succeed, he is fully involved in and enthusiastic about his work in the company. He is someone who is exceeding the call of duty in his work. In short, an engaged employee loves his job and his company.

A disengaged employee on the other hand showed a “Don’t care” attitude, would often drop equipment, waste materials, and often not accepting any responsibility for their work, being late for work, do as they were told and knocked off at the end of the day at the exact time every day, never a minute over the working time.

Morale Booster

To start things off, you can start off  with boosting staff’s morale.

Take the staff away from office setting and get the team members to compete against each other. Employee’s morale improved just by getting out and playing on the field together. They will return to office, feeling refreshed and a new mind set about their work tasks.

Improving Communications

Initially the team members felt that team building was a waste of time but when the time gets nearer, everyone was beginning to become curious of what is going to unfold for the rest of the day.

We usually start off with a “Get to Know You” icebreaker. Then we played several games to loosen up everyone. These games require a balance, trust and teamwork and especially communication. These games would generate a lot of ideas, as lightbuld within oneself begin to light up one by one, and the ideas generated here could be  applied to their work.

There was a renewed sense of camaraderie, and how each team member react to certain situations. We paired people from different department, ie. not familiar with each other before the event start. It would open up communication among the employees from different department.

Above are just a few points to embark on a Purpose Driven Team Building for the company employees. We will continue to share our ideas again in the next few articles.

Meanwhile, if you are planning to organise a team building activity over here in Sarawak or Sabah, check out our team building packages here: Team Building Packages in Sabah and Sarawak

For more information, do email us at: Ask[a]


Benefits of Team Building

Why do companies do team building? What are the benefits of team building? Let’s explore them and understand further this culture of team building.

Firstly, it improves the group skills in communication and bonding. Take up a challenge game which is light hearted and yet require co-operation, mental stamina and artistic skills. The success of the challenge game depends of the teams building an effective team.

A team building’s main goal is to improve productivity and motivate the team members or employees. Once they are outside their office comfort, they would now need to break down their political and personal barrier, eliminate distractions and have fun of course along the way.

This would inevitably improves the morale and leadership skills, define the company’s objectives and goals.

It would also improve the leadership skills not to mention the morale of the employees.

Then the organizational productivity would improve and people would become problem solver. On a team building day, the participants would learn how to be more effective, efficient, and achieve results.

Various team building activities include team tasks, positive challenge, corporate social challenge, rocket scientists and etc. In today’s world and today’s environment, you would notice that people bond mostly with those sitting next to them, ie. their neighbours. This will lead to common rift between accountant and salespersons or customer services and middle management. It is important that all the workers in different department sit together to have a balance of skills and teamwork to improve their ability to collaborate and work together.

In the team building event, staff will feel important if the company explains to them what their joint goal is. So, in a game, when specific role is assigned to them, they will feel very important to the company in carrying out the role. When they feel important, they will make quick decision as other team’s lifeline depends on this member’s decision. So, they will learn responsibility in a non-work environment.

Next, communication is very important to the success of an organization. Team members must be able to communicate effectively with their team leader, here being their bosses at work. When there is no barrier incommunicating with their bosses or leaders, there should be no hindrance in achieving the company’s goal, it being one of the factors to be considered.

A team building day is good because it brings all employees together in a friendly competitive environment, it forges new ties and dissolves any barriers that may exists before this in the office as the employees have the chance to interact with each other outside office and perhaps solve any misunderstanding that may exists and bring the company to the next level.

A company achieves nothing without its employees. A company without its employees, is like the saying, “No Man is an Island”, ie. One cannot survive without the other.

So, for those companies out there that have never ever considered organising a team building trip, do try to organise one event and see how your workers productivity will improve after the event. This investment in your manpower to make them better workers or employees should not be shunned or overlooked as the company will reap the rewards at the end of the day. It is indeed money well spent, and you will send your shareholders beaming from ear to ear at year end.

Meanwhile, if you are planning to organise a team building activity over here in Sarawak or Sabah, check out our team building packages here: Team Building Packages in Sabah and Sarawak

For more information, do email us at: Ask[a]


Sarawak Laksa in 5 minutes

 Sarawak Laksa in 5 minutes

Sarawak laksa is Sarawak’s most popular dish. It is not exactly curry though if you come from Singapore, you would say that it tastes like Curry laksa.

Recently, we decided to check out the latest Instant Sarawak White Laksa by Lee Fah brand, which is available in packets of 5 per packing. It comes with its seasoning and santan milk which we suspect was the reason why it was called “Sarawak White Laksa”. The older packing in brown colour did not have the extra sachet of coconut milk.

Difference between the old and new Instant Sarawak Laksa

Difference between the old and new Instant Sarawak Laksa

If you cook it without adding additional condiments or ingredients, it will definitely take only 5 minutes to prepare. We decided however, that we would like to add in more ingredients to the Sarawak Laksa dish.

We bought fresh prawns, parsley, chicken meat, battered eggs and a lime to add that soury taste to the soup.

The ingredients of Instant Sarawak White Laksa

The ingredients of Instant Sarawak White Laksa

The older packaging of Lee Fah's Sarawak Laksa

The older packaging of Lee Fah’s Sarawak Laksa

Firstly, we boil the prawns in 1 ½  cup of water and we added in a pinch of salt to the water. After about 5-10 minutes, we take out the prawns and then boil the chicken meat in that same pot. Then we take it out, and boil bean sprouts in it. After 2 minutes, we take out the bean sprouts, and then we added in about half cup of water, and pour in the laksa paste, chilli powder and also the sachet of coconut milk. Once the water started boiling, we dump the noodles into the pot. We let it boil until it is springy and then we remove the noodles from the pot .

While the pot is boiling the noodles, we battered 2 eggs and fried them. We also added in salt and pepper.  We then let it cool down a little before rolling it up and then slice it into thin pieces.

The mouth-watering Sarawak White Laksa

The mouth-watering Sarawak White Laksa

Then we take a round bowl, and pour in the soup. The noodles are then poured in, after which we added in the prawns, shredded chicken, bean sprouts, parsley and a small lime, and it is ready to be served.

Here is our verdict of the Instant packet of Sarawak White Laksa noodles. In terms of taste, if you cook it just with the seasoning, the taste is not as strong.

You musn’t add in too much water as the small sachet of seasoning will not be enough to give you that strong Laksa favour. Recommended about 1.5 cups of water from beginning when you boil the prawns.

Sarawak White Laksa with condiments added

Sarawak White Laksa with condiments added

Sarawak Laksa has always been beehoon or vermicelli, and not noodles. The manufacturer should make a Sarawak Laksa Bee hoon instead of noodles.  That is the original recipe.

If you like heavy taste, then you may add in some light soya sauce, salt and pepper to give you that flavour synonymous with all Sarawak Laksa.

Do not forget to cut half a lime and squeeze the juice into the soup to give you that spicy and yet soury taste, and that my friend is the real taste of Sarawak Laksa.

Serving suggestion for Sarawak White Laksa

Serving suggestion for Sarawak White Laksa

If you are looking for a quick fix, then cook the instant Sarawak White Laksa on its own, and if you are not in a rush, try adding in more ingredients for that absolutely delicious Sarawak Laksa. Oh and by the way, if you have some belacan paste, try eating your Sarawak Laksa with the belacan paste, and that my friend is spicy enough for you to want another bowl!


Sabah Honeymoon Adventure is the right holiday for you

Are you going on your honeymoon soon? How about injecting some adventure into your honeymoon tour in Sabah?

Go trekking along Mt Kinabalu up to Layang Layang Point, and then enjoy a Honeymoon retreat up at Kundasang, outside Kinabalu Park.


Here is our proposed itinerary. We pick both of you up at airport and then we proceed straight to Nabalu Market. It is a over 2 hours journey all the way uphill, where we will pass beautiful nature scenery along the way. When you see a Huge Pineapple by the roadside, that is Nabalu Market. We will stop here for photo taking and coffee break, and perhaps you want to buy some souvenirs for your family members at home.


Wind chimes made of bamboo at Nabalu Market

Wind chimes made of bamboo at Nabalu Market

Sumpiton, one of the souvenir at Nabalu Market

Sumpiton, one of the souvenir at Nabalu Market


Next, we proceed on to Kinabalu Park, and you will be brought on a tour of Kinabalu Park. There is a museum there, botanical garden and how long you spend there will depend on your allowable time as we still need to visit Poring Hot Spring and see the spectacular view of tropical rainforest from 100-200ft above the forest floor lead by our guide. The trail is quite steep and the walk takes 30-40 minutes altogether.


Kinabalu Park

Kinabalu Park


Next, you may want to soak in man made hot spring, which is an invigorating mineral bath in the outdoor tubs or just explore and walk around the area. There is also a nice café located inside Poring Hot Spring for you to just enjoy the environment after your long drive to up here. Then we return to Cottage Hotel to check into a romantic setup room. The weather up here is always cool. There is no air condition in the room as temperature is low and natural air is the order of the day. We will have steamboat dinner to warm up our stomach, and overnight in our honeymoon room. We will be very tired after the long journey and will sleep early to prepare ourselves for the next day trekking.


Take a dip at Poring Hot Spring

Take a dip at Poring Hot Spring


On the second day, we will be woken up by the chirping of the birds. We will have a hearty breakfasts, and then our guide will bring us to Kinabalu Park.

After breakfasts, at 0830am, we will leave for Kinabalu Park HQ, meet your Mountain Guide, collect Packed Lunch and proceed to Timpohon Gate to start your climb. A normal healthy person will take approximately 4 hrs to reach Layang Layang Hut.

By 0930am, we will arrive Timpohon Gate, start the trek up to Layang Layang Hut, en-route you will be able to witness the changes in vegetation from Lower Montane Forest to Upper Montane Forest.


Mount Kinabalu as seen from Cottage Hotel

Mount Kinabalu as seen from Cottage Hotel


Then at 1230hrs, we will have lunch at one of the huts along the Kinabalu Summit Trail. By 1330pm, we will arrive at Layang Layang Hut. Free at leisure to rest, relax and take photos of the beautiful scenery. By 1430pm, depart Layang Layang Hut for Timpohon Gate and by 5pm, we will arrive at Timpohon Gate, proceed to the Park HQ to collect your Certificate and depart back to our hotel to collect our luggage and then return to Kota Kinabalu city. We should arrive about 7pm in Kota Kinabalu and check in Sabah Oriental Hotel and overnight. You would be dead tired by then, and a good night rest would be a welcome respite from the day trekking. The total day trekking is 8 km for this day.



Spacious and comfortable room at Sabah Oriental Hotel

Spacious and comfortable room at Sabah Oriental Hotel


On Day 3, it being your last day in Kota Kinabalu, just take it easy, and get your breakfasts, then we depart for airport for your flight home. Do note that there are 2 airports in Kota Kinabalu. One terminal serves AirAsia or budget airline only, while the others serve Malaysia airlines and other international airlines. If you are taking Malaysia Arlines departing from Terminal 1, there is a newly opened O’Brien Sandwiches Café. If you are hungry , worth to have a bite before going onboard. Otherwise, the all time favourite like Mc Donald and Kentucky Fried Chicken are also available for you to have a meal. If not, then there is always the Marry Brown Fried Chicken inside the departure hall.

Have an enjoyable trip!


How to ensure positive outcome from teambuilding flows back to office place

Companies organise team building to develop a team’s effectiveness and also efficiency to achieve a common goal. When individuals feel appreciated, their focus will not be to do the minimum requirement output, but to do their best all the time.

1) Setting many goals
The reason for a team building is to be fun to join, and so break the ice for a conference. It is also to address the issues that are plaguing the office place and work mates. Of course, through this team building, the company would be able to project and drive the employees in the direction that it is heading, and get the employee to be in unison with the company direction. When you enjoy and have fun during such activities, outside the office, you would be more acceptable to what the company is doing and heading.

A happy work force is a productive company. As such, if there are issues that the employees are facing either among themselves or with management, this is the best time to get it out and solve it. Once these obstacles are cleared, then the company can more easily project and drive the company’s vision and direction to be more achievable.

Bigger companies have many departments, that runs from tens to hundreds or thousands of staff. Sometimes, because they are not in the same department, they hardly know or talk to each other. This is a good time for different departments to know their colleagues better. When you know and have talked to each other personally on a team building, you would be able to work better especially on work that requires inter department communications.

2) Management must participate
Managers and top management must not merely be spectators but be active participators to get to know the staff better and the experience of interacting with the staff will enable the managers to have deeper understanding of the staff under him and the memories could be transferred better to workplace.

3) Facilitated discussion
It would be good to have a facilitated teambuilding to ensure that the identified outcome that the company wishes to achieve is relayed to the team. A good Teambuilding facilitator will be able to conduct a facilitated discussion throughout the event, touching on your outcomes. The teambuilding facilitator can easily do this through providing discussion sheets that are filled out at the end of the programme.

4) Discussion sheet at end of the session.
At the end of the teambuilding sessions, the staff can write down how they feel about the whole teambuilding sessions and how they will bring what they learned in this teambuilding sessions back to the office to increase company’s productivity and achieve the company’s vision and mission.



Things to bring during your Mountain Torq adventure

For experienced mountain hikers, they would know what to bring for their adventure. However, for us amateurs, guidance and instructions are needed so that we can have a fun and wonderful Mount Kinabalu hiking. Even if there is so much to bring, remember to pack light. You should keep in mind that you are going to lunge the bag while climbing. Although porter service is also available, it may cost you RM10 per kg, so it is better that you bring it up yourself.

All technical safety equipment required will be provided by Mountain Torq, so be rest assured that you do not have to spend extra on buying the equipment in advance.

So, grab your notebook, and here goes the list.

1.     Raincoat or waterproof jacket

Weather up there is unpredictable; it can be bright and sunny one minute and then rainstorm the next. Make sure you pack a raincoat or wear a waterproof jacket to avoid catching cold.

2.     Warm clothing like fleece jacket, hiking pants

Even though the temperature in Borneo is usually warm, it would not be the same at Mount Kinabalu. Temperature drops according to the altitude. Wear warm clothing during your climbing even though you might feel a bit warm at some point, or you can just pack it in your bag and take it out when it is colder.

3.     Change of clothes for sleeping

Pack a pair of comfortable night wear such as t-shirt and long pants.

4.     Protective gear

Although climbing down is not that tiring, it will hurt your knees. It is advisable to wear knee guards.

5.     Cap / beanie / head scarf

Remember to pack a beanie to keep your ears warm as it can be cold as ice at night.

6.     Gloves

Gloves have multipurpose use when climbing Mount Kinabalu. First of all, it helps to keep your hands warm during night time. Another purpose is that you will need a firm grip while climbing via ferrata.

7.     Sunglasses, sun block and SPF lip balm

As you are getting nearer to the top, there will be lesser trees to block the sun, so prepare these things to avoid getting sunburned.

8.     A rain cover for your backpack

To avoid your clothes from getting wet during rainfall, you need to use a waterproof backpack. Another cheaper way is to pack your clothes in a tightly secured plastic bag before putting it in your bag.

9.     Comfortable covered trail/ hiking shoes

Malaysians called it ‘Kampung Adidas’. This would refer to the cheap rubber shoes which can be purchased nearby Kinabalu Park at Kundasang Market. Do not underestimate these shoes, it workes greatly on Mount Kinabalu terrain. Plus, its anti-slipping feature keeps you steady on rocky surface.

10.  A small / lightweight towel and Personal toiletries

Accommodation at Mount Kinabalu is usually dormitory style, so they only provide basic accommodation. You need to bring your own towel and toiletries.

11.  Refillable water bottle

Please bring at least a 500ml water bottle unless you do not mind being dehydrated. Water is refillable at check point so you do not have to bring extra bottles during your climb.

12.  Torchlight

You will proceed climbing on wee hours so please bring torchlight. A head torch is preferable as it does not hinder your movement and you can use your hands freely.

13.  Camera

Remember to bring a camera to record your own historical moment of conquering the highest via ferrata in the world!

14.  Energy snacks

Snack such as chocolate, nuts, biscuits, sweets or energy bars can help boost your energy level.

15.  A small backpack to contain your things

Besides your backpack which contains your clothes and other essentials, you should bring a smaller backpack to put your water bottle and snacks.

16.  Anti-nausea or pain killer tablets

Most people who climb Mount Kinabalu will have altitude sickness, so remember to bring it with you just in case.

The above are some of the recommended things to bring when you want to climb Mount Kinabalu via Mountain Torq adventure. Now, all you need to do is bring your challenging spirit to Mount Kinabalu. Even though it is going to be harder once you are getting closer to the summit, strive hard to get to the top but do not force yourself. Lastly, enjoy the exhilarating Mountain Torq climb!


Click on the following links to know about :


  1. 2D1N Basic Mt Torq via Ferrata Climbing Itinerary

  2. 2D1N Basic Mt Torq via Ferrata Climbing Rate & Route


For more information, email us at

or call us at + 60 16 4123 304


Mountain Torq Trip Preparation

Experience the world’s highest Via Ferrata, which is managed Mountain Torq. Besides that, Mountain Torq also offers activities such as sports and rock climbing, rappelling and mountaineering skills courses. Although the team will prepare all the equipment needed for mountain climbing, you need to prepare your mental and physical strength prior to your Mount Kinabalu climb and these tips might help you.

Walk the Torq and Low's Peak Circuit Via Ferrata Route

Walk the Torq and Low’s Peak Circuit Via Ferrata Route

1.         Do some research on Mount Kinabalu

You need to read enough information about Mount Kinabalu, regarding the weather, climbing route, accommodation, and transportation. Learn about the best time to climb Mount Kinabalu to avoid rainy season. The best time to climb Mount Kinabalu is between the months of February to April since it was not monsoon season. Summit climb may be cancelled if the weather is bad, as it can be dangerous to climbers due to water flowing down the walking path.

View of the Low's Peak summit

View of the Low’s Peak summit

2.         Assess your mental strength

This does not apply to Mountain Torq adventure only. You need to prepare for the mental assault when you climb a mountain. Without mental strength, you might want to give up halfway. Willpower helps at desperate time.

3.         Get fit

You just do not climb a mountain on a whim. Start preparing for the climb 2 to 3 months prior to your climb and do more cardiovascular exercises. Running, cycling and biking helps to increase physical strength stamina.

Mountain's Torq Via Ferrata, the highest via ferrata in the world

Mountain’s Torq Via Ferrata, the highest via ferrata in the world


4.         Get training

You need to have experience in mountain climbing. You can try indoor rock climbing, just to get the hang of it, though people said that via ferrata is easier than rock climbing. It is also a good idea to try the easier hill climbing to improve your climbing skill.

5.         Learn basic first aid

You should also learn to do basic first aid techniques and rescue signals in case of emergency. There is always the possibility for injury to either yourself or your climbing partners. The best way to learn first aid is to attend CPR and first aid class. There is also an online first aid training if you do not have the time to go to the class.

6.         Good licensed guide

The guide will give full safety briefing and training on how to use the safety devices. They are also there to climb with you, provide tips on how to negotiate the more difficult obstacles, as well as highlight some of the spectacular sights along the way.

Walk the Torq at Mount Kinabalu

Walk the Torq at Mount Kinabalu

7.         Knows the climbing schedule prior on arrival

Mountain Torq’s guide will give you instructions on using the equipment and this is one crash course that you cannot miss, or else you will be exempted from via ferrata climbing. Your via ferrata adventure only starts on your way to descend the mountain, so the guide will meet you at Pendant Hut on the first day and they will advise you on the actual meeting point during your briefing session in the afternoon of your arrival.

8.         Altitude Training

It is common for climbers to get symptoms of altitude sickness, including headaches, nausea and vomiting. Though it is wise to bring some medicine, you also need to train yourself to get used to the altitude. You need to acclimatise your body to the relative lack of oxygen. It will also make you stronger. Did you ever wonder why martial arts academies are often built high up the mountains in old movies? It is the same concept with why Kenyans tend to win medals in the Olympic Track and Field events. The answer is simple: altitude training.

9.         Learn about mountaineering ethics

Leave only footprints behind. Please avoid vandalizing the beauty of nature, and do not take any memento from the mountain. Respect the silence of nature and do not make noises that may disturb wildlife or other people. Also, be careful with inflammable material and if possible, avoid smoking as it can cause fire when it is discarded in the bush. The locals believe that there are ‘mountain spirits’ that protect the mountain and they still perform religious ceremonies annually there.

Lastly, remember to arrange your tour and book your Mount Kinabalu climb with us as it is a famous tour in Kota Kinabalu. Book your tour here:


Click on the following links to know about :


  1. 2D1N Basic Mt Torq via Ferrata Climbing Itinerary

  2. 2D1N Basic Mt Torq via Ferrata Climbing Rate & Route


For more information, email us at

or call us at + 60 16 4123 304


Diving Wonderland of Mantanani Island, Lankayan Island and Pom Pom Island, Sabah

Mantanani Island

Mantanani Island is a group of three islands scattered closely within each other at the northwest coast of Kota Kinabalu. It can be reached by boat from Kuala Abai, Kota Belud for about an hour. A number of fishing families live in Mantani Besar, while the smaller island of Lingisan and Mantanani Kecil were uninhabited.

The island is protected as a bird sanctuary, as there are two species of frigate bird on the island. Apart from that, the reefs around the island offer more than 20 dives sites with its large amount of incredible water creatures.

Currently, there are three resorts residing on the island, namely Mari Mari Backpackers Lodge, Bembaran Beach Resort and Mantanani Dream Resort. Bembaran is located on the Dugong Beach, a secluded cove at the east side of Mantanani and it is one of the most beautiful and picturesque beaches there.

Clear blue water at Mantanani Island

Clear blue water at Mantanani Island

Mantanani Dream Resort is relatively new. It started receiving travellers in January 2014. It offers comfortable accommodation with a very reasonable price. There are two types of room packages there; Kumai Backpackers and Dugong House. Plus, there is a special honeymoon room package for the newly-weds.

Mari Mari Backpackers Lodge is quite traditional, with its simple wooden house built on stilts called Sulap (means Hut in Kadazandusun language). To reach the room, guests need to climb the 2 metres staircase. Another type of accommodation there is Sayang Sayang Dormitory Hostel, which can accommodate up to 8 persons per room.

Mari Mari Backpackers Lodge at Mantanani Island

Mari Mari Backpackers Lodge at Mantanani Island

The three wrecks at the island had become a habitat for underwater creatures such as scorpion fish, glassfish, lionfish and octopus, and for divers, these wrecks are their haven. Rays, such as marbled stingray, blue-spotted ray and eagle ray can be seen around the island. Muck diving is offered for divers, and they can see a large variety of nudibranchs, imperial shrimps, seahorses, pink-eye gobies, jaw fish, ribbon eels and blue-ringed octopus.

Mantanani Island is famous for its dugong or “sea cow” which can be seen swimming around the island. The dugongs are attracted to a type of sea grass growing on the sea floor of Mantanani Island.

Lankayan Island

The island is located northwest of Sandakan, a town in east coast of Sabah and can be reached by a 1.5 hour boat ride. The tiny unpopulated island in the Sulu Sea has white sandy beaches with casuarina trees around the island and splendid sunsets. Among divers, this island is an underwater eden. The island does not appeal to divers only, as it has many other facilities such as snorkelling.

There is only one resort there, which is Lankayan Island Dive Resort. Even though the island is quite remote, the resort has all the amenities of a tropical island resort. The wooden chalets for twin or triple sharing blend naturally with the surroundings.

A unique crab found at Lankayan Island

A unique crab found at Lankayan Island

Image credit to

Occasionally, rare underwater creatures such as leopard sharks, marbled stingray and giant grouper can be found around the reefs. At another dive sites on the island, barracuda, scads and humphead parrotfish can be spotted easily. Furthermore, many different species of fish inhabit the wreck area, making it a popular diving site among divers. To name a few, there are small glassfish, ghost pipefish, painted frogfish, seahorses, flying gurnard, flamboyant cuttlefish jawfish and dragonets.

Turtle at the dive site nearby Lankayani Island

Turtle at the dive site nearby Lankayani Island

A couple of wreck area among the 40 dive sites, attracted many different species of fish including small glassfish, ghost pipefish and painted frogfish. Other rare creatures can be found, especially in the muck diving areas, including seahorses, flying gurnard, flamboyant cuttlefish, jawfish, dragonets and sand divers.

Green and hawksbill turtles can be spotted every now and then, as the Turtle Island is located nearby.


Pom Pom Island

Pom Pom may remind you of cheerleaders, and the island lives up to its name by providing exciting dive sites to the divers. The small island in the Celebes Sea is located north east of Semporna town in Sabah and it takes about 45 minutes by boat from the mainland.

There are two dive resorts on the island; Pom Pom Island Resort and Celebes Beach Resort. The former offers luxury accommodations such as Beach Front Villas, Water Villas and Garden Villas which were built over the water, supported by stilts with amenities such as air conditioning, ensuite bathrooms, hot showers, hair dryer, and other basic amenities. The latter offers modern accommodations, with rooms separated individually on the land, overlooking the sea.

Pom Pom Island Sea Villas

Pom Pom Island Sea Villas

There are as many as 40 dive sites on the island. Most of the diving is macro; with the occasional sighting of turtles and small rays, along with frogfish, butterfly fish and small fish such as cardinal fish. Black coral and barracuda also had been sighted on Mantabuan reefs.

These islands are the few exquisite islands in Sabah. With sparkling sand resembling tiny jewels on sunset, dazzling blue sea, green forest aligning the beach, and wonderful rare creatures, these islands had attracted many visitors since many years ago, whether to snorkel, dive or just explore these islands.


Lambir Hills National Park Sarawak

Lots of waterfalls and bathing pools can be found in Lambir Hills National Park, in northern Sarawak. With dense forest covering the 6,952 hectares or sandstone hills, the park has diverse plant life and wildlife. There are at least 237 different species of birds, and vast number of flying squirrels, wild pigs and gibbons. In fact, there are a lot of unusual insects and other invertebrates living there. Furthermore, various species of monkey and deer inhabit the forest. The park is probably the world’s most complex and diverse forest eco-system, and it can be proven by the enormous number of wildlife and plant living there.

Visitors are welcomed to try the various trails of forest walks. The time to finish each trail varies on the terrain, as it can be as easy as strolling in on the pathway the exhausting all-day jungle trekking. The list of the trail can be seen in the table below.

Trail Name Trail Length One Way Time & Distance From HQ Colour Code
Main Trail 0.835km 12 mins Red
Latak Waterfall 0.182km 20 mins Red/White
Pantu 1.390km 1 hr White
Inove 1.25km 45 mins Pink
Bukit Pantu 2.9km 1 hr 35 mins Yellow/White
Lepoh Ridan - 1 hr 45 mins Yellow
Pantu Waterfall 1.8km 1 hr 10 mins Red/Yellow
Oil Well 3.0km 1 hr 40 mins Yellow
Bakam - 2 hr 40 mins Blue
Pancur Waterfall 7.1km 2hr 20 mins Yellow/Blue
Tengkorong Waterfall 5.4km 2 hrs White/Blue
Dinding Waterfall 4.7km 2 hrs Blue/White/Red
Summit 6.3km 3hr 30 mins Red/Blue

The trails are colour coded, based on the difficulty of the trails. The estimated time to complete the trail can change depends on the weather conditions and individual fitness level.

Lambir Trail Map

Lambir Trail Map

Image credit to

The most famous trail is the Latak Waterfall Trail as it is the shortest and easiest trail among them all. Visitors from Miri visit the waterfall for a dip in the river or just to seek peace and enjoy the serenity of nature. There are two small waterfalls along the way; however, people are more attracted by the 25 metres waterfall with water falling down a sheer drop into the pool. At the pool area, toilets, changing rooms and picnic areas are available to visitors.

Latak Waterfall, the most famous waterfall at Lambir National Park

Latak Waterfall, the most famous waterfall at Lambir National Park

Image credit to Sarawak Tourism Board

Visitors will find a trail branch to the left which leads to Pantu trail shortly before Latak Waterfall,. You will encounter a series of steep steps, leading to the tree tower which overlooks the forest canopy, where you should be able to see the different types of bird, insects, orchids and ferns that you might not be able to see from the ground level. Walking ahead, the trail branches left to the Nibong waterfall, another excellent place to cool down after the exhilarating trek. Advancing through the trail, there is another branch in the road leading to Bukit Pantu, with the magnificent view of the forest and Pantu waterfall.

Steps leading to Latak Waterfall

Steps leading to Latak Waterfall

Image credit to

For adventure seekers, the Bakam, Tengkorong, Pancur, Dinding, and Summit Trails will be up to your expectation. With the surrounding tall trees, along with the sound of birds’ chirping and monkeys’ hooting, these trails are more challenging than the others. At the 4km point, you will find a fork in the road, left side leads to Bakam Trail, while the right leads to the summit of Bukit Lambir. These trails are less travelled but at the end of Bakam trail, you will encounter two branches, with both branches leading to Tengkorong and Pancur waterfalls respectively. The Summit Trail can be quite difficult for the less fit people as it is rather steep at some parts. On your way down from the summit, you will be rewarded by the view of Dinding waterfall, where you can take a dip in the pool before heading back home.

Lambir can be reached from Miri by road, as the distance from there is only 32 km. Visitors can board a bus to Batu Niah, Bakong or Bekenu, as all of the bus stop opposite the park headquarters. The journey will take about 30 – 40 minutes. The park also has chalet units and camp sites for those who want to stay overnight.


The History of the North Borneo Railway

The 1880’s had brought great changes around Borneo. It all began with a British administrator, who was an adventure seekers that came to Borneo to unveil the mysteries and richness that lies within Borneo itself. He was William Clarke Cowie, Managing Director of North Borneo Railway who came up with the suggestion of building a train that could pave the way for commercial cultivation. He was the man responsible for initiating the building of the first railway in Sabah.

Exterior design of North Borneo Steam Train

Exterior design of North Borneo Steam Train

Arthur J. West was the civil engineer in charge of building the railway line from Bukau, north to Beaufort then south to Weston. After its completion in 1890, his ambition to link the East and West was abandoned as Weston was discovered to be too shallow to build deep-sea wharf.

Arthur J. West then extended a 64km line from Beaufort to Tenom, and then to Melalap. The labourers consisted of the Cantonese and Hakka folks from China that migrated to Sabah to assist in the difficult part of the construction that was constructing the line along the gorge section.

Passengers boarding the North Borneo Train

Passengers boarding the North Borneo Train

The main purpose of the construction was to carry goods such as tobacco, tapioca, silk, soya beans, fruits, rice and so forth from the interiors to Jesselton port for export.

In 1903, A.J. West continued the laying of the 48km Beaufort – Tenom rail and it was completed two years later.

The world’s Great Depression spread throughout the world in year 1930. Moreover, Second World War broke out in year 1939.

On 1 January 1944, the Japanese 37 Army led by Lt. General Masao Baba managed to occupy North Borneo. It was only a matter of time that the Japanese army managed to invade across nations and occupied Malaya. The North Borneo Railway was nearly crippled due to the damages done on the bridges and locomotives during the war.

Counter at the North Borneo Railway entry

Counter at the North Borneo Railway entry

A programme of reviving back the North Borneo Railway was launched and implemented in year 1949 and 1960. By then, North Borneo had become a Crown Colony.

Malaysia was formed and declared its’ Independence Day on the 31st August 1957. By now, the North Borneo was managed by Sabah State Railway Department. By 1971, diesel and petrol – powered locomotives replaced the steam engine that ran on wood logs as a result of the breakthrough of technology.

In January 2000, the classic steam train get to see its glorious day once more. It was a joint venture project between Sutera Harbour Resort and the Sabah State Railway Department to revive the North Borneo Railway.


Although it was re-launched in January 2000, the train still retained its classic design. One of its main feature was its steam powered – engine manufactured by the Vulcan Foundry Ltd in Newtonle – Willows, Lancashire, United Kingdom.

Quoted from the UK Museum, “The Vulcan Foundry received its last order from the North Borneo Railway in year 1954”. Eventually, this makes the North Borneo Railway in Sabah as one of the few remaining old classic trains using the Vulcan steam powered-engine that is still functioning until today.

Unlike modern day trains, the Vulcan technology uses wood as its burning source. It is costly but very environmental friendly compared to those modern day trains.

A worker adding logs into the steam engine

A worker adding logs into the steam engine

Its five Japanese-designed carriages have been meticulously restored and renovated to reflect the era of the environment in 1900. Its exterior still retains the deep green and cream colour of the original North Borneo Railway markings.

Each carriage is capable of carrying 16 passengers, with a total capacity of 80 passengers.

Uniquely, the British Pullman carriage does not only function as a kitchen but it was equipped with power generator as well.

Interior design of the North Borneo Steam Train

Interior design of the North Borneo Steam Train

The Route

Passengers will first board the train from Tanjung Aru Station and be greeted by the jovial train stewards. Upon boarding, a passport will be given to them. The whistle will then blow as a sign of the start of its journey.

Guests' passport for them to collect stamps from each destination

Guests’ passport for them to collect stamps from each destination

Passengers will be pampered and taken back into time as the train slowly slips away from its modern day Kota Kinabalu city. It will pass by Putatan town and carry on its journey to the coast of Lok Kawi Bay.

The second destination will be Kinarut town, where it will stop for 20 minutes. It is a traditional trading village with a school standing proudly at the forefront, reminding people of the importance of education. There is a mosque standing tall near the station which represents the national religion. As passengers disembark in this area, they will get to explore interesting places in this town such as the Buddhist temple, or just wonder around the wooden shop houses, coffee shops and markets selling all types of local varieties.

Scenery in front of the Buddist Temple

Scenery in front of the Buddist Temple in Kinarut

Next destination will be Kawang village. Passengers will get to enjoy sightseeing of the Kawang Forest Reserve. Along the route, passengers will get to see the occasional water buffaloes, fruit orchards, nurseries, brick factory and paddy fields.

En-route to Papar, the train will take passengers through the 450 metres Pengalat Tunnel which was built in year 1900s by the British.

Finally, Papar town comes into view. It is located between the valley of Crocker Range and the coast. Everyone is treated like a neighbour in this small town. The traditional local market known as ‘Tamu’ is a reflection of life in Sabah. Passengers will get to see so much more during their 30 minutes stop in this town.

Friendly staffs at North Borneo Railway

Friendly staffs at North Borneo Railway

To this day, the train leaves a legacy greater than the English adventurers and planters. Due to the meticulous revival of the train and great efforts to preserve its look, the train is not merely a great historical landmark but also serves its purpose as a unique tourists’ attractions.

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