Kundasang, Sabah: Your 3 Day 2 Night Retreat into Tranquility and Beauty
Welcome to Kundasang, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Sabah, Malaysia. For those who don’t know, Kundasang is well known for its highlands, making it the Cameron Highlands of Sabah. Embark on a 3-day 2-night retreat into tranquility and beauty as you escape the bustling city life and immerse yourself in the serenity of nature. Let Kundasang captivate your senses and rejuvenate your soul with its breathtaking landscapes and peaceful ambience.
My Native Sabah
To get to Kundasang, you can disembark at Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI). Upon arriving at Kota Kinabalu, we’re pretty sure that you are hungry, so fill your tummy first before the 2 hours 30 minutes journey to Kundasang. We highly recommend renting a 🚗private car for easy manoeuvring for your 3-day 2-night retreat. You can’t say that you’ve been to Sabah if you have not tasted any Borneon food.
Introducing My Native Sabah. This is where you can get Sabahan Kadazan Dusun fusion food, which is a good thing if you are not used to the local delicacies. My Native Sabah invites you to embark on a gastronomic journey through the flavours, traditions, and vibrant spirit of Sabah with cuisines like Nasi Bolu Kayangan, Pinasakan Bosungan, Hinava Ikan Tenggiri, Ambuyat and many more.
The restaurant gives off a cosy vibe with the rustic charm of wooden furniture and food served on banana leaves. However, the dining space is a bit small, so it is not advisable for big groups to dine here. This restaurant is not halal-certified, but it’s pork-free.
⏰ Hours: 11:30am - 8:30pm (Sun closed) 📍 Address: Lot 48, 1st Floor, Blk F, Lrg 333-5 Plaza 333, Jln Bypass Penampang Penampang, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah
Selfie OOTD and Lots of Fluff
There are lots of attractions here by PETERAPI. You can purchase the full ticket or just the selective attractions that you are interested in. However, we recommend getting the full ticket because it is more worth it. You can rent a beautiful 👘Yukata or any costume for an hour at just RM10 for photo opportunities as you walk around.
Magical Garden Ranau
Dress in your best OOTD and get ready for lots of photo snapping because your 📸camera is about to break with the explosion of selfie spots! Unleash your creativity and capture the essence of Kundasang at the enchanting Magical Garden Ranau.
This picturesque spot offers a myriad of photo opportunities, where you can take pictures at attractions like the Grand Piano, Red Torii with upturned tudung saji and many more. Strike a pose in this Japanese-inspired garden and create timeless memories with your travel buddies. It is quite 🥵hot here, so we advise you to bring your 🌂umbrella and spread lots of sunscreen on your skin as you would Nutella on your bread.
Arnab Village Ranau
Discover the enchanting Arnab Village Ranau where you can interact with adorable 🐰rabbits and feel their gentle presence as they hop around. Lose yourself in their playful antics, and let their innocence warm your heart. You can play with them, feed them and hug them.
Bask in the presence of these 🐈magnificent creatures, as they purr and laze around. Engage in their playful antics and become their slaves. At Cat Mania, the cats are allowed to roam freely and are generally friendly with hoomans.
Enter the world of hamsters and guinea pigs where you see these adorable creatures as they scurry about, spreading joy with every tiny step in their own countries. Well, actually not literally, but each enclosure is themed and decorated with famous landmarks of countries around the world so that they look like they are having a field trip in the countries, like the Egypt enclosure has pyramids, the Turkey enclosure has Hagia Sophia and hot air balloons, the China enclosure has The Great Wall of China, etc.
Kampung Itik Uncle Jay
Engage with the villagers (which are ducks, by the way…) and learn about their way of life. Who is Uncle Jay, we don’t know, but what we know for sure is that there are lots of white fluffy 🦆ducks here. Lose yourself in the simplicity of village life as you witness the quacking melodies and graceful presence of ducks. Also, be careful not to be drowned in the sea of quacks I mean ducks.
Discover Anggur Borneo, a vineyard nestled amidst the scenic beauty of Kundasang. Lose yourself in this small vineyard, where you can see many different types of grapes like Veronika, Glasha, Gandin, Japanese Sweet Charlie (JSC) and many more. Grapes growing from their trees are a rare sight in Malaysia, so be sure to check out this vineyard.
⏰ Hours: 8am - 5pm 📍 Address: Kg Purakagis kibbas, 89308 Ranau, Sabah
Stay in The Hidden Hill
We highly recommend staying at Hidden Hill Homestay. It is a Japanese-themed sanctuary of serenity hidden within the hills of Dodon Kasigau with a view of the majestic Mount Kinabalu. The verdant hills stretch out before you, creating a picturesque backdrop that seems straight out of a postcard. You might wake up in the morning and mistakenly think that you are in Japan!
Each room has a different design, and they have rooms for 2, 4, as well as 8 people. Feel free to rent the 👘yukata and cosplay costumes with props like paper fans and swords and stroll along the homestay buildings that look like post-war Japanese houses. Those who are not staying here will have to pay an entrance fee and rent Yukata for photo shooting inside this homestay. You can take pictures at the wooden torii overlooking the green hills, the stone statue of Totoro, No Face and others.
Please be warned that the road is pretty bumpy and can be difficult to manoeuvre, especially at night. So it is not advisable to drive out after it’s dark. Overall, Hidden Hill Homestay is a beautiful retreat where the beauty of nature and the comforts of home intertwine.
Entrance Fees Only (Free if you are a guest staying over) Adults: RM5 Kids: RM3
Entrance Fees + Yukata / Costume Rental Adults: RM38 Kids: RM8 4 years old & below: Free
What About Dinner?
For dinner, we recommend bringing cup noodles or some simple meal to cook. That is because driving out at night is dangerous, and there aren’t any eateries or convenience shops nearby. Hidden Hill Homestay provides kitchens with basic utensils like rice cookers, pots, microwaves, etc, so that you can make simple meals to fill your tummy. Alternatively, you can take away your dinner from restaurants in town and reheat it using the microwave.
📍 Address: XHFP+84, 89308 Kundasang, Sabah
The Best Sunrise Spot in Kundasang
Wake up before dawn and prepare for an early morning hike up Sosodikon Hill to be rewarded with a mesmerizing sunrise that paints the sky in shades of gold and pink. As the first rays of light illuminate the horizon, marvel as the surrounding hilly landscapes awaken, offering a breathtaking spectacle.
Sunrise at Kundasang is usually pretty early, around 6am. Ascend the hill, and immerse yourself in the tranquil beauty of the surrounding nature. Feel the crisp morning air filling your lungs as the melodic chorus of birds welcomes the new day. The hike takes around 10 - 15 minutes and is suitable for all age groups.
Once you’re on top, not only are you rewarded with the panoramic view that stretches before you but also the colourful viewing platforms and multiple types of floras. The breathtaking spectacle that will etch itself in your memory forever.
⏰ Hours: 6am - 5pm 📍 Address: Kg Kauluan Peti Surat 873, 89308 Kundasang, Sabah
Now, we are pretty sure that you’ll be hungry after hiking Sosodikon Hill. As the sun rises, many breakfast spots around the area are not open until 9am but SS Chinese Restaurant 神山中餐厅 is an exception. It opens at 7am and serves non-halal food. Some of the breakfast options include KonLo Mee, Lo Mai Kai, Bao, Sabah’s special, Tuaran Mee and more.
⏰ Hours: 7am - 8:30pm | 📍 Address: Jalan Kundasang Kauluan, Pekan Kundasang, 89308 Kundasang, Sabah
After breakfast, escape to the idyllic setting of Desa Cattle Dairy Farm,a charming haven where rolling green pastures and breathtaking landscapes unfold. Owned by Desa Cattle (Sabah) Sdn Bhd, this dairy farm is also known as the mini New Zealand of Malaysia. Take a leisurely stroll through the farm and take lots of photos. The picturesque scene looks like it’s straight out of a storybook.
While you admire the picturesque scenery, don’t forget to visit the cow barn to witness the milking process of the imported Holstein Friesian cows. You can also experience feeding the cattle. Feeding grass can be purchased at RM1/bunch for the cattle and 🍼milk at RM1.50/bottle for the calves. After that, proceed to the milk processing plant to see how milk is processed and ends up as milk cartons on the shelf at the market.
Do not leave the Desa Cattle Dairy Farm without indulging in a cup of soft serve or fresh milk, made from the farm's own cow. Then, there are the 🍕pizzas with their golden crust and an explosive amount of cheese. This makes a perfect lunch to commemorate a visit to Desa Cattle Dairy Farm, the only one of its kind in Sabah.
Entrance Fees Adults: RM5 (13 years old and above) Kids: RM4 (7 - 12 years old) Child below 7 years old / Disabled (OKU): Free
⏰ Hours: 8:30am - 4pm 📍 Address: Jalan Cinta Mata Mesilou, 89308 Kundasang, Sabah
It’s a Para Para Paradise
In the enchanting realm where earth and sky intertwine, lies a place of pure wonder and exhilaration. Welcome to Ranau Paragliding Park, where you can realise your dream of flying in the sky through tandem 🪂paragliding. Prepare to embark on a journey that will ignite your senses and stir your deepest emotions.
As the wind gently caresses your face, you’ll feel a surge of adrenaline coursing through your veins. As the ground beneath you slowly recedes, you’ll find yourself suspended between heaven and earth, a mere speck in the grand tapestry of existence.
Upon arriving, a 🚙4WD will pick you up and bring you to the take-off point. Don’t worry, you won’t be launched straight into the sky right away. Instead, the professional instructor will give you a safety briefing and instruction on basic paragliding techniques. A GoPro will also be provided to record your courageous journey with the beautiful Kundasang backdrop. The footage will then be handed to you to keep as a memorable token of your trip to Kundasang.
⏰ Hours: 9am - 5pm 📍 Address: Jln Kompleks Sukan Ranau, 89308 Ranau, Sabah
An Abandoned Buses
These 3 vintage buses are refurbished and transformed into a cosy and charming restaurant. Not only is it a fun selfie spot, but it’s also a place of culinary delights, and they are air-conditioned too. Before entering Bw Bus Restaurant 小陈巴巴, you’ll have to purchase an RM5 “bus ticket” for admission which will be refunded to you if you order food or drink here.
As you savour each mouthful, you'll be treated to the breathtaking views of Kundasang's picturesque landscapes. The combination of scrumptious food and stunning scenery creates an unforgettable dining experience. You can even sit in the driver’s seat and pretend to be the bus’ captain. Yes, it is that fun! If you are lucky, you can see the majestic Mount Kinabalu emerging from the clouds.
For dinner, they have Western and Asian choices like 🍚rice, 🍔burger, 🍝spaghetti, and 🍲soups. So you don’t have to worry about not being able to find something that’s to your taste. Moreover, the portion is not small, making them value buys. There is also a slide, but we advise against sliding on it on a hot day unless you want to see your bums on fire.
Entrance Fees Adults: RM5 (Will be refunded after you've ordered something inside the restaurant)
Before leaving Kundasang, don’t forget to drop by Sabah Tea Farm. It’s quite far away from Hidden Hill Homestay, about an hour's ride, but we promise you that it’s going to be worth it. Located outside of Kundasang, Sabah Tea Farm can grow fine Camelia Sinesis tea trees, all thanks to its highland climate and soil. It is the only tea plantation in Malaysia that is 100% organic and pesticide free. The plantation is not the only attraction here as it also features a resort, camping ground, restaurant and tea shop.
You can savour a mouth-watering breakfast consisting of scones or sandwiches and freshly brewed Sabah Tea while enjoying the fresh air and scenery of tea plantations overlooking the hills. If those are not to your liking, they also have other marvellous delights like tea pancakes, steamed bananas, fried noodles, black pepper beef and many more. Don’t forget to end the meal with their signature Sabah Tea ice cream, made freshly every day from tea leaves picked straight from the farm.
Besides that, there are other activities that you can do at Sabah Tea Resort, and these include a tea factory tour and lots of photo opportunities for the gram. Last but not least, for an extra Rm5, you can climb up the Borneo tree house to enjoy a magnificent view of the surroundings.
⏰ Hours: 8am - 6pm 📍 Address: KM 17, Jalan Ranau/Sandakan Kampung Nalapak, Beg berkunci, No.2, 89309 Ranau, Sabah
A Wild Wild Boar Lunch
The journey from Sabah Tea Farm to Kota Kinabalu International Airport takes about 3 hours, so why not stop midway for lunch. Sinalau Bakas stalls are a renowned local culinary experience. Sinalau Bakas refers to smoked 🐗wild boar, a speciality dish in Sabah. Yes, stalls. They are a row of stalls on the roadside selling roasted pork.
Indulge in the smoky, tender meat marinated with local spices and cooked over an open fire. Pair it with traditional rice dishes, local vegetables, and condiments for a truly local gastronomic experience. They are best enjoyed with 🍺beer. However, if you are driving, please be a responsible driver by staying away from alcohol. Enjoy the warm ambience of the stalls as you savour this unique Sabahan delicacy.
Kundasang in Sabah is a hidden gem that offers a perfect retreat into tranquillity and natural beauty. From exploring the vast dairy farm at Desa Cattle Dairy Farm to indulging in the fragrant Sabah Tea and experiencing the charm of Sosodikon Hill, this 3-day 2-night itinerary will leave you rejuvenated and inspired by the serenity and splendour of Kundasang.