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Sabah Tea Garden - A refreshing break, more than just a cup of tea!

Posted By Dennelton Mandiau on Friday, August 14, 2015 | 18:52

The restaurant and souviner shop.
Sabah’s only tea plantation is located in Ranau, approximately a 3 hours drive from Kota Kinabalu or an hour drive from the Kinabalu Park along the highway to Sandakan. In 1976, 6,200 acres of rolling hills in Kampung Nelapak, Ranau were alienated by the government to form the Tea Garden and at an elevation of 2,727 ft above sea level it has a very pleasant climate during the day and gets rather cold at nights. This is ideal for the Tea plants and also a refreshing break for visitors from the lowlands.

The Tea garden is often overlooked by visitors in favour of staying closer to the Kinabalu Park or Kundasang, however a stay at the Tea garden will prove to be just as pleasant and coupled with the additional aspect of learning about tea is an added bonus. There are various other activities as well that can be done at the Tea garden and is perfect for some Family bonding time.

Turning off from the busy main road to Sandakan, you immediately feel that you have entered a much quieter place. Within minutes you will be driving through the tea plantation surrounded by well-trimmed bushes less than a meter in height growing in rows on the undulating hills that seem to go on forever. Due to the natural environment in which the tea plantation is actually surrounded by the forest, there is no need for the use of pesticides making Sabah Tea a world recognised organic tea.

Pretty soon you arrive at the reception area and most people head directly for the restaurant. Try out the house specialities of Tea pancakes and Pandan “teh tarik” while marvelling at the view of the tea garden from the restaurant .If the weather is in your favour, you will see Mt Kinabalu looming in front of you in all her glory. Within the Restaurant is a souvenir shop which sells freshly packed Sabah tea, tea-shirts and local handicraft.

If you only visiting for the day, then try to get there by 11.00am the latest, as the ‘tea factory tour’, which is a “must see”, is run from 08.00 to 12 noon. Your in-house guide will take you through the factory and explain the various processes that the freshly picked tealeaves go through before ending up in your cuppa.

View from the restaurant.
Another interesting historical site is the Quaily hill memorial. Located on a small hill just above the main office and visible from the car park, you might notice the Australian and Malaysian flags flying in the breeze. It was recently discovered that part of the “Death March” route, which the Australian and allied Prisoners of war were forced to march from Sandakan to Ranau in 1945, actually passed through the Tea Plantation. The memorial was erected in honour of Private Alan Quailey, who was killed by the Japanese soldiers at the same spot, when he could not continue with the march.

Other options to occupy your time would be to do some trekking to Kamunsu hill and explore the virgin rainforest while keeping an eye out for the largest flower in the world, the Rafflesia , which can also be found here and just might be in bloom . The Sapon recreation area has a river flowing through it, which is ideal for wading, having a picnic or even camping. An obstacle course has also been built in the area, which will provide the family with fun and challenges.

Finally, there is the natural fish spa in kampung Luanti that is adjacent to the tea garden. It’s an experience to soak yourself in the river while fish nibble away at your dead skin.

Should you wish to stay overnight at the Tea garden, there are various types of accommodation ranging from a traditional stay in a long house to more luxurious accommodation at one of the newly refurbished cottages.
Opening hours
Daily 8:00am - 4:30pm
Tea factory tour is not available on major Public Holidays
*The best time to visit is between 8am to 12noon.

Admission fee
RM10.00 for a guided tour of the tea factory
RM30.00 for a guided tour + lunch
No admission fees applicable for entrance only.

Contact
Telephone: +6088 440882
Fax: +6088 423448
Email: info@sabahtea.net
Website: www.sabahtea.net
Text by DAVID DE LA HARPE 
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The Editor

I'm Dennelton from Sabah, editor of www.tvokm.com. I'm a blogger since 2008, I have a great interest about blogging and seeking additional income through the internet. Follow me with like our official Facebook Page HERE

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