Malaysia My Destination : Info about Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Kuala Lumpur : Malaysia Capital - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Putrajaya : Federal Territory - Malaysia
Selangor : Central Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Terengganu : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Kelantan : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Pahang : East Coast Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Johor / Johore : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Malacca / Melaka : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Negeri Sembilan / The Nine State : Southern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Kedah (Langkawi) : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Penang / Pulau Pinang : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Perak : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Perlis : Northern Region Of Peninsular Malaysia - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Sabah : East Malaysia / BORNEO MALAYSIA - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
  Sabah Map 1
  Sabah Map 2
  Eco Treasures
  Celebrations & Festivals
  Unique Ethnic Group
  Beach Holiday
  Island Holiday
  National Parks
  Tamu Sunday Market
  General Info
  Tourist Attraction
  Aquarium & Marine Museum
  Handicraft Market
  Jesselton Point Waterfront
  Kipandi Butterfly Park
  Lok Kawi Wildlife Park
  Monsopiad Cultural Village
  Tunku Abdul Rahman Park
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
  Crocker Range National Park
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
  Agriculture Park
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
  Pulau Mantanani Island
  Tamu (Sunday Market)
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
  Pulau Tiga Park
  General Info
  Beautiful Beaches
  Island, Diving & Fishing
  Tanjung Simpang Mengayau
  Rungus Longhouse
  Honey Bee Village
  Gong Making
  Tamu Kudat
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
  Fish Massage
  Kundasang War Memorial
  Sabah Tea Garden
  Kinabalu Park
  General Info
  Flora & Fauna
  People Of Mount Kinabalu
  Poring Hot Springs
  Trails Of Wonder
  The Summit Trail
  The Mesilau Route
  Climbing To The Peak
  Via Ferrata
  Trails Map
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
  Crocodile Farm
  General Info
  Tourist Attraction
  Agnes Keith House
  Gomantong Cave
  Lower Kinabatangan River
  Rainforest Development Centre
  Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary
  Turtle Island Park
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
  Danum Valley
  Tabin Wildlife Reserve
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
  General Info & Tourist Attraction
  Bukit Gemok
  Tawau Hills Park
Labuan (Federal Territory) : East Malaysia / BORNEO MALAYSIA - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide
Sarawak : East Malaysia / BORNEO MALAYSIA - Tourist Attraction and Destination Guide




What kind of people live in the land of eco-treasures?


All kinds, colours and creeds. The population of about 2 million comprises over 30 different races speaking over 80 local dialects. The beautiful thing is all these diverse ethnic groups live together harmoniously while at the same time preserving their own culture, traditions, festivals and customs, to make Sabah a multicultural exotic experience unlike any other.


The three main indigenous groups of Sabah are the Kadazan-Dusun, Murut and Bajau. The Kadazan-Dusun make up one-third of the population and live in the interior plains. They are mainly padi farmers though many have ventured into other trades. The padi harvesting is an important ritual and is accompanied by religious rites presided over by female priestesses called bobohizan. The Muruts, who live in the interior region near the borders of Sarawak and Kalimantan, are agriculturists and hunters. Many of them still stay in longhouses.


Murut weddings are elaborate affairs accompanied by extensive merrymaking. The Bajaus who make up the second largest indigenous group live mainly on the east and west coasts. East coast Bajaus are sea nomads, coming ashore only to bury their dead. West-coast Bajaus are farmers and noted for their skilled horsemanship. These handsomely attired?Cowboys of the East?, add a distinctively Sabahan touch to local festivities.




"Cowboys Of The East"


Kota Belud District


The Kota Belud Bajau Horseman are the famous Cowboys of the East. During special occasions, the Bajau Horseman wears a black, sometimes white, long-sleeved shirt called badu sampit . Smart, gold buttons betawi run down the front opening and the shirt is also decorated with silver flowers called intiras. The trousers are more tight-fitting than the bajau bridegroom's seluar sama . The horseman's seluar sampit is balck, and both the shirt and trousers have gold lace trimmings sewn on. He also wears a headpiece podong similar to the Bajau bridegroom's. The Bajau horseman wears a silver-hilted dagger karis at his side. The sheath is made of wood and silver. He also carries a spear bujak and a shipping crop pasut . Perhaps the most interesting thing about the Bajau horseman is his horse, or rather pony. It has its own costume and is more gaily dressed than the rider.



The outfit kain kuda almost completely covers the pony except for holes for the eyes and nose. This cloth is tied around the pony's legs to keep it in place. The saddle sila-sila is not like the cowboy saddles of the West but rather a smaller piece of buffalo hide so shaped to fit the pony's back. A thick piece of cloth lapik is placed under the sila-sila. Antique brass bells seriau , colourful reins tingalu and bridle kakang all make for a very festive pony costume. With a skillfully riding gaily decorated ponies jingling with bells, Sabah?s Bajau horsemen never fail to thrill the crowds on ceremonial occasions. Attracted to the agriculturally rich district of Kota Belud after the British established a presence there, the Bajau quickly adapted to a new lifestyle by planting rice and raising horses, water buffalo and cattle.


Today, Kota Belud Bajau's are renowned for their horsemanship, their skills earning them the nickname ?Cowboys of the East?. Although ponies are still used as part of daily life, the spectacular costumes and impressive displays of riding skills are generally reserved for special occasions. Visitors can view and photograph Bajau horsemen and their ponies by arranging for a display at Kg Siasai, a small village on the edge of the river just moments from the tamu ground.


In the same village, it is possible to watch a traditional Bajau metal worker heating a forge with a bellows, then beating out metal to create various working knives or parang. Local women can be seen weaving fabric and rattan, and their handicrafts purchased, at the Kraftangan Malaysia handicraft centre in Jalan Hospital, not far from the tamu ground. The centre is open from 8:00am - 4:30pm daily, 8:00am - 12:30pm every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month; closed Sunday.





Kota Belud District


The indigenous Kadazandusun of Kota Belud has worked as farmers for countless generations. Although sharing similar beliefs and legends, in the days before modern transport, they were divided into separate groups by geography. Those living in the north of the Tempasuk plain, towards the Kudat district, are known as the Dusun Tabilung, while those around the Tempasuk river basin are the Dusun Tempasuk. The group living to the south, bordering Tuaran district, call themselves Dunun Tidal. Like the majority of the Kadazandusun, as Sabah?s largest indigenous ethnic group is known today, most Kota Belud Dusun are Christian, yet their ancient myths are still remembered and their dramatic traditional dress, with magnificent silver ornaments, is still worn with pride on ceremonial occasions.


Pesta Kaamatan or Harvest Festival is a unique celebration of Kadazandusun society. It's a celebration to honour the Rice Spirit - Bambaazon or Bambarayon and giving thanks for yet another bountiful year. The festival begins on the first of May at many district levels. The rites and customs of the Pesta Kaamatan is a tribal practice of Kadazandusun and also Murut peoples. The Bobohizan or Bobolian who are the High Priests or Priestesses (depending on the district/area undertaking the preservation) will conduct the ritual. In different districts, the priests or priestesses may be addressed to differently, for instance in Tambunan district they are known as Bobolian, in Tuaran as Tantagas and in Penampang as Bobohizan. It is believed that rice in whatever form embodies Bambaazon that must be protected from harm. The homecoming of Babaazon is an integral part of the Harvest Festival. Ancient folklore tells of the ultimate deed of Kinoingan or Minamagun - The Almighty God or Creator, who sacrificed his only beloved daughter, Huminodun so that his people would have food. Various parts of her body were planted from which plants grew. During the Magavau ceremony, the Bobohizan will select some stalks of rice that are left undistributed until the harvest is over.


In some districts, the chosen stalks are cut before the field is harvested and are then brought into the owner's house. The task of Bobohizan is to search and salvage the lost Bambaazon who are hurt or separated from the main mystical body. In the old days, this ceremony was often performed in freshly harvested fields during the first full moon after the harvest to invoke the rice spirit. The language used by Bobohizan is archaic whose meanings have been buried in time and known only to the few remaining Bobohizan these days. The vital aspect of Magavau is the paraphernalia used to summon Bambaazon. The sacrament of Magavau may vary according to district practices but the ceremony always ends with food offerings to Bambaazon and merry making for the village folks. The highlight of Pesta Kaamatan is the selection of the pageant queen or "Unduk Ngadau" which can be literally translated as "Zenith of the Sun". It conceptually derives from the sacrifice of Huminodun. The maiden who has the honour of being selected should bear semblance to Huminodun and will represent all that is virtuous in the revered Huminodun.





Being one of the largest indigenous groups in Sabah, Murut comprise of subgroups such as Baukan, Gana', Kalabakan, Okolod, Paluan, Sulangai, Serudung, Tagal, Timugon and the Beaufort and Keningau Murut. Literally "Murut" means "hill people". They inhibit the interior and southeastern parts of Sabah and the territory straddling the Kalimantan and Sarawak borders. They are mostly shifting cultivators and hunters with some riverine fishing. Those of Murut origin speak 15 languages and 21 dialects. The language commonly used and understood by the large majority is Tanggal. Their language is also related to the Kadazandusun languages. Once feared as fearless headhunters and longhouse dwellers, the Murut these days have abandoned much of their age-old traditions especially headhunting. They are also very skilled in hunting with blowpipe.


In the by-gone era, collecting heads of enemies served a very precise function in Murut society. A man can only get married after he has presented at least one head that he has hunted to the family of the desired girl. Heads also play a very important role in spiritual beliefs. The essence of Murut tradition of feasts is distinctive. No merrymaking will end at least until sunrise and can last up to seven days later. This is especially the case with weddings or funerals.


Through modernization, no more heads must be furnished for weddings but jars along with cloth, beads, gold and ivory bracelets have taken its place. All these dowry items will be proudly displayed at the ceremony. Jars or "sampa" holds a prominent status in their customs. The Murut know the age of sampa and treat them will due respect. Jars are also a place of spirits. Beads play an integral role in Murut life.


Wedding beads must be presented in the form of belts, necklaces, headgear and decoration. The wedding ceremony must be held in the bride's longhouse, tapai or rice wine must be served and all the meat has to be pickled. The Murut keep the bodies of their deceased in a jar and place them in colourful and elaborately decorated grave-huts along with the deceased's belongings. The body will be placed in the foetal position inside the jar and a gong will be placed over the mouth of the jar to close it. However this custom of burial is becoming rare with the availability of wooden coffins.







The Rungus, a sub-group of the Kadazan/dusun, are Sabah?s most traditional people. Sharing many of their beliefs, rituals and festivals with the rest of the Kadazan/dusun.


Kudat District


The Rungus nonetheless have a number of unique legends and practices, as well as distinctive costumes and architecture. Many Rungus still work as agriculturists and wear a modified version of their traditional dress. Although some continue to live in communal longhouses, others now chose to live in individual family dwellings.  Rungus women are renowned for their handicrafts, particularly their woven fabrics, beadwork and basket ware.


Woven sashes, necklaces and headed sashes are popular souvenir items, while some of the finest basket ware in Sabah is made with a wild creeper which is tightly coiled and fashioned into attractive trays, plates, bowls, lidded boxes and other attractive items.  Visitors to Kudat will find there are a number of easily accessible Rungus villages where traditional lifestyles and handicrafts can be seen, and where it is possible to stay in a Rungus longhouse.


The Rungus living in the Kudat district are known to have maintained their ancient traditions to this day. Even the traditional ladies costume has not many changes made to it. Some of the women still wear costumes made from cloth processed form hand-grown and hand-spun cotton. The design of the Rungus costume is simple. A black cloth with little hand-stitched patterns worn from the chest to the waist becomes the blouse ( banat tondu ) and the skirt is a knee-length sarong (tapi rinugading) of the same material. Another length of black cloth, about 28-30 cms. Wide is slipped over the head and it rests on the shoulders draped over the arms like sleeves. What makes this outfit very interesting is the belts and necklaces that go with it. Little brass rings and antique beads looped through thin strands of stripped bark ( togung ) becomes a wide and colourful hipband called orot. To wear this, the orot is slowly and carefully coiled around the hip. Then a last string of beads ( lobokon ) is hung loosely from the coil. The orot is hand made by the Rungus men as the technique is known only to them. The Rungus are also well-known for their beadwork and the costume shows off some of their finest. Two shoulders bands ( pinakol ), about 6 to 8 cms wide are aworn diagonally over each shoulder and cross over in front.


The bead-work often tell a story and this one in particular tells of a man going spear-hunting for a riverine creature. Usually the pattern must follow ancient designs when worn with this costume. Long antique bed necklace ( sandang ) are also worn diagonally over the shoulders. These necklaces often include ivory-white discs, obtained from the shell of the kima ( tridachna gigas ) as well as animal bones. Several necklaces of reddish-brown glass beads and the chocker-like suldau with the white kima as the centre-piece further adorn this costume.


The large burambun and the smaller giring are antique brass bells that sound with the slightest movement. The Rungus lady's hair is combed into a bun and a multi-coloured floral head-piece ( titimbok ) is worn. A thin band of beads strung together ( sisingal ) is tied around the forehead and then pieces of cloth sewn together in rows to form colorful pigtails ( rampai ) are tided at the nape. This costume, with all the beads and belts, is worn during festivals. Rungus ritual specialist also wear the complete outfit when conducting rituals.