Monday, December 04, 2006

Kota Belud - Wild, Wild East experience with Borneo twist

Kota Belud town
A buffalo
Bajau cowboys
Bajau couple in traditional attire
Sunday is the best day to visit the market

Copyright © 2006 Brunei Press Sdn Bhd. All right reserved.

By Catharine Goh

Kota Belud is a quaint rural town full of life and renowned for its people, the Bajau "cowboys" who are Sabah's only horsemen and famous for their rearing and handling of horses.

And if you are after a Wild, Wild East experience with a Borneo twist, Kota Belud, slightly over an hour's drive from Kota Kinabalu - Sabah's state capital, is definitely the place.

It is also home to one of Sabah's most famous and colourful weekly "tamu", which actually means "meeting place", and even today it is as much a market as a local gathering where traders from the surrounding areas come together to discuss the latest events.

On this day, the Bajau horsemen known as "Cowboys of the East" dress in their traditional best and ride their extravagantly decorated horses, complete with a jingling collar bell.

Visitors will find many of Sabah's handicrafts here, muddled up with betel nut stalls, exotic fruits, vegetables, dried and fresh fish, sarongs, pots and pans and even electrical items from Taiwan.

Sunday is the best day to visit the market, aptly dubbed Borneo's traditional open market.

The discerning visitors can also take a detour by dropping by at Kg Siasai, a Bajau village in Kota Belud, which is well known as a parang-making centre.

The parang, both a weapon and a working tool, has long been handmade by the Bajau of Kota Belud for generations.

These exquisitely designed parangs can be purchased here.

Courtesy of: Borneo Bulletin

Visit for more Kota Belud tours

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