Sunday, August 21, 2011

Places of Interest in Sabah: Sabah Agriculture Park, Tenom

The Sabah Agriculture Park (Taman Pertanian Sabah) in Tenom is situated on a 200 hectare site and was developed and maintained by the Agriculture Department. It is a park that offers visitors both recreational and educational activities.

Native Orchids - The Native Orchid Centre has been known and recognized as one of the most important centers in the world for the collection and conservation of native Bornean orchid species. There are at least 400 species with more than 1,500 collection being kept here, including many rare and endangered species such as the Elephant Ear orchid (Phalaenopsis gigantea), the Rat-tail orchid (Paraphalaenopsis labukensis) and the Bella orchid (Renanthera bella), also not forgetting the many species of Slipper orchids (Paphiopedilum spp.), many of which endemic to Borneo.

Crops Museum - This is an 8-acre living museum of Crop Plants where there are some 400 species of plants systematically planted according to their uses. There are those that are fruit trees, some for medicine, spices, fibers and beverages. Yet there are some that provide essential oils that are very aromatic and are used for the perfume industry. There are also some which are exotic and their uses are also explained.

Ornamental Garden - The Ornamental Garden comprises 21 distinct and well-landscaped gardens with each garden exhibiting its unique plants and flowers. Here you will see a variety of Bougainvilleas, Ixora, Hibiscus and cactus as well as other very interesting plants such as the Hoya. There is also collection of parasitic and carnivorous plants. You will very much enjoy going through the various gardens and perhaps pick up some ideas on how to set up your own garden.

Plant Evolution & Plant Adaptation Garden - Take a walk through this park and learn about the 3.5 billon years of earth's history. From the early unicellular organisms and plants, learn how through the process of evolution, that we have now the huge varieties of plant life on earth today. Get to see how plants adapt to the environments, from pond-life to semi-arid habitats. You will also get to see the amazing giant water lily from South America.

Model Garden - This garden has five smaller theme gardens to illustrate the different styels in which a garden can be modeled. The Sub-urban Garden is simple and pleasing while the Family Garden has more features for the children. The more formal garden are the Paved Town Garden, the City Garden and the Sabah/Malaysia Garden. It is pleasure to walk through all these five gardens.

Bee Centre and Museum - Sabah is home to five of the nine species of honey bees found in the world. The Bee Centre and Museum is a place where you can find them. There are also exhibits of equipment used in honey extraction and you can watch honey bees working in their hives up close. There is an orchard of food plants for the honey bees in the Bee Centre and Museum where you may want to take a walk.

Animal Park - The Animal Park is likened to a mini zoo and various animals and birds are put on display. Many of these animals and birds are examples of those already used for the commercial livestock industry. This park also gives visitors a rare chance of seeing some of the animals and birds up close.

Getting There

Visitors to the park can choose three routes to travel:

* Kota Kinabalu - Tambunan - Tenom : 3 hours
* Kota Kinabalu - Papar - Tenom : 2½ hours
* Kota Kinabalu - Sipitang - Tenom : 3 hours

Visitors can also travel by train to Tenom via Beaufort from Kota Kinabalu, a journey that will take four hours. There are taxis, buses and other forms of public transportation which you may wish to use and they are easily available in Kota Kinabalu.

Opening Hours

Tuesday to Sunday - 9.00 am - 4.30 pm
Closed on Monday (unless a Public Holiday falls on a Monday)

Source: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photos Copyright to

ED NOTE: The Sabah Agricultural Park can be considered a hidden gem of remote Tenom. It is truly a haven for botanists or those interested in plants as the Park houses a wide collection of plants and flowers. If you are into fruits, you will never find any location with so many fruit trees in one place. One of the most interesting (or infamous) fruits is a red little thumb-nail size fruit, which is also known as the "Miracle Fruit" (scientific name for the plant - Synsepalum dulcificum) or commonly known as miracle berry. It is fast becoming one of the main attractions of the Park. What so miracle about this berry? Nothing that is out of this world. It just that after eating the berry, you may eat anything that is sour or bitter with ease, as you will immediately get a sweet response. Yes you heard it. Your lime or lemon will taste sweet instead. A quick Wiki found that this effect is due to miraculin, which is used commercially as a sugar substitute. A bit of disappoinment when I discover that this plant/species originates from West Africa. Would be marvelous if it is endermic to Tenom only. This plant can be found in the Model Garden. Do check it out (ask the botanist in charge) and do your own experiment when you visit the Sabah Agricultural Park.


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