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Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Sabah Tea Garden, Ranau


February 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm
Sabah Tea Garden which started off as an organic tea plantation in the district of Ranau, Sabah has now expanded into a popular holiday destination as well in the state both for local and foreign tourists. Located in one the oldest rainforests in the world, with the picturesque Mt Kinabalu, Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site, for its background, Sabah Tea Garden is known for its 100 per cent organic tea without the use of any chemicals.
Sunset at Mount Kinabalu
Today, managed by Sabah Tea Sdn Bhd’s Ipoh based unit, Yee Lee Corporation Bhd, Sabah Tea Garden has grown into an ideal place for nature lovers and those wanting to relax away from the busy city life, offering various holiday stay and tour packages customised for its visitors.
The “tea garden” encompasses an area measuring 6,200 acres and is 2,272 ft from sea level. From the total area, only 1,200 acres are used for the cultivation of tea and tourism activities while the rest remains a tropical forest rich with flora and fauna.
With the Sabah state government projecting a tourist arrival of about 2.4 million to the state this year, Sabah Tea Garden is hoping to take advantage of the opportunity to promote its tourism and holiday packages, its General Manager Ismail Martin Kong Abdullah told a group of journalists on a familiarisation programme to Sabah recently.
The programme, organised by Firefly and Sabah Tourism, was sponsored by Golden Suria Tours & Travel.
“We receive an average of 15,000 tourists a year and we are aiming for 16,000 visitors this year,” Ismail said, adding that 60 per cent of the visitors were locals and the remaining 40 per cent were foreigners with the majority of them from Australia and Europe.
Among the attractive tour and holiday packages that Sabah Tea Garden offers are a two-day one night stay, a three-day two nights package as well as day trips, team building programmes and company meetings package and rainforest camping.
For those taking the overnight stays, there are several types of accommodation facilities they can choose from at the resort including longhouses, cottages and camp sites.
The company had also invested RM1 million to build several new, English-style cottages fully equipped with basic facilities like bed, sofa as well as modern facilities like LCD TV. The rate for the cottage stay is RM240 per night.
There are two longhouses designed along the features of a Rungus longhouse, a type of longhouse in which the Rungus, one of Sabah’s ethnic Bumiputera groups, live in.
The floors and walls of the longhouse are built from bamboo and woodskin such as kayu bakau, belian and nibong.
The longhouse is divided into several rooms with each room costing RM120 for a night stay.
Ismail said the longhouses were also built with the idea of giving the tourists a taste of the local culture and the opportunity to feel the experience of living in a longhouse.
Each of the rooms in the longhouse come with a bed and mosquito net with the toilets and bathrooms separately set nearby the longhouse.
There are also other amenities and facilities including halls for meetings, and other functions, as well as restaurants, souvenir shops and broadband wifi facility to provide Internet connection for guests.
“Many of the foreign tourists opt for the longhouse as they want to feel for themselves the local culture and experience living like the locals while the domestic tourists mostly go for the cottages.
“We also get booked by many large corporations, government agencies, universities, and schools that want to hold their meetings, family day and other team activities here,” Ismail said.
Among the activities offered by Sabah Tea Garden to tourists are river trekking, jungle trekking, batik painting, fish massage, visits to the tea plantations and factories as well as culture shows upon request.
On the production of its Sabah Tea, Ismail said Sabah Tea Garden was the sole producer of organic tea in Borneo and around the world, the company exported 15 per cent of its production to countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain and Singapore with the rest of them for the domestic markets.
The exports contribute about 10 per cent to the company’s income, Ismail said.
The trip to Sabah Tea Garden from Kota Kinabalu meanwhile takes about a two-and-and-a-half-hour drive.
For foreign tourists wishing to visit the state, travel has now become much easier as there are many airline companies offering their services to the state with the latest service coming from the community airline, Firefly, a unit of Malaysian Airline System Bhd (MAS).
The service is also part of the state government’s efforts to increase the number of tourists to the state and further develop its tourism industry.
Whether it is for business, work or a retreat, Sabah Tea Garden in Ranau is an ideal destination for those wishing to take a break or relax and enjoy the adventure of a trip into the splendour of nature and rejoice in its panoramic views.
Source: Bernama

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