Saturday, April 11, 2009

Sunday in the River with Fishes

(Original post dated 14/02/09)

What else can you do when in Ranau?

Apart from the not-to-be-missed National Park and Poring, which I am sure most people have already been, there are other places that can be explored.

So this being the weekend not to sit at home, we decided to go look for this kampung which offers fish massage in the river. Read that it was not difficult to find and about 15 km from Ranau town, so off we went early in the morning. The kampung is called Kg Luanti Baru; the river Sungai Moroli. This kampung practices the tagal, which means they are not allowed to fish or dirty the river otherwise they'll get penalised. The fish can only be caught once a year, where it will be distributed amongst the villagers. And its claim to fame? It won the National Award for Best River Care some years back.

Reached Kundasang at 9 am, decided not to stop by KNP. The weather today was cool and nice, with gusts of mists which reminded me of what it was like many many years ago when going to Kundasang meant we needed to bundle up. Today I just wore my shorts and blouse, in defiance haha coz I know I'll be okay with the cold. We stopped at where I call the look out point (Karalangan?). There was a small cafe there which was not open yet. Nice location which has a lot of potential but not developed well I must say. Sad, wasted potential..

Proceeded on to Ranau town, where we stopped by a coffeeshop for late breakfast. Then we dropped by the local Shell station to get some directions. Just take the road towards Sandakan, just past the Sabah Tea Garden. For those familiar, instead of taking the left fork of the road to go to Poring Hot Springs, you take the right fork and head straight for another 20-25 minutes.

We got there at about half past ten, yupp it's easy to locate Kg Luanti Baru, there's a banner and a small statue of a fish as well at the junction. We got to the reception area to buy the entrance tickets and got a short briefing of the history and what not to do when in the river. They have a put up a simple and nice notice board with pics and articles for those who wish to read more.

We then got given a 'guide' and proceeded to the river. Another group was already there earlier. By the way the tickets cost RM10 if you wish to bathe in the river, and RM5 if just to soak your feet; both for a 15 minutes duration.

The big fishes can be seen as we waited for the group to finish up then got into the cool cool water. The river bend was shallow at the edge, and deep green on the other where the guide did not encourage us to venture. Wooohoo, when was the last time I bathed in a river? I seriously do not remember. 

And how does this fish massage feel? Really ticklish hahaha..the fishes really suck on when they do, most of the time they glide near your body. I must say it felt weird at first. Combined with the cool water and crazy fishes, I must say I enjoyed keeping still the river. It's not strictly a fish massage or fish spa, more like bathing with the fishes in a clean clear cool village river. Nice!

Later when time was up (the guide had kindly extended us longer since there was no guest waiting), we moved further downriver where no time limit is imposed. The waters were rather shallow but the current was alright enough.  Unfortunately the weather started getting cloudy and drizzly so we finished up and got changed.

After bye byes, we headed back to Kundasang, with a quick stop at the Kundasang War Memorial and then by the roadside stalls to buy some vegetables, and tuhau (bottled! this is something new). Buying veggies is a must when in Kundasang hahaha. The stalls have been moved up nearer to the shops and the old rows demolished, presumably for better. I just hope they design the new ones properly.

What's for lunch? By this time we were so hungry, and drove up to the Kinabalu Bamboo Cafe to try out their  chicken tuhau. Verdict? Quite nice actually I can eat more of that. Yums. I'm dreaming of many tuhau variations now. After that was the return journey back home, the rain got heavier along the way, and we reached home at 4 pm. 

That's my grand day out, I'm knackered and need to sleep for tomorrow. Another week and it's good bye February! And the realisation that there's only 10 more months left in the year! Er....whhatt? My new year resolutions are just warming up..suddenly I feel like I want to do everything immediately, but I managed to calm down my fretting mind. Always a worrier me.

"All in good time" - this should be my mantra. Someone needs to knock this into my head.

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