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Enjoying A Cuppa At The Wilderness of Mt. Kinabalu

sabah tea garden

What tourists said about the Sabah Tea Garden

“Worth a visit, a night in the long house is a must”

I got to experience the Sabah tea house as part of trekking The Sandakan Death March with 37 soldiers and friends.

There are two types of accommodation nice clean cottages with all modern amenities and then there is the long house rooms, they have bamboo floors and walls, shared showers and bathrooms the rooms have three small mattresses and mosquito nets and a wash tub, this is were I stayed and I am so glad I got the experience a fun night.

The food at the tea house was fresh and tasty with nice service {you must try the Tea’s} another attraction you should take the time to look at on the grounds is the Sandakan Memorial to Private Allan Quailey who was klled on the 16Th of February 1945 near the tea gardens.

Visited August 2014

sabah tea garden

The Sabah Tea Garden is one of the must-visit tourist destinations in Kota Kinabalu.

“A little gem”

During a tour by road from Ranau to Sandakan we had the pleasure of visiting the Tea Plantation at Sabah. Unfortunately the Factory was not operating but we were escorted on a tour of the factory which was most informative.

At the completion of the tour we took the short walk up to Quailey’s Hill – a memorial to honour one of the fallen undertaking one of the horrendous Sandakan Death Marches. We took a little time for reflection and to enjoy the wonderful vista over the Plantations. We had the opportunity to taste and purchase some of the wonderful Sabah Tea and made some small purchases in the gift shop.

As we left our guide from the Plantation presented us with a small pack of Sabah Tea and information leaflet – a nice touch.

Visited February 2014

“A chance to taste a variety of tea flavours”

If you’ve been to the Sg Palas Tea Plantation in Cameron Highland, you will be totally disappointed with this place as the view is nothing compare to that of Sg Palas and you have to pay to take a tour of their factory (it’s FOC at Sg Palas).

But if you are a tea lover, then this place is a must visit as they offer an impressive list of tea flavours which include cinnamon, geranium, misai kucing and tongkat ali. My personal favourite is the pandan tea; very tasty and aromatic.

I wish I had bought more of this flavoured tea to bring home. They also sell tea biscuits which were not bad actually but very expensive.

Visited November 2013

sabah tea garden

The view of tea plantation and the Mt. Kinabalu in the background at the Sabah Tea Garden.

“Death March Trekking”

I had the pleasure of staying at the Sabah Tea Plantation in August whilst participating in the TYK Sandakan Death March Tour, this overnight stop was in very high quality rooms with all in room facilities.

The view from the restaurant was breathtaking whilst eating our meals and the gift shop was great with a very friendly helpful staff. A DVD of the workings of the Tea Plantation was very imformative.

As part of the tour we held a Memorial Service at Quaileys Hill which was very emotional in a very well maintained Site. Available for purchase in the Gift Shop is a small booklet called ‘Annihilate Them All’ which gives the history of the Australian Soldiers involvement.

Apart from the very bumpy road I have nothing but praise for this excellent Sabah Tourist Attraction……

Visited August 2013

Where Sabah Black tea is made”

Sabah Tea Gardens makes an interesting stop should you decide to visit Kinabalu National Park. If you are journeying from KK it’s a good 4.5 hr drive but a very beautiful one. Head towards Sandakan and you will come across the entrance to the tea plantation.

The factory, shop, restaurant is at the top of a hill with commanding views over the plantation and Mount Kinabalu. Very peaceful. You can walk around the gardens/ tea plants which is an easy walk. The factory visit will take you through all the processes from cutting the leaves, threshing them to the final product.

Inside the testing room you will see an interesting filtration/ purification test on some well known brands of tea and their quality compared to the local product. The restaurant is very reasonably priced with a fairly comprehensive menu. If you visit in the morning then stop off at Poring Hot Springs which is not far and on your way back to KK. Don’t forget your swimming gear and a towel.

Source: Tripadvisor

sabah tea garden

Beautiful flora along the road leading to tea plantation.

About Sabah Tea Garden

Offering close-to-nature activities, lush greens, coupled with amazing views of Mountain Kinabalu, Sabah Tea Garden is a great place to get close to nature and have a relaxing holiday – all in one place.
Source: The Star

Nestled in the lush tropical wilderness of Kinabalu Park on 2,509ha and at 692m above sea level, Sabah Tea Garden’s cool and refreshing atmosphere renders it perfect for anyone who wants to get away for the weekend or a holiday.

Here are some six must-dos while there:

The authentic tea experience

We reached Sabah Tea Garden after flying into Kota Kinabalu from Kuala Lumpur on Malaysia Airlines and were ushered to the Tea House where we were treated to cups of chilled tea – a perfect respite from the hot weather.

Sabah Tea Garden

A beautiful misty morning at the tea garden.

My Sabah Tea with ginger was a blend of black tea with slices of ginger. It was refreshing.

To make the whole tea experience even more authentic, we tried the Tea Pancakes. These are made using tea leaf extract, flour and eggs. We had ours served with honey and it was delicious – a great way to start our “totally tea” experience.

Accommodation at the Sabah Tea Longhouse

Visitors who opt to stay at The Sabah Tea Longhouse can enjoy an authentic “tribal” experience. Built about 1m-1.5m above ground, this longhouse has 10 rooms and took 10 men to complete in a month. Each room sleeps two to three adults.

If staying in a longhouse is not your cup of tea, Sabah Tea Garden also offers chalets with three rooms, a living room, kitchen and bathroom.

sabah long house

The longhouse is one of the few places where you could spend a night at the Tea Garden.

Organically grown and harvested

Sabah Tea Garden is the only organic tea plantation in Malaysia and one of few in the world to produce its own special blend of tea.

They are especially proud of their organic tea, as it is grown without pesticides or fertilizers, and it is certified organic by SKAL International B. V. of the Netherlands, an independent international non-profit organisation that performs inspections and grants certification for organic production methods.

Apparently, the Garden’s organic tea was not planned, but a happy accident.

Madras Tea from Sabah

Madras tea is a specialty of the Sabah Tea Garden

“The insects choose to eat from the other trees instead as tea leaves are actually bitter!” our guide explained with a smile.

Hence, there was no need to use pesticide on the plants.

More tea adventure

The Sapaon Recreational Area is where visitors can take part in obstacle races, swim in cool mountain waters and picnic at the waterfall.

I consider myself to be reasonably fit, but jungle trekking up Kamunsu Hill shot that perception to pieces.

We huffed and puffed up the steep jungle trek with the assistance of our guide who explained the various rainforest flora and fauna we saw along the way.

When we finally reached the peak, we knew it was well worth the effort – the view from the top (2,271m above sea level) was mesmerising and everything looked tiny.

Those less physically inclined can also opt to do a night walk among the tea bushes after dinner, but prior booking is recommended.

View of Mt Kinabalu

On our third and final morning in Sabah Tea Garden, we woke up early again, determined to see the mountains before we left. This time, we were rewarded with a clear view of Mt Kinabalu.

The mist surrounding the highlands was breathtaking and gave the scene a surreal touch. In the cool air, I felt as if I was walking on clouds!

Tea factory vist

We had one more place to visit: the tea manufacturing factory. This is where selected tea leaves that are plucked from the fields are dried, fermented, sorted and packed into tea bags. To preserve its freshness, all tea leaves that come in are processed within 24 hours.

sabah tea factory

The tea factory is the place where you learn about how all the tea is made.

My verdict of Sabah Tea Garden

Over the last two days, we had walked through several tea plantations, which covered about 404ha of land but little did we know that there were another 2,023ha of untouched forest in the area!

It’s certainly worth a repeat visit and perhaps on my next trip, I can add scaling Mt Kinabalu to my itinerary.

For now, I will have to be content with a few boxes of organic Sabah Tea which I picked up on my way out. So next time I have guests, I will be ready to serve up some Malaysian hospitali-tea!

sabah tea

All teas at the Tea Garden are organically grown.

For more information, call tel +6088 440 882, fax +6088 423 448 or visit www.sabahtea.net

Getting to Sabah Tea Plantation

• Take an early morning flight out from Kuala Lumpur to Kota Kinabalu on Malaysia Airlines to get the most out of your quick getaway. Malaysia Airlines offers 25 flights weekly between the two cities for your convenience.

• Take advantage of Malaysia Airlines’ “Balik Kampung” fare for domestic travel starting from RM99 one way.

• Pick from a variety of weekend getaway packages at the Sabah Tea Garden including the award-winning “Sabah Tea Adventure 2 Days 1 Night” package.

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Other attractions in Sabah that you might be interested

  • Sipadan Island – Sabah has a number of excellent dive spots, with the jewel being the world-famous Sipadan. Its location at the heart of the Indo Pacific Basin makes it one of the richest marine habitats in the world.
  • Sunday Gaya Street Market – This open-air market is the place to get handicraft, local delicacies and fresh jungle produce. The Tamu Kota Belud is another popular Sunday market for all traditional things.
  • Banggi Island – Banggi island is one of Sabah famous islands for tourism. Its lush greenery, crystal clear water, white sandy beaches, and diversified wildlife are some of the attractions.
  • Kudat Long House – Make a visit to the traditional long house of the Rungus tribe. Their traditional attire and intriguing culture will make your trip unforgettable. Homestay are a fascinating way to observe their lifestyle.
  • The Tip of Borneo – Experience the thrill of standing at land’s end! Simpang Mengayau Bay is the northwestern tip of Borneo. It offers glorious views of the sea and surrounding islands.
  • Mountain Kinabalu – The majestic Mount Kinabalu, standing at 4,095.2m, is one of the highest peaks in Southeast Asia. It is the main attraction of Kinabalu Park, Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site.

Photo credits: cakeordeath, Cabreney Johnny, Duca di Spinaci, SenYuan, William, Paul Mannix.

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