Location : Kampung Bundu Paka, Ranau, West Coast Division, Sabah, Malaysia.
Looking for an ‘off the beaten track’ spot to chill out in one of the hills of Mount Kinabalu? Or white water kayaking down a crystal clear water river (Level 2)? Then Bundu Paka Lodge has the perfect combo for you. Situated about 40min drive away from Kundasang in a Dusun village of the same name, the fast flowing River Kadamaian meanders through this small and unknown community unlike the touristic Kundasang.
I would not have known about this little hidden paradise had it not been for Tom an old friend of mine from Kuching and who has been residing in Sabah for the last 3 decades. Tom suggested we visit this lodge as we were passing through Kota Kinabalu from Tarakan Indonesia. The owner of the lodge Gomez Sim (Kuching born) used to be colleague of Tom until Tom decided to be his own boss venturing into F&B business including a Thai restaurant at the Suria Sabah Shopping Mall.
Tam Nak Thai Restaurant @ Suria Sabah Mall
Vegetarian Thai dinner, yum yum
Tuaran fried noodle Malay style at Tom’s other resto in Dogongon
That morning 4 of us took the relaxing drive stopping first at Tamparuli to enjoy the famous Hakka handmade noodles before making our way up towards Mount Kinabalu.
The bridge made famous by a local song @ Tamparuli
The old shops at Tamparuli
With Tom & Gomez for Hakka lunch
Very nice Tamparuli noodle
After about 45 min we came to a junction where we caught sight of out destination and had to make quite a steep descent. Our first sight of the Kadamaian River was such a pleasant surprise, bluish and crystal clear. Mesmerised to the point you want to jump in that very second.
Kampung Bundu Paka view from the junction
Passing by a couple of houses we were further enchanted by the lodge, all thanks to Gomez’s ingenuity. From the bed rooms to the selection of plants in the garden everything was awesome. I have only met Gomez for 2 hours and seeing what he did for his lodge leaves no doubt about his talent.
Bundu Paka Lodge
His expertise on orchids should be sought after. He is a very regular participant of international orchid competitions with much success too. Gomez’s dream of turning his property into a classroom for nature lovers will be the perfect highlight to a visit to his sanctuary.
All kinds of different orchids dotting the garden
Giant wild orchids
Kind lady insisted we have some of her rosselle
A very different type of tampoi
Just for your info, not only is Gomez widely talented and knowledgeable, he is also very lucky by the fact that he is the only known person in Borneo to have photographed a red cheeked squirrel. It is a very rare squirrel with a tail like a feather. He must be the luckiest guy in Borneo.
Red cheeked squirrel with the feather tail
So guys, if you happen to visit Kota Kinabalu and have nothing new to do other than scaling Mount Kinabalu, island hopping and indulging in seafood, you might as well check out Bundu Paka’s Facebook page for a reservation. Driving there on your own would be a lot easier if you have GPS. Food will be prepared by Gomez’s relatives as his wife is a Dusun from this village. Which explains why is able to own native property here.
Before I forget, if you are there do pop over to the nearby roadside café called Kalangadan for a coffee and a breathtaking view of Mount Kinabalu…..if your lucky day is a sunny one. Unfortunately our’s was a very cloudy one but my silent wish for a glimpse was granted by the gods of Aki Nabalu. Terima Kasih.
Kalandangan Cafe perched on the roadside cliff providing awesome view
The clouds cleared just enough for a glimpse-prayer answered
Trying line casting
Villagers enjoying Sunday with a BBQ
Fish Market at Kota Kinabalu’s Pasar Besar
Shopping with Tom at the Kota Kinabalu market
Funny- Chinese fiddler playing for change in the market place