Location : Papar, West Coast Division, Sabah, Malaysia.The name ‘Papar’ comes from a Bruneian word meaning ‘flat or open land’
We had intended to take the one and only train in the whole of Borneo to Papar & Beaufort just for the heck of it. Although I had been travelling in and out of Sabah for more than 30 years, never for once did I ever thought of using the train to explore. Perhaps, the aging process makes us sentimental and more appreciative of antiquity. But on the day that I planned on boarding this 125yr old steam engine train, we missed it despite the fact that we were putting up at Adel Hotel about 100m away from the Putatan station. The guy at the station could not give us that day’s schedule as the train ran off rail the day before and was not sure if it could run that day. By the time we heard the steam engine roaring down the track and running to the station, the train had already left. Such a disappointment.
So Plan A failed and my friend Tom came to the rescue with Plan B, which was to drive us direct to Papar minus all the nice sceneries from the train’s window. Although I have passed Papar years ago while on the way driving from Miri to Kota Kinabalu I never had a real good look of the town.
We came in on a Thursday, our lucky day, as it was the day of ‘Pasar Tamu’ where everything and anything was sold in the town centre, like a weekend market. Full of nice colourful flowers, most ladies would love to shop here.