Experience the thrill of quad biking whilst enjoying the panoramic scenery around hills and farmland, over dirt tracks, up and down steep slopes, through muddy banks and water splashes in the Kiulu Valley. The journey passes through paddy fields, villages, plantations, jungles and the beautiful Tuaran River.
Kiulu, a small quiet valley in the countryside surrounded by nature, could be the perfect place for a weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of the city or one of the most saturated spots for adventure sports. Filled with activities such as hiking up hills, trekking to waterfalls, white water rafting on the Kiulu river and now all terrain vehicle tours while discovering the peaceful villages and learning about the culture.
We gathered at the Kiulu Valley Hub for an introduction and quick training on how to operate the quad bikes. 30 minutes of test riding around the training ground is required to see if you’re capable to drive the quad bike throughout the tour. Take note that you must have a valid driving license to operate the vehicle, if not, you can comfortably sit as a passenger.
We started off our journey down the valley, crossed a river and into a small village. As a passenger, I got to enjoy the peaceful scenery as my colleague focuses on catching up with the guide and not crashing.
We soon reached an open space and were greeted by the village chief. As we parked the quad bikes and made ourselves comfortable under a shady tree, we were served welcoming drinks made from medicinal herbs to boost our immune system and energy.
The chief introduces himself and begins telling us about the village’s history and about the mysterious vase halfway buried in the ground surrounded by bamboo structures. It turned out to be a story of love and tragedy. They say that the liquid inside the vase might contain healing properties and the amount will always remain the same whether rain or shine. It sounds like folklore but it definitely gave us the chills!
Just a few metres away, there was a small kelulut honey farm. Kelulut is a type of stingless honey bee that exists in almost every continent. The honey produced by this bee is known for antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, as well as moisturizing properties. We were shown how it looked inside the box and used thin bamboo straws to taste the honey.
We were then introduced to a villager who had been learning the art of silat since he was young, he is now over 60 years old. He demonstrated a silat that did not require a chicken sacrifice and we were mesmerized by his move.
The first stop also included the starting point of a hiking trail.
Our journey continued uphill past the hub, it was a much longer ride under the hot morning sun until we felt a cold breeze indicating a waterfall nearby.
We arrived at Kiharo Homestay and Picnic Centre and were greeted by the owner, he brought us through a path filled with flowers overlooking a stream. When we arrived at the homestay next to the small waterfall we were served tasty coconut kuihs, and refreshing coconut water.
Our third stop was Tukad Sandangau Kapakaan Gonipis, it had a unique little hut where villagers would weave baskets and play traditional instruments as a way to pass the time. This stop also brought us back some nostalgic memories of childhood days playing with slingshots, discovering artifacts and we also got to experience some rubber processing. The smell – probably something to get used to.
We continued to our next location where we would have our lunch. The quad bikes couldn’t get us all the way there so we had to hike downhill. As we went deeper into the forest, we could hear the sounds of traditional instruments getting louder. And out of the bushes, a villager in traditional costume was dancing to the beat welcoming us to his home. We greeted his family and they invited us in for lunch. It was a humble bamboo home fitted right next to a river. We took some time to relax after our meal and watched one of them feed the fish.
Our last stop of the tour is none other than the Kiulu Farmstay. We gathered for an introduction on Kiulu Farmstay at The Fig Tree (part of a series of eco-farmstay that is built based on longhouses, this project is a collaboration between Borneo Eco Tours, Arkitrek, volunteer architects from the United Kingdom and local villagers).
Kiulu Farmstay is a community based ecotourism attraction that offers an adventurous journey through small villages with views of nature and wildlife. It is a combination of the Dusun ethnic group in Mantob Village, Dumpiring Village and Pinagon Baru Village.
An obstacle course is also available at the farmstay for team building programs. It includes 7 series of challenging obstacles that aim to build teamwork which allows participants to challenge themselves mentally and physically. A Certificate of Completion will be awarded to participants who successfully complete the course.
At the end of the tour, we were back at the Kiulu Valley Hub to freshen up for our ride back home. Overall it was an amazing experience and this has opened up our eyes to how rich the Kiulu Valley community is in culture.
Thanks Borneo Eco Tours, it was a great day out.