Travelers always look for good attractions to visit and nice food to eat. After the tour, we all need a great place to stay. It is cool to be served by 5-star hotel but I prefer accommodation with nice surrounding. For me, Little Hut (Chinese Name: 寒舍) of Mesilau is special, not just because of its cooling temperature of 13-30°C (55-86°F) and spectacular view of Mt. Kinabalu, its homely atmosphere is something unique in homestay of Sabah.
Located at 1,460 Metres above sea level, Little Hut is only 12 KM away from Kinabalu Park and 3 KM from Mesilau Park, a convenient spot for me to stay a night and to enjoy the refreshing air far away from bustling Kota Kinabalu City (KK).
Pic: at the left is my hut (named Incredible Hut)
I checked into my chalet at 8pm and spent a night in Incredible Hut, a small house that have 3 beds and the only hut without kitchen. The tungsten light of the house looked warm and comfy from outside in the cold and windy evening, I really couldn’t wait to get in.
Pic: ground floor of Incredible Hut
After I collected the key from their staff, the 2-storey chalet was all mine. It’s like living in your own house, no room service that reminds you are an outsider. You would appreciate the sense of belonging and freedom here.
Pic: Incredible Hut has one bed in ground floor and two on top floor.
The space in Incredible Hut isn’t spacious, just nice for medium size Asian like me. If you are almost as big as Incredible Hulk, you may not be able to move so freely. Please note they have bigger chalets and I only show the photos of the smaller hut.
Mesilau is cool at night but not down to freezing point. The feeling is like being inside an office with strong air-conditioning. Putting on a jacket or fleece is enough to keep you warm. There is no heater (and not necessary) in house. Don’t worry, hot water shower is available.
The interior is simple and decorated with interesting ornaments. Each chalet has TV (with Astro satellite TV) and DVDs to kill your time. But the best activity to do here is to eat some hot stuffs in cold evening together with your friends and family, e.g. BBQ or steamboat. Little Hut can rent you the equipment but you need to bring your own food, which is readily available in Kundasang town only 6 KM away.
Pic: guess what is inside the treasure chest?
Pic: Toilet paper, shower gel and shampoo are provided. You need to bring your own towel and toothpaste.
Poetic Dream Houses
I had a very good night sleep in Little Hut. When everything lit up by the sunrise, I started to see the beauty of Little Hut. Seem like they “gardenize and villagize” every corner to give a poetic and nostalgia touch to their place. They also insert some humorous elements for you to discover here and there.
Pic: Little Hut in the morning
The morning view of Mt. Kinabalu is a pleasant surprise. I didn’t know I could see it from Little Hut.
Pic: The little farm + garden in Little Hut is planted with variety of vegetables and flowers such as roses and spring onions. Housewives find this farm intriguing and are excited to tell their children what are those plant.
If I show the photos above to others without saying the location, most would think these are taken in countryside of European countries.
Pic: balcony of Hut Attack
Pic: village and farm view from the balcony
Pic: funny direction signages just to make you smile.
Pic: backyard of Little Hut
Hey, come and meet Miyao, the chubby and friendly 3-color cat of Little Hut. She acts like the owner of Little Hut and loves to hang out with people.
Pic: The Cat Residence. Miyao also has her own Little Hut, but she always looks for a chance to sneak into your hut, probably she enjoys the warm cuddling offered by the guests.
Pic: Miyao lazes around and as relax as the guests.
Little Hut is in Kampung Mesilou Village and surrounded by village houses.
You can take a stroll around the village, a friendly neighbourhood where you can explore around and say Hi to the locals.
Pic: the plantation in village. The property of Sabah city is super expensive nowadays, so I’m kind of envious of the big land they have here. I believe that’s the concept of Little Hut, which allows city people to experience the peaceful rural life once in a while.
Little Hut has a total of 5 chalets, each with different size, theme and amenities, so it’s important that you select the right hut prior to booking. You can visit their website for more photos and details.
Pic: Little Hut uses pun for naming their huts. The names are just for fun and don’t mean anything, so don’t be serious about them.
The following table is a summary of the chalets for your quick reference:
|Hut||Rate (per day per hut)||Remarks|
|Incredible Hut||Mon-Fri: RM150 (≈US$42)
Weekends, Holiday*: RM180 (≈US$50)
|Accommodate up to 3 people, suitable for small group of friends and family. No kitchen|
|Bizza Hut||Mon-Fri: RM250 (≈US$70)
Weekends, Holiday*: RM300 (≈US$83)
|Accommodate up to 5 people, suitable for family and group of friends. Kitchen available. Good viewpoint for Mt. Kinabalu|
|Unbreak My Hut||Mon-Fri: RM150 (≈US$42)
Weekends, Holiday*: RM180 (≈US$50)
|Accommodate up to 2 to 3 people, suitable for couple. Blue & white Greece theme. Kitchen available.|
|Hut Attack||Mon-Fri: RM280 (≈US$78)
Weekends, Holiday*: RM330 (≈US$92)
|Accommodate up to 5 people. Kitchen available. View of Kg. Mesilou village and mountain range|
|Hut Leluyaa||Mon-Fri: RM210 (≈US$58)
Weekends, Holiday*: RM250 (≈US$70)
|Accommodate up to 2 to 3 people, suitable for couple. Kitchen available. Farm and village view|
Rate as of Feb 2015. Please visit their website for latest rate and updated details.
*Public Holiday & School Holiday
Little Hut has no restaurant. Most chalets have a kitchen with cooking utensils for you to cook, or you can rent BBQ rack and steamboat from them (food not provided).
Contact & Booking
You can book the accommodation with Little Hut up to 6 months in advance by e-mail or phone. You need to pay 50% deposit to secure your booking. The chalets could be full during peak season so it’s better to book earlier.
Tel: +60 16-8601416 (9am-8pm)
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
GPS Coordinates: N 6.014536° E 116.599023° (see Location Map)
Little Hut is in Kampung Mesilou Village, about 100 KM away from KK (see Location Map). There is no bus going directly to Little Hut, so you need to get there using your own car or hire a taxi at Kundasang town. Most of the time you will drive on paved asphalt road until you reach Kampung Mesilou. After the village, turn to the 3rd junction at the left (which has two tyres as marker), then you have to drive carefully on the narrow concrete road, which you will reach Little Hut near the end (estimated 600 Meters). I strongly advise you to go there during daytime so you can see the small road or signages clearly. If your car has low body and you can’t see the road clearly in the dark, the bottom of your car would hit the big rocks. You can find detail picture guide and map in their website and Facebook.
Photos taken in Mesilau, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo
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Yeah! Chinese New Year is only 2 days away and it’ll be the Year of Goat. Adults are probably not so excited about giving Ang Pow$ (red packet), but they will love lion dance. Some rich companies can afford to hire 20 lions to bless their business, but you can also watch lion dance by 100 lions for FREE.
Yup, you can enjoy such grand show in Dragon, Unicorn and Lion Dance Festival, which is an annual 1-day event usually held in weekend before Chinese New Year. This festival has been around since 1976, and they always have something new to show off every year.
Even non-Chinese Malaysians love lion dance show. It was used to be held in Merdeka Field (open space) but the event has moved to Likas Sport Complex (of Kota Kinabalu City), an indoor hall that is least affected by bad weather.
I went to the festival on last Saturday (7 Feb 2015). Around noon, the lion groups started to arrive one by one, and I was really busy taking photos. You can see my photos in Flickr album.
Pic: Techno Three Princes is the modern folkart of Taiwan and it’s gaining popularity in Sabah. In Chinese belief, they are the god that protects human from danger, plague and evil.
Red and gold are common colors of lions, which represent auspicious and prosperity in Chinese tradition, but they can be in many other colors too.
Pic: I really like this white lion, it looks so smart and beautiful. If I’m not mistaken, white lion represents Ma Chao (马超), who likes to wear white & silver armor and riding on a white horse in war, and he is one of the most famous military generals in Three Kingdoms. Lion in pure white and black is used for paying tribute to the deceased in funeral.
Pic: big and small lions. I could see pride on the faces of children who played lion dance. It’s better than playing iPad, isn’t it? I see hope in preserving our culture.
Even girls can be part of lion team.
Not only lions, dragon and Qi-ling also take part in this festival.
Pic: hyperactive Qi-Ling that dances like Energizer bunny.
Pic: Batik lions. Note the hibiscus flowers painted on the cloth.
Pic: the big head Buddha at the left looks funky.
Because goat is the zodiac of the coming new year, so they include the popular cartoon characters (Happy Sheeps and Big Grey Wolf) of China. Note the sheep head lion at the back. I wonder if they will have boar head lion in future.
Pic: baby dragon?
The lion dance and cultural show started around 3pm after all the VIPs were done with their speech and launching. The show ended around 8pm. If lion dance is your favorite, it’s like a buffet for your eyes and ears.
Pic: Lions and dragon climbed high to display scrolls with auspicious words.
Pic: blessing by hundred of lions. Epic!
Pic: fly lion, fly!
The first cultural show was 24 Festive Drums (二十四节令鼓), a performance listed as the cultural heritage of Malaysia. A group of drummers beat on 24 drums, which symbolize 24 meteorological events in farming calendar of Chinese. They use different formation and rhythm to show the harmony between sky, earth and people.
Pic: riding on a lion, what a cool way of making an entrance.
Pic: Nunchakus performance by Teochew group. This guy is really good. I regret I didn’t take a video of his stunt. Anyone knows his name?
Pic: dragon chasing the big lollipop
Dragon has the highest rank among sacred animals, and also the most important because it can summon rain for the farmers.
Pic: pick green on the benches. It’s no easier than lion dance on stilts, as the lion has to balance itself on not so stable platform. You don’t need a big courtyard to invite lion to do pick green at your house.
Qi-Ling looks aggressive, but in Chinese mythology, Qi-Ling is the most gentle sacred animal and an icon of benevolence, because it never hurt human, not even plant.
My favorite show is the electrifying Lion lit-up by changing colorful LED light, as if its body is flowing with magical power. It danced and leaped on the stilts in the dark, very captivating show. Below is the video:
The following are two videos of Lion Dance on Stilts that day:
Chinese Cultural Village
The Cultural Village exhibition is something new in lion dance festival this year, too bad it’s only for one day. There were over 10 Chinese associations in Sabah participated, among them are Hakka (客家), Hokkien (福建), Teochew (潮州), Hainan (海南), Fuzhou (福州), Kwong Siew (广肇), Tai Poo (大埔), Eng Choon (永春), Sze Yip (四邑), Hin Ann (兴安), Northern Chinese (华北), San Chiang (三江), Nam Ann (南安), Lung Yen (龙岩), Anxi (安溪), etc. Each group has a population of several hundreds to many thousands in Sabah.
Pic: History is boring, but suddenly I was interested in history that day.
During 19th and 20th century, a lot of Chinese migrated to Sabah (then North Borneo) due to natural disasters or civil wars in China, or attracted by the incentive offered by British government. My late grandfather was one of them. When he arrived Borneo, he was shocked to find that Borneo was so backward. Many Chinese were farmers and labors who developed our forest and swamp into farm and towns. However, our blood, tears and sweats are documented no more than the Chinese gangland and communism in textbook of Malaysia history.
I visited the booth of each Chinese group, and their friendly exhibitors were happy to share the untold stories of their ancestors in Sabah, like their roots, why they came to Sabah and what they did here. I have to confess that there are so many things that I don’t know. In fact, many local Chinese don’t even know the hometown of their forefather. If overseas Chinese visits China and Taiwan, the people there will ask this question. They will laugh at you if you say you don’t know. When they realize that you are not joking, they will think, “OMG, this Chinese really forgets his root.”
Pic: The Hakka booth. My late grandmother also wore that summer hat (called 凉帽 in Chinese) in old day. Hakka is the biggest Chinese group in Sabah, and they are frugal, pragmatic and traditional good farmers. Most Sabah Chinese have their roots in Guangdong and Fujian Provinces of China.
Each Chinese group has its distinct culture, dialect and history. Many booths displayed the antiques and items used by their past generations.
Pic: Hokkien booth
It’s kind of fun to learn that not all Chinese are the same, each group has its own unique food, cultural practices and belief. However, these identities are fading over time.
Pic: carpenter tools, some are still being used today in less developed countries because they need no electricity to operate.
Besides labor support and lion dance, Chinese also brought in new skills and tools in agriculture, medicines, architect, etc., and the most important of all, Education. To Chinese, the Biggest Secret to Success is Education. Fortunately, Sabah government is more open and supportive in Chinese education and many non-Chinese Sabahans also send their children to Chinese schools. Let’s hope Sabah will be no longer the poorest state of Malaysia.
Gong Xi Fa Cai!
Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo
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