Category Archives: Sabah

Little Hut, home sweet home in Mesilau

Little Hut, Mesilau

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.

Little Hut signage (寒舍)
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).

Little Hut at night
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.

room of Little Hut
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.

second floor of Little Hut
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.

bed in Little 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.

room facilities in bedroom
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.

treasure chest
Pic: guess what is inside the treasure chest?

bathroom in Little Hut
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.

Little Hut in the morning
Pic: Little Hut in the morning

Mt. Kinabalu in Mesilau

Mt. Kinabalu and Little Hut
The morning view of Mt. Kinabalu is a pleasant surprise. I didn’t know I could see it from Little Hut.

Mt. Kinabalu and garden of Little Hut
Pic: the view of Mt. Kinabalu and Little Hut. Note the small farm in foreground.

little farm in 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.

door of Little Hut

flowers and 4-leg chair

Home Sweet Home

plant in boots

chairs at the door

Stop Watching Me signage

nostalgia feel

If I show the photos above to others without saying the location, most would think these are taken in countryside of European countries.

balcony
Pic: balcony of Hut Attack

farm and village view
Pic: village and farm view from the balcony

village view and signage

funny direction signages
Pic: funny direction signages just to make you smile.

flowers near the hut
Pic: backyard of Little Hut

cat 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.

cat house
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.

cat and Mt. Kinabalu
Pic: Miyao lazes around and as relax as the guests.

Mt. Kinabalu and Kg Mesilau village
Little Hut is in Kampung Mesilou Village and surrounded by village houses.

Kampung Mesilau
You can take a stroll around the village, a friendly neighbourhood where you can explore around and say Hi to the locals.

farm and banana trees
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.

The Chalets

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.

chalets of Little Hut
Pic: from left: Unbreak My Hut, Incredible Hut, Bizza Hut, Hut Attack. Not seen in this photo is Hut Leluyaa, which is behind Bizza Hut.

names of different chalets
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.

window of reception
Tel: +60 16-8601416 (9am-8pm)
E-mail: littlehutmesilou@gmail.com / shiaohan@hotmail.com
Website: littlehutmesilou.blogspot.com
Facebook: mesilou
GPS Coordinates: N 6.014536° E 116.599023° (see Location Map)

Getting there

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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Dragon, Unicorn and Lion Dance Festival of Sabah, Malaysia

Lion Dance

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.

lions, dragon and unicorn
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.

girl taking photo with lion heads
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.

lions in green, red, yellow and blue colors
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.

Techno Three Princes (电音三太子)
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.

lion dance
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.

white lion
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.

big and small lions
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.

girl beating drum for lion dance
Even girls can be part of lion team.

dragon dance
Not only lions, dragon and Qi-ling also take part in this festival.

dancing unicorn (麒麟)
Pic: hyperactive Qi-Ling that dances like Energizer bunny.

batik lions
Pic: Batik lions. Note the hibiscus flowers painted on the cloth.

taking photo with big head Buddha and God of Wealth
Pic: the big head Buddha at the left looks funky.

Sheep and Wolf cartoon costumes (喜羊羊與灰太狼)
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.

baby dragon
Pic: baby dragon?

The Show

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.

lion and dragon climb high to display scrolls with auspicious words
Pic: Lions and dragon climbed high to display scrolls with auspicious words.

dance by over 100 lions
Pic: blessing by hundred of lions. Epic!

lion dance on stilts
Pic: fly lion, fly!

24 Festive Drums (二十四节令鼓)
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.

riding on lion
Pic: riding on a lion, what a cool way of making an entrance.

Nunchakus performance
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?

dragon dance
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.

pick green by lion on bench
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 lion dance
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.

Eng Choon (永春)
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.

Chinese Cultural Village
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.”

Sabah Hakka booth
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.

antiques
Each Chinese group has its distinct culture, dialect and history. Many booths displayed the antiques and items used by their past generations.

Hokkien booth
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.

old day carpenter tools
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!

More Photos

You can view bigger and better photos of Lion Dance Festival in my photo album. Enjoy!
more photos of Lion, Dragon and Unicorn Dance Festival

Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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