Tag Archives: Tamparuli

Ruhiang Hill (Bukit Perahu) and Ship Rocks

Hikers relax and enjoy the morning view on Bukit Perahu

Does Noah’s ark really exist? I don’t know, but I was told that near Tamparuli town, there are rocks that resemble a vessel stranded on a hill named Bukit Perahu (also known as Ruhiang Hill). I guess that’s how Bukit Perahu got its name, as Perahu means Boat and Bukit means Hill in Malay language.

Bukit Perahu (or Ruhiang Hill) next to Tamparuli town

Bukit Perahu (or Ruhiang Hill) is next to Tamparuli town (left)

Many also say the top of Bukit Perahu has one of the most spectacular views of Mt. Kinabalu (highest mountain of Malaysia).

Majestic Mount Kinabalu and Bukit Perahu

Majestic Mount Kinabalu and Bukit Perahu (lower left)

One day I finally managed to get up early in the morning, headed to Tamparuli, which was 30 KM away from Kota Kinabalu City, then climbed up there.

Sea of cloud on Bukit Perahu (Ruhiang Hill)

The beautiful sea of cloud will disperse after the sun comes up, so you better reach the peak as early as possible.

Hikers relax and enjoy the morning view on Bukit Perahu

Hikers relax and enjoy the morning view on Bukit Perahu

What they said was true. The scenery is so exceptional that I climbed it again the following week with my drone to photograph some aerial shots.

Awesome family shot on Bukit Perahu (Ruhiang Hill)

Their friends want to climb Bukit Perahu after they see this awesome family shot

During good weather in early morning, you would see Mt. Kinabalu like floating on sea of cloud. Someone come very early to catch the sunrise around 6am for the best view. If you go late, say after 8:30am, the sea of cloud would disperse and envelope Mt. Kinabalu.

Family climbing Bukit Perahu

This family photo tells you that the climb is not overly challenging.

Bukit Perahu is only 300 Metres high. The hiking distance to the top is about 800 Metres and normally takes about 35 minutes, depend on your fitness. Some section of the trail is a little steep, and you need to watch out for the slippery soil trail especially after rain. Anyway, the climb isn’t very challenging.

trail to the peak of Ruhiang Hill

The total distance to the peak is about 800 Meters

The Climb

The starting point of the climb is near to the roadside in Tamparuli (later I tell you how to get there). It’s a public area and you aren’t required to pay any entrance fee. The trail is well-marked and there are many hikers around in the morning, so you won’t lose your way.

Bukit Perahu is also a popular paragliding spot

Bukit Perahu is also one of the best paragliding sites.

Looking from far away, Bukit Perahu is a cone shaped hill with gentle slope, but the route is a bit steeper than we think.

trail to the peak of Bukit Perahu

Left: start of the trail. Right: Most part of the trail looks like this, with boulders scattered on soil path

The first 200 Metres is gravel path that leads to the uphill path. There were many boulders in or next to the uphill trail, and I had to move between rocks sometimes. Do expect some human traffic during weekends, as everyone uses the same trail for ascend and descend.

cross with description about crucifixion walk of Jesus

Roman Catholic uses the route to the peak as the Way of the Cross (or Stations of the Cross). You will see 14 crosses along the way, with photo and description about the suffering of Jesus Christ carrying a cross to his crucifixion.

The local Catholics make this trail the Station of the Cross (or Way of Sorrows). Along the trail you will see a total of 14 cross signage with picture and text depicting Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion.

Climbing Bukit Perahu

Most of the time you walk under the shade.

Most of the time the dense trees shaded me from sunlight, and the cool morning breeze stopped me from overheat, so it’s quite a pleasant walk.

Green surrounding around the peak

Very green surrounding around the peak

You can use the ropes connected to wooden posts next to the trail for support. However, don’t totally trust it, as the rope would detach from the flimsy metal ring on the posts.

rope support along the trail

The trail has rope support to move up.

After moving higher up, I could see Tamparuli town and surrounding hills with lush forest, the more I ascended, the nicer the view.

Gazebo in the midway

Gazebo in the midway

I took a short break in a gazebo next to cross No. 10. I was halfway there.

Last 200 Meters to the peak

Last 200 Meters to the peak

You are only about 200 Metres away from the peak, when you see cross No.14 and the big cross next to it.

14th cross and the big cross

When you see the 14th cross and the big cross, you are only 200 Meters away from the peak

After the last cross, I reached an open area with soil trail pounded solid by thousands of footsteps of hikers.

Almost reaching the hilltop

Almost reaching the hilltop

The view on top of Bukit Perahu

The view on top of Bukit Perahu

On the hilltop were some relaxing hikers enjoyed the panoramic view of Tamparuli town, rolling green hills and Mt. Kinabalu.

Hikers enjoying the scenic view

Hikers enjoying the scenic view

Hawkers on the peak

The hawkers sell stuffs from early morning to 9 or 10am on the peak

Hungry? Thirsty? A few hawkers were selling drink, snacks and fruit (the prices are higher, consider the labour work to carry these things up to the hill, e.g. a tin of 100Plus sold for RM3.00).

Drink, snack, chips and fruit for sale on the hill

You can buy some drink, snack, chips and fruit on the hill

Bird eye view of Tamparuli from the top of the hill

You can have a bird eye view of Tamparuli from the top of the hill

Mount Kinabalu far away

The only shade you can find on hilltop.

The Boat Rocks

I tried to locate the two boat rocks that earn Bukit Perahu the name.

Looking for the boat rock

Looking for the boat rock

The smaller one is nearer and the entrance is at the left hand side (when you face Mt. Kinabalu).

One the way to the smaller boat rock

On the way to the smaller boat rock

It’s quite an easy walk on a small trail and I saw the boat rock within 10 minutes. It really looks like the front of ship (bow).

rock that looks like a sinking ship

This rock looks like a sinking ship

The bigger one is another story. The entrance is at the right. When I asked the locals for direction, they looked concern, as if it’s a bad idea. They warned me that the trail is not in good condition.

Azlan clearing the bush that blocks the trail

Azlan clearing the bush that blocks the trail

I just proceeded anyway and walked into the wood, just after 15 Metres a dense bush was in my way, I was stuck. Luckily, Azlan, a local from Tamparuli, came to “rescue” by using his machete to clear the trail.

On the way to the biggest boat rock

On the way to the biggest boat rock

I followed Azlan to pass through the dense wood and narrow steep trail. Azlan climbs this hill regularly so he knows the place really well. In fact, he is the one who opens the trail to the big boat rock. He said he had cleared the trail in Jan but the undergrowth flourished again.

Azlan, the one who opens the trail to the huge boat rock

Azlan is the one who opens the trail to the huge boat rock.

After 23 minutes of painfully slow move on steep and slippery trail, Azlan stopped at a big rock and said “It’s here.” I didn’t see any boat rock. He added, “You are on top of the boat rock. You need to descend to the side to have a better look.”

Big boat rock

Big boat rock

He is right. At one side, the boat rock looks like the hull of a cargo ship. I don’t really recommend you visit this rock due to safety. If you must go, bring insect repellant.

huge boat rock

This boat rock is really huge. Did you see the “snake head rock”?

Then we descend to another side. From this angle, the rock really looks like a ship that has 3 layers of decks. Two ladies, Zoom and Farah were following us, I included them in the photos so you can see the scale.

Closer look of the boat rock

Closer look of the boat rock

Azlan is a civil servant working in Tuaran. Though he is 52 years old, he remains very fit and climb Bukit Perahu up and down 5 times to train for climbathon (mountain race).

How to get there

When you reach Tamparuli town, which is about 30 minutes by car from Kota Kinabalu City, turn to Jalan Tamparuli Togop Road (see Street View map) beside the police station,

The starting point of the hike next to the road

The starting point of the hike is next to the road. Note the signage that reads Puncak St. Veronica

Just follow the road for about 300 Metres, the starting point will be at at your left (see Street View map, GPS Coordinate: 6.131424, 116.273830). If you come in the morning during weekends, you would see many cars parked at the roadside.

Toilet at starting point

Toilet is available at starting point (RM0.20 per entry)

At the starting point, there is a sign that reads “Laluan Jalan Salip ke Puncak St. Veronica” (translated as: Way of the Cross to St. Veronica Peak). There is a house there so be quiet. You can use their toilet for RM0.20 (put the coin into the tin can).

Photos taken in Tamparuli, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

3D Wonders Museum of Sabah

3D Wonders Museum

Being the first Upside Down House in South-East Asia, Rumah Terbalik added another fun house just next to it. In a nutshell, 3D Wonders Museum is a 4,000 sq. feet gallery that displays 28 painting mostly about Sabah. Visitors can “interact” with the objects in the drawing, as if they become part of the painting (or illusion).

long queue to 3D Wonders Museum
After seeing so many amusing photos of 3D Wonders Museum on social media, I decided to visit this most talked about site in Tamparuli district. This museum can only fit 25 people at a time, so it was a long queue during weekend. Luckily the wait took less than 10 minutes. There is no time limit and you are very encouraged to take photos in the museum (photo taking is free).

3D Painting

Upon entry, we started playing with something small and simple as a “warm-up”. Just position your hands on the right spot of the painting and you are ready for a funny shot.

3D painting of Likas City Mosque
Pic: 3D painting of floating City Mosque, the most beautiful mosque of Sabah.

3D painting of big fish
Pic: big fish by Sea Bajau fisherman from Semporna

3D drawing of sinking ship
Though there are many attractions in Sabah, 3D Wonders Museum is one of the few family-oriented destinations that excites both adults and children.

information sign for 3D painting
Pic: majority of the 3D art collection here are inspired by various unique culture, nature and destinations of Sabah. You can read the signage to learn more about the subject of each painting. The photos of signage also shows you some good ideas on how to pose with the painting for the most entertaining effect. Of course, you can try other creative poses.

best photography spot for 3D painting and murals
Pic: Photography pointer that tells you where is the best spot and angle to shoot the picture.

Don’t worry if you travel alone. The friendly staffs are always around to guide you and to help you to take picture of you in action, so you may leave your selfie stick at home.

3D painting of fireman hose

3D painting of rubbish in water village
I chit chat with some of the tourists and find that many of them are friends and family from Brunei, Peninsular Malaysia, etc.

Flora & Fauna and Conservation

Then I moved on to the nature theme that have big painting features the eco-treasures of Sabah. The way they present the theme is probably more exciting than the real things. For example, there has been a myth that our giant pitcher plant and rafflesia flower of Borneo are man-eaters, so the museum turns that fantasy into something touchable.

children in 3D floor painting of Nepenthes Rajah pitcher plant
Pic: children being eaten by sitting on Nepenthes Rajah, the largest pitcher plant in the world.

3D wall and floor painting of man-eating rafflesia flower
Pic: Most murals span across wall and floor to give them more depth and realistic look, like the rafflesia flower painting above.

orangutan in jail at 3D Wonders Museum

hanging out with orangutan apes in 3D Wonders Museum
Pic: hanging out with Orangutan, the wild man of Borneo rainforest.

releasing baby turtles in 3D Wonders Museum
Pic: this is how baby turtles feel when they are released.

photo with 3D painting of polar bears
Pic: Polar bears on melting ice cap, a warning for global warming.

Sabah Ethnic Theme

Sabah is famous for its vibrant and colorful culture. You can pretend you are in a cultural journey. Don’t be squeamish while taking photos. Be playful and imaginative, the more you interact with the painting and blend into scene, the better the photos. Your photo would look pretty lame if you just stand straight and act normally.

magunatip bamboo dance in 3D painting
Pic: Magunatip bamboo dance, great pose and expression bro!

Bajau horsemen painting in 3D Wonders Museum
Pic: horse riding with Bajau, the Cowboys of the East.

Murut headhunter photo booth in 3D Wonders Museum
Pic: photo booth of Murut headhunter. I meant to be funny but it looked so real that it was a bit creepy instead.

lansaran of 3D Wonders Museum
Pic: Wooden trampoline in traditional longhouse of Murut people

Travel Theme

Let the paintings take you to popular places in Kota Kinabalu, Kota Belud, Kiulu, Semporna, Kinabalu Park, Ranau and Sandakan. A photography tip for taking better 3D photo – reduce the power of camera flash, because the reflection and shadow cast by strong light would make the painting looks flat and fake. This can be difficult if you are not using good camera.

Mt. Kinabalu and broken bridge
Pic: This painting is the favorite of everyone because it looks “dangerous”.

summit of Mt. Kinabalu in 3D Wonders Museum
Pic: Due to earthquake, climbing to Mt. Kinabalu is halt until further notice, but you still can take a photo of the summit here.

mountain climbing
Pic: May be you should try harder for the challenge, mom.

Zip Borneo zipline
Pic: Zip Borneo, the longest flying fox zipline in Borneo.

3D Wonders Museum

mural of white water rafting in Kiulu
Pic: Canoeing in Kiulu River

caught by white-bellied sea eagle
Pic: “Aaaargh… tell mom I won’t be back for dinner!”


The illusion section gets the most laughters. It’s just awesome.

fighting Malay Silat
Pic: This silat fighting photo puzzled me the most. I was wondering why all my friends could do flying kick so easily.

prop for Silat fighting
…until I saw how it’s done lol. It’s like breaking the magician’s code. This can spoil the fun so I only reveal one secret here.

Shrinking Room (or Ames Room)
Pic: The Shrinking Room (or Ames Room). Sometimes you just can’t trust your eyes.

head under food cover
Pic: Can you figure out? Aren’t you entertained?

UV light painting of KK City
Pic: Night view of Kota Kinabalu city. The UV lights will make your cloth glows in the dark.

Entrance Fee & Contact

You can save a few bucks if you visit both 3D Wonders Museum and Upside Down House (2-in-1 package).

Ticket Fee* Malaysian Adult Foreign Adult Child (4-12 years)**
3D Wonders Museum RM24.40 RM35 (≈USD$7) RM15.90 (≈USD$4.60)
Upside Down House
(Rumah Terbalik)
RM10.60 RM19.10 (≈USD$5.50) RM5.30 (≈USD$1.50)
2-in-1 Package
(Upside Down House + 3D Wonders)
RM31.80 RM47.70 (≈USD$14) RM19.10 (≈USD$5.50)

* Fee inclusive of 6% GST tax (price as of June 2015)
** Free entrance for infant 3 years and below

Upside down House (Rumah Terbalik)
Pic: 3D Wonders Museum is next to Upside Down House (Rumah Terbalik)

Shuttle Services

You can take their shuttle depart from shopping malls (see below) to this place for RM50 (≈US$12.50) per person. Please call +60 18-8614688 / +60 88-230534 in advance to book a seat (before 4:00pm).

From Center Point From Wisma Merdeka Return
8:30am 8:45am 11:30am
10:30am 10:45am 1:30pm
2:00pm 2:15pm 5:00pm
3:00pm 3:15pm 6:00pm

Address (see Location Map): Kampung Telibong, Batu 21, Jalan Telibong Tamparuli, 89208 Tuaran, Sabah, Malaysia.
Opening Hours: 7am – 7pm daily
Phones: +60 88-260263, +60 19-8614688
Email: sales@trekkerslodge.com
Website: www.upsidedownhouse.com.my
Facebook: Rumah Terbalik – The Upside Down House in Borneo!

Photos taken in Tamparuli, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo