Sabah has many nice vacation places that are unknown to most people. In this information era, you only need to “unlock” them by using meaningful search words. For example, when I google “camping in Ranau”, a popular highland Sabah town with cooling weather. Open sesame! The website, photos and location map of Hounon Ridge show up in search results. No kidding, that’s how I discovered Hounon Ridge when I looked for nice camping site that is near to Mount Kinabalu.
Hounon Ridge (Full Name: Hounon Ridge Farmstay and Camping) is located in Bundu Tuhan, which is 21 KM away from Kinabalu Park. Hounon means foggy in Dusun language. Some tourists outside Sabah had found this wonderful campsite earlier than me. Besides the pleasing weather, Hounon Ridge is a great choice for family and group of friends who want to escape the heat in city and enjoy some cooling temperature.
Camping is a fun get-together activity for close friends and family because if staying in hotel rooms, everyone would stay in their rooms playing smartphone. However, it can be out of their comfort zone if they needs to cook without a kitchen or bath without hot water.
At Hounon Ridge you can enjoy Camping without any inconvenience. The onsite facilities are complete with common kitchen, toilet and bathroom (hot shower), BBQ pit (advanced booking required), cafeteria, and picnic tables. This is probably the most family-friendly campsite I went, consider my past camping sites are quite raw.
Their camping ground is a wide and nicely mowed lawn that faces Mt. Kinabalu. During peak season such as school and public holiday, this camping ground would be packed with 20 or more tents. Campers gather to BBQ, chit chat, gaze at the night light of Kundasang town, sleep under the starry sky, and watch the sunrise over Mt. Kinabalu.
You can rent a camping tent from Hounon Ridge (for a fee) and request them to setup for you. Anyway, camping tent is easy to setup. I learnt by watching a short video then can setup one for myself within 5 minutes. It’s a satisfying experience, as if I graduate from an outdoor school.
The camping ground is flat surface carpeted with grass, comfortable to lay on, in contrast to the uneven and rocky ground of other campsites. Though it was a bit cloudy, I could see the Milky Way and photographed it until 3am.
The 2-storey Hounon Ridge is actually an accommodation with standard rooms. Parents who prefer a proper bedroom can stay in the lodge but let their kids try camping outside, which is safe, like camping in the front yard of their house.
The best time to see Mount Kinabalu is in early morning, before it’s covered by cloud after 9am. You can selfie with this iconic mountain of Malaysia. People would think you camp in Kinabalu Park if you don’t frame the building of Hounon Ridge into your photos.
Accommodation & Fees
The camping fee is MYR20 per night. You also can book a room with them:
Dormitory Bed: MYR35/night
Room (with attached private bathroom): MYR100 – MYR250 per room (rates vary depend on room size and peak season)
How to get there
On the main road from Kota Kinabalu city to Kinabalu Park, about 3KM before Kinabalu Park you will see a junction with blue road signage labeled “Bundu Tuhan” at your right (see Street Map). Turn into that junction and drive about 8 KM on a narrow countryside road, you will reach Hounon Ridge in 20 minutes.
The village road is paved but watch out for some bumps and drops, which are hard to spot if you speed.
Note: Hounon Ridge is temporarily closed now until 14 April 2020 due to Movement Control Order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Photos taken in Bundu Tuhan, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo