Lake of Sabah Agriculture Park (Taman Pertanian Sabah)

Sabah Agriculture Park, the largest garden of Sabah

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Sabah Agriculture Park (Local Name: Taman Pertanian Sabah), in Tenom district of Sabah interior, is one of the largest garden parks in Malaysia. This attraction is so underrated because people think that it’s only about farming. In fact, Sabah Agriculture Park has a wide range of exotic flowers and fruits origin from the tropical regions of Asia, Central & South America, and Africa.

Sabah Agriculture Park (Taman Pertanian Sabah) in Tenom
Sabah Agriculture Park (Taman Pertanian Sabah) in Tenom is one of the largest garden parks in Malaysia.

Furthermore, Sabah Agriculture Park is a 500-acre mega garden with over 20 mini gardens that have special collections categorized by plant families or characteristics. Casual visitors would be dazzled by thousands of flowers, trees, fruits, and vegetables in variety of forms and colors, and enjoy a stroll at the beautiful lakeside and model gardens. If you are an avid botanist, gardener or farmer, you would wish that you discovered this plant kingdom earlier.

Visitor Hall and entrance of Sabah Agriculture Park (Taman Pertanian Sabah)
Visitor Hall and entrance of Sabah Agriculture Park (Taman Pertanian Sabah)

Tours

Sabah Agriculture Park sprawls over an area of 6 square kilometres, which is too big for visitor to cover everything in a day. The park is like a buffet, you can spend from a few hours to a week, depend on how much you want to see. My favourites are Crops Museum for sampling of tropical fruits, Native Orchid Centre for rare Borneo orchids, and Model Gardens for photo-taking.

Layout map of Sabah Agriculture Park (Taman Pertanian Sabah)
Site map of Sabah Agriculture Park (Taman Pertanian Sabah) for paid visitors.

Quick Tour

For a quick tour to experience the highlights, the following activities are suitable for family and normal tourists who want to spend only a few hours:

  1. Take a free ride on a tram-train to visit orchid and models gardens near the end of the park (save a lot of legwork). The tram starts around 9am and operates hourly (depend on the number of visitors).
  2. Check out Crops Museum and Ornamental Gardens near the entrance of the Park.
Tram-train in Sabah Agriculture Park
Tram-train starts around 9am to provide free ride for visitors.

The park used to rent bicycle, which provides an excellent mean to explore the park. Sadly it’s not available now.

Educational Tour

Sabah Agriculture Park is an ideal outdoor classroom for school trips. The educators also can organize knowledge quests for students to learn about plant in a fun way. Who knows this might inspire them to find their passions in agriculture and horticulture (other than becoming a Youtuber, just kidding).

Education tour in Sabah Agriculture Park
Sabah Agriculture Park is an excellent site for educational tour, to learn about agriculture and horticulture.

Guided Tour

Instead of wandering aimlessly in the park, an interpretation walk by a knowledgeable guide will make a big difference to your experience. They will share interesting stories of the plant, let you sample some foreign fruits and show you some special plant in the park. The guiding service is free. However, you need to request in advance with the Park by phone or through their Facebook (subject to availability).

Family tour around Sabah Agriculture Park
Family can explore the gardens which have a network of paved trails connected to other gardens.

Tips

  1. There are mosquitoes in areas near to water, you will need insect repellent.
  2. No water station in the Park, bring a bottle of drinking water with you.
  3. Visit in the morning so you don’t exposure to hot day. Use sunblock lotion (or umbrella) to prevent sunburn.
  4. June to August is the best period to visit because of the fruiting season.
  5. Wear comfortable walking shoes, especially the ones with slip resistant.
Cannonball tree (Couroupita guianensis) in Sabah Agriculture Park
Left: Cannonball tree (Couroupita guianensis), native plant of South and Central America. Its fruits are edible but don’t taste good. Right: a heart-shaped flower

Gardens of Sabah Agriculture Park

There are over 20 sections that feature different flowers and plant. Every garden has signage, name plates and information panels (most have English version) for your DIY tour. You can walk to one garden to another via the network of paved path that connects most gardens. The following is an overview of the main gardens in the Park.

Aerial view of gardens in Sabah Agriculture Park
There are more than 20 small gardens (sections) in Sabah Agriculture Park for visitors to see different categories of plant.

Ornamental Gardens

Ornamental Garden is the best starting point for flower lovers. This super garden has over 20 well-landscaped mini-gardens that showcase different groups of plant and flowers. Fans of Bougainvillea, Hibiscus, Hoya, Ixora, Lily, Clerodendrum, Cactus, Carnivorous or Parasitic plant would be really pleased by the magnificent collection there. Some species are endemic to Borneo.

Flowers, trees and fruits in Sabah Agriculture Park
There are thousands of plant species of different forms and colours in Sabah Agriculture Park

Which flower is the Queen of the Tropical Flowers? What’s a wax plant? You can find the answers in this garden.

Crops Museum

Do you know that coffee was introduced from America and oil palm is the native plant of Africa? Some crops are so useful (or tasty) that they become part of our lives. You would be impressed by 400 tropical fruit trees divided into 15 major sections on this 8-acre ethno-botanical garden. These are cash trees with economic values due to their uses as food, medicines, spices, oil, fibers, cosmetics, handicrafts, etc. Some of them are from South America, Africa, India and Australia. Read more…

Local and non-native fruits in Sabah Agriculture Park
Local and non-native fruits in Sabah Agriculture Park. Can you tell which one is used as lipstick? And which one is guajilote fruit from Mexico?

Model Gardens

Model Gardens consist of five small themed gardens to demonstrate different landscaping and gardening styles that serve specific community and environment. For example, City Garden with cooling water fountain and seats, Sabah Garden with common vegetables and local ornamental trees. Sabahans love to plant papaya, pandan, banana and shallot on their yards.

Model Garden of Sabah Agriculture Park
Model Gardens in different themes, which give gardeners some ideas on landscaping.

Hybrid Orchids Centre

70 species of showy hybrid orchids grow here, mainly under genus of Oncidium, Cattleya, Aranda, Renenthera, Mokara, and Doritaenopsis. This is also a great location to take some portrait photos. Read more…

Hybrid Orchid Garden of Sabah Agriculture Park
Hybrid Orchid Garden of Sabah Agriculture Park. These orchids have big and showy flowers for better commercial value and are more tolerant to sunlight.

Native Orchids Centre (must visit!)

Next to Hybrid Orchids Centre is the real gem of the Park, the Native Orchids Centre, where 400 species of indigenous Borneo orchids are cultivated. In contrast to the flamboyant hybrid orchids, many native orchids have smaller flowers, and some have smelly flowers. Some rare and endangered species found here include Elephant Ear Orchid, Rat Tail Orchid, Slipper Orchids, Bella Orchid, Giant Orchid and the Rose Orchid.

Native Orchid Centre of Sabah Agriculture Park
Native Orchid Centre of Sabah Agriculture Park has some impressive collections of rare Borneo orchids. Note the Giant orchid (Grammatophyllum speciosum) on the arch. This garden is next to the Hybrid Orchid Garden.

Evolution Garden

This garden exhibits how plants evolved and adapted to the environments even before dinosaur age, from pond to semi-arid zone, as well as harsh habitats such as salty and limestone territories. What would catch your attention there are the floating Giant Water lily that can hold a toddler, and the rotting smell of Giant Aristolochia flowers.

Plant Evolution and Adaptation Garden of Sabah Agriculture Park
Plant Evolution and Adaptation Garden. The Giant water lily (Victoria amazonica) at the right can hold the weight of a small child.

Animal Park

Near the Sapong Lake is a mini zoo that raises some livestock and farm animals, for example, deer, ducks, tortoise, goats, ostrich. Many children are afraid of chicken because they never see one. Time to bring them here to see the real stuffs.

Animal Park of Sabah Agriculture Park
Animal Park of Sabah Agriculture Park

Lakes & Camping Ground

Oddly, lake is not very common in Sabah, so I’m happy to see three lakes in the Park. Visitors can enjoy the view and walk on the suspension bridges, or have a scenic view of the lakes on top of the 4-storey lookout tower. The Park even creates four islands in the lakes, one of them is Camping Island, which has a camping ground with tents and toilets (alert: many mosquitoes).

Bird and Padas Island in Sapong Lake of Sabah Agriculture Park
Bird Island (left) and Padas (right) Island in Sapong Lake of Sabah Agriculture Park

For a permit fee (RM2.00), you can fish at the lake, which has Tilapia, Grass and Common Carp, Patin, Toman, Kalui, and Lampam Jawa, to name a few. You can take home your caught too (for RM8/Kg). Boating is another fun activity in the lake.

Rundum Lake in Sabah Agriculture Park
Rundum Lake in Sabah Agriculture Park. You can walk up to the 4-floor-high Lookout Tower at the right for a nice view.

Amenities & Accommodation

Overall, Sabah Agriculture Park is a family-friendly park with complete amenities. Lot of parking spaces near the entrance. There are ticket counter, souvenir shop, restaurant, and toilets in the arrival hall.

Camping and Adventure Island, and Camping Ground in Sabah Agriculture Park
Camping & Adventure Islands, and camping ground at the lakeside

Decent accommodation is available for those who want to overnight in the Park. However, it’s closed as of this writing. The fees below are for your info. You can follow their Facebook for the reopening date.

Hostel (per night per person): Adult (RM25), Student (RM15)
Chalet: RM150 per Chalet per Night (max 6 people)
Camping: RM 10 per person/night

Opening Hours

The Park is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 9am to 4:30pm. It’s closed every Monday (unless that day falls on a Public Holiday).

Sabah Garden model in Sabah Agriculture Park
Common plant in Sabah Garden. Left: giant Bird’s-nest fern, Right: Doringin (or Simpoh Ayer), its big leaves can be used for packing rice (Linopot)

Entrance Fee

The best deal is family group ticket for parents who bring two children. (For international tourists: Based on currency exchange rate (as of this writing), one USD can exchange for about four Ringgit (RM4 or MYR4).)

CategoryMalaysianForeigner
Adult (13 years and above)RM10RM25
Student (Secondary school / Undergraduates of higher learning)RM7
Child below 13RM5RM10
Accompanied child below 6FreeFree
Government Pensioner / Senior CitizenRM7RM25
Family (2 adults + maximum 2 children below 13 years old)RM20RM50
HandicappedFreeFree
Ticket fee to enter Sabah Agriculture Park

How to get there

Sabah Agriculture Park is about 164 kilometres from Kota Kinabalu City (KK), and 14 kilometres from Tenom town. The Park is highly accessible by highway and paved road, and takes nearly 3 hours of driving from KK. The GPS coordinates of the Park is 5.174728932499501, 115.98344250484831 (see Location Map). Do not rely on public transport to move around Tenom. Use your car or rent one.

Cactus Garden (left) and hanging bridge (right) in Sabah Agriculture Park
Cactus Garden (left) and hanging bridge (right)

The following is the contact of Sabah Agriculture Park:
Address: Taman Pertanian Sabah, WDT, 28, 89909 TENOM, SABAH, MALAYSIA
Facebook: Taman-Pertanian-Sabah
Website: sabah.net.my/agripark
E-mail: agripark@sabah.net.my, tps_tenom@yahoo.com
Phone: +60 87-737952 / 737558

Photos taken in Tenom, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

Archive

Old photos of Sabah Agriculture Park (year 2006)

4 thoughts on “Sabah Agriculture Park, the largest garden of Sabah

  1. Wow.. You Discover alot of places in Sabah.
    and sum of em` i did non know it exist..
    poor me… hahaha the far`est places i’ve ever been in Sabah is Keningau. my hometown.

    Nice one..

    anyway i’m new in photography.. i have a photoblog at http://www.flickr.com/photos/theorydawn feel free to giv comment and check it out ya!

    1. I have been to Taman pertanian some years ago. One suggestion I have, if this park is for educational purposes, the park should use proper scientific names for the plants. For instance, what they call Elephant ear orchid, is Phalaenopsis gigantea. Common names are not educational and very confusing.

  2. pinolobu, I was staying in Sri Perdana Hotel which is near to the taxi + bus terminal. It costs RM30 per day for a single bedroom, got TV, attached bathroom + toilet, air-con. Quite a good value.

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