With a name like Sabah Tea Garden, you’d probably imagine coming here to sip tea in a quaint English garden. Well, it’s actually less of a garden, and more of a tea plantation. Although sipping tea is probably what you’ll be doing sooner or later if you make your way here.
One of only two remaining areas in Malaysia that produces tea leaves (the other being Cameron Highlands, of course), Sabah Tea Plantation is located about 700m above sea level in Kampung Nalapak in Ranau. It’s location is just a bit too far away to be included in the popular Kinabalu Park-Poring Hot Springs day trip, and visitors will probably find that they are one of the few people who are there.
Started in 1978, the Sabah Tea Plantation is an organic tea farm right from its very beginning. With only one-fifth of its 6200 acre land being opened for planting tea trees and other tourism activities, the plantation is surrounded by tropical rainforest. As the insects prefer the surrounding forests, pest-control is easily done even without using pesticides.
As its brochures proudly proclaim, “more than tea..you’ll see”, Sabah Tea Garden has come up with various tour packages for tourists, including the award-winning Sabah Tea Adventure, which is an obstacle-training, team-building kind of program. Those who want to spend a quiet night here can stay in its longhouse or villas. From what I read on the reviews on TripAdvisor, the sunrise and sunset here can be amazing.
But what is there for the casual visitor on a day trip to Sabah Tea Garden? Well, apart from the nice view of the tea plantation, you can also take the interesting guided tour of the tea factory to learn a bit about the tea processing and how to differentiate real tea from imitation tea (yes, there is such a thing). A lovely lunch at its restaurant makes for a delicious end to your visit. And of course, you can’t come here and not drink tea.
For those who are looking to take back some souvenirs, its shop stocks some interesting tea-themed products. And while you can also get Sabah Tea in supermarkets in Kota Kinabalu, the Sabah Tea products here come in some very nice packaging that are only sold here.
daily 8am – 4.30pm
Factory visit: daily except major Public Holidays: 8am – 12pm
There is no entrance fee to visit the plantation.
Guided tour of tea factory: RM 12 per person
My Ratings: ** A good stopover if making the overland route between Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan. Or if you want some peace and quiet.