TENOM: Tucked away in the southwestern portion of Sabah, the region of Tenom is often regarded as a quiet area, and for good reason.
Whilst famous for its agricultural products, the district is also a great spot to enjoy a quiet holiday surrounded by thick jungle.
The recently opened Naluyan Jungle Lodge, founded by local businessman Gerald Baxter, had been in the works for over 11 years before finally welcoming its first guests in March this year.
Interestingly enough, much thought went into the construction of the resort, with great effort taken to minimise its carbon footprint.
In addition to largely using locally-sourced building materials, Baxter also reused the leftover wood from lumber mills that were to be discarded.
Consisting of seven chalets, this resort is perfect for either small families or big tour groups to rest and relax surrounded by the ancient rainforest. FMT Lifestyle recently stayed at Naluyan Jungle Lodge for two nights.
Getting to Naluyan from Kota Kinabalu was no easy task, with the resort being a nearly three-hour drive from the airport.
A large portion of the road also passes through the Crocker Range National Park, where one may get nauseous due to how winding the road is.
And pray that your vehicle does not break down like the one transporting this writer did! Getting stuck here is akin to being marooned.
After such a long and arduous journey, it was a relief to see that the resort had pulled out all the stops to impress its guests.
From a table piled with local fruits to traditional dance performances by the local Murut people, Naluyan gave quite the warm welcome.
The team was also treated to a hearty meal, which included local delicacies such as tapai, a fermented rice dish, and tarap, a fruit most similar to cempedak.
In addition to running the resort, owner Baxter also owns several orchards in the area and much of its produce is sent to Naluyan’s kitchens for guests.
The resort is rather impressive, with much thought going into its design.
Each chalet is different from the next, and at a first glance, one would be forgiven for thinking that the resort is a high-end establishment.
One of its most unique features is the waterfall and pool where adults and children can enjoy a refreshing dip.
Forget the chlorine-filled pool in most hotels; this pool sources its water from an actual mountain stream! In addition to swimming laps here, you could also hang out at the picnic tables placed in a shallower pool.
Most of the chalets are named after the types of fruits growing in Tenom.
The smallest, “Avocado” can house up to four people and costs RM488 per night and the largest, “Tenom Beauty” houses nine and costs RM888 per night.
FMT Lifestyle was lodged in the latter and it proved to be quite the cosy place, if a little cramped in some spaces.
The master bedroom was spacious, with a queen-sized bed and a single bed. On the other hand, the adjacent bedroom had three sets of bunk beds, which left little room to manoeuvre.
The chalet also came with a fully-equipped kitchen – refrigerator and stove as well as a cupboard full of utensils. Hence, you can cook your own meals, possibly with ingredients you buy while visiting Tenom.
Thankfully, there is Wi-Fi here. You will have to depend on them extensively as the resort’s remote location means that using your mobile data is effectively impossible.
Despite the minor quibbles, Naluyan is most certainly an impressive place to visit, and even more so to stay.
The next time you’re considering visiting this quiet and peaceful part of Sabah, do consider spending the night at Naluyan, where nature and comfort meet.
Naluyan Jungle Lodge
Jalan Sk. Mantailang
Kampung Naluyan Ulu 2
E-mail: [email protected]