Cabana Retreat - Instaworthy Spot in Sabah

Kota Belud has lately becoming one of the most favourite visited towns by the local. Besides being useful stopover enroute to the Mantanani Island and Kudat, there are few attractions within the town awaiting to be discovered and explored. One of most popular attractions are none other than Cabana Retreat

Cabana Retreat is well-known for glamping experiences with a scenic view of Rampayan Beach. However, I visited this place twice not for the glamping purposes but for phototaking instead. Yes, this place allows visitors to come and visit even if you don't feel like want to stay here. Just that you need to pay the entrance fee of RM4 per person. I personally think it's pretty reasonable cause this place is indeed one truly Instaworthy spot. 

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#1: Cabana Retreat - the first pop-up beach resort in Malaysia.

The first time I came here was with my husband (then boyfriend) and for my recent visit, I went with my BFFs for the birthday celebration. My maiden visit was rewarded with pretty clear blue sky but too bad for the second trip, where it was cloudy. Nevertheless, regardless of any weather conditions, Cabana Retreat is an ideal spot for a group of family and friends and even loving couples to spend their quality time by leisurely hanging out and enjoy the beach here. 

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#2: Get ready to have some fun and adventures!

Like I mentioned earlier, my main intention to visit Cabana Retreat is to feed my Insta-hunger. Hence, do expect this post with lots and lots of unashamed photos of my friends and I.

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#3: It's her birthday - so we decided to make her the model of the day.

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#4: Does this place reminds you of somewhere else? The bathing boxes in Melbourne if you are guessing now. 

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#6: Happy birthday to my BFF who I knew for over 20 years

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#7: The latest attraction of Cabana Retreat - Treetop canopy

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#8: The suspension bridge where you can get the whole view of Cabana Retreat

Feeling hungry and thirsty? Fret not cause there is Fuga Dining & Bar to satisfy your hungry tummy, where it serves both local and Western cuisines. But because my friends and I were not really that hungry, so we just ordered drink to quench the thirst. But I warn you, even the dining area is also another picture-perfect spot. 

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#9: Fuga Dining & Bar

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#10: You can choose to dine with your barefoot touching the sand

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#11: Another picture-perfect spot

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#12: No exception for this swing too - must take photos too.

Apart from that, Cabana Retreat does provide tons of recreational activities for you to enjoy; such as ATV ride (10 minutes for RM30 and 30 minutes for RM80), horse riding, cycling, surfing and even more. They even offer rivercruise and fireflies tour but do make sure to check out with the reception prior to your visit there.

If I have the chance to return to Cabana Retreat for the third time, this time I would like to stay here for a night and enjoy the glamping experience. Interested to know more of their room rate, do check out their office website (here).

Type of Accommodations
Staycation Package
Stay & Dine Package
(Sun to Thu)
(Fri to Sat)
& Public Holiday
(Sun to Thu)
(Fri to Sat)
& Public Holiday
Classic Tent
1 Queen Bed (4m)
Deluxe Single Tent
2 Single Beds
Romantic Tent
1 Queen Bed (5m)
Quad Tent
4 Single Beds

Staycation Package:
- Inclusive breakfast and fireflies tour.
- 25% off for dine-in at Fuga Dining & Bar.
- Free 1 hour non-motorised sport.

Stay & Dine-in Package:
- Inclusive breakfast and fireflies tour.
- Inclusive BBQ dinner.
- 20% off for dine-in at Fuga Dining & Bar.
- Free 1 hour non-motorised sport.

Cabana Retreat
How To Get Here: It takes approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu city center to Cabana Retreat. It's better to self-drive as you stop at anywhere and anytime as you want. You can dropby here after you have done with your trip to Mantanani Island or even, stopby here before continue your trip to Kudat.
Opening Hours: 24 Hours
Entrance Fee: RM4 per person   
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Blue Tears Spotted in Nido Mantanani

Mantanani Island again, for the second time in a month! 

As for this round, we booked and stayed for another 2 days and 1 night weekend getaway with Nido Mantanani, another operator on the paradise island. They are running and open for booking on weekend only, which are every Friday, Saturday and Sunday and we're lucky to get the earlier slot cause it's almost full house until September. 

Since Mantanani Island takes nearly 1 hour and 30 minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu and the boat departs at 9.30am from Rampayan Jetty, we left the house earlier - as early as 6am. We even stopby at the local favourite restaurant, Kantin Bakut for their signature dish, tom yam seafood and also fried tom yam Tuaran Mee. 

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#1: Only 1 boat transfer per day which is at 9.30am, therefore don't be late and make sure to arrive earlier at Rampayan Jetty. 

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#2: Though it's my second time to Mantanani Island, I still amazed with its turquoise water.

Before we're allowed to check-in into our accommodation, we kicked off our day by going for snorkelling first. The snorkelling point they brought us to was much more better as I spotted slightly more colourful fishes and corals. After snorkelling for almost 40 minutes, we headed back to the island and it's lunch time. All their lunch meals provided by Nido Mantanani are pre-packed.   

Nido Mantanani 04
#3: The seaview chalets

Almost reaching to 1.30pm, the check-in process began and we can't wait to view our room. There are 3 types of accommodations here in Nido Mantanani; Seaview Chalet attached with bathroom, Seaview Chalet without bathroom and family room without bathroom. And of course for us, we picked the first one - Seaview Chalet attached with bathroom

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#4: And we got the first row which directly facing the sea

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#5: The room is pretty simple with queen sized bed, air-conditioning, mirror. There is no TV within the room but who need that where you get to best view out from the window? 

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#6: Our amazing and spectacular view straight out from the balcony

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#7: One for the Gram - it's a must for keepsake

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#8: The restaurant - you can order snack, finger food and drinks here. Pretty affordable I can say

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#9: Pre-packed lunch, nasi goreng with satay for dinner and American breafkast

Initially there was a guided walking village tour along with sunset viewing organised by them but due to adverse weather, it had been cancelled. Went to Mantanani Island twice but still, I can't witness the perfect golden sunset from this island. Really not my luck for the sunset but then, what I didn't expect is that finally I got to witness the blue tears. Frankly speaking, I didn't place higher expectation to see this at first place not until, the host suggested us to stop eating our dinner and followed him to see the blue tears. Blue tears don't occur regularly and it's hard to sight it, unless you are pretty lucky. My husband and I failed to spot this on our first trip to Mantanani Island but I guess second time is the charm. 

Blue Tears in Mantanani Island
#10: Hundreds, or maybe thousand of these blue tears appeared right in front of Nido Mantanani.

#11: Here is a video of the blue tears we sighted

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#12: On the next morning, we woke up to this view - the majestic and pride of Sabah, the Mount Kinabalu

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#13: The view that we will never get tired with

Because we will only be back to Rampayan Jetty at 2pm, the host suggested additional activity for us with extra charge of RM49 per pax. Oh well, it's not compulsory for all the guests and if you are not interested, you can still stay around at the island doing other activities like kayaking, swimming and even taking hundred of photos. 

For your information, Mantanani Island form a small group of three islands; Mantanani Besar (where all the resorts built here), Mantanani Kecil and Lungisan Island. So we took this opportunity to sign up for the RM49 short tour to visit and see the rest of other two islands of Mantanani. We even got to visit the Dead Coral Island, long tailed beach and snorkelling at Rocky Bay. I personally think it's really worth and you should sign up for this optional tour if you are staying with Nido Mantanani.

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#14: Optional activity with additional charge of RM49 per pax

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#15: Dead corals island, Lungisan Island and snorkelling at Rocky Bay

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#16: They called this Lungisan Island as "Broccoli Island". Does it looks like broccoli?

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#17: The postcard view

One of the unforgettable moments is that finally I got to tick off one of the wishlists where I got to see the blue tears with my naked eyes instead of browsing through the net. I even got the chance to touch and feel them with my bare hands. A night to remember in Nido Mantanani.

Interested with Nido Mantanani 2 days 1 night getaway? Info as below: 

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It's About Green in Sabah Tea Resort

Besides Cameron Highlands, Sabah also has its own homegrown tea plantation in Ranau, a town that takes more than 3 hours drive from the city center of Kota Kinabalu. Currently known as Sabah Tea Resort, it is the largest single commercial tea plantation as well as the top tea exporter in Borneo. Apart from that, Sabah Tea is the one and only organic farm tea in Borneo and one of the few in the world. 

Situated in Ranau town, Sabah Tea Resort is accessible by road and it is approximately more than 3 hours by car from Kota Kinabalu passing by Kinabalu National Park. Hence, I don't recommend to do  in a day trip cause you will be exhausted for driving more than 6 hours back and forth. It's wise to do 2 days 1 night trip and you can consider to overnight in either Kundasang or Mesilau. (If you need any recommendations for the stay and car rental, you can drop me a comment or send me an email)

Sabah Ranau Town
#1: Ranau - Home of Sabah's tea

I have never been to this place before, not until recently and I went twice within a year - August last year and June this year. Like I expected, the place was pretty crowded cause many visitors came with a group of family and friends. There is a parking space provided for the visitors and it's free but it's wise to come early, especially before the lunch time cause it will be packed and sometimes might be ran out of parking space. There is no entrance fee to visit Sabah Tea Resort, except for the factory tour and also for the latest attraction which is climbing up the tree house.

Sabah Tea Resort Restaurant 02
#2: The latest attraction in Sabah Tea Resort - Climbing up a Borneo tree house. Entrance fee: RM5 for adult and RM3 for student and children below 12 years old. 

I have to say that majority of the visitors came here to have lunch at the open-air restaurant with overlooking the lush green tea plantation. Besides serving a wide selection of both local and Western cuisines, the most popular on their menu would be the one-of-a-kind dessert which made using Sabah tea, such as scones, waffles, pancakes and even ice-cream. All of these desserts are only available in Sabah Tea Resort and now you know the reason why this place is attractive to the local and foreign visitors. 

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#3: Menu of Sabah Tea Restaurant - Must try the one-of-a-kind dessert when visiting Sabah Tea Resort

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#4: We tried both tea pancakes (RM12) and tea waffles (RM15) and both served with honey.

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#5: Don't forget to pair with the freshly harvest tea and now they produced in 8 different flavours of tea - Cinnamon, ginger, pandan, lemongrass, tongkat ali, geranium, agarwood and misai kucing (cat's whiskers). The tea is naturally rich in flavour without any added colouring.

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#6: For the sake of the Gram - Yellow photo frame with Mount Kinabalu and lush green tea plantation as the backdrop. 

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#7: Sabah Tea Resort map

Besides sampling their food, there are other recreational activities can be done here - such as tea harvesting where you can hand plucking of the tea leaves. However in compliance with the health safety SOPs, no traditional costume and rattan basket will be provided for use. Even the popular programme like factory tour is temporarily not available for the walk-in visitors during this MCO. For more info, it's best to contact them which I share as follows. 

Opening Hours: 8am to 4.30pm (Best to visit before noon time)
Admission Fee: Free
Contact: +6088-440882
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Flashback of My June & July 2020 Cuti-Cuti Malaysia

2020 might seems like a bad year to travel abroad but hey, let's us look at the other bright side. I guess many of you haven't get the chance to discover and explore all the 13 states and 3 federal territories of our beloved home country Malaysia. So why not take this opportunity to visit those states  and cities which you haven't been before and at the same time, to support and contribute our local tourism industry? 

Normally, I don't do monthly flashback post but because many things took place for the last two months, hence here's a quick recap of my "Cuti-Cuti Malaysia" activities for the month of June and July.

JUNE 2020

Rasa Ria Reserve by Shangri-La 6
First weekend of June - we went for sunrise jungle trekking in Rasa Ria Reserve by Shangri-la

Kudat Attractions
Second weekend of June - we did road trip to Kudat and visited a handful of attractions there (Things To Do & See in Kudat)

Hibiscus Beach Retreat Kudat 04
As for our accommodation in Kudat, we stayed in Hibiscus Beach Retreat - a truly hidden gem of Sabah.

Sabah Tea Resort Restaurant
Third weekend of June - Kundasang & Ranau trip, Sabahan's favourite weekend getaway (blogpost coming up soon)

JULY 2020

Staycation At The Magellan Sutera Resort 05
First weekend of July - Staycation in The Magellan Sutera Harbour. Plenty of recreational activities to do in this world-class luxury resort.

Sutera At Mantanani 14-1
Second weekend of July - Island getaway Sutera @ Mantanani Island Resort and Spa

N&D ROM 18.07.2020
Third weekend of July - New chapter of my life

Pahang - Bukit Tinggi 01
Fourth week of July - After more than 4 months, finally we got to fly again. We rented GoCar and drove to Genting, Bukit Tinggi and even Bentong just for the durian sake.

Nido Mantanani 01
Last weekend of July - Another island trip to Mantanani Island again, and this round, we stayed with Nido. (Blogpost coming up soon too)

At this moment, I'm still not sure what are my upcoming plans for the month of August but I wish it's going to be "AMAZING AUGUST!".

I pray August is full of good news, blessings and more positive vibes.
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