Kundasang is a town located within the district of Ranau, state of Sabah, Malaysia. Kundasang is located 92 kilometers east of the state capital of Kota Kinabalu and 12 kilometers away from Ranau. Kundasang is situated in the West Coast division together with Ranau, with the residents of the place majorly consists of Dusun ethnic followed by Chinese people. The area is known for its vegetable market which is open on a daily basis as well as being the closes town to Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain in the country, having a very panoramic view of the mountain. Similarly to Ranau, Kundasang benefitted from agriculture as its main source of income with most of the residents being farmers, while tourism being the secondary economic driver. From the historical point, Kundasang together with Ranau are administered by British North Borneo Company (BNBC) in the 19th century, being placed under the governance of the Province Dent before restructuring as a substation of Tambunan.
In 1942, due to the occupation of Japanese over the North Borneo, it is placed under the administration of the West Coast Territory Governance. Despite the initial lack of attention from the Japanese, the area later became a place of significance due to its rice production capability which would be able to fulfill the increasing demand for food stock. This is proven further with the setting up of the garrison to control the locals. As the war begun to end, the place also bear witness of the Sandakan Death Marches, where three memorial stones were erected in Kundasang in memory of the incident.
There are flights to Kota Kinabalu from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) which are provided by both Malaysia Airlines and Air Asia. Upon touchdown, from the airport, guests can head downtown to Kundasang using public transportation or rent a car.
People driving from Kota Kinabalu may drive via Jalan Ranau-Tamparuli/Route 22/A4/AH150 for immediate access to Kundasang town. The journey could take up around 2 hours depending on the traffic situation.
Kundasang War Memorial is a memorial erected in dedication to the British and Australian soldiers whom died during the Sandakan Death Marches on their way to Ranau. Major G.S. Carter DSO, a New Zealand war veteran suggested its opening back in 1962 and the architecture was done by local architect JC Robinson. It was poorly maintained till Sevee Chauruks took his own initiative to restore the memorial in 2005 as his personal retirement project. The Australian government later chipped in money in bulks, totaling up to a six hundred thousand ringgit which included a fencing plot, an Australian Memorial Hall, Contemplation Garden and Confrontation Memorial, all of which becoming the current feature of the memorial.
Kinabalu Park is where the mighty Mount Kinabalu is located, being the national park that is recognized as the country’s World Heritage Site. It is also awarded as the Centre of Plant Diversity for South East Asia - being the natural habitat of over 5000 vascular plant species and 90 species of mammals. Interested adventurers are advised to book six months in advance due to the overwhelming response as well as the limit imposed – only 135 pax are allowed to do the hiking on a daily basis.
Another interesting place to come over when in the town of Kundasang is the Desa Cattle Dairy Farm. Located 6 kilometers away from town at the foot of the Mount Kinabalu, this dairy farm is fully owned by Desa Cattle Sabah. It is here where most of the state’s dairy products and cow milk are being produced – at about 900, 000 liters of milk annually. Spawning over a massive 199-hectare of greenery, this Sabah’s “Little New Zealand” has some of the breathtaking sights to behold, where families can come over to learn more about how milk is processed, feeding the calves and goats or even merely enjoy the view.