Penampang is a district within the West Coast Division of Sabah, Malaysia. It has virtually become a suburb of Kota Kinabalu which is Sabah's capital and is considered as part of Greater Kota Kinabalu area. Its population was estimated to be around 121,934 in 2010, with ethnic Kadazan as the majority. Donggongon is the main town in the district. The name Penampang came from an old village within the district. The village's name, in turn, originates from a Kadazan word pampang meaning a big rock. This is because huge rocks were easily found within the vicinity of the village a long time ago. The name Penampang in contemporary usage refers to the district, with the town of Donggongon as the main town within the district. The name Donggongon originates from a Kadazan word tundo'ongon which means a 'shelter' or a 'resting area', referring to its historical role as a stop-over for people from the interior who journeyed down the coast to trade.
Penampang is a Kadazandusun hub made up of a tight-knit community. This bustling district is a mere 15-minute drive from Kota Kinabalu (KK) city and is a unique blend of the old and the new with its modern shoplots and bungalows, fringed by sprawling paddy fields and kampong-style homes. Dongonggon, considered the heart of Penampang, is the place to be every Thursday and Friday for this is when the Tamu (market) takes place. Traders come out in full force to sell their best produce, ranging from fresh vegetables to handicrafts.The Tamu Penampang is particularly famous for its tapai or lihing (rice wine) and jars of bambangan (a wild mango usually pickled) and tuhau(a ginger-like plant which has been pounded and mixed with lime juice, onion and chillies). Want the truly exotic? Give the sago worms, or butod, a try!
If you are travelling by air, the nearest airport is the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (IATA: BKI, ICAO: WBKK), an international airport, which located in the city of Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah. The airport is in Kota Kinabalu which is about 17 minutes from Penampang.
The Monsopiad Cultural Village is in Penampang. Monsopiad was the name of a past warrior who was known for decapitating the heads of his enemy and hanging the skulls at the entrance of his home, to warn his enemies of his powers.
The Pogunon Community Museum, a part of Sabah museum institution is situated in Kg. Pogunon, Penampang. In 2000, during a construction of a local kindergarten, three jars and pieces from four jars were discovered including an intact jar from the 16th century with human remains inside.
Sabah Art Gallery is situated in Penampang. It houses over 3000 paintings, carvings, and sculptures. The building has a unique basket-shaped architecture with decorative cultural motif panels of the indigenous people of Sabah. It is also the first green building in Sabah and Borneo.
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