Formerly known as Fort Birch during the colonial period, the Interior Division town of Tenom is primarily an agriculture zone with soy beans, maize, vegetables and cocoa being the major crops. Tenom is also where the Sabah Agriculture Park is located. Tenom is one of the most scenic interior locations in Sabah, with the Crocker Range towering magnificently as the town’s backdrop. Also known as the “gateway to Murut country”, the town comes together each year to celebrate Pesta Kalimaran—a festival celebrated by the Murut community in Tenom.
In 2010, the population of Tenom was estimated to be around 55,553. The principal ethnic groups are the Murut (60%), Chinese (20%), Kadazan-Dusun (8%), and Lun Bawang/Lun Dayeh (5%). Tenom is one of the oldest Chinese settlements in Sabah. The majority of Chinese residents in the town are Hakka Chinese, many of whom are descended from settlers who migrated from Longchuan in Guangdong, China. These settlers, who were mostly agriculturalists, were drawn to Tenom due to its rich soil. Right at the centre of Tenom is a statue to Ontoros Antonom (1885–1915), whom in 1915, led the Muruts against British colonists in the Rundum village of Tenom. The incident is now known as the Rundum Revolt.
Among the primary tourist attractions in the district are the Sabah Agricultural Park (Lagud Seberang Agriculture Research Station), the Tenom Orchid Centre and the Murut Cultural Centre. The town is also known in the tourism industry for whitewater rafting on the Padas River and the coffee factory. Tenom railway station is the final stop of the Sabah State Railway, which originates from Tanjung Aru. Tenom is more or less the southern end of the main road from Kota Kinabalu into the interior. From KK, the road starts from the suburbs of Donggongon and climbs up the Crocker Mountain Range and down to the Tambunan Valley. The road continues in a southwest direction to Keningau, Melalap and Tenom. There is also a road between Tambunan and Ranau, allowing you to come directly from Mount Kinabalu and Sandakan without needing to go through KK.
The road that hugs the mountains is frequently closed due to the landslides. Tenom is 176km from Kota Kinabalu, 163 km from Ranau and 397 km from Sandakan. Another access by road is to drive south of Kota Kinabalu to Papar and take a road junction for Keningau. This road is quiet a climb with gradient reaching 19%. Until you reach a junction off Keningau town. Keep driving down south until you reach Tenom town.
If you are traveling by air, nearest airport is the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (IATA: BKI, ICAO: WBKK) is an international airport, which located in the city of Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah. The airport is in Kota Kinabalu, about 2 hours and 30 minutes from the Tenom.
The Sabah Agriculture Park (Taman Pertanian Sabah) is situated on a 200 hectare site and was developed and maintained by the Agriculture Department. It is a park that offers visitors both recreational and educational activities.There are Native Orchids, where at least 400 species with more than 1,500 collection being kept here, including many rare and endangered species such as the Elephant Ear orchid, the Rat-tail orchid and also not forgetting the many species of Slipper orchids many of which endemic to Borneo. In addition, Crops Museum is an 8-acre living museum of Crop Plants where there are some 400 species of plants systematically planted according to their uses. Next, Ornamental Garden comprises 21 distinct and well-landscaped gardens with each garden exhibiting its unique plants and flowers.