The best made in Sabah Ice cream is found at Desa Cattle Dairy Farm . Anyone having their holiday up at Kundasang must make a pit stop at Desa Cattle Farm and order the Gelato Ice Cream. It is to die for.
I am a born local and have lived here for years yet have never visited the Desa Cattle Dairy Farm. So sad to be a local that claims she has been everywhere. So early this year, I decided I must make that historical trip up to visit the cows.
I remembered from my previous trip, Desa Cattle farm should be located near the Kundasang Golf Club. There were adequate road signs pointing towards the farm. However the road going there is not very good. The moment you leave the main road, it was gravel for most part.
The farm charges an entrance fee. At the time I visited, the fee has gone up to RM5 per person. Now here comes the question whether the price you pay to visit the farm was worth it or not? I would say in my opinion the entrance fee was over priced. There was no tour provided, no introduction gallery, no free milk tasting and everything else is chargeable including using the toilet.
What you will experience for free is the colder temperatures, a scenic photo background like you are in New Zealand, free to pat the young calf, take photo with the kid (goat baby not child) and have a free smell of cow dung. You can also feed the young calf and kid for a fee.
If you stand at the viewing point facing the shed where cow barn is located and observed carefully, you will eventually see how everything was done remote control from sweeping the cow dung to scratching the cows itch. That was educational and interesting, at least for me.
Last of all and the best is of course is the ice cream. You must try that. Not cheap but delicious. I would say chewing on a sausage and at the same time eating ice cream while enjoying the cold air despite the cow dung smell was really an experience. I also tried their local made Panna cotta which is an Italian dessert of sweetened cream thickened with gelatine.
After spending an hour in cow land and armed with 2 boxes of fresh milk, we headed back down to Kundasang town for our next itinerary to visit the Ranau War Memorial. I find the memorial a very interesting place to visit because I like history.
It cost only RM2 to enter so that’s cheap enough. The memorial is made up of four beautiful gardens to represent the different nationalities that died in the World War II. At the nearby souvenir shop, we got to read on old newspaper cuttings of the events that were previously held at the memorial and the death march itself. Tied to the roof shop were hanging tree branch with big black bugs on it. They turn out to be lived bugs that looked dead because they barely moved much.
Just beside the memorial is Kundasang market which sold locally grown vegetables and fruits. The vegetable are sold cheap. For only ten ringgit you get to choose three type of per pack vegetables of your own choice. They also sold local honey here which I tried once but later not so convinced it was organically harvested.
We had extra time so we drove up to Kinabalu Heritage Hotel for a visit. This is the only decent business class hotel in Kundasang. The rest are small inns and 1 star motels.
Kinabalu Heritage Hotel has made major renovation and expanded. They have a new wing comprising of chalets which looks pretty among the fir trees. I would stay here if I had the budget but our night stay was at JResidences located just around the corner from Kinabalu National Park entrance.
I would say that the disadvantage of staying at JR is the lack of great view as it is located facing away from the mountain with trees surrounding the whole compound blocking even the view of the valley. Nevertheless because of its surrounding greenery, the place has a constant low temperature of 22 C even during noon time.
There is also a very steep drive down from the main road to the chalets which scared my other half who was worried the car engine would burn up due to the stress of the climb. JR beds and amenities were satisfactory but the opening on top of the shower walls causes the whole bathroom to feel like a fridge.
Each chalet has a kitchen area which was great for there were no nearby restaurant. To live here you need to bring your own food and cook yourself. Lucky for me I had my One Pot Chicken Rice Recipe which came into action and was super delicious on a cold night.
The day after checking out of JR, we drop by Kota Kinabalu National Park for a look see. The main park gallery located on the first floor above Liwagu Restaurant was still there and open to the public for viewing. No fee and very educational. The botanical garden is still running with an entrance fee of 5 ringgit per person but we decided not to visit the garden due to time constraint.
Unfortunately the small park that used to be in front of the botanical garden was at disrepair with the hanging bridge broken and walking path overgrown with shrub. So pity to see the condition it was in not unlike the day it was just build.
The park management probably decided not to maintain the small park because it was not generating any income. They do not see the bigger picture that having an extra free activity encourages a purpose for the public to make more visits to the park and indirectly increase revenue thru other avenue. As we drove away, I cannot help feeling sad by the condition of disrepair I have seen.