Tamu of Kota Belud

Kota Belud Travel Blog

 › entry 6 of 14 › view all entries

We started today with a tour to Kota Belud, a town 30 minutes north of Rasa Ria. Every Sunday Kota Belud has a tamu, or market, which is meant to be the best tamu in Sabah. Our guide, Bell, showed us around the markets for half an hour, and then we poked around by ourselves for another hour. The tamu was very colourful, with clean umbrellas above the stalls, and packed full of locals (no other tourists) although it did smell a bit with all the fish on display in the heat.


On the way back from the tamu, we stopped in at a local village that had a blacksmith. We watched the blacksmith make a machete for the tamu in the traditional manner.

It took the two blacksmiths half an hour to hammer out the strip of metal into a blade. It would take them another day to polish, sharpen and engrave the blade, as well as carve a wooden handle and sheath. The larger swords take two days to make. They started by making a small fire and shovelling coal on top. One man operated the bellows, which consisted of two upright tubes running down to the fire with small exit holes to pump the air into the fire. It was operated by alternatively pushing down two plungers into the tubes. The other man places the strip of metal into the fire until it was hot enough, and then used a hammer and anvil to hammer it into a knife shape. We were back in the resort by lunch time.


After a swim to relax, we went to the resort’s nature reserve for the Orang-utan walk. The actual walk is very short, only ten minutes, as it stops at the feeding platform. We ended up staying there for half an hour though, because the seven-year old orang-utan Manna was there. Like Otto from a few days ago, she was not at all shy, and played around in front of us until she tried to go down the path to leave the reserve and a ranger took her away.


We spent the rest of the day lazing around by the pool.

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Kota Belud
photo by: cynthiasmiller