There is nothing like a little-known village, nestled amongst the quiet foothills of a majestic granite mountain to win even the most jaded traveler heart. Situated about 2.5 hours drive North from Kota Kinabalu is the Dusun village of Sayap. The Sayap Village Experience program offers a unique and raw cultural immersion that is hard to come by; stay in a local home and go farming with your host, learn to cook local dishes, go hiking through secondary forests and explore caves, rivers and swimming holes, and watch sunrise with Mt Kinabalu in the distance. Most importantly, understand the community’s journey in their community-based tourism initiative with Sticky Rice Travel, and what their hopes and dreams are. A visit to Sayap can include a side trip to the Sayap substation which is a part of the Mt Kinabalu World Heritage Site, and here you find yourself at 1000 meters asl, perfect for exploring lowland and montane old-growth forests.
Sticky Rice Travel has been facilitating a community-based tourism program initiative – a joint-venture between the travel company and the local community of Sayap – since 2015 with the vision of empowerment and inclusion of the rural community in tourism, alongside conservation of their natural environment. Your tourism dollars go straight into the community as a form of alternative livelihood delivered by community members. Sticky Rice Travel commits to 1% of its profit annually to several causes in conservation and community empowerment, including this one.
Simple, clean private rooms with single and/or queen bed(s) with linen and blankets. Ceiling and/or stand fans are available in each room – no air conditioning needed as temperature is pleasantly cool at night. All toilets and showers are communal.
Your host family will provide delicious but simple meals cooked with fresh produce supplied direct from the village – vegetarians and special diets catered for.
Each homestay within the program is equipped with western toilets and showers (cold water only). There is a small convenience store where you can get basic supplies such as cold drinks and snacks.
The village is located about 1-1.5 hours drive from Kota Belud town nestled amongst the foothills of Mount Kinabalu and is surrounded by agricultural land and forested hillsides.
Pick-up at your hotel at 9.30am and drive for 2 hours to Sayap Village, stopping at points of interests along the way. Meet your host and check-in upon arrival and enjoy lunch at the local homestay with your host family. After lunch, your guide and host will introduce you to the ways of life in a local Dusun village. The Dusuns are the biggest ethnic group in Sabah, most living subsistence lifestyles in terms of agricultural farming which includes rice, fruit and vegetable plantation. Spend the day exploring the village farmlands and pick your own fruit (coconut, pineapple, tarap and other local seasonal fruit) to enjoy fresh or bring back with you to your homestay where you can learn how to cook a local dish, make fruit jam or ferment it. A traditional Dusun dinner will be served at your host’s home in the evening.
Lunch / Dinner
After breakfast, depart homestay early morning for a trek within Aura Montoria – considered one of the ‘Hidden Wonders of Sayap Village’. Trek on it’s four to five hours trail passing through many old and giant trees, hidden waterfalls and caves, rubber plantation and up towards Prayer Hill for stunning views of the valley below. Reach the campsite, located beside the river to have a picnic lunch – take a swim afterwards in it’s clear rock pools where fishes swim up to greet you. We will return to Homestay for dinner.
Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner
Wake up early and enjoy morning breakfast cooked by your host. Depart to Kota Kinabalu at 9.00 am and expect to arrive by 11 am.
Return land transfer from Kota Kinabalu pick up and drop off can also be arranged at Kundasang, accommodation, meals as specified in programme, Sticky Rice Travel nature guide and local host, activities as specified in programme, drinking water, coffee & tea, snacks, and community fee.
International flights, additional meals and beverages not specified in the program, and tips or gratuities for guides & homestay owners.
Hat, sunscreen, camera, towel, change of clothes.
Daily based on minimum 2pax.
Perfect for adventurers looking to get off the beaten track to get a taste of what life is like in a rural community in Sabah and experience the heart warming hospitality of Dusun people.