The views in the Upside-Down House of Borneo, sited at Mile 21, Tamparuli-Ranau Road is amazingly otherworldly and surreal, especially to those who have great imagination. After all, viewing your world upside down is not an everyday occurrence. However, photographs are not allowed in the house. So those who really wish to have photographs to commemorate their visits to the house,  there are the Night Market, the 3D Museum and the Ruang Rumah (Home Space) to take photographs in.

A visiting journalist demonstrating the photographic effects at the ‘Night Market’

The Night Market is a place where stalls are placed. One of the stalls is an eatery where various types of food are apparently being prepared. There are cuttlefish, fish and a wok on the stove with two fish frying in it. It looks like an ordinary stall selling good food. The strange part of the scenario is a cat apparently sitting down on the ceiling. A similar cat is sitting down on the other stall where various types of fruits are being sold. There are pineapples, bananas, pumpkins and others. It is just an ordinary stall…until you really look and then you realise that everything is upside down. The fruit stalls and the food stalls are all upside down and the cat apparently is the pivotal point for the effect. You could be standing under the wok and suddenly when the photo is turned upside down, you are falling into the wok! And the cat is the right way up.

That is an amazing wonder, created by a brilliant mind and speaks volume of the ideas and creativity of its proprietor Alexander Yee.

He shares that it is a fun way to take photos as it allows guests to take photos of themselves ‘upside-down’ as they couldn’t do that in the house. They can take as many photos as they want, but should ensure that they include the cat so that their photos have the effects they want.

Angles and perspectives at the 3D Museum

Right after the upside-down stalls, is the “ wishing gallery’, where guests can write wishes and thoughts on a piece of card and hang it on the line. They are pretty, and quite popular with visitors.  All they need to do is purchase plates made from air condition duct and the strings to hang them with. These strings are recycled from discarded computer mouse. Another creative idea to recycle used items.

The most exciting station is the 3D Wonders Museum where the subdued light within show paintings on the wall of scenes familiar to Sabah, North Borneo. One is a little foreign though as its a polar bear, but it looks rather nice there since its one of the first painting one will see upon entry. It looks kind of welcoming. Nearby are orang utans in cages with bent bars where one can pretend to be breaking out and a few paces will bring one to a swing going across a waterfall while a huge eagle in flight is where one can pretend to be a caught prey. A 3D bridge is another most photographed painting, with guests walking across pretending to be on a real bridge or just posing for photos.

Alexander Yee sitting down on a chair made of recycled water bottles

Or you can be a head in a plate on a table after visiting the fascinating room where angles can cheat the eye. There are 29 hand painted drawings in all which miraculously turn 3D when photographed at the right angle.  There are also the kayak and Mt Kinabalu site where one can pretend to be paddling or climbing the mountain. Guests are shown how to take photos to get the right effect, with a sign on the floor and a brief write up on the wall.  Taking photos outside of the mark on the floor will not produce the right effect. This place is a lot of fun and a great hit with children.  The 3D Museum is a must-see as much as the Upside-Down House.

Yee says he has seen other places with similar concepts in Korea and Japan.

“I went down to Jeju some eight years ago and I saw this (3D). I told myself, I must do one here (in Sabah), but based on the local concept. Over there, they put up the dinosaurs, superman and batman, among others which is more fun, but doesn’t have the education and awareness values,” he shares.

An igloo made out of water bottles and recycled materials

The education value is extended to the Ruang Rumah or Home Space. This place, which used to be a restaurant, is dedicated to festivities around the world. The material used in this place are all recycled items, including water bottles and boxes among others. Showcased are Christmas decorations with  themes for various countries. For instance in the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, city dwellers skate their way to mass, and in Scandinavia they watch Donald Duck cartoon during Christmas and in Japan, they dine at KFC Restaurants during the celebration. This is an informative, interesting and fun way to promote recycling.

For those who wish to visit the Upside-Down House and the 3D Museum as well as the Night Market and Ruang Rumah, just drop by the Mile 21, Tamparuli-Ranau Road. They open from 7am to 7pm. More information can be acquired from 088 260 263 or 088 783 911.-BNN