Travelling to Kg. Widu, sited at the border of Tambunan and Ranau is an adventure by itself. From Tambunan township, the 54-kilometre journey takes one through the countryside, dotted periodically by hamlets and paddy fields as well as lush tropical rainforests and the occasional rubber plantation.
The jungles are lush reminiscent of the olden days when people extracted what they wanted from it without cutting down everything. There are rubber trees growing with other woods. The undulating road on the hilly terrains make travelling an enjoyable and enjoyable endeavour.
And then one will come to a junction and that’s where the next 21 kilometres of travel starts on a dirt winding road, strewn with gravel. The narrow road meanders through the jungle, where branches and other vegetation brush the four wheel vehicle as we travel. Along the road one there are small huts, standard houses with food plants planted around it.
When we hit a particularly isolated area, the sound of birds and insects fill the air, lulling one into thinking that one is travelling in time instead of to a destination. The jungle on each side is thick and at times brooding.
Reaching Widu Resort is like reaching the ultimate destination, as it is an oasis of clearing within the forest. The four buildings, mainly a stage, a longhouse and a family-type longhouse as well as the eatery look welcoming and one subtly feels like coming home.
Our host, Linus Gunsilou, is the typical Dusun man, courteous and friendly but subtly assertive. He welcomes us with his smile, ushering us into the eatery for a welcome drink of choice; coffee, tea or milo.
He assigns us to our ‘apartment’ , a two room establishment with a very good bathroom; something we all needed after the long drive.
Two of the products that Linus is actively promoting is the River Trek and the Cold Bubbling water and mud.
The bubbling water and mud is found at the roadside towards the river. The mud is akin to those found in Pulau Tiga and Tabin Wildlife Reserve. It is believed to promote smooth flawless skin when applied. It is also believed to be good against bites and allergies on skin.
Linus takes us to another bubbling pond, a little down the hill, where paddy used to thrive. The water bubbles from the mud, as if it is boiling hot but it is barely tepid upon touching. This is actually something wondrous to most of us, who cannot resist touching the water.
A few minutes later we came to the river. This river is crystal clear and fast flowing, rather cold, but it invites splashing in. Everyone sighs and wishes they brought extra change but we all didn’t remember to take one.
River trekking is a wonderful experience especially when you are in a crowd of enthusiastic people. Linus is accompanied by his friends including the village development community officer (MPKK) chief.
The river has stones in many interesting shapes and sizes. We find heart-shaped rocks, brown crystal embedded in a slab of stone, a stone that has a foot print on it and stones with all sorts of patterns on its surface. Our companions keep on showing us all types of pretty and interesting rocks that if we had taken all of them, we would not have space in our vehicle for them.
“The Widu River is called Widu which means that this river will change course everytime it floods; Widu or Midu-idu means it goes to another place. Thus the name Widu. This river is joined by Kirokot River,” Linus shares as he walks along us on the pebbly banks.
As we walk downstream, he shares that the end of the river trek is at the waterfalls and that means we have to walk about three kilometres, both ways in the trek. It is however a wondrous experience, where we watch butterflies fluttering around a rock, birds twittering in the tree tops and the ever ‘chuckle’ of water bubbling on the river bed.
Activities by tourists here can include watching and looking at the flora and fauna along the river banks, as well as enjoying a swim or a dip in the deeper side of the river. We suggest to Linus that he can implement rock painting activities for guests who are so inclined. They have pretty rocks to paint on. Tourists can actually paint rocks big enough to decorate the station they have by the river.
And then we hit the waterfalls. It is quite surreal to be on the wrong end of a waterfall. You stand on the biggest rock and look down at the cascades at the other side. The waterfalls roar as they hit the rocks below. The fine mist of water from them creates a surreal feel, an otherworldly feeling. It is awesome to say the least.
The trek back is the same as the trek in as we battle the current. Everyone is sighing with happiness and awe at being so close to nature; some of which can be merciless as one wrong step can render one underwater, pushed by strong currents.
Wearied but enthusiastic we go for our lunch. This is another tourism product that can be promoted as they serve traditional food. I simply love the finely pounded ‘tuhau’ and jackfruit vegetables. They are something I can eat everyday. My companions, Paul Mu of New Sabah Times, Kathirina Tati, an author and a hotelier and blogger Ain Zainal of sultanasaltysugar.blogspot.com all agree that the food is sumptuous and the adventure for the day commendable.
Information on widu resort packages can be acquired from Linus Gonsilou at 019 8831568.-BNN