Pasar Pagi or Morning Market is common in any towns in Sabah. Vendors set up their own booths at assigned location and sell their own stuffs on Thursday morning between 7:00am to 1:00pm.
This morning market is in the new town district of Papar, on an empty square surrounded by shop houses. Vendors pay a small fee (between RM5- RM10 per day) to the local council will be able to make a profit by selling their stuff here. Most of the vendors are farmers from nearby villages. They cultivated their own vegetables, fruits, plants, and meats sell them in this weekly market. So, the locals can buy fresh produces straight from the farmers. Papar has been maintaining cleanliness and hygienic environment in the open market for the pass few years. So, you will expect to shop in a clean market with a variety of fresh produce and local cook foods.
Among the popular produces are tomato, local banana, local vegetable like sweet kangkung, local potato, and dalap (local fruit). Locals often buy plants' species to plant their own vegetables or fruits in their backyards.
Either you take the train or car to Papar town, you will first see the steel bridge for cars and trains to cross the Papar river. It is situated part of the main highway between KK to Beaufort. Papar is a center town between the two important places. Sometimes, people are just driving by Papar between KK and Beaufort.
Our parents never allowed us to near the river. In fact, I had two schoolmates drown in this river when I was 13. They went to play in the river after school, turnout it was a tragedy and the whole town knew it. Some said there were underwater ghosts that pulled them into the river. I believe there are kids still go swimming in the river, but good luck to them!
My parents always told us back in the old time, there were no pipe water. My father had to go down the river to get water for the family. It always reminds us that what we have today is a blessing, we should treasure it and don't complaint too much!
Padang or Field is located north end of the town. You can walk north on the main street from the City Hall, you will see the Padang with Dewan or Hall. This is one of the important places to host important events like school sport days, welcoming place for important ministers, or Chinese Moonlight festivals, and etc. On a normal day, locals come here to do running, playing football, hockey, and cycling.
The padang is line up with palm trees and a great place to take photos.
Our family or locals enjoy breakfast with noodle or "gan rou mian". A bowl of noodle can be either in soup or dry with house sauce. There are several types of noodle to choose from, yellow noodle, thin noodle, Kway Teow (flat noodle), and mee hoon (rice noodle). Each restaurant or noodle vendor has their own sauce to serve their noodle dish. The bowl of noodle serves with Chinese BBQ pork slices, meat balls, fish cakes, chicken slices.
Wen Fang Kopitiam is a new noodle restaurant but well-known chef in town, located in the new town district of Papar, walking distant from the Railway Station. The shop is located just right opposite Yun Seng Bookstore. If you are not sure, just ask anyone about the bookstore. On Thursday, the morning market is in front of the shop (shown in the picture).
The chef is originally from Peninsular Malaysia. He has lived in Papar since I was a little boy, 80s. His restaurant was originally in the old shop houses, and most local Chinese and Kandazan in town love his noodles. Only recently, he moved his shop to the new town district of Papar.
In West Malaysia, they call it wanton mee, but in Sabah we call gan rou mian.
A bowl of noodle will cost between RM 4.50 to RM5.00 (Less than US$2).
Note For Muslim: It is non-halal!
Papar Railway Station is located in south of town center, right opposite the City Hall. It is walking distant to see the old shop-lots, schools, churches, football field and etc. The bus station is just next to the railway station.
The North Borneo Railway Train has been up-graded to have a modern air-condition carriage. It was started operating in February 2011 with two trains each day. Unfortunately, due to an railway accident on 31st Oct 2011, one of the trains has been burned out and remain one train is running each day.
Tanjung Aru Railway Station (KK) at 7:45am and reach Papar Railway Station at 8:28am.
Papar Railway Station at 12:15pm and reach Tanjung Aru Station (KK) at 1:00pm
Fare: RM 1.85 per adult / RM0.95 per Child
A more luxury option: North Borneo Railway
Fare: RM 290 per adult / RM 185 per Child.
Sabah has many beaches that unknown or undiscovered by many people. If it is is peninsular Malaysia, it could turn into another tourist town. I believe Sabah State has many strict law that restrict foreign investors to build hotel or resort in the state. That could be one of the reasons why we still can find untouched clean sandy beach in the state.
I and my sister were driving from Papar to Beaufort along the highway of Sabah east coast. We knew there is a beach along the drive, so I suggested to stop somewhere to see the beach. So, we found this exit to the Borneo Resort (a private resort cater mostly Koreans clienteles). We were driving by the Resort Golf Course, and reached the clean sandy beach at the end of the small road.
On the beach, we saw a long coast line with sandy beach and constant waves. We had the entire beach by our own. It is nice to play or swim in the water at this sunny tropical weather.
But we did not prepare to swim,so maybe next time : ))