Experiencing Culture Through A Train Ride

A train ride has a particular enchantment about it. Being surrounded by a sound of steel wheels swishing down the rails below, while meeting new people and indulging in local eats.

Introducing the North Borneo Train Thursday and Sunday tour in Sabah that will take you on a 30-minute train ride from Kota Kinabalu to the West Coast Division of Sabah, Papar by a professional Heritage Tourist Guide.

We had the opportunity to experience it with the Sabah Tourist Guide Association in collaboration with Manna Tours & Travel Sdn. Bhd on 27 October 2022. 

We started from Tanjung Aru Station at 8am. Upon arriving, we were given light refreshments and souvenirs of local Sabah snacks, drinks, tour pamphlet and handmade soap.


Before boarding, there were two different train barracks; for the narrative to be conducted in English and Chinese. The train departed at 8.30am sharp. Along the ride, the tour guide shared a story of the historical train and events related to the 124 years old railway. Overall, the train ride took around an hour to reach Papar Train Station.

Upon arrival, we were welcomed with a traditional music performance of the sound of Gong and Kulintangan by the Papar Tourism Association. There were plenty of colourful handicrafts for sale by the local community where you could purchase a Pinakol necklace for RM35. Such a great deal to shop while supporting the local community at the same time.

Moving on, we were divided into groups with each having a professional heritage tourist guide and proceeded for the Heritage Walking Tour. We visited Papar’s oldest streets and learned more about the Papar community, their culture and the town’s oldest buildings.

Next was the Papar Central Market with a variety of vegetables, fruits, local snacks and handicrafts located. There were also several food stalls around the town selling local delicacies such as Nasi Lemak, Hinompuka, fried fritters and more. Not only was the food served hot, it was mouth-watering.

The town tour ended around 11.30 am and we departed to Kota Kinabalu at noon sharp to arrive at Tanjung Aru Train Station at 12.30 pm. All in all, the guided tour took about 4 hours from travelling by train to exploring Papar town. 

It’s a great tour for everyone to have a taste of Papar’s culture and it is also suitable for families with children. Enjoy your weekend away from the busy city once in a while!


What to wear:

  • Comfortable clothing and shoes


Things to bring:

  • Hat
  • Water
  • Umbrella
  • Small fan (optional)


North Borneo Train

No. 26, Wisma HF, Golden Plaza,
Penampang, Sabah, Malaysia

Tel: +60 12-802 8824

Website: https://www.northborneotraintour.com/

Last reviewed: December 14, 2022

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