Visit Ranau

Ranau the most popular town in Sabah, located 110km from Kota Kinabalu,Capital City of Sabah. Ranau was famous for Kinabalu National Park, Hot Spring and Kundasang Memorial Park. The citizen of Ranau comprise of Dusun, Chienese and Indian. Lodging is really easy to find from Kinabalu National Park to Telupid city. " Enjoy your stay at Ranau and please come again soon " Thanks: Admin

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ranau Sabah

Ranau Sabah

Ranau is a district as well as a town in the East Malaysian state of Sabah on the island of Borneo and it is situated in the West Coast Division of Sabah. According to 2000 Population Census estimates, the population of the district was 70,649 with 86.66% of the population is ethnic Dusun.

Located at an altitude of 1176m above sea level, Ranau is known for its hilly geographical structure and is the largest producer of highland vegetables in the state of Sabah. Apart from agriculture, Ranau is a must see tourism destination and has many wonderful places such as Mount Kinabalu, Poring Hot Springs, Kundasang War Memorial, Sabah Tea Garden and much more. Malaysia's first UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Kinabalu National Park is also located here.


The origin of the name "Ranau" comes from the Dusun word "Ranahon" which means paddy fields. Usually the Dusun people who live in the highland grow rice on the hills (called tumo/dumo in Dusun), however, for those who live in the lowland of Ranau, they cultivate rice in watery paddy fields. Over time, “Ranahon” is shortened to “Ranau” and since the central district administration is nearer to the lowland, the name “Ranau” is adopted as the official name for the district.

Meanwhile, in the district level, Ranau is governed under a district office form of local government headed by a District Officer. Since 2009, the District Officer of Ranau is Haji Faimin Kamin. There is only a Magistrates’ Court in the district but there is also a Native Court, having jurisdiction on matters of native law and custom. Normally, each village will have a Village Head working as a leader, together with a Village Development and Safety Committee carrying out activities pertaining to the villagers’ interests.

Ranau district is divided into 14 sub-districts and each sub-district is divided into villages (Malay: kampung, abbreviation: kg.). There are a total of 212 villages in Ranau. The following are the 14 sub-districts in Ranau with its respective villages in order of proximity to Ranau township:


The majority of Ranau population is composed of the Dusun natives. There is a small population of Chinese of Hakka, Hokkien and others Chinese descent who have settled for a fairly long time in Ranau. In addition, there are also people from other ethnicities as well, such as Malay, Kadazan, Bajau, Murut and other natives. Due to Ranau’s status as an agriculture-based district, there are a sizeable number of foreign workers from Indonesia and the Philippines working as labors in large farms and plantations. Indians make up a very small number of Ranau population.

The multiethnic composition of Ranau population has resulted in many interracial marriages notably the Sino-Dusun and so on.

Most Ranau people speak the Sabahan Malay dialect but the Dusun language is primarily spoken as well especially among the older generations. Mandarin and Chinese dialects especially Hakka is spoken among the Chinese community and native languages of the other ethnicities can be heard as well. English is more or less spoken and understood by the younger generations and the locals who work in the professional sectors.

Ranau has never experienced any major religious tensions and all people practice their beliefs with much freedom. This is partly because both Islam and Christian missionaries arrived in the district about the same time in the early 20th century but the mainly Europeans and Australians Christian missionaries actually took the trouble to know which villages that have majority of its villagers converted to Islam thanks to the teachings of the mainly Javanese Islam preachers. And so, the Christian missionaries avoided these villages but continued to seek other villages that had not received any visit from any religious groups yet, thus, preached Christian from thereon.

As a result, Ranau has an irregular pattern of religion distribution where Christian-majority villages and Muslim-majority villages are located side by side and so on and also, no sub-districts are 100% dominated by any religion. Even a Christian-majority village may have a Muslim household or two and vice-versa with a Muslim-majority village. This unique social make-up has resulted in good religion understanding between the people of Ranau.edit]Economy

Ranau is an important agricultural and tourism center in Sabah and this two sectors have been the main economy backbone for the district. Most of the tourism business are centered around the highlands of Kundasang, a sub-district in Ranau while agriculture business is widespread all over Ranau. Therefore most people of Ranau work as farmers or operators of their own business although there are white-collar workers as well mainly in the government sectors such health, education, service and administration and a few in the banking sector.


The moderate temperature of the Ranau highlands coupled with its fertile soil has been fully utilized by farmers to grow different types of vegetables and fruits such as cabbage, spring onion, tomato, lettuce, carrot and to a certain extent cauliflower, capsicum and many others. Strawberry has been successfully cultivated here and there were attempts in growing apple as well although the result has been varying. Flowers of different species are also planted here for commercial purposes.

Kundasang also boasts a dairy farm owned by Desa Cattle (Sabah) Sdn. Bhd company located at Mesilau.


Hotels, resorts, motels and lodging houses can be found concentrated nearer to the Kinabalu National Park. Not only do these facilities improved the growth of tourism business by attracting more visitors to stay longer but the local residents have also benefited as more jobs have been created for them.

Among the well-known hotels in Kundasang are the Mount Kinabalu Heritage Resort & Spa and Kinabalu Pine Resort. A new 5-star hotel called the Royal Kinabalu Mountain Resort & Hotel Suites located 800 meters from the entrance of Kinabalu Park is currently undergoing construction.[1]

During weekends and school holidays, lots of tourist buses and vans plus private cars from Sarawak and Brunei can be seen heading to Ranau.

[edit]Other business
Apart from that, other business such as restaurants, superstores such as Milimewa and G-Mart, grocery shops, clothing stores, handphone shops and cyber cafes are mainly operated within the township area. CIMB Bank and Bank Simpanan Nasional each have their branch in Ranau. The only fast food restaurant in Ranau is KFC.


All primary schools and secondary schools in Ranau are public schools although a small private school for secondary school students do exist and a number of privately-owned kindergartens well. The Ranau Education Office is comprised of 11 secondary schools and 67 primary schools.

There is only one Chinese national-type school in Ranau which is Ranau Pei Wen Primary School (Chinese: 蘭腦培文小學; pinyin: lán nǎo péi wén xiǎo xué) and two schools with Christian missionaries background, St. Benedict's Ranau Primary School in the town area and Don Bosco Bundu Tuhan Primary School in Kg. Bundu Tuhan. Apart from the typical primary schools, there are also Islamic primary schools that cater to Islamic education for primary students.For Islamic secondary school, there are only two such schools in the district i.e. the SMA Mohammad Ali Ranau in Kg. Lohan and SMA Al-Irsyadiah Marakau Ranau in Kg. Marakau.

The oldest national secondary school in Ranau is Dato Paduka Mat Salleh Ranau Secondary School while the oldest primary school is Ranau Town Primary School. Among the newly bulit schools in Ranau are Ranau Secondary School and Kilimu Primary School.


A number of festive celebrations observed by Ranau people can be seen celebrated throughout the year, be it religious or cultural celebrations and among them, the major ones are Tadau Kaamatan (Harvest Festival), Hari Raya Aidifitri (Eid ul-Fitr, (Arabic: عيد الفطر ‘Īdu l-Fiṭr‎)), Hari Krismas/Natal (Christmas), and Tahun Baru Cina (Chinese New Year, (Chinese: 農曆新年; pinyin: nóng lì xīn nián)).

Tadau Kaamatan is an annual event celebrated by the Dusun people in Ranau district in the month of May although the exact date is subject to change each year but as with any district level Kaamatan celebration, the date precedes the Sabah state level Kaamatan celebration which falls on May 30 and May 31 every year. However, it is interesting to note that, at village level, the Kaamatan may be celebrated as late as June or July depending on their own preferences.

Originally a ritualistic event, Kaamatan was usually marked by strict observance of animistic rituals and rites to be performed to appease the spirit of rice at the end of the harvesting season. Nevertheless, today, Kaamatan is more akin to Thanksgiving as the majority of Dusun people have converted to mainstream religion although some still pratice the rituals and rites but rarely to be seen.

Among the highlights of Kaamatan events which usually attract the most people are Sugandoi (singing competition) and Unduk Ngadau (cultural beauty queen pageant) while traditional sports competitions are also held.

During Hari Raya Aidifitri, open houses are the norm, with Ranau people, regardless of religion, visiting the houses of their Muslim relatives and friends to mark the celebration. Like many other Christians in Asia, Christmas is still being observed in a religious fashion where churches usually hold congregation throughout the Christmas week with the highlights on Christmas Eve and Christmas Mass. Carolling can also be seen done among the younger generations although they only visit houses where they are invited to carol. Open houses and Mass, usually by the Ranau Council of Churches where different Christians denominations celebrate together and by Christian politicians can also be seen.

Chinese New Year is celebrated mainly by the Chinese community and during the week of the celebration, one can hear and watch the Ranau Lion Dance team visiting Chinese people houses throughout the Ranau town and its vicinities to perform the dance accompanied by its trademark musical instrument performance of drums, cymbals and gongs as well.

Other celebration includes the Paskah (Good Friday) where one would normally see the Christians in the district going to church congregations during the Holy Week with its culmination is on Good Friday to Holy Saturday and usually ends on Easter Sunday. Meanwhile, another religious celebration that can be observed here is the Hari Raya Aidiladha (Eid al-Adha, (Arabic: عيد الأضحى‎ ‘Īdu l-’Aḍḥā).


The Kundasang War Memorial Display Garden has plants and flowers from Borneo, Australia and Great Britain. Ranau was the terminus of the infamous Sandakan Death Marches of World War II. Kundasang is a sub-district within Ranau district.

Ranau is the largest producer of highland vegetables in the state of Sabah. Some of it are exported to Sarawak, Brunei and Labuan. Its tea products are exported to US and the Philippines. Tamu , held every Wednesday, Saturday and the 1st day of the month, is a place for the people to sell, buy, occasionally barter trade and meeting old friends. Lots of fresh local produces from all over the districts are up for sale. Middlemens from around the state with vans, trucks and lorries can be seen loading vegetables and fruits, ready to transport them out to other cities and towns.

Ranau used to be the largest producer of cooper in the 70s until the closure of the Mamut Copper Mine in late 90s as the copper ore had been fully mined.

Story Arrangement By: Go Ranau Admin
Picture By: Harry George
Sources: Wikipedia

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