Travelling on our own has become a worldwide trend nowadays! We could easily google interesting places or use the localised mobile tour apps for our travel activity.

If you’ve decided to tour around Sabah, most probably to Ranau or to Kudat by renting a car or a motorbike from the capital city Kota Kinabalu; here is a guide on how to get around, about local culture and custom that might be helpful for you. If you are trekking or cycling through the villages in Sabah, this guide is a must read for you.

Buffalo grazing grass, spotted at Kg Tombung, Kiulu.

Travelling from Kota-Kinabalu to other districts in Sabah is pretty easy. You will not lost easily as the road system here is quite simple. You may also refer to the Google Map or Waze for direction.

There are a few things that you need to be aware of when you’re on the road. One of them is the water buffalo! Yes, the wild domestic water buffalo. They are wild as they are on the loose instead of being confined within a farm. These herds of buffalo are usually belong to someone!

Herd of buffalo spotted at Mengkabong bridge, Tuaran, a few metres before the junction to Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort

So, what is the big deal about this buffalo? No big deal actually unless you accidentally hit one of them while you are on the road! You might be summoned by the villagers to pay a community penalty (known as ‘Sogit’) that could fetch to thousands Ringgit. An adult buffalo is cost around RM2,500-RM3,500 in Sabah. The best advice one could give you is to avoid hitting dead the water buffalo.

Although the chances of bumping into a buffalo is quite slim, it is best to take the necessary precaution rather than being sorry later. Here are some tips on what to do when you encounter them:

1. DON’T HONK! Never honk when there are buffalos nearby. Chances are you’ll be stampeded by them or run into. Buffalo are sensitive to sudden noise and they are not very good with navigation. The moment they are startled, they will run all over the places in all direction.

2. DON’T GO CLOSE TO THEM. They are not very friendly domestic animal. Unless you can talk in animal language, never approach them or get within 2 feet or pat them.

3. If you are interested to photograph them, you may do so from inside your vehicle or from a safe distance. If you insist on taking a selfie with the buffalo, make sure you do not disturb their calmness.

Take photo from a car. Please do not cheer at them.

4. Do not attempt to run if you suddenly are flocked by a herd of buffalo. Just pretend that you are their friend and one of their kind. The moment you start running, they will also run with you and might run you over.

I hope these 4 tips will help you while travelling around Sabah especially when you drive through the villages. Hope you’ll enjoy your Sabah trips, for more story about local people and culture, you may visit Chanteek Borneo Indigenous Museum.

For more beautiful photos on buffalo, you can check MySabah blog.

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