Self-guided travelling has been the trend nowadays. Places of interest can be easily googled or searched through travel advisory apps.

If you are visiting Sabah or popularly known as the North Borneo, especially along the Tuaran to Kota Belud district on bike or using rented car; here’s a tip on how to get around when you encounter a herd of domestic water buffalos.

Herds of buffalos spotted along the Sulaman Highway, few kilometres before Shangri-la Rasa Ria Resort

By right, all the buffalos that you might encounter on the road are belong to someone but they are on the loose as there is no farm or specific farm for them. So we can also called them ‘wild’ as they could get mad when triggered.

So what is the big deal with them? Well, if you accidentally hit one of them, the chances you’ll be summoned by the native penalty is quite hight. The native penalty is known as ‘Sogit‘. Sogit means ‘cool’, paying a ‘Sogit‘ is to remedy one wrongdoing.

The Sogit for hitting dead an adult buffalo is around RM2,500 – RM3,000 or could be higher, it is equivalent to the price of an adult buffalo in the market. However, there are less buffalo roaming the highway nowadays except at the remote villages.

Buffalo and her little ones

In case you’re visiting the remote are or lost your way and you bump into the buffalos, here’s a tips to stay safe:

  1. DON’T HONK. Never honk when there are buffalos nearby. Chances are you’ll be stampeded by them or run into. Buffalo is sensitive to sudden noise they are not very good with navigation. The moment they startled, they will run all over in any direction.
  2. DON’T GO CLOSE TO THEM. They are not friendly animal. If you want to take a selfie with them, keep your distance at least 2-3 metres away from them with silent mode and no flash.
  3. DO NOT RUN if you suddenly find yourself in the middle of the herds. Once you start running, they also run with you in all direction including running to you head to head.

So, I hope this 3 tips would help you with your self-guided trip to Sabah. Enjoy your vacation here, Sabah is a beautiful state within Malaysia where you could experience both nature and culture.

For places of interest in Sabah, please visit Sabah Tourism website.

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