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People & Culture

Welcome to the Heartland of Bajau, Land of the Horseman.

Kota Belud is an enchanting town located 64KM from Kota Kinabalu. Kota Belud is well-known as “The Heartland Of Bajau”. The Bajau are really as a “Cowboy of the East” because of their expert horseman. You will find out a scenic journey when you visiting to Kota Belud.

One of the place that you must visits at Kota Belud is the weekly Tamu or Wet Market. For the locals, a “PICKUP TRUCK” is one of their way to be at the weekly Tamu and it is the common type of transportation at Kota Belud. The tamu at Kota Belud is start at early at the morning and goes on until afternoon. Apart from vegetables, keychain wear and life seafood, there is also stall that selling local crafts and snacks. At the tamu itself we can find that there are traditional cloths produce by the Iranun community. This cloths is already being one of the popular traditional cloths in many traditional costumes and communities in Sabah including the Kadazan-Dusun that used it for head gear and called “Siga” also known in Iranun words “Tubau”. The traditional local snacks that are well known here at Kota Belud is “Kuih Penjaram” and traditional pack snacks.

Further ahead from the Tamu is Kampung Siasai, home to a Bajau Horseman. The most interesting about the Bajau horseman is its horse. When you look at their horse, this horse has its own costumes with beautiful traditional decoration from the horseman themselves which is called “Kain Kuda”. This “Kain Kuda” is completely cover the horse body except for their eyes and nose. The “Kain Kuda” is tight around the horses leg to keep it tight.

According to the locals, this horse was very important to the Bajau’s life. They needed to catch the buffalos for it to be marked or when a buffalos become aggressive, they would tie it to the horse and that is why the horse is useful and important according to the Bajau community. Besides that, the usefulness of the horses to them is because if they need to travel far away from their hometown, they can ride this horse to their long journey for example ride to the tamu or ride a long journey to the Ranau. The horse to them can withstand during hot weather and can travel a long ride. Other that that, the horses also important to them during a special occasions such as a wedding or someone important that comes to town. Both horseman and their horses wearing beautiful traditional costumes during the special occasions.

Whether you want to enjoy a short trip or long stay at the Kota Belud, be sure to drop by to examine the food and crafts at the Tamu, and see the Bajau horseman during your visits. You will never be regret and the locals is more friendly as you thought. Welcome to heartland of bajau, land of the horseman. Welcome to Kota Belud.

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