"My Little Hometown!!" Papar by cal6060

Papar Travel Guide: 10 reviews and 65 photos

Background :-

Papar is a district in the West Coast of Sabah state in Malaysia. The downtown of Papar is also named Papar. Papar town is about 38KM south of Kota Kinabalu downtown, or KK, and about 45KM north of Beaufort along the coast. The population here is less than 200,000 with diverse ethnic backgrounds. The majority of the populations here is Malay, Kadazan, and Chinese. Others include Bajau, Filipinos, Pakistani, and Indian. Most of Malays and Kadazans were mostly farmers in the villages, but though education and development, a lot of them have been working as government servants like teachers, politicians, administrations and etc. Most Chinese of Hakka live in downtown running own business for generations. The stereotype will slowly change as Malays started doing their own business, especially running restaurants, or street vendors and the young Chinese are leaving town to a bigger city like KK, KL or even overseas. Kadazans and Malays are leaving town to KK to work in banks, private cooperation, and etc. The farmlands in Papar are slowly abandoned or developed with more shop-lots or commercial premises.

Most tourists come to Papar through North Borneo Railway, an expensive customize railway service stopover. They spent about 20 minutes to walk around to see the old shop-lots and market. Yeah, the best way to see Papar is either taking a train ride to see villages, mountains, farmland, and walk around town to see the old shop-lots. In fact, Papar beach is about 10-minutes drive from the town. It used to be our favorite place for a weekend outing and school trips. I had spent an overnight camping trip there for a new year countdown with some old good friends during high school.

How To Get Here!

Other than the North Borneo Railway, the Sabah State Railway train can get you a 30-minute pleasant ride with comfortable seats, passing through several towns with views of the seaside, mountains, old shop houses, paddy field, local villages and houses. It costs you RM1.85 each way. The train will depart at the Tanjung Aru Railway Station at 07:45 and 13:40 every day. And the train will return to the Tanjung Aru Railway Station at 12:16 and 18:23 everyday.

If you don't wish to spend that much of the time in Papar, you can always catch a local bus next to the Railway Station back to Kota Kinabalu. The buses have more frequencies to Kota Kinabalu.

While visiting downtown Papar, you will expect to see old wooded shop houses built by the Chinese immigrants, mostly originally from Southern China of the Hakka. By talking to some seniors in town, I have learned the Chinese have been settled in this town since 1930s. Papar was a fishing village without shops and common facilities. Without much support, they could only survive by working in a farmland or fishing like others. Once they saved enough, they would start a small business selling something on a street. By trade and business, they develop from a street vendor to shop owners and built their own community in this little town with their own schools, markets, Chinese Chamber of Commerce, club, churches, Chinese Temples and etc.

I was growing up as a child in this Hakka community. Despite I could understand the Hakka language, but it was not a practice for us to speak the language at home, We speak Mandarin at home and a bit of Hakka to friends who don't speak Mandarin. That's how I could understand and speak a little of the Hakka. It would be a huge advantage for me while visiting Fujian Tulou in China as I could understand the local language.

My family also owns a shop in town running own business. Since I was 12, I had been helping my parents to look after their shop in order to cut their cost down by not hiring more workers. Unlike other friends in town, they have their own time after school, but we were responsible to take turns helping my parents to their business. Despite I had an untypical childhood of a middle class family, but I always feel blessed growing up in this family in this little town with love. I was lucky enough that my parents could send me to study in the U.S.A after high school. With the education I have, I could have my own life in a city and had the freedom to travel the world.

Despite I don't have any amazing historical stories to tell you about Papar, but I hope you would consider visiting the little town that I was growing up as a side trip from Kota Kinabalu.


The Photo ~~~
" Liang Yung Hua Old Noodle Shop is one of the old shops of Hakka Immigrant, selling noodle for 4 generations. It was our childhood memory as my father used to bring us here for supper "

  • Last visit to Papar: Feb 2014
  • Intro Updated Feb 7, 2014
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Reviews (12)

Comments (2)

  • davidjo's Profile Photo
    Feb 5, 2014 at 1:55 AM

    Your hometown looks like a lovely place to live, especially with such a beautiful beach.

  • AngMimi's Profile Photo
    Oct 30, 2012 at 8:26 AM

    Nice hometown, Richard. I passed Papar town when I visited KK two years ago.

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