Monday June 25, 2007
Rocking round the crocs
By P.K. CHEAH
For a Sabah adventure, all you need is to travel a mere 32km from the Kota Kinabalu city to the Tuaran Crocodile Farm.
Located along the Jalan Sulaman Highway, just a stone's throw away from the Shangrila Rasa Ria Resort, guests will be greeted by a crocodile cartoon painted on the front door and also a smiling, balding man, usually hanging around the main entrance and the ticketing counter.
This man would be Nyo Cho Tong, or better known as Lau Koo.
The Tuaran Crocodile Farm also known as the Crocodile Adventure Land promises a complete Sabah adventure.
It has longhouse replicas of the different races and also a dance troupe that performs cultural dances every day. It is a good wholesome weekend outing for the whole family.
As we hurried along towards the soon to start crocodile show, Lau Koo reminded us to pick up an umbrella each.
It is freely available at the entrance and do not forget to do this if you are planning a visit, as it can get very hot in the afternoon.
The crocodile show stars Bujang Tuaran, Chi-Chi and Rickie. Bujang Tuaran is the biggest of the three crocodiles, weighing 590kg, and is known to be fierce.
Hans Muda, the crocodile handler will attempt to put his hand into Bujang Tuaran’s mouth.
Nelson Muda, another handler will attempt to dance the ‘Sumazau’ a local folk dance with Chi-Chi on his back.
The whole show lasting about 30 minutes includes stunts like brushing the teeth of the crocodile, sleeping on the crocodile and other daredevil stunts.
Being the largest crocodile farm open to visitors in Sabah, the Tuaran Crocodile Farm houses about 1,400 crocodiles.
There are many species of all ages available to be seen by the avid nature lover. Crocodiles are left in their habitat in fenced ponds and visitors can walk around on the walkway on stilts to see the animals.
Several different species are also separated to show the different types of crocodiles available.
There are also a few baby crocodiles available for patting and photographs. These small animals are cute and small but the handlers still need to be present as they can produce quite a bite if agitated.
The farm has 14 in-house dancers and they perform the different dances from the multiple races of Sabah.
The most popular of this is of course the ‘Sumazau” which is a Kadazandusun tribal dance.
This ritual dance is danced on several occasions usually as thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest, a prayer against evil spirits, and also for good health.
The “Magunatip,” a dance by the Murut tribe of Kuhijau is what the public knows as the bamboo dance.
“Magunatip” is derived from the word apit, which means trapped as in getting one’s foot trapped between the bamboo if one does not know the steps and does not follow the rhythm of the music.
This dance is usually performed to highlight any festive occasion. Guests who are interested will be thought some moves of the dance and can try getting their foot trapped between the bamboos.
A little more than a nice chilled bottle of coca-cola on a hot day would be of course some crocodile egg omelette and spring rolls.
Crocodile egg omelette is by special order only and it might be too late to order once you reach the farm, so visitors are advised to call up in advance to order. The taste is like that of normal chicken eggs to me.
Raw crocodile meat is also on sale at the farm.
Visitors will also be able to purchase souvenirs made from different parts of the crocodile.
Items include crocodile teeth, crocodile nails to handbags. Prices range between a ringgit for a crocodile egg shell to a whooping RM 35,888 for a crocodile skin handbag.
The farm is open daily from 8.30am to 5.30pm.
Crocodile show times are at 11.00am and 3.00pm on Mondays to Saturdays, and 11.00am, 1.00pm and 3.00pm on Sundays and public holidays.
Cultural preformances are held right after the crocodile shows. Tickets are priced at RM10 for adults and RM5 for children 4-12 years old.
For further information please contact Taman Buaya Tuaran Sdn. Bhd., Kampung Lok Batik, Jalan Sulaman Highway, 89207 Tuaran, Sabah. Tel. no. 088-793376, 088-793377, 013-8508818 (Lau Koo).
Meet Sabah’s own Crocodile Dundee