Thanks to the her eclectic melting pot of culture, Sabah is as much a food haven as it is a nature haven! If this is your first time coming to Sabah, check out this list of some of the food to try out while you’re here! Ngiu Chap Be sure to try the famous ngiu […]
Thanks to the her eclectic melting pot of culture, Sabah is as much a food haven as it is a nature haven! If this is your first time coming to Sabah, check out this list of some of the food to try out while you’re here!
Be sure to try the famous ngiu chap, which means ‘mixed beef’. Consisting a combination of minced beef balls, beef slices, tripe, tendon, tongue and other parts of the cow (or buffalo), this signature Sabah dish is usually served with noodles in a delicious beef broth.
Soto is a Javanese / Indonesian-style beef soup served with noodles. Like ngiu chap, the beef broth is strong and flavourful and you can have your noodles with a combination of chicken, beef, tripe or tendon. To truly enjoy the tender and juicy meat of this Javanese dish, try Sup Tulang (which literally means ‘bone soup’) or Sup Ekor (oxtail soup). Some say this is the perfect hangover cure!
Rojak is a noodle dish served with hearty peanut sauce, beef slices and boiled egg. Like soto, this is a popular Javanese / Indonesian dish eaten by all communities in Sabah. In Peninsular Malaysia, Rojak is a vegetable and fruit salad served with peanut sauce. Soto and Rojak are available at most Malay coffee shops – see ‘Malay Food’ section below.
Beaufort mee is Chinese-style fried home-made local yellow noodles from the district of Beaufort, served with your choice of meat or seafood and a generous amount of crunchy and fresh choy-sim (Chinese greens).
A real Malaysian favourite and great snack or a hearty meal. Popular choices are beef and chicken, and they are enjoyed fresh off the flame and dipped in a delicious peanut sauce. For a more fulfilling meal, ask for a serving of ketupat (pulut rice cooked with coconut milk) to go with it.
Available at most Malay / Muslim coffee shops or food stalls, nasi campur (mixed rice) is a favourite Malaysian lunch that is cheap, fast and convenient. Diners pick and choose from a variety of dishes – anything from ikan assam pedas (sour and spicy fish), stir-fried pakis (local ferns) with dried shrimps, soya sauce beef to hinava – to go with their steamed white rice.
A typical meal with three different types of dishes usually costs around RM5.00-7.00 but prices vary according to the type (of meat or vegetable) and amount of food taken. To be sure, ask the restaurant staff before making your dish selection. Useful tip: Turn up around 11-11.30 am to avoid the lunchtime crowd and to enjoy steaming hot freshly-cooked food!
Traditional Kadazandusun Delights – Seen above are three different kinds of popular Kadazandusun pickled dishes which are normally eaten as a side dish or accompaniment in a main meal:
Hinava – raw fish dressed in lime juice, shallots and ginger;
Tuhau – young shoots of a kind of ginger, mixed with lime juice, onions and chillies &
Bambangan – sour, mango-like fruit served together with its seed called badu.
To sample all these and more in a day, sign up for our KK City Food Tour!
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Every once in a while, everyone needs to break away from civilization and delve into the thrilling world of magnificent trees, majestic mountains and sometimes, creepy crawlies for a refreshing jungle trekking expedition. Luckily for us, Sabah is blessed with an abundance of trekking playgrounds to get down and dirty in—just be sure to have your […]
Every once in a while, everyone needs to break away from civilization and delve into the thrilling world of magnificent trees, majestic mountains and sometimes, creepy crawlies for a refreshing jungle trekking expedition. Luckily for us, Sabah is blessed with an abundance of trekking playgrounds to get down and dirty in—just be sure to have your leech socks ready.
Here are six places to tick off in your adventure:
1. Miki Survival Camp
This so-called survival boot camp is situated in Mohan Tuhan, Ranau—at the foothill of Mount Kinabalu. Surrounded by primary forest, Mohan Tuhan is protected mainly because it serves as the source of food and water to the nearby villages.
Miki Survival Camp is ideal for light-trekkers as the journey to the campsite only takes circa one-and-a-half to two hours. The friendly guides will teach you basic jungle survival skills, such as making hunting traps, identifying edible plants and making delicious meals from scratch. You will also get the opportunity to see rare flora and fauna during the most-anticipated night walk.
2. Maliau Basin
One of the best-known trekking destinations in Sabah, the ‘Lost World of Sabah’ is famous for its unique basin-like shape, which is almost the size of Singapore. It is reported that less than 50 per cent of the basin has been discovered since its discovery in 1947.
Aside from being rich in biodiversity, Maliau Basin also has the largest number of waterfalls in Malaysia; which include the spectacular seven-tier Maliau Falls and the serenely secluded Giluk Falls. A word of caution, trekking in Maliau Basin can take up to five days and it clearly isn’t for those with shabby fitness.
The view from Mount Trus Madi
Bordered by the districts of Ranau, Tambunan and Keningau, Trus Madi is the ideal place for adventure travelers who are looking for a taste of hardcore trekking. Mount Trus Madi, which is situated within the forest reserve, is the second highest peak in Sabah and Malaysia—standing at 2,642 meters above sea level.
Trekking to the top of the Trus Madi peak requires a great deal of physical and mental tenacity as you will be facing obstacles in the form of muddy and slippery slopes. The ultimate Spartan test would be bunking at the notoriously anti-luxurious canvas covered makeshift campsite.
4. Long Pasia
Located at the far end of the Sipitang district and straddling on the Sabah-Sarawak-Kalimantan borders is the idyllic Long Pasia village. Nestled in a remote part of Sabah, Long Pasia is exquisitely unique due to its rawness.
Here, the villagers are mostly self-subsisting farmers and electricity is mainly solar powered. It is a picture of Sabahan utopia, therefore, makes it an excellent place to experience village homestay. The pristine rainforest of Long Pasia is home to impressive waterfalls, various species of plants and wildlife, and it is also protected under the World Wildlife Fund’s (WWF) Heart of Borneo (HoB) project.
The gorgeous green playground of the Danum Valley Conservation Area
One of the richest conservation sites in the world, the Danum Valley Conservation Area reportedly has 200 species of trees thriving on each hectare square of its land on average. This vast nature treasure, which lies in Lahad Datu, is home to a large number of endangered species such as the Sumatran rhino, pygmy elephant, clouded leopard and banteng.
Adding to its verdant wonders and spectacular waterfalls, some interesting historical relics have also been found here. Several wooden coffins and ancient artifacts that were found here suggested that the valley had once upon a time been a Kadazandusun burial site.
6. Tawau Hills Park
One of Tawau’s most popular destinations, Tawau Hills Park offers an easy trekking route for those who are looking for a leisurely stroll, while getting up-close and personal with nature.
Apart from light trekking, this park also makes a great spot for family picnics and outdoor camping activities. Not big on camping? There are comfortable basic chalets available too. There are plenty of interesting nature trails in the park, some of which will lead you to hot springs and scenic waterfalls. Also, don’t forget to see the tallest tropical tree in the world that stands at 88.32 meters tall here.
Get in touch with us to book your trekking tour!
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While Sabah is well known for her spectacular sights and wonders of nature, there is also something else that makes Sabah a destination to-die-for: glorious food! The city capital of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu is teeming with places to eat as well as large varieties of cuisines to sample – ranging from local favourites to international […]
While Sabah is well known for her spectacular sights and wonders of nature, there is also something else that makes Sabah a destination to-die-for: glorious food!
The city capital of Sabah, Kota Kinabalu is teeming with places to eat as well as large varieties of cuisines to sample – ranging from local favourites to international delights. Enjoy as we take you for a spin along the gastronomically enticing KK food trail.
Sang Nyuk Mien (pork noodle soup) (non-halal)
Ask the average Sabahan abroad of what makes them dream of home the most and chances are, you will hear these three words. Essentially a dish of stewed pork meat (with the option of including organ meat) served with noodles, sang nyuk mien is the ultimate Sabahan comfort food – topped with sinfully luscious lard-ladden broth and zhu you zha (pork cracklings which is made into a paste). It is even better when teamed up with sprinklings of homemade chili!
Where to indulge?
Kedai Kopi Jia Siang, Lintas Plaza (tel: 016-8303435) and Kedai Kopi Melanian, Gaya Street (tel: 012-8382888).
Ngiu Chap (beef noodle soup)
The iconic ngiu chap is Sabah’s answer to the universal beef stew dish. A dish almost identical to the Vietnamese pho, the ngiu chap consists of sliced beef and meatballs, with the option of adding organ meat such as tripe, tendon and liver. It is normally served with noodles, although you can also have it with rice if you like.
Where to indulge?
Kedai Kopi Lee Sheng, Hilltop (tel: 019-8100698) and Kedai Kopi Loi Hin, Donggongon (tel: 088-712136). Both establishments serve no pork.
Beaufort mee (non-halal)
Sabah offers a lot of micro-diversity even when it comes to food, all thanks to its melting pot of ethnic groups and cultural background. One of the lovely byproduct of diversity is the Beaufort mee, a dish invented by the Hakka community in the Interior Division of Sabah. In appearance, the Beaufort mee looks somewhat similar to the wattan hor (wet fried noodle), except that its thick gravy doesn’t contain egg white and it is usually topped with a generous amount of veggie. The Beaufort mee is usually served with slices of pork meat or char siew (barbecued pork).
Where to indulge?
Kedai Kopi New Man T ai, Jalan Bundusan (tel: 088-717930) and Kedai Kopi Yu Hing, City Mall (tel: 088-484747).
Sabah-style Tom yum noodle
If you’re used to having the traditional Thai-style tom yum noodle, trying the Sabah-style tom yum noodle will surprise you! Unlike the traditional tom yum, Sabahan tom yum generally has thicker broth, which is added with either evaporated milk or santan (coconut milk). The result is a richer and more filling broth that is simply delicious! Sabahan tom yum is mainly served with seafood such as fish slices and fresh prawn. It is a wonderful bowl of spicy, tangy and creaminess all rolled into one.
Where to indulge?
Kedai Kopi Seng Hing, Sinsuran (tel: 088-211594) and Kedai Kopi Janggut, Hilltop (tel: 016-8413849)
Coffee, tea and pastries
For teatime fancies and delectable cakes and scones over a cuppa, KK offers some of the coziest venues for a daytime soiree. Swing by popular hang out spots like Lady BonBon Patisserie, Lintas Plaza (tel: 013-8861368) and Café De Vie, Metro Town Kolombong (tel: 088-393863). Both establishments serve no pork.
Late night makan spots
Having trouble sleeping off the late night munchies? Have no fear because KK just also happens to be the city that never stops eating. You can get your supper fix at the Lido night market Food Court (open until 4am) that offers the famous luk luk (mobile steamboat) favourites, or you can explore the Sinsuran Pasar Malam (night market), which is open till midnight for a variety of fresh grilled seafood and other hawker-style gastronomic delights.
For an exclusive and customised food tour around KK City, sign up for our KK City & Food Tour!
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Less than one hour away from Kampung Gombizau is the Sumangkap village (92 kilometers and 2 hours drive away from Kota Kinabalu) which is famous for its gong-making cottage industry. The gong is the most important Rungus musical instrument which is played during festivities and grand occasions such as weddings. The gongs that are sold […]
Less than one hour away from Kampung Gombizau is the Sumangkap village (92 kilometers and 2 hours drive away from Kota Kinabalu) which is famous for its gong-making cottage industry.
The gong is the most important Rungus musical instrument which is played during festivities and grand occasions such as weddings. The gongs that are sold in Kampung Sumangkap vary in sizes—visitors can expect to find tiny souvenirs ones with different shapes and unique designs (price ranging from RM30 to RM40) as well as large ones that can reach up to 2 meters wide in diameter.
For large groups of visitors, the villagers of Kampung Sumangkap will often hold cultural performances in the Kampung Sumangkap Community Hall where the kulintangan (a set of different sized gongs producing different sounds) is to be played.
Here, visitors will also have the opportunity to witness the method of gong making by the professional gong makers in the village. The gong factory is open daily including public holidays from 8.30am to 5.30pm. A visit to Kg. Sumangkap is included in our Northern Tip of Borneo – Kudat day tour package.
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As a melting pot of more than 37 ethnic races throughout the state, Sabah has people of various different religions living together in perfect harmony. The majority of people in Sabah are Muslims (approximately 66 per cent), followed by the Christian community which represents more than 26 per cent and the rest being Buddhists and […]
As a melting pot of more than 37 ethnic races throughout the state, Sabah has people of various different religions living together in perfect harmony.
The majority of people in Sabah are Muslims (approximately 66 per cent), followed by the Christian community which represents more than 26 per cent and the rest being Buddhists and people of other religions. Religion, no doubt, has played a big role in shaping the community and its socio-cultural aspect.
Having the second largest number of followers in Sabah, the arrival of Islam dated way back to the Brunei Sultanate era in the 15th century when Brunei extended its reign to Sabah. The first indigenous Sabahan people to embrace Islam were the Bajau people. Today, the Muslim community mainly comprises of the Bajau, Bisaya, Brunei, Cocos, Iranun and Orang Sungai ethnics.
The influence of Islam in Sabah is most visible in the celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Aidiladha, which also leads to the culture of visiting homes to strengthen friendship and relations among relatives. Apart from that, the arrival of Islam has also imparted Sabah with important and unique artifacts such as the ‘Tepak Sireh / Celapa’ Betel nut Container Box, Rehal (Qur’an stand) and ceramic decoration with Qur’an writing.
If you’re looking for a holistic cultural experience in Sabah in conjunction with the Harvest Festival month of May, the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) Cultural Village makes an ideal destination. Situated only 15 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu city, a tour around this cultural village will give you an interesting overview of the ethnic groups […]
If you’re looking for a holistic cultural experience in Sabah in conjunction with the Harvest Festival month of May, the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) Cultural Village makes an ideal destination. Situated only 15 minutes away from Kota Kinabalu city, a tour around this cultural village will give you an interesting overview of the ethnic groups in Sabah.
Led by knowledgeable guides, visitors will be brought into each house that is nestled in the cultural village and guided through the tour on the lifestyles of different ethnic groups in earlier years, as well as certain traditional customs that are still practiced today.
There are mainly four traditional houses in the KDCA Cultural Village, namely the Dusun Tindal Kota Belud house, the Papar house, the Rungus house, and the Murut house. Each house is meant to exhibit the unique and different traditions of the ethnic tribe it represents. The staffs of KDCA Cultural Village are dressed in traditional costumes and demonstrate some of the customary ways of living back in the day.
Starting off with a welcoming ritual by the performers dressed in traditional attire, visitors are greeted by two staff members dressed as bobohizan (high priestesses) conducting a mock blessing ritual before beginning their journey. Traditional musical instruments such as the bamboo are played to welcome visitors at the entrance.
Walking into the first home, the Dusun Tindal house, visitors are shown a demonstration on how paddy is processed using the lesung padi (traditional hand pounding), as well as on how this ethnic group uses bamboo as their pots and pans to cook their meals. Visitors also get to taste traditionally cooked food served in bamboo sticks.
As Sabah is popular for its rice wine (called tapai and lihing), visitors will get to see how it is processed and sample some lihing while visiting the second stop of the tour, the Papar house. Here, they will also learn how sago is processed into regular food, a process called Pinompoh. This is also where visitors get to try on the traditional Papar costume in full finery.
Bead-making is also one of Sabah’s specialty and at the next house, the Rungus longhouse, the staff will demonstrate how these beads are meticulously threaded and turned into jewellery, house decorations and other items. Pinang (betel nut) and daun sirih (tobacco leaves) make up the indigenous ladies’ favourite past time of chewing these two ingredients together, which visitors are also given the chance to try. The indigenous people also believe that this is good for the teeth.
The last house in the tour is the Murut House, where you will find the lansaran (Borneo trampoline). Visitors are shown how the Murut men jump on this bouncy platform in order to get their reward, placed high on the ceilings. Visitors are then given the chance to try it themselves. Delicious local tapioca dipped in honey and sugar, as well as the famous Tenom coffee are served as refreshments in this house, while the making of traditional cigarettes demonstrations allow visitors to try the sigup or kirai. Visitors will also see a demonstration of a skill synonymous to the Murut headhunter: using a blowpipe or monopuk.
The tour concludes with a series of traditional dance performances by the staff, including the sumazau and magunatip, which gives visitors the thrill of dancing between rhythmical clashing bamboo poles. The tour culminates with a lunch buffet featuring some of the local favourites of centuries old such as the bambangan (wild mango) and hinava (fermented mackerel in lime juice and shallots).
On the 30th and 31st of May each year, the KDCA Cultural Village will also be the main venue for the State-level Harvest Festival celebration. During this two-day celebration, a line-up of interesting activities will be held here, including traditional games, handicraft sales and exhibitions, and many others. Don’t miss a chance to be part of the fun!
KDCA Cultural Village is located at the KDCA Hongkod Koisaan, KM 8, Penampang Road, Penampang. Get in touch with us for a special day trip this Harvest Festival!
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Before Tenom was famous for the aromatic Tenom coffee, it was primarily known as home to the most fearsome warrior tribe Borneo has ever seen: the Timugon Murut people. The Murut were the last of Sabah’s ethnic groups to renounce headhunting, with Antenom (1885-1915) being their most influential and renowned warrior. The Timugon Murut people reside […]
Before Tenom was famous for the aromatic Tenom coffee, it was primarily known as home to the most fearsome warrior tribe Borneo has ever seen: the Timugon Murut people. The Murut were the last of Sabah’s ethnic groups to renounce headhunting, with Antenom (1885-1915) being their most influential and renowned warrior.
The Timugon Murut people reside in a small, well-defined area in the Tenom Valley. Spanning about 20 miles from north to south, over half of the Timugon villages are situated on the western side of the Pegalan River, which runs south in the valley and some villages on its eastern banks. The remaining population live on the eastern side of the Padas River, which flows from the south.
The Timugon’s linguistic and ethnic links with other related groups spread southwest and south, to the neighbouring Malaysian state of Sarawak and over to Kalimantan, the Indonesian side of the island of Borneo.
The origin of this tribe has been linked to the legend of a man who was the sole survivor of a dreadful flood. A supernatural creature from the cosmic regions then approached him. She was a horrendous-looking woman covered in ringworm. She asked the man to marry her as there were no other survivors.
Naturally, the man was repulsed by her appearance and refused. Instead, he decided to make a woman out of clay. The clay figurine came to life after he spat betel nut juice on it. They married and it is believed their descendants inhabited the river valley of Tenom, becoming the ancestors of the present people have to die; it is because their female ancestor was made of earth.
Like many other ethnic groups, the Timugon Murut community has special religious and spiritual ceremonies. The magilong is a diagnostic ritual performed to determine the cause of a minor illness or misfortune, such as theft. Another interesting ritual is the barasik ceremony. As gong music is played, the pries or priestess chants and use magic stones called putia to ‘see’ the cause of troubles.
Reference: “Some Aspects of Timugon Worldview’, by Kelo Brewis
Sabah Society Journal (1993)
Make your way to the district of Kuala Penyu and hop on a boat to Pulau Tiga! The island’s claim to fame is none other than being the first ever ‘secret’ location for the hit reality series, ‘Survivor’. Hence, many refer to Pulau Tiga as Survivor Island. Located just 10km offshore on the West Coast […]
Make your way to the district of Kuala Penyu and hop on a boat to Pulau Tiga! The island’s claim to fame is none other than being the first ever ‘secret’ location for the hit reality series, ‘Survivor’. Hence, many refer to Pulau Tiga as Survivor Island. Located just 10km offshore on the West Coast of Sabah, you can enjoy a day trip to the island, but many recommend spending at least a night or two.
The island has two resorts, Pulau Tiga Resort and Borneo Survivor Resort (see contact details). There’s plenty to see and do here: spend the sunny days swimming or snorkeling in its surrounding clear waters or go kayaking. Divers can explore its underwater treasures (diving courses are available).
Pulau Tiga is also famous for its therapeutic natural volcanic mud. Looking for some wildlife? Say hello the island’s famous residents: snakes! Facilities on the island include a restaurant and camping site. Call us to book your customized Pulau Tiga ‘Survivor Island’ tour!
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One of the most outstanding pieces of architecture in Sabah is none other than the State Mosque. With its majestic dome and stunning gold inlay motifs, the mosque sits a stone’s throw away from the city centre, it is a unique combination of prevailing Islamic architecture and contemporary design. The mosque can accommodate up to […]
One of the most outstanding pieces of architecture in Sabah is none other than the State Mosque. With its majestic dome and stunning gold inlay motifs, the mosque sits a stone’s throw away from the city centre, it is a unique combination of prevailing Islamic architecture and contemporary design.
The mosque can accommodate up to 5,000 worshipers at one time. There is also a special balcony exclusively allocated for Muslim women during prayer time, with room for up to 500. Visitors are advised to adhere by the dress code when visiting places of worship. Avoid visiting on Fridays which is the day of prayer for Muslims.
General Rules while at the Mosque:
- All tourist are required to enter from the front entrance or the main entrance (not at the back or side door) for safety of their belongings.
- Tourists / Tourist guides must report to the Security Officer/Information Officer prior to entering the mosque. Tourists are NOT allowed to enter the mosque without permission from the officers mentioned above.
- All tourists / tourist guide must be properly dressed ie. no shorts for men.
- Women are required to wear loose and fully covered clothing and head covering.
- All shoes must be removed and left on the stair case, in front of the security guard post.
- Tourists are required to be silent inside the mosque.
The Sabah State Mosque is included as one of the destinations when you book our private city tour. Get in touch with us to book your private tour!
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One of the biggest perks of visiting Kota Kinabalu is the opportunity to enjoy the beach practically at your doorstep! Enter Tanjung Aru Beach — one of Sabah’s most cherished iconic destinations that is situated merely 10 minutes’ drive away from the city centre. Taking its name from the swaying aru (casuarina) trees that fringe […]
One of the biggest perks of visiting Kota Kinabalu is the opportunity to enjoy the beach practically at your doorstep! Enter Tanjung Aru Beach — one of Sabah’s most cherished iconic destinations that is situated merely 10 minutes’ drive away from the city centre.
Taking its name from the swaying aru (casuarina) trees that fringe the beachfront area, Tanjung Aru gathers a huge crowd of visitors during the weekends, especially among families with young children. The two-kilometre strip of white sandy beach makes a great place for a picnic, a relaxing jog or even an exciting game of Frisbee with friends.
Tanjung Aru Beach is separated into three sections, which are simply known as First, Second and Third Beach. The most popular spot at the beach is the Tanjung Aru First Beach, right next to Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort & Spa. The Tanjung Aru First Beach is equipped with barbecue pits at the beachfront and huts for the public.
The Tanjung Aru First Beach also has a commercial area with plenty of restaurants and cafes, food stalls, as well as an open-air food court where you can enjoy delicious grilled seafood with fresh coconut water. If you are a fan of the rich and pungent durian, you can also opt to enjoy the ‘King of Fruit’ in an alfresco setting.
Next to the Tanjung Aru First Beach is the Prince Philip Park, a historical park, which is named after his royal highness, Prince Philip who came to visit Jesselton, North Borneo back in the 1950s. This sprawling park is equipped with a playground for the children to enjoy and long cemented pathways that are shaded by majestic casuarina trees. Perfect for long romantic walks on breezy afternoons.
Fans of water sports can also enjoy activities such as sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, water-skiing, wakeboarding, and other activities at Tanjung Aru Beach. For beginner surfers and those who would like to learn how to surf, the Tanjung Aru Third Beach is a popular spot to do just this. There are also surfing lessons provided at Tanjung Aru Third Beach.
Anyone who has been to Tanjung Aru Beach would agree that the view of sunset from here is one of the best in the world! Coupled with great food, great company and the soothing sea breeze, Tanjung Aru Beach also makes a great hangout spot outside the city centre.
If you’re looking for souvenirs, you can also find great bargains on interesting knickknacks such as clothing items, accessories and handicrafts. If you’d like something more personal to bring home, you can also get a local artist to do a portrait sketch of yourself!
Come night time, Tanjung Aru Beach comes alive with live music and entertainment at the BB Café, which is a popular place to chill out and decompress. While enjoying the night time entertainment, you can also enjoy a wide variety of food and beverages, ranging from Western favourites and local selections to fruit punches and cocktails.