The view from the Observation Tower at Tenom Agricultural Park looking west towards the mist covered hills of the southern end of the Crocker Range. There is only one fig tree in this photo, an ornamental cultivar of Ficus benjamina with yellow leaves on the left-hand side of the photo.

Tenom Agricultural Park is a large beautiful landscape park  full of interesting trees and plants with numerous small  well designed show gardens, in south central Sabah. Despite the emphasis on gardens and horticulture  there are an enormous variety of rare trees and plants both foreign and native to Borneo. Next to the park is a living “crop museum” with one of the largest collections of tropical fruits in the world.  The alluvial soil in the Tenom Valley is some of the richest in Sabah and the seasonally dry climate allows plants to grow in the park that cannot grow elsewhere in Sabah, where the climate is too wet.

Ficus callosa Tenom IMG_1535
However native figs are few and far between in the Tenom Agricultural Park. This Ficus callosa  growing next to the big lake is  one of a few,  a remnant of the old floodplain forest in the Tenom Valley before it was cleared for agriculture.
Ficus callosa base with developing buttresses.


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The scent and touch garden for visitors with poor sight photographed from the Observation Tower at Tenom Agricultural Park.
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The visitor accommodation is spacious and comfortable but there are only 3 visitor cabins so they need to be booked well in advance. The cabins have a kitchen but there is also a cafe  which is open during working hours
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When we visited in January 2018  the mangosteens and rambutans in the park were covered in fruit. Here the park staff are harvesting mangosteens using  an innovative technique !
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Tenom is one of the few places in Borneo where you can see a  working train. The (bumpy) ride to Kota Kinabalu  by train takes about 5 hours but is worth it for the scenic views of the Padas Gorge  where all the rain that falls in the Tambunan-Keningau-Tenom Valley passes through a narrow gorge at the southern end of the Crocker Range before it reaches the sea at Kimanis Bay. Alternatively the drive from Kota Kinabalu to Tenom tales around 3 hours and is equally scenic as it crosses the Crocker Range. The Crocker Range is  VERY rich in fig species  and  with a good guide you could expect to see up to  50-70 different species in a single day – probably the only place in the world where this is possible.

Ficus gul Map NW Borneo