Tamu Dongonggon- Don’t Go, And It’s Gong Gon
Tamu, local slang for Bazaar or more correctly “Street Market Fair”, will see Dongonggon bristling with life and aroma as small-scale farmers & travelling stall vendors converge on the town once a week to peddle their wares. Held over two days- on Thursday and Friday- the town is teeming with fresh produce & local handicraft. One particular favourite of my sister-in-law’s would be the hard-shell crabs, which she swears are the cheapest in KK. Talking of crabs, have you tried the crab dish cooked in spicy chilli paste? Try it, and you will be back for more!
Dongonggon is of course the heartland of the Kadazandusun community. On the big days such as the Harvest Festival you may even catch a glimpse of them dressing up in their colourful traditional costumes parading around the town. Watch out for the headgear they wear during the big occasions which is invariably identified with the community. To see a replica of this, get to the Penampang By-pass Roundabout and you will see a big scale model stands majestically right in the island roundabout.
Fancy a special local brew- the potent local rice wine? Just mention the name Tapai or Lihing and you are on your way to high spirit.
If time allows, travel further up the road on the Old Penampang-Papar Road to see the splendour of countryside dotted around on the fringes of this town. Or if money is no object, go all the way to the Lok Kawi Wildlife Park to see the indigenous animals of Sabah.
You will no doubt pass by the Kadazandusun Cultural Association (KDCA) on your way to Dongonggon (unless you take the new Penampang (KK-Dongonggon) By-pass, so on your way back to KK do pop in to see the traditional houses of Sabah on the ground of KDCA. Or better yet, make a date with KDCA on the last two days of May when the Kadazabdusun community will be celebrating the Harvest Festival in a big way with Beauty Pageant and cultural dances the main themes of the fest.
To Get There
There are plenty of buses plying this route but best to take the Penampang Union Transport (PUT) bus at the bus stop by the KK City Hall. Going by taxi would be a better option though.