Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Sabah’s Upside Down House of Borneo @ Tamparuli, KK

I’ve read about this upside down house in sabah (literally translated as rumah terbalik) so when my sis-in-law tina suggested we visit it, I was game. I was curious.

apparently it’s the first upside down house in south east asia and is a complete house with all the rooms and every single furniture glued and bolted to the ceiling – from the heaviest item which is the classic sewing machine down to the few coins and ringgit malaysia lying on the ‘floor’.


at first sight, it was amazing. an upside down house! wow! what an idea! but soon you realize that THAT is just about it. no more than furniture and stuff glued and bolted to the ceiling to give that terbalik effect. that’s IT.

well, you could be amazed at how they bolted the heavy items, such as the car! 

however, I would expect more traditional sabah items that are very local or used in the olden days in sabah – to give it a unique experience for tourists – but nope, the items are the usual stuff found in your own homes. kitchen cabinets, tv set, normal ikea bed haha, and toys you can find in jusco.

when you come here, and pay rm10 to enter, you better know that 1) you’re NOT allowed to take pictures inside the upside down house, and 2) inside the house, are normal furniture, electrical items you usually have in your house anyway. they’re just upside down.


only a small number of visitors are allowed inside the house at any one time. the house itself is not that big, and it’s easier for the tour guide to explain about the upside down house and be heard by everyone – but I’m sure it’s also easier for them to ‘control’ any itchy hands trying to take pictures inside. haha.

fyi, rm100 is the going rate for anyone caught taking pictures inside! per picture! ke rm50? a lot!

we were led by the tour guide towards the entrance of the house to a gong right by the door. one volunteer was asked to hit the gong 3 times before entering – a nice traditional touch. kudos. the guide was pleasant, fluent and spoke clearly. when we're about to enter, the tour guide explains how the house got upside down.

“there was a kid who was very naughty, until the he turned the house upside down. the end.”

hello? that’s IT? this is coming from the creative mind who thought about making this cool upside down house and THAT’s the best made-up story you can come up with? cammon, man! we all KNOW that the upside down house was constructed normally by normal human beings in normal circumstances, so if you wanna SELL another story about how the house became upside down, go BIG lah.

say la an unusual earthquake or tornado in sabah tumbled the house ke, or a giant mythical creature fought with a brave villager ke, or the house belonged to a sabahan beauty queen who was cursed ke…something exciting like that! kan? kan? we KNOW it’s a made-up story, so we just wanna have fun with it and play along!

budak tu nakal, rumah pun terbalik. ceh.

* * *

since visitors are not allowed to take pictures inside the upside down house, we just went full throttle posing outside the house.

this is another one of my qualms – if you’re only allowing visitors to take pictures outside of the house, could you at least give our money’s worth and put more upside down stuff outside?

there are basically only THREE places to take a shot – an upside down car at the front porch, an upside down garden with growing veggies, and an upside down bathroom.

the upside down car. there is a clear sign on the side to ‘not touch the car or stand under it’ but every single and I do mean every single tourist there defied that rule. semua amik gamba confirm nak pegang and stand underneath the car. pfft. termasuk la kami haha. but seriously, please exercise caution ok when taking pictures here!

careful wafa! mr. khairul’s niece looked like she elevated the car with her magic finger haha.

my sisters-in-law teh and tina at the upside down toilet at the backyard of the upside down house. pam jamban pun terbalik kih kih. I like the detailing – even the little toothbrushes and toothpaste in the small basket are all upside down.

haha. careful now! my youngest sis-in-law sofia getting silly at the upside down toilet!

with my bro-in-law asrar at the upside down backyard garden – upside down pots of plants


* * *

my suggestions to improve the awesome upside down house of borneo :
  1. the house should have more traditional items to give it a unique identity that separates it from the other upside down houses in japan or germany; not just for the overseas tourist but even for other malaysians like me. I would love to see an old-style kitchen or traditional tools and instruments used in the olden days of sabah – instead of modern big screen TV and monopoly game board bolted on the ceiling! this way, the guide will have more things to say to the visitors when she/he explains the use of the different traditional items.
  2. I read one comment saying that the story told by the guide is unnecessary because it’s ‘made-up’; but my father-in-law suggested adding more interesting facts into it. like if you’re gonna say crap about the origin of the upside down house, might as well go big – say that the house went upside down when a legendary flying creature fought with a brave sabahan village boy while he was trying to save the village-head’s beautiful daughter…bla bla. you get my idea kan?
  3. since we cannot take pictures inside the house, please give our money’s worth by putting up more cool upside down stuff outside of the house.  maybe add reban ayam or a patio where there’s a picnic spread happening with mangkuk tingkat and upside down food?

hanging out at the café. really nice and clean with reasonable choices of food and drinks. there’s a surau right next to it, and the ‘garden’ toilets are clean too.

the idea is awesome to have an upside down house and I’m proud that there’s one in malaysia, but I would like it to be more (refer to my suggestions for improvement, please! haha) especially to make it more traditional – closer to sabah identity. I would’ve enjoyed it more, learning new things about sabah homes.

entrance fee is rm10 for malaysians, and rm18 for others. rm5 for children below 12 years, and it’s free entrance for children below the age of 3.

they open till 7 pm but I strongly suggest visiting the upside down house in the daytime to take clearer pictures. since you’re not allowed to take pictures inside the house, there won’t be much to enjoy or take pictures of outside the house when there’s less daylight.

ok the next time you visit KK, go get a headache at the upside down house of borneo!

No comments:

check out these postings too!

Related Posts with Thumbnails