Travel G-spots

MY TRAVEL DIARY: upside down house of Borneo

OK. I can’t really call it travel in my usual sense.

This was work related … and let’s just say, I was bored bonkers out of my brains and tacky would have done the job.

Hence, when the driver asked if I have heard of the upside down house, the answer unfortunately was “yes”. I had googled for activities that can be done around the vicinity. And activities that did not require excessive accumulation of lactic acid in the calf muscle {read: not scaling Mount Kinabalu}, or activities that did not expose me to the threat of being holed up by some modern day pirates along the coastal areas {read: diving, snorkeling, fishing …etc.}.

Frankly, there weren’t many other than white water rafting {which I am due to do in 2 weeks anyways}, reenacting the colonial British days by riding on a steam train for 4 hours and being fed a Tiffin lunch, or a 2-and-1/2 hour to 3-hour drive up some snaky terrain to Kundasang at the risk of missing my return flight.

And so, as fate had it, I was to visit Rumah Terbalik Borneo in Tamparuli (translation: Borneo’s Upside Down house).

Given that I hadn’t had much choices or anything else to do other than, well, work beyond my 60-90 hour work week, and the fact that the entrance fee was a mere MYR10 (USD3.11), it was an “ok” visit – not some place you would recommend or return to.

Simply said nothing wow-ed and I’m going to call a spade a spade:

Architecturally, there’s nothing cutting edge about it; it’s a normal stilt house structure with the stilts being concealed by roofing materials.

As for the interiors, face it, it’s a matter of securing everything to the “ceiling” of a normal house structure … and besides, most of the decor and accessories are plastic, paper, foam or polystyrene reproductions made in China, that’s light weight. White goods were stripped its innards with the ‘shell’ being secured on with bolts. Probably the trickiest item in the house (due to weight) was the old mechanical sewing machine, and exterior wise, the car. Note that nothing in the house is functional … and of course unlivable.

But two things pique me …

1st: why is there a mirror on the floor of the bedroom directly below the bed …

which in the context of an upside down house, it translate to having a full queen-sized mirror secured above the bed … hmmmmm… what the owner thinking?!? lolz!

… and 2nd: (beyond his after hours preferences) why would he even think of constructing one …

Was there real commercial value in it? Was it a bored philanthropist?

And so I asked and was told that the cost of construction (plus the land) was MYR1.2 million (USD373,600), and Rumah Terbalik Borneo is one of 7 of such houses in the world, constructed by a private individual.

I googled today, and contrary to what the tour guide had said, there are 30 of them in the world, and not 7.

Here’s some of them in photos – and since Rumah Terbalik Borneo was smart enough to forbid photographs of the interior to be taken (I guess being Malaysians, we won’t part with our MYR10 had we seen the interiors), the photos below will give you an idea of what I meant by ‘merely securing everything to the “ceiling”‘.

For write-up, here’s a good one with more pictures of the houses taken in different angles.

Looking back, I should have just stayed in Sutera Harbour and done the nostalgic North Borneo Railway trip … after all I love old  steam trains! … or maybe float down the rivers …



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August 2014
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