Malaysia Borneo My Destination:
mementos from Sabah hotspot, Poring Hot Springs
By Ismail Hj. Mansor
The unique souvenirs made of mountain rocks. Photos: Ismail
Mrs. Selibit making a mountain rock souvenir.
Tourists looking for mementos at the souvenir stall run by Mrs
Selibit and her family members at Ranau Hot Springs.
Visitors to the Poring Hot Springs in Ranau, Sabah can bring home some
unique souvenirs after soaking in the warm but invigorating water.
Outside the gates of the popular tourism destination, tourists will find a
stall selling a variety of souvenirs made of rocks collected from the nearby
Mount Kinabalu area.
The rocks, which include types such as jade, crystals and marble, have been
transformed into various souvenirs such as key chains and pen-holders.
Mrs. Selibit Gompios, 32, and Mrs. Rumihin Kimi, 35, are among the operators
who have been running the business about seven years.
They report a brisk business in selling the mementos to visitors to the
Poring Hot Springs, especially tourists from West Malaysia and Brunei.
Mrs Selibit purchases the mountain rocks from a local supplier and then
shapes the rocks into various types of souvenirs, which cost from as low as
RM1 and up to about RM250, depending on the size and form.
Mrs. Selibit, who hails from the nearby village, says while she engages in
the lucrative business, her husband works at the Sabah Park Hot Springs.
She runs the stall with the help of family members on a full-time basis to
cater to the demand of local visitors and foreign tourists.
She can earn a few hundred ringgit monthly but adds that her income can vary
as the business depends on the arrival of foreign tourists.
Besides selling souvenirs made of rocks and stones, she also sells
handicrafts made of wood, bamboo and tree bark as well as traditional
medicines derived from herbal plants.