Beaufort (Sabah)

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Beaufort is a small town in southwestern Sabah, Malaysia. The town does not have much in terms of attractions but travellers may find themselves here for one of several reasons: to whitewater-raft the Padas River, to catch or arriving on the train to/from Tenom, or to take a break while doing the overland trail between Sabah and Sarawak.

Contents

Get in

By road

Beaufort is 92km south of Kota Kinabalu and is on the main highway linking the city and the Sabah-Sarawak border, at Sindumin 75km further south. From Kota Kinabalu, the drive to Beaufort is quite straight forward and the road condition is generally good. Going south, the road used to be a horror as it was unpaved but the situation has improved tremendously and a good sealed road goes all the way to Sipitang and onwards to Sindumin. If you are heading to Kuala Penyu (boats to the Pulau Tiga National Park) and Menumbok (for the vehicular ferry to Labuan), the turnoff is just outside Beaufort on the road to Kota Kinabalu.

You will most probably find yourself in Beaufort if you are doing the overland trip between Kota Kinabalu and Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei. See Kota Kinabalu to Brunei in a day page for details.

By bus

Minivans are the best bet for connections between Beaufort and neighbouring towns and even as far as Kota Kinabalu and Lawas in Sarawak. There are also long-distance air-conditioned express buses which are more comfortable.

By train

Beaufort is a major station on Sabah State Railway's [3] limited network. Trains operate between Beaufort and Tanjung Aru in Kota Kinabalu as well as along the scenic Padas River gorge to Tenom in the interior. The new train line opened in Feb 2011. There are about 4 trains operating between KK and Beaufort and the journey is two hours 15 minute. Economy fare is RM4.50 one way.

Going to Tenom however, the train is the only option from Beaufort (the road to Tenom requires a long detour via Papar). The track snakes along the Padas River and the journey is quite interesting, although the jungle along the way is no longer untouched. Diesel engines and railcars operate along this stretch. There are 2 trains daily. Journey is about two hours (economy RM3.80 one way) and the train stops at many stations along the way, some just a wooden platform in the middle of thick bush. The train is often used by those going for whitewater rafting on the Padas River. Most trips start from Pangi station and end at Rayoh where you catch the train back to Beaufort. Full details on the new Kota Kinabalu train service to Beaufort and Tenom [4]

Get around

The town centre is small enough for you to walk around.

See

In Beaufort

Out of town

Do

Most white-water rafting trips along the Padas River, certified Grade Three to Grade Four, are organised by a tour company and will start of from Kota Kinabalu. You may be able to find a company or agent in Beaufort to hook you up with a group. Trips involve a train ride (usually in an open trailer) up to Pangi station. The starting point is just next to the tracks. You will raft down to Rayoh, 9km downstream and after about seven rapids. From Rayoh, you'll catch the train back to Beaufort. The ride can be quite rough and a German tourist was killed in October 2007 while rafting.

Taking the train to or from Tenom will give you an insight to the life of the rural inhabitants of Sabah. The ailing train can get crowded with people and their goods, and the slow ride will let you get acquainted. The ride itself is interesting as it goes along the Padas River Gorge. The area is surrounded by jungle although a fire in the 1990s caused severe damage. Besides diesel locomotives pulling coaches, a railcar also does the run, the only ones in operation in Malaysia. See the Get in section above for train details. Beware that the rolling stock is very old and maintenance has not been a priority for many years. Derailments do happen quite frequently. However, since 2006, rehabilitation and upgrading works have been proceeding to give the line a new lease of life.

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