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Moroli River Fish Therapy is the latest tourists attractions in Sabah. Hat off to the village people of Luanti Baru near Ranau town for in the year 2006, they had won the much coveted prize, the best River Care Award in Malaysia. It is not a simple achievement as there are more than 364 river catchment communities competing for the honour in the whole of Malaysia. With the prize money and the effort of the village community, they have turned the Moroli river into Sabah latest and most unique tourist attraction which is fish therapy by the river.
Luanti Baru is located about 18km away from Ranau, which in turn is 20 km away from Mt. KInabalu. Moroli river has as many as 10 species of different fish living in the 3km long catchment. The two major species which love to give us a good smoothing of our feet and legs are the Garap and Lontong. The above mentioned fish names are in local Dusun langauage, scientific name for Garap is Tor tambroides. Note: these are all juvenile fish, as the fish grow bigger and older, they would move away from this area. After paying the entrance fees at the adminstration centre located beside the main road, a guide is provided for this journey. A short walk of about 100 metres will lead one to the river bank where the fish therapy will begin.
Walk straight into the river with water height of one or two feet deep, stay still for a while and these fish will swim towards you. Sometimes it looks more like they are charging in, piranha some how happened to pop up in one's mind at this moment. The bigger ones, Lontong, is about 30cm long, they like to swim around one's legs, for the first timer this can be a strange and freaky feeling, but after a few minutes, one will start to enjoy the closeness with these fish as they continue to crowd around one's legs. The slippery skin of the fish can be felt as they swim around our legs giving us a feeling like a gentle rub. If someone brings fish food to feed the fish, the Lontong will jump queue and invade our hand for food, one after another. In return they will give our hands a good sucking. Fish food can be bought at the entrance.
The Garap is about 15cm long, and they are the naughty ones that like to give the lower foot a gentle peck. One might feel ticklish and squeamish. The guide gives assurance that the Garaps don't have teeth, and believe this act by the Garap has medicine value which will help our body to release bad wind within. For those who are more adventurous why not go for a dip in the river. Stay still and the fish will crowd all over the body. What a way to enjoy a good fish massage. It is completely safe as the fish will not bite.
It is a mystery as to why these fishes have been interacting with humans. The villagers at Moroli river are lost for words here, only to say that this has been happening for decades. The fishes are so eager to mingle with us that they can be spotted waiting at the river bank while people are still coming down from the higher ground. This sweet balance act between us human and the fish can be disrupted, therefore participants are asked to follow a few guide lines. The guide warns that the fish are very sensitive, and participants are not allowed to catch the fish out of the water, as this act will hurt the fish and disrupt them. Participants are also asked to stay clam and still, too much body movements would scare the fish away.
City folks from Kuala Lumpur might have experienced fish therapy at Kenko Spa, located on the fourth floor of Pavilion Mall. The first fish Spa in Malaysia and the world, where patrons seat around a pool of water only to their knee deep, and little fish will come and peck on their legs and feet. The establishment assures the clients that everyone will enjoy the experience. Moroli River Fish Spa offers more and also better value for you money, compare with the artificial spa. Firstly, the fish therapy here is out with the nature, one can at the same time enjoy the Moroli river and surrounding forest. Secondly, the fishes here are much bigger than those from the mall and these are from the wild. And finally the fees here are dirt cheap.
Adult: RM 10 MY card holder: RM 5 Student below 16 year old: RM 2 Dip in the river:
Adult: RM 20 MY card holder: RM 10 Camera: RM 5 Video: RM 10 Fish food: RM 2
8:30 am to 5:00 pm
12:00 pm to 1:00 pm
How to get here? Bus to Sandakan will pass by the Luanti Baru Village. One can also rent a car, and drive to Luanti Baru Village, which is just 500 meters away from the junction of Sabah Tea Garden, and 15 km away from the junction to Poring Hot Spring. Taxi can be arranged at Kota Kinabalu, will cost about RM 380 for a whole day service, including trip to Poring Hot Spring.
Tagal Luani (Fish Massage)
Kg. Luanti Baru, Ranau, Sabah.
tel: +6088 876 988
mobile: +6016 806 65 95 (Sylvia / Yale)