Located about 45 minutes from Kuching City Centre, Borneo Happy Farm was initially created as a private orchard farm in 1999, but the owners opened the doors to the public in November 2017 to offer visitors a a chance to spend time with nature. The farm was founded to create awareness on nature conservation, green ecology, local cultures and farming.
When researching Borneo Happy Farm before my visit earlier this month, I noticed the opening hours were limited to the weekends and public holidays only. Browsing through their website and Facebook page got me excited for the mini trip. Since the pandemic started, the only ‘vacation’ or ‘getaway’ I had was a short trip to Damai Beach Resort, so I was looking forward to an adventure.
My journey to the farm together with my family started at 8am on Labour Day, and it was a half-an-hour drive over from Sungai Maong. As we passed Batu Kawa road, the drive turned to calm as we went through the scenic mountains and greens.
Without having to rely on Google Map, the farm’s signboard can be seen clearly by the road. The entry though, was a long narrow drive, making it impossible for two cars to pass at the same time. However, it was not much of a problem as not many cars were passing through that day, and when they do, common courtesy prevails as they were kind enough to let each other through.
On the way in, there were many other small farms and chicken coop along the way. It was truly a step away from civilisation and into nature. At this point, we were all excited to see what awaits us at the farm.
Spanning 72 acres, the walkabout inside the farm took us two hours. Since we visited the farm in the morning, we didn’t have to worry about the scorching sun. There was also a shuttle bus provided, but we opted to walk instead. It was an enjoyable breezy walk amidst the flora and fauna.
At the counter, we were given brochures so that we can collect stamps from each barn. It was intriguing and my competitive nature forced us to visit each point to get the stamps. The stamps collected would then qualify us for a lucky draw at the end of the visit!
As we entered the farm, we were greeted by a huge Arowana fish pond. By purchasing animal pellets at the counter earlier, we can feed them and watch as they swim to the surface for food. My toddler was especially happy, as it allowed her to experience new things and she could learn better about different animals. The farm’s freshwater fish include Silver Arowana, Red Arowana and Empurau, which are rare and valuable.
After the pond, we entered a mini house where we met an array of fishes, turtles, rabbits, and guinea pigs. Here, we can buy more pellets or farm-grown vegetables to feed the animals.
Though a two-hour walk may sound exhausting for some, it felt brief. Due to the breathtaking landscape and animals we met along the way, we were very entertained. It reminded me very much of my childhood, with a kampung-like feel. The whole walk was serene and tranquil.
The farm also provides different shows throughout the day. However, we could not catch them as it was either too far for my kids to walk to, or we arrived at the wrong time. Nonetheless, at each checkpoint, there were experienced and friendly staff offering their assistance and providing information. At one point, we even saw an employee carrying Stella the Monitor Lizard around. It was to assure people that the animals are harmless and the farm treats them like family.
Along the way, we saw more animals — cows, wild boars, crocodiles, horses, buffalo, and many others. It was enlightening as the animals were free to roam around the greens and even at the crocodile enclosure, they were given a generous amount of space that resembles their real habitat.
The farm also houses different species of insects and creepy crawlers. Not to forget the different species of trees and flowers. Since we went in May, there were not many fruiting trees as it was off-season. Those who want to have a go at the fruits can visit the farm during their respective seasons.
I was quite disappointed that I chose to visit in May as the staff explained that there was a huge selection of fruits available at the farm. There are different varieties of durians, rambutans, mangosteens, bananas, mangoes, and many others. I already plan to make my next visit here, should it be allowed after the MCO, to be able to stumble upon fruiting trees and also enjoy them at the farm’s designated fruit hall.
At the end of our walk, we stopped by some free-roaming chickens and geese. There were all busy minding their business, and when we gave them some dried corns bought from the farm’s store, they enjoyed it very much. My children were happy that they get to feed the animals laughing as it was a whole new experience for them.
Overall, our trip to Borneo Happy Farm was amazing and left us with many great memories. It was a much-needed adventure and a great learning experience for our children. As we only live one life, getting out and about, discovering new things is essential. Furthermore, family trips with children can strengthen family bonds, and spending quality time is essential for our children’s development and growth.