Once a year, Kota Belud hosts the Tamu Besar, an event not to be missed if you want to really get behind the scenes of local life in Sabah. People from far and wide flock to this district to join in the festivities of what is essentially – a massive market selling all types of goods. Tamu Besar, which actually translates to ‘Big Market’ is the largest tamu organized in Sabah and sees traders come out in full force with their very best goods on sale. This year the market is open from 28-29 October. The area becomes a hive of activity when a kaleidoscope of sights, sounds and smells coalesce to create a compelling event.
One sight to behold is the ‘Cowboys of the East’, when Bajau horsemen dress their horses and ponies in resplendent costumes before showing unrivaled horse-riding skills. The Tamu Besar is a great time to be in Sabah and witness traditional sports such as buffalo racing and the crowning of the Sarempak/Senisip beauty queens.