Kundasang War Memorial in honour of the fallen World War II heroes

The Kundasang War Memorial entrance
Travel a distance of 90 kilometres away from the city life (with 2 hours of driving) to the highlands of Kundasang, where the Kundasang War Memorial is located. You can get there by taking a bus from Jalan Padang Bus Terminal or a taxi. If you are travelling in the morning, then seize the opportunity to stop by at the town’s tamu (market) before heading to the historical site. There, local traders will sell fruits in season, dried salted fish, fresh vegetables and even clothes.
A local trader selling Rambutan and Longan fruits
at the Kundasang town tamu (market)

In this cool climate town, perched on a little hill is the first memorial erected in 1962 to honour the courageous Australian and British Prisoners of War (POW). Beautiful gardens and memorabilia are dedicated to 2,500 prisoners of war (1,800 Australian and 700 British soldiers) who died on the death marches between January to April 1945, during the occupation of the Japanese Imperial army in World War II. They were ordered to march along a distance of 240 km from Sandakan to Ranau and only six escaped the torturous trek with the help of locals. The memorial also pays tribute to the locals that risked their lives to help the prisoners of war.

The historical site is open daily from 8:30am to 5:30pm and there is a small entrance fee (RM 2 for MyKad holders and RM10 for international visitors). Inside, you can find four beautiful gardens which include the Australian Garden, the English Garden, the Borneo Garden as well as the Contemplation Garden and Reflection Pool. Three of the named gardens depict themes from three different countries.  From the highest point of the memorial, visitors could get a spectacular view of the Kundasang Town. With beautiful surrounding and attractions, the historical site is famously used as a backdrop of many wedding photo shoots among the locals.

Flags that commemorate the Prisoners of War

Beautiful flowers decorating the memorial
Contemplation Garden and Reflection Pool
The information centre


To get more information, there is an information centre here and you can opt to watch a brief video about the Sandakan Death March history.

After your visit to Kundasang War Memorial, why not travel to Desa Dairy Farm which will bring you to the little New Zealand and Mesilau Nature Park which is a great place for nature guided walks and one of the starting points to reach the Summit Trail of the majestic Mount Kinabalu.

By Thara Zainal
Pictures: Albert Teo, Yu Moi, Lawrie, Jack and Thara


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