Roudabouts that tell a town's stories

A roundabout with a marlin statue in Kota Kinabalu, known for its thrving fishing industry. Photo courtesy: Sin Chew Daily

KOTA KINABALU (Sin Chew Daily) -- The colonial government built a large number of roundabouts here which reminded us of the virtue of giving way to other traffic.

Unfortunately modern metropolises today rarely incorporate roundabouts in their urban traffic planning.

Many existing roundabouts have been replaced by sets of ugly traffic lights, forcing the once ubiquitous traffic circles--symbols of civilized motoring--into oblivion, as drivers become increasingly impatient and going round a circle is bogging down their perpetual rush for progress.

But in Sabah, you can hardly go by a day without bumping into a roundabout, not only in town centers but along rural roads too.

About two or three hours from state capital Kota Kinabalu, Ranau's roundabouts are a good introduction to what the town is famous for, its agricultural products, including organic red tea.

Not far from town, Kundasang is the state's biggest agricultural trading post where vegetables adorn many of its roundabouts.

As for Tenom, further inland from Ranau, the town center roundabout has a statue of coffee bean that serves to remind visitors you have arrived in Sabah's coffee-producing center.

Sandakan's roundabouts are big eye-openers: orangutan, proboscis monkey, crocodile, eagle, kingfisher, pitcher... the rich flora and fauna that makes Sandakan a globally renowned eco-tourism hub.

Tawau, meanwhile, is home to a number of mini roundabouts that appear more like pimples popping up from the road surface, demanding motorists to be maneuvering their vehicles more cautiously around them.

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