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Tenom Town
Pekan Tenom
District Capital
Tenom town centre
Tenom town centre.
Location of Tenom Town
Coordinates: 5°08′00″N 115°57′00″E / 5.13333°N 115.95000°E / 5.13333; 115.95000Coordinates: 5°08′00″N 115°57′00″E / 5.13333°N 115.95000°E / 5.13333; 115.95000
Country Malaysia
State Sabah
 • Total5,148

Tenom (Malay: Pekan Tenom) is the capital of the Tenom District in the Interior Division of Sabah, Malaysia. Its population was estimated to be around 5,148 in 2010.[1] It is located about 176 kilometres south of Kota Kinabalu and 128 kilometres north of Long Pasia, which is the one of the famous attraction in Sabah. In the early days of British colonial rule in Malaysia, the town was called Fort Birch. The town is considered the unofficial capital of the Murut community, whose most important festival, the annual Pesta Kalimaran (Kalimaran Festival), is held in the town. It is also the main gateway to other areas within the Murut heartland and the minority of Lundayeh.



The fertile land in Tenom and its surrounding area has made it primarily an agricultural area. The main agriculture sources in the area are rubber while soy beans, maize, vegetables, cocoa and coffee became the second contributor to the Tenom economy.[2]


Tenom coffee
A mug of Tenom cream milk coffee.
TypeCoffee drink
Country of originTenom Sabah Malaysia
Websitewww.sabah.gov.my/md.tnm/ Edit this on Wikidata

Tenom coffee is a popular specialty coffee drink which originated in Tenom. Among the main and largest producer of Tenom coffee is the Yit Foh Tenom Coffee, Tong Fah Coffee Factory and Fatt Choi Tenom Coffee.[3]

Tenom coffee is made from Robusta variety. The coffee bean was processed using traditional firewood and drum rotation methods followed for almost 50 years without adding any artificial ingredients or colourings.[4]


Originally, coffee started to be planted in Sabah during the administration of British North Borneo, but only focused in the area of the east coast on the forest reserve near mangrove areas. However, due to an outbreak of disease, it was abandoned in 1910.[5] Since then, coffee production was concentrated in the west coast area. Tenom received attention when the British North Borneo Chartered Company (BNBCC) established coffee and other plantations in the area. To take the resources to major towns, a railway line from Melalap to Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) was built by the British in the late 1890s. To increase the coffee production, many labourers from China, mainly those of Hakka and Cantonese descent were brought to Tenom by the British as local workforce.[6] Today, Tenom is widely known as an agriculture site with large coffee production and has been dubbed as the "Sabah's coffee capital".[7] Together with cocoa, rice field and fruit crops, coffee is the second largest contributor to the Tenom agriculture economy after rubber.[8] Due to its large demand from other countries since 2010s, the government began to help to address the shortage of raw coffee supply in Tenom.[9]


Among the primary tourist attractions in the district are the Sabah Agricultural Park (Lagud Seberang Agriculture Research Station), the Tenom Orchid Centre and the Murut Cultural Centre. The town is also known in the tourism industry for whitewater rafting on the Padas River and the coffee factory. Tenom railway station is the final stop of the Sabah State Railway, which originates from Tanjung Aru.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Population by ethnic group, Local Authority area and state, Malaysia" (PDF). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. 2010. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2012. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Background (Agriculture)". Tenom District Council. Archived from the original on 20 March 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  3. ^ "Directories - Manufacturer (Federation of Sabah Manufacturers)". Borneo Trade. Retrieved 20 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Tenom Coffee" (PDF). ECAAP III. Archived from the original (PDF) on 20 March 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  5. ^ "Yit Foh Coffee Powder Factory". etawau. 16 January 2012. Archived from the original on 20 March 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  6. ^ Herman Scholz. "Sabah Cities, Towns and Villages - Tenom". Flying Dusun. Archived from the original on 20 March 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Sabah's coffee capital of Tenom". Bernama. The Brunei Times. 17 November 2014. Archived from the original on 20 March 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  8. ^ "Background (Agriculture)". Tenom District Council. Archived from the original on 20 March 2016. Retrieved 20 March 2016.
  9. ^ Mail Mathew (24 July 2018). "Tenom raw coffee shortage". Daily Express. Archived from the original on 25 July 2018. Retrieved 25 July 2018.

External links[edit]

Media related to Tenom at Wikimedia Commons