While there’s little reason to spend time in the undistinguished town of Ranau, it’s the main hub for travelling between Kinabalu National Park and eastern Sabah. The first day of each month sees a large and lively tamu (market), 1km out of town towards Sandakan; there’s also a smaller tamu every Saturday.
Sabah Tea Garden
The Sabah Tea Garden is a well-run organic tea plantation that makes a great place to stay for a night or two, but may also be worth a daytime visit if you’re passing through. Contact them in advance to arrange hikes and factory tours, as it’s very popular with groups and gets busy. Ask also about visiting the fish massage place nearby, where surprisingly large river fish nibble at customers’ dead skin.