In 1945, more than 1000 Australian and British prisoners of war were marched from Sandakan across the mountains to Ranau, 250 kilometres away. Many died on the track, or at the two camps near Ranau village. In June 1945 the remaining survivors were taken to a third camp, eight kilometres to the south: a place that would become known as ‘The Last Camp’.
For more than sixty years, The Last Camp was forgotten. It was not until 2008, when POW relics were found buried near Kampong Pialungan, that anyone, apart from a handful of historians, realised that more than 180 prisoners of war, who had survived the death marches from Sandakan, had died in this serene, secluded valley, in the closing weeks of World War 2.
Due to the generosity of Dr Othman Minudin and his wife Dr Lungkiam, who have worked closely with Australian historian Lynette Silver, her husband Neil and award-winning tourism expert Tham Yau Kong, TYK Adventure Tours now invites you to discover what makes The Last Camp a very special place.
Join us on our unique, WW2 Last Camp Adventure. This specially designed trek follows the picturesque and boulder-strewn Liwagu River from the country estate of Drs Othman and Lungkiam, to the very heart of the Last Camp. After dinner, cooked over an open fire, you will spend the night in traditional atap hut, before climbing from the river to the Last Camp Memorial, erected on the place where the last of the prisoners of war were killed, twelve days after the war had ended. This two-day trip not only allows adventurers to get off the beaten track, it also helps them gain some insight into a little known part of WW2’s history.
ITINERARY – 2 DAYS 1 NIGHT
Pick up from your hotel in Kota Kinabalu at 7.30 am. A leisurely drive takes you into the beautiful Crocker Ranges and to Mt Kinabalu, south-east Asia’s highest peak. After a winding descent to the town of Ranau, it is a short drive to Slagon Homestay, the country estate of your hosts, where light refreshments will be served. At 10 am, the trek begins, following the Liwagu River to the Last Camp at Kampong Pialungun, for a picnic lunch.
After checking into The Hut, you will help prepare the evening meal of rice and ‘bush tucker’ (food growing wild), cooking it in the same way as the prisoners – in bamboo, over an open fire. You then spend the night in The Hut, which has been erected on the site of the original POW hut.
After waking to the sound of the nearby river gurgling over the rocks, it is time to prepare a local-style breakfast of tea, tapioca, sweet potatoes and luscious tropical fruit, grown on the Slagon Estate. After crossing a swing bridge, a short but steep walk will bring you to The Last Camp Memorial, where there will be time to reflect on the events of 1945 and admire the view across the beautiful river valley. A short drive brings you back to Ranau, and then on to the village of Kandsang with its magnificent war memorial, built over four levels and with spectacular views of Mt Kinabalu, befor returning to Kota Kinabalu.
What to wear:
Clothing suitable for trekking, preferably with long sleeves; shady hat; strong walking shoes.
What to bring:
Change of clothing; sandshoes or tough rubber sandals, suitable for walking in the boulder-strewn river; water bottle; insect repellent; personal needs.
COST per person (Australian dollars)
- 2 persons———–$285
- 3-6 persons——–$205
- 7-12 persons——$185
- 13-18 persons—–$175
For quotes in other currencies, please contact us.