Papar is the name of a town as well as a district located in West Coast Division of Sabah, east Malaysia. It is situated 38 kilometres south of Kota Kinabalu and is one of the main stops on the North Borneo Railway. Papar is also a major stopover point for people travelling by car from the southern Sabahan towns of Sipitang and Beaufort to Kota Kinabalu.
The town itself occupies the southern banks of the Papar River not far from the sea. There are also areas of tidal wetland that are home to mangrove trees and saltwater palm or nipah. Both banks are connected by two steel-concrete bridges, one (with a railway bridge) connecting directly into the town itself, and another much farther upriver (on the old Kota Kinabalu-Papar road) leading into the paddy plantation hamlets.
The town has seen considerable growth in recent years but still preserves some of its older buildings and features. Important architectural features which can be seen in the Papar town includes the District Office, Papar Public Library, Papar Public Park, New Papar Market, OKK Mahali Park (which constitutes a large part of the new town), Salleh Sulong Hall and a new bigger Papar Community Hall which also hosts a weekly wet market on its compounds, a sports complex with a field, a stand and a gymnasium, and the new train station, which doubles as a bus and mini-van station which serves the Kota Kinabalu-Papar-Beaufort route.
Legendary film house Shaw Brothers operated Papar sole cinema New Gaiety, situated near the fish market, now occupied by a sundry shop. Nearby street still uses Jalan Cinema despite the cinema closure back in the 90s.
Despite repair and refurbishment over the years, the Papar railway bridge looks much as it did in the Second World
War. It featured in Allied plans to retake North Borneo from the Japanese. References to it and the Papar River can be found in reports on covert intelligence operations Agas and Semut, and later in attack plans Stallion and Oboe 6.
Tourism is an important industry in Papar, arguably coming after the agriculture industry. Many resorts can be found along the coast. Some of the tourist attractions in the district are:
Beringgis Beach Resort
Utan Paradise Jungle Camp