What to do in Kudat

Kudat is one of the least visited places in Sabah and is quite raw in terms of tourism. Hence, I have come up with this article on what to do in Kudat. Hopefully, it will provide the much-needed information about this beautiful and unspoiled destination in Sabah.

Over the years, I must have visited Kudat three times, mainly for work and exploration, and I would still love to go back and explore this part of Sabah. Perhaps you may also have the same idea as me, so read on to find out what to do in Kudat.

Generally, Kudat is well known for the Tip of Borneo, called Simpang Mengayau, and this is the northernmost part of Borneo Island, similar to the Tip of Africa, the southernmost part of the African continent.

Tourists will come here on day trips or spend a night or two in this part of Sabah to experience the more natural side of Borneo, minus the fast city life of Kota Kinabalu. So, if you are the type who prefers a less hectic experience, here is what you can do in Kudat.

Tip of Borneo Simpang Mengayau
The Tip of Borneo is probably the number one place to visit in Kudat.

Go to Simpang Mengayau, the Tip of Borneo

This is hands down the number one attraction of Kudat, where anyone coming to this part of Sabah will make their way to see the Tip of Borneo at Simpang Mengayau. The best time to go here is in the morning or late afternoon to catch the fantastic Sabah sunsets. There used to be a jazz festival held here, but I am unsure if it is still ongoing.

Kudat Rungus Longhouse
The interesting design of the Maranjak Longhouse.

Stay or Visit the Maranjak Longhouse Lodge and Homestay

One of the few Rungus traditional longhouses open to visitors for staying. But you may need to check if they offer day trips here. Those staying overnight here will taste seven local wines served at night. Besides sampling the unique Rungus Wine, visitors will enjoy traditional Rungus dance and traditional musical instruments after dinner. Best to contact them before going or making any booking for the Maranjak Longhouse: 019-532 4288

Sumandak Gong Village
The well-known Kampung Sumangkap Gong Village in Kudat.

Visit Kampung Sumangkap Gong Village

This is one of the rare cottage industries that are still ongoing and keeping the music culture alive in Sabah. Kampung Sumangkap Gong Village is the only village open to visitors from 9.00 AM to 5.00 PM. You can walk around and see each house that handmakes the traditional Gamelan gongs. A visit to this gong village is necessary for any cultural or musical enthusiast. You can also purchase ready-made brass and copper gongs here, as they sell proper gongs and souvenir gongs.

Rungus Longhouse Kampung Bavanggazo
The traditional Rungus Longhouse at Kampung Bavanggazo.

Visit Kampung Bavanggazo Traditional Rugus Longhouse

The Kampung Bavanggazo longhouse is located just further down from the Meranjak Longhouse and is in the same area. Experiences are similar to the other longhouse as you will see and learn how the Rungus way of life is conducted. Some experiences require staying at the Rungus Longhouses, as day trips will not include them. For further information, contact: Adrian Malarag 60 10 798 1681

Spend Time at the Kelambu Beach

This is perfect for beach lovers as Kelambu Beach is known to be one of Sabah’s prettiest and quietest beaches. This place is ultimately serene because it is far from everything, and only true beach lovers will enjoy places like this. Several local homestays, resorts, and retreats are located here, ranging from budget to semi-luxurious. The beach is white sand while the waters here are crystal clear, unlike the commercial places you may have visited.

Gombizau Honey Bee Farm
The honey bees at the farm. Photo from Sabah Tourism.

Experience the Gombizau Honey Bee Farm

Having been around for over a decade, the Gombizau Honey Bee Farm has given visitors their age-old knowledge of how natural honey can help your everyday lifestyle regarding health and energy. Visitors are treated to a whole experience of seeing how the honey bees are kept and how the honey is extracted. You can buy fresh honey from the bee farm in Kudat.

Explore the Tambakan Fish Farm

This place is a ten-minute boat ride from the Kudat Marina Jetty, and you will arrive at Tambakan Fish Farm, where the Kudat Fish Farm Restaurant is located. This place is also known as Tampakan village, where visitors can snorkel, swim and dine at the fish farm with some of the freshest seafood choices in the north of Borneo. For details, please contact: 019 494 7267 (Mr. James Wong)

Kudat Sidek Esplanade
One of the popular spots at Sidek Esplanade in Kudat.

Check out the Sidek Esplanade in Kudat

This is located in the southern part of Kudat town, where the esplanade is one of the popular places locals tend to come and unwind. You won’t get to see a sunset here because Kudat is on the east end of the northern tip. But you will see the local way of life and experience some of the local seafood restaurants around here.

Stay at Tanjung Simpang Mengayau Beach

This is one of the most popular beaches in Kudat, where you can find several resorts, chalets, and homestays that are not overcrowded and well-spaced. The Tanjung Simpang Mengayau Beach is also known to be one of Sabah’s tranquil and beautiful beaches, with minimal tourism and white sand. So, if you love privacy, quietness, and going back-to-basic, this is the place to stay. This place is also known for surfing and scuba diving, but one needs experience.

Kudat Homestay Misompuru
The entrance to one of the Misompuru Homestay places, almost covered with greenery.

Stay at Misompuru Homestay

This is one of the recognised homestay groups comprising about 15 different villages that are part of the Sabah Community Based Tourism program, which offers a wide range of experiences and activities, including cultural dances, cycling, jungle trekking, mangrove walks and cruises, cooking classes, bird watching and many others. Most visitors will choose to stay around three to five days here to learn and understand the way of life of the Murut people. For bookings and more information, contact: Cobra 013 872 1765

How to Go to Kudat?

From Kota Kinabalu, it takes about three to four hours drive to reach Kudat, and you can self-drive or book a tour package to get here. Most long-stay visitors would find their way here using public transport, just local vans or buses from KK. You can also visit the Sabah Tourism website on Kudat for more information.

Conclusion

Again, Kudat is not one of Sabah’s popular high-traffic tourist destinations. Still, it does offer a very different side of the local and cultural aspect of the Sabahan people who live a simple life. If you want to know more, this is one of the many places in Sabah to visit, and I hope this list of what to do in Kudat provides you with valuable information.

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