With modernization slowly engulfing the world, one tends to forget to slow down and be in the moment. If you’re hoping to regain that, Kudat is just the place to bring you back to basics. Kudat was only accessible by sea until less than 50 years ago, and this isolation has forced Kudat to maintain its slow-paced environment. If you are planning to visit this town, here are some of the top Kudat attractions that you should visit.
As Kudat is primarily populated with Rungus people, you will get to witness the traditional lifestyle of the Rungus people. Kampung Gomizau, or “Honey Bee Village”, was founded over a decade ago and focused on the Rungus community’s production. With over a hundred bee cages, good honey is produced for locals to consume and buy. As a bonus, what is one of the more popular Kudat attractions is located only about 43km from the town centre.
Located within 1km away from Kampung Gombizau, you can explore the traditional art of gong-making in Kampung Sumangkap. Gongs are a crucial musical instrument for the indigenous people of Sabah and are typically used for festive occasions. As a symbol of a family’s wealth, it is safe to say that the people here prioritize the quality of creating a gong, and artisans here would happily oblige in a demonstration of their talent. You can even bring one back as a souvenir, as they come in various sizes.
While longhouses aren’t as prominent as they used to be in Sabah, you may still find them in this town, making it one of the must-visit Kudat attractions. Longhouses are still used by the Rungus community and are entirely different from your modern-day house as they are made from bamboo, wood, and beaten bark. It is very comfortable and cool, especially at night, with twin-bedded bedrooms off a communal verandah. Don’t miss a chance to experience this while tasting local cuisine and being entertained by cultural performances here.
The Tip of Borneo is also referred to as “Tanjung Simpang Mengayau”, which translates to the battle of the tip in the Rungus language. This is because Kudat is at the northernmost end of Sabah, and when you visit this spot, you are standing between the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea. The breezy air, open sea, and sandy beach will take one’s breath away and is what makes this Kudat attraction a great place to take pictures as a souvenir.
However, it is not advisable to climb down the slope, as the waves may become rough in bad weather. While an Instagram picture is essential, remember to keep yourself safe.
If you’re looking for some privacy, Tindakon Dazang Beach, one of the natural Kudat attractions, is a place you can add to your list. However, the price of seclusion is the challenge of finding this beach as it is about an hour away from town, going through winding zig-zag roads. You won’t be disappointed, though, as it is beautiful and clean, with unique rock formations lining the greenish-blue waters. While you breathe in the beauty, leave footprints and capture your memories here.
If you’re staying in Kudat long-term, love cruising along clear waters, and are passionate about aquatic life, the Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (TRACC) offers visitors like you an unforgettable underwater experience. TRACC is a marine conservation centre that teaches guests diving and allows them the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of helping to rebuild reefs and protect turtles and sharks. Located near the Tip of Borneo, this Kudat attraction is the primary training site as there is shallow water, making it somewhat safe for an amateur diver.
Another one of the many beautiful and natural Kudat attractions that you should visit is Kelambu Beach. “Kelambu”, directly translated, means mosquito neck in their language, most likely to the island’s shape, which is similar to a mosquito neck. However, the crystal clear waters and the sandy powdered beach aren’t the only beautiful thing there.
It is said that Kelambu Beach is illuminated at night because of bioluminescence, or the Blue Tears phenomenon. Its occurrence depends on factors like water conditions, weather, and brightness.
This island is resided by the Banggi tribe and is one of the biggest islands in Sabah. This tribe has fascinated travellers with their odd and unconventional treehouses, and most of the people here still live in wooden houses and water villages. The main socio-economic activity of this Kudat attraction is undoubtedly fishing, though people indulge in other forms of work like planting palm oil, rubber, and coconut.
You can typically get to this island via boat or ferry from Kudat town, but be prepared to go there earlier than expected as the time of departure to the island can be unpredictable.
Remember those movie scenes where the protagonist camps under the stars? You can live out this scene in Secret Place Cafe and Camping. A hospitable local family hosts this place and manages a small local cafe that serves tantalizing fried and barbecued delicacies. Furthermore, one could do other things like stargazing, camping, and sunbathing during the day too. This is truly the best kind of retreat you should experience at least once in your life.
The waterfront of Kudat, Sidek Esplanade, is just outside of Kudat town centre, right beside the sea. This is where locals usually gather to celebrate the day-to-day hiatus. Taking a stroll in one of the most popular Kudat attractions can be therapeutic, with the long stretch of clear water, some shad huts to rest in, and stalls and restaurants to fill your stomach. The most noticeable thing is the clock tower that marks the entrance.
This town may not be as famous as other places, but sometimes it is the littlest things that bring the most effective form of joy. As you explore the many different Kudat attractions, who knows, it might just rekindle the child-like fascination that you once had with the simplest of things.