The Tip of Borneo, known locally as Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, is a prominent landmark located in the northernmost part of Borneo Island, within the Malaysian state of Sabah. Local villages are populated by the Rungus ethnic tribe, where traditional lifestyles and skillfully made handicrafts can be seen. They are also particularly notable for their traditional longhouses.

The Kudat Peninsula is definitely worth a visit for those who like nature without crowds!

How to get to the Tip of Borneo?

There is no public transport around the Kudat Peninsula, so renting a car from Kota Kinabalu and making a trip there independently seems to be the best option. I haven’t seen any car rental companies with good reviews in Kudat.

Alternatively, base yourself in Kudat and arrange transportation via your hotel there. Most likely they will help you to find a taxi driver or you can try your luck and look for one in a popular ride-hailing app Grab.

When to go?

The Tip of Borneo can be visited the whole year, but the best time to visit is between February and April, during the dry season. The weather during these months is generally more favourable with less rainfall, making it easier to enjoy outdoor activities, especially in the afternoons.

The Tip of Borneo, Sabah
The beach at the Tip of Borneo

How long should you stay?

Keeping in mind the distance from Kota Kinabalu (nearly 200 km), at least two days are needed to travel comfortably and have enough time to relax on the beach, visit the tip of the peninsula and drop by to Kudat.

Where to stay?

There are a lot of nice accommodation options near the tip, such as Tampat Do Aman which includes walking trails, a watchtower for looking out over the dense forest and a small museum dedicated to the Rungus people. You can also camp near Kelambu Beach which must be an amazing experience while enjoying starry nights.

In Kudat, I recommend staying at The Upper Deck Hotel. Basic, but very clean and spacious room, well located in the centre of the town.

The Tip of Borneo, Sabah
Kalampunian Lighthouse

Places worth seeing

The Tip of Borneo

Situated in the Kudat Peninsula, it is where the South China Sea meets the Sulu Sea, offering stunning panoramic views of both bodies of water. A large bronze globe monument marks the place, symbolizing its geographical significance. It’s a beautiful place to enjoy the sunset and you can spot Kalampunian Lighthouse in the distance.

The Tip of Borneo, Sabah
The aerial view of the Tip of Borneo
The Tip of Borneo, Sabah
Globe monument
The Tip of Borneo, Sabah
The place where South China Sea meets Sulu Sea

Kalampunian Beach

This beach is truly a gem, offering a serene atmosphere. The fine, white sand is a delight to walk on, perfectly matching with turquoise water.

Kelambu Beach

Another beautiful sandy beach. At low tide, you can walk to the small island across. Be wary not to get stranded when the tide comes in. The only drawback is the rubbish being washed up during high tide. There are nice campsites on the other side of the road, but don’t expect a mobile signal (which may be an advantage).

The Tip of Borneo, Sabah
The aerial view of Kelambu Beach

Kudat

Kudat has historical importance as it was one of the early settlements of the British North Borneo Company in the 19th century. The town was officially established in 1881. You can kill some time here strolling or jogging along the sea at Kudat Park or visiting the Tun Mustapha Museum or Fuk Tek Kung Temple.

Tun Mustapha Museum is the first museum built in Kudat which aims to showcase the life story of Tun Mustapha (the first governor of Sabah) as well as the culture and history found in the Kudat district.

Fuk Tek Kung Temple is one of the few Taoism temples in Sabah. It was built in the early 1970s by the nearby Hokkien Association.

Bak Bak Beach is the nearest recreational spot near the city although it can be quite windy. There are a few stalls selling food.

Banggi Island

The island is well off the beaten track, with limited infrastructure and basic amenities, available in larger settlements like Karakit. It lies within the South China Sea and is close to the southern Philippines. The beaches on the island are littered with rubbish, and there isn’t much to do. On the other hand, you can bargain with fishermen to take you to nearby Maliangin Island, a little island with picture-perfect beaches, lush tropical vegetation, and crystal-clear water. Balambangan Island is a more distant and more expensive to get to but would be another nice idea for a day trip.

To get there, you will need to take a boat from the town of Kudat. The boat ride takes an hour or two, depending on the sea conditions.

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