Journey Begins at the Tip of Borneo -Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, Kudat,Sabah, Malaysia

Kudat Travel Blog

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Prior to my arrival at Kota Kinabalu, I had browsed over the web to see the many tourist attractions of Sabah and prepare my itinerary. Tanjung Simpang Mengayau immediately caught my attention so I decided to include it in my  must-see places and scheduled it to be visited on my first day in Borneo. I've read through the articles and learned that Simpang Mengayau is the northernmost tip of the island of Borneo located at the Kudat Peninsula of Sabah, Malaysia.

This  is the meeting point of the Sulu and China Seas, and moving northward from this area, one can reach the southern part of  the province of Palawan in the Philippines.

In the olden days, Simpang Mengayau was a well-known berthing area of trade ships during rough sea weather. It was also a spot frequented by sea pirates as the name in Bajau implied: simpang(meeting place) mengayau(attacking/hijacking).

This scenic headland is located  more than 200 kilometers away from kota Kinabalu, about 3.5 hours drive. There are various options (depending on one's budget) on how to get to the Tip of Borneo. One can take the bus to the town of Kudat and from there take a taxi(pick-up trucks for hire) and drive for another 30 minutes to Simpang Mengayau.

Another option is to hire a taxi at Kota Kinabalu or rent a self-drive car. The last option is to book on a travel group tour package that includes lunch and stop-overs at the Rungus longhouse and the bee farm.

After cost and convenience analysis, I opted for the self-drive car I rented and shared with 2 students from Singapore that I've met at the backpackers lodge.  The three of us shared the payment of 180 ringgit for the car rental and 80 ringgit for gas. And fortunately, the guy and the girl I was with knew how to drive so we all took turns at the steering wheel. The road going to Kudat was in poor condition. It wasn't so bad either but I was dismayed because I expected Malaysia to have much better roads compared to rest of the Southeast Asian nations.

We reached Simpang Mengayau after driving for 2.45 hours. I wasn't disappointed at all to have this place included in my itinerary. As you enter Simpang Mengayau, you will be greeted by the wide beaches of Pantai Kalampunian on the left side of the road . The  white sand beaches are pristine, unspoilt, and the crystal blue water is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. We went up towards the pointed headland and before going down to the rocky outcrop that forms the tip, I climbed up to the hillside on the left to get a good view of Pantai Kalampunian. The view of the beach from the hill  was beathtaking! From there I walked down towards the flagpole and bronze globe marker. I nearly jumped off my feet when a monitor lizard crossed my path. The dark gray lizard was as huge as a cat.

(or even larger) At first I thought it was a komodo dragon but then I recalled that komodos are only found in Indonesia. Stupid guess! The monitor lizards' habitat is near coastal forests and river banks. I tried to chase the lizard to take a photo but it was gone quickly.

I had my grand moment standing at the tip of Borneo. The  view of the headland that extends  to the horizon where the Sulu and China Seas meet is scenic and stunning. The ocean before me was strangely silent and calm. I was expecting high and roaring waves at the meeting point of these two seas. There was serenity and peace all around. It was a perfect moment.... and a perfect day!

We started our trip back to Kota Kinabalu at past noon. We were already hungry but I opted not to buy lunch at the restaurants along the way.

There is a lingering electric power shortage in this part of the State of Sabah.(most parts of the state experience daily power blackouts ) Food cannot be stored fresh in such condition and I didn't want to risk the normal state of my digestive system. That was just the first day of my tour and I wouldn't want to  spend the rest of my tour visiting the tandas(toilet). My companions and I survived on chewing gum and mineral water. After 15 minutes of driving, we turned right from the mainroad to enter the Gombizau Honeybee Farm at Matunggong, part of Kudat town. After registering and paying entrance fees at the gate, we walked up to the forested area on a hill where the farm was located. We were advised to stay as calm as possible if we encounter any bee stings.
There were more than a hundred bee cages at the farm planted with rows of rubber trees. The 'bee ladies' who entertained us explained how the farm is managed and made us taste raw honey straight from the honeycomb that they sliced in cubes. We placed the honeycomb cubes in our mouths, sucked the nectar, and spat out the honeycomb that has the consistency of a rough tastless chewing gum. That was my first taste of fresh honey. And I was glad lunch was served at last. Sweet, sweet lunch. But I was still hungry.

It was almost past three pm when we finished our Gombizau tour. We still had 3 hours on the road and we had to rush back to the city to attack the first McDonalds in sight to devour fries, burger, and soda and be in time at the hostel to join the other guests(mostly Singaporeans) watch the Olympic semifinal match of Malaysia's badminton topseed Chong Wei Lee versus Korea. Of course we cheered for our fellow Southeast Asian nation. Malaysia won to advance to the gold medal quest. Our loud cheering for Malaysia rocked the whole of Gaya Street and our shouts could be heard as far as Mt. Kinabalu. It was a fun-filled moment to end the day! 


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photo by: Mezmerized