Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Kudat (March 2011)

Kota_Belud Paddy Fields_sabah

The scenery from Kota Kinabalu to Kudat changes quite a bit. From Kota Belud, it's mostly rice fields. On a good day, one can take photos of golden rice fields with the mighty Mount Kinabalu in the background. Along the way, one has to drive pass (or over?) the James Brooke range, a hilly area so you can get stalled by big trucks laden with cargo. Nearer to Kudat and the coast, coconut and acacia plantations take over. The coconut trees are now being replaced by oil palm however.

Kota_Belud_Kudat sabah1

Kudat may be a small town but there are several hotels here to cater to tourists and visitors. I didn't make any prior reservations, just drove into town and checked into the nearest decent hotel I could find. Paid less than RM50 for my room with AC, TV, hot shower and a queen sized bed. Cheap! I noted three major banks here, BSN, Maybank and Ambank so one shouldn't have to worry about getting to an ATM that accepts cirrus or meps cards.


After a short rest, I made my way to Simpang Mengayau but somehow ended up at Pantai Bak Bak instead LOL. Bak Bak is supposed to be a popular and well known beach but I was quite shocked at what I saw... apparently storms and strong waves have damaged a fair part of the concrete waterfront and the bridge at the northern end is totally unusable. Rubbish thrown by people then brought back in by the tide also clog up the small river here. Very unsightly.

Pantai_Bak_Bak_Kudat sabah2

Pantai_Bak_Bak_Kudat sabah3

Pantai Bak Bak, Kudat

From there I made my way to Simpang Mengayau and enjoyed the rest of my afternoon at the tip of Borneo. I'd say the bumpy ride was worth it cos the view here is just amazing. Photos of Simpang Mengayau already uploaded and shared in a separate entry, which can be found here:



The next morning, got up real early and made my way up the mountains. I had to pass by that dreaded bumpy stretch again. It was a real relief when I finally got to Kota Belud. I found the road that connects this small town to the KK-Ranau road fairly easily, thanks to my GPS. This road is very quiet, very little traffic that day. It looks fairly new, or newly sealed and was very smooth all the way. There's some very stunning views along the way too. Rolling hills and thundering white water rivers...

While I did enjoy my time at Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, the journey there was really uncomfortable. Unfortunately, it is the part I remember most vividly. That very bumpy stretch of road really makes me think twice about driving there again.

Good evening!

Will get up to speed again soon. Busy busy busy!
Meanwhile, enjoy this beauty, bathed in warm evening light from the setting sun!

Dendrobium sp. Sorry, the exact species name escapes me.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Simpang Mengayau aka Tip of Borneo (March 2011)

Tanjung Simpang Mengayau (Simpang Mengayau Cape) is the northernmost tip of Borneo.

When I got to Kudat, first thing I did was look for a decent hotel. Then, having showered and rested, I started my way to Simpang Mengayau. It's not hard to locate, even without a GPS unit. Signboards direct the driver right to the tip of Borneo. The road leading up to that point is fully sealed but rather uneven with potholes. There are actually two roads leading there, one is a gravel road so avoid that and just follow the signboards.

Simpang Mengayau is absolutely breathtaking. The weather was a bit cloudy that afternoon, not so good for picture taking but being there was a great feeling. You hear the surf crashing onto shore and the strong wind blowing in your face and all around you is just this wide expanse of water. This is also where the South China Sea meets the Sulu Sea. I got right down to the rocky tip!

I had myself an ice-cream while taking it all in then it was time to hit the beach. Rented myself a complete set of snorkeling gear (goggles, flippers and life jacket) and jumped into the water. Didn't see much though. The local man who rented me the gear said that to see live corals I'd have to swim out to at least 100-200 meters from shore. I could also hire him as a guide but my gear was rather poor fitting and he didn't have many to choose from. Salt water kept seeping in so I didn't want to risk anything just to see some fish and corals. Stuck close to shore, didn't see much. Bothered by the "leaky" gear so ended up just relaxing, being lazy and floating in the sea while staring at the sky and passing clouds. Bliss...

There are now some chalets and resorts here at Simpang Mengayau. I would have loved to stay a night here but I left just before sunset because I didn't want to tackle the uneven road back to town in total darkness.
Would love to visit again soon!
More photos…
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...