Thursday, July 12, 2012

KUDAT - Heaven At The Edge Of Borneo


Imagine standing on a cliff’s edge and looking out to where the South China and Sulu seas meet in a great clash of waves. Dark and wet sandstone boulders stretch out into the sea like beached humpback whales in a spray of ocean mist. The winds blow in forceful, frightening gusts, wafting a fine vapor of sand into the air. Visitors stand in awe with tousled up hair and billowing skirts. It feels like you are in a remote frontier, facing wild and unknown possibilities – it’s exhilarating. Perhaps this was what Ferdinand Magellan, fabled to have stopped here during his circumnavigation of the globe, felt those many years ago.

It hadn't always been such a solitary place, though. The name, Tanjung Simpang Mengayau itself is derived from the Rungus words “sampang mangazo” referring to the great battles once fought here in the 18th and 19th centuries by the locals. According to legend, the coast was a favorite landing point for looting pirates, and Rungus warriors bravely fought them off in bloody battles to protect their land. Tanjung Simpang Mengayau then became the perfect lookout point for incoming pirate attacks. 

It hadn't always been such a solitary place, though. The name, Tanjung Simpang Mengayau itself is derived from the Rungus words “sampang mangazo” referring to the great battles once fought here in the 18th and 19th centuries by the locals. According to legend, the coast was a favorite landing point for looting pirates, and Rungus warriors bravely fought them off in bloody battles to protect their land. Tanjung Simpang Mengayau then became the perfect lookout point for incoming pirate attacks.
Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, a mere dot on the map of Kudat district in Malaysia is unknown due to its remote location, Tanjung Simpang Mengayau doesn’t get many visitors, and for now, this outpost on Borneo Island remains a paradise. This promontory in an isolated part of Sabah is reachable after three hours’ drive northeast of Kota Kinabalu, the last part of which is over unpaved dirt roads snaking through a small traditional Borneo village. A proper road to these parts, in fact, was only built as recently as in the 1960s, prior to which access was made possible only by navigating a boat along the coast. But those who don’t care for a little discomfort -- though it must be said, the views along the way are spectacular -- will be rewarded, at journey’s end, with a landscape so magnificent that you will believe in the existence of heaven on earth.

The crescent-shaped Kalampunian Beach here is carpeted in pure white sands on which gentle waves lap to the shore. This sweeping coastline, fringed by casuarinas trees and said to be one of the most inspiring vistas in Sabah, leads up to the rocky headland called Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, the northern-most tip of the Borneo Island. 

Each year, Kudat also plays host to several interesting events such as the Gong Fest in Matunggong village in October and the Coconut Fest in July (coconut being an important crop in the district). There is also a special outdoor orchestra performance at Tanjung Simpang Mengayau each year that attracts crowds to the area – one that begins at the hour the sun sets on the horizon, promising a glorious musical event to remember.It hadn't always been such a solitary place, though. The name, Tanjung Simpang Mengayau itself is derived from the Rungus words “sampang mangazo” referring to the great battles once fought here in the 18th and 19th centuries by the locals. According to legend, the coast was a favorite landing point for looting pirates, and Rungus warriors bravely fought them off in bloody battles to protect their land. Tanjung Simpang Mengayau then became the perfect lookout point for incoming pirate attacks. Even without all these touristic events, it’s easy to fall in love with Kudat, and especially Tanjung Simpang Mengayau. No wonder the Rungus people were especially defensive of their beloved land and put up a real good fight those centuries ago!




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