The Tip of Borneo is at the Northernmost part of Borneo mainland. We were lent a truck for a day so decided to have a drive up there and a look around. If you are driving it takes about 3 hours from Kota Kinabalu. If you don’t have a car it is also possible to get there by bus from Kudat, but you’d have to research this at the time (unfortunately I can’t find anywhere official to link to for this).
At the Tip there is a mini tourist attraction in the shape of a big globe with a “You are here” sign – not terribly useful but a nice photo opp. The main attraction is the view from the Tip…sea as far as the eye can see. Feel free to ignore the sign/barrier which says “Do Not Cross” as all the locals and Chinese do.
That’s about all there is at the actual Tip. However, drive around and you’ll come across a plethora of picturesque beaches.
The first beach, Kalampunian Beach, is just a few minutes drive from the Tip (you can see it from the car park there). This beach has a few shops and restaurants. The restaurant/bar at the end, called Tip Top is a great place for drinks and good quality food. It’s owned by an English gent from Stratford-upon-Avon called Howard. Howard is a good chap who is always keen to get you another beer (after all you are paying him for the pleasure). He runs volunteering projects in the area so is a good contact if you want to find something worthwhile to do. As well as the restaurant he also has a few longhouses for cheap accommodation.
Drive a further on along the coast and you’ll see a small sign stating “The Secret Place”. Follow this sign along a small off-road section and you get to a clearing in the jungle with a large shack and a number of tents. The Secret Place is owned by Robbie who brought the land and moved his family there from KK. Robbie has set up a little restaurant/bar by the beach and you can hire a tent on the beach for 20RM per person per night and watch the sunset. We really liked the idea of staying the night but there was a storm brewing the night we headed there so Robbie advised against it. However, the secret place is still a great place for a bite to eat, a drink and a relax in a hammock. Robbie and his family look after the beach so it’s clean and a good place to soak up the sun’s rays.
A short drive from The Secret Place and you’ll get to Kelambu beach. As there are no tourist stops on this beach there is a lot of plastic litter (even though there is an expensive residential complex on one part) which is a real shame as this beach has a nice cove with fishing boats anchored up and there is a little island you can walk to when the tide is out. There are also a few hammocks and a swing. This would be a great place if you wanted your own beach BBQ.
There is one final beach further along the coast – Loro Kecil Beach. The road to this beach isn’t tarmacked and the guy who lent us the truck asked us to not go off-road. However, the rebel inside me thought what the hell so we followed the dirt track. The track turned a little rough and a little steep but with some expert driving we forged on. Then the track turned a lot rough and a lot steep and with some lucky driving we forged on. Then the track turned into a full on off road championship course. It was at this point the coward in me kicked in and we did a 25 point turn on the narrow track and slowly headed back to live another day. I obviously regretted this decision 10 minutes later as the road less traveled often leads you to the best adventures. Oh well…something to keep in mind next time I’m being a wimp.
It’s definitely worth checking out the Tip of you are in the area and exploring the local beaches. We would recommend Tip Top as a place to stay/eat/drink (they had the cheapest beer) and do try out the camping at The Secret Place and let us know how it was 😁