I’d like to pretend that we were so hardcore we worked everyday for a month, but I’d be telling a massive porky pie. Similar to a normal working week we would soldier on Monday to Friday and then have the weekends off for plenty of activities…
Tip of Borneo
We visited the tip of Borneo, the most northern point of the island, on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. Located in the small town of Kudat, it boasted incredible views in a park-like grounds, with a cool bronze globe statue, which marks the exact location (latitude 7 degrees north, longitude 116 degrees east). As it is where the South China Sea meets with the Sulu Seas from the East, you can understand why the locals call it Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, which translates to ‘lingering junction.’We spent roughly half an hour exploring the point and to be honest you wouldn’t need much longer here. Not saying of course it isn’t worth a visit, just other than the view (which speaks for itself), there isn’t much else to do.
Gong Making Village
We were starting to understand the importance of gongs in Borneo – not only for our food call, but for weddings, ceremonies, dancing and even Sports Day (in my previous post).
Kampung Sumangkap is a gong making village in the town of Sumangkap, about 40km from Kudat and 100km north of KK (Kota Kinabalu). We visited this little village, which happens to be biggest communal gong making factory in Malaysia, on a rainy Sunday morning.
I expected the village to be noisy on arrival, with the banging of metal, however it was surprisingly quiet. Our first point of call was the largest gong in Asia (I hope I’m correct in saying this). The giant gong, built in 2008 by four local gongs craftsman, measured at 20 feet tall, weighing 980 kilograms.As it started to pour down with rain we took cover in a gong shop and I excitingly got to sample a few of them. We were also lucky enough to see the method of gong making, by one of the local gongs craftsman. You can see below the man hitting the sheet of metal into a gong shape, which takes days to make.
After our rather wet visit to the village of the gongs, we headed to the beach. Dreading the weather conditions, I was a bit apprehensive. However the weather prevailed and although cloudy for the first few hours we had a lovely afternoon on the beach. This included an incredible BBQ with catfish, stingray (which I had never tried before) and squid, followed by a nap in a hammock. To be honest, what more can you say about an afternoon on the beach so instead I’ll share more photos…
Sunsets in Kota Kinabalu
We spent quite a bit of time in KK. It was mainly used as a stop off point, however when we did explore we found westernised shopping malls, cinemas (Jack and I watched Guardians of the Galaxy 2), monuments and amazing street food/markets. But for me the best part of Kota Kinabalu, was the breathtaking sunsets over the harbour (you should know by now I love a good sunrise/sunset). For me it was the sunsets that made the capital of Sabah so beautiful.
Within KK we visited a little island called Sapi, which is one of five islands making up a national park called Tunku Abdul Rahman. Only a 20 minute boat ride from the port, Sapi is a hot tourist destination amongst locals and tourists (which very sadly ruins it).
Our day consisted of sitting on the overcrowded beach, which in fairness had beautiful white sand and clear blue water, a very fun banana boat ride, as well as snorkeling (although the coral appeared to sadly be dying). The main focus was the worlds largest island to island zip line which went from the island next door back to Sapi. Personally I didn’t partake in this activity as I’ve done a few before. The consensus when everyone got back was it was fairly average, so I’m glad I tapped out.
Exotic Food Night
Exotic food night should have really fallen into my local community blog post (my bad), but it was still on an R&R day (Sunday Funday) so it’s all good.
This night is exactly what it says on the tin – a night of trying bizarre local foods. On the menu was monitor lizard, flying squirrel, frog and not so exotic local fish. All caught personally and cooked by our camp chef and his wife. After some squeals, “no I’m never eating that” and looks of disgust, eventually everyone sat down to try at least one of these weird foods. Personally I was unsure of the squirrel, however believe it or not I really enjoyed the lizard, going back for seconds, followed closely by the frog. After trying jellyfish and big brains in Vietnam and bugs in Cambodia, I wasn’t going to pass an opportunity to try new things (even if they were out of the ordinary) and I’m definitely glad I didn’t.
Well there you have it, a little insight into our days off in Borneo 😊. The fun doesn’t stop there as after three weeks in Camp Tinangol, Kota Kinabalu and the surrounding areas, we headed towards the jungle.
Jessica Storm ✌️