New dive spot! Discover the stunning Tip of Borneo
Tip of Borneo is the northernmost tip of Borneo, located in Sabah’s Kudat district. It was previously only accessible by 4WD via offroad trails, boasting one of Borneo’s best beaches and captivating sunsets. It overlooks the meeting of the South China Sea at the East, and Sulu Sea at West. It used to be a local’s secret, until (years) ago when small-scale developments started, making it accessible to the public.
Here’s a fun fact: The Tip of Borneo is known as Tanjung Simpang Mengayau which translates to “the junction to the battle at the tip” (in local Rungus language). This is because it used to be a watchpoint for the Moro pirate invasions hundreds of years ago.
An exciting locale with endless exploration possibilities
Although the Tip of Borneo sits within the newly gazette Tun Mustafa Marine Park, scuba diving at the area really only started in 2015, initially known only to avid local divers with access to own boats and equipment.
The diving around the area is a breath of fresh air compared to the other islands along Borneo’s west coast. Pristine corals, valley dives, wall dives, teeming with marine life! Expect to be mesmerised by colourful vibrant soft corals, and even black corals, which are home to macro such as flower crabs, mantis shrimps and a plethora of nudibranchs dotted within the reefs. Whalesharks are known to pass by the area from time to time however the precise season is still unknown. Some local divers even mentioned of cleaning stations where mantas have been spotted… so you will not know what will surprise you diving at the Tip of Borneo.
According to historians, there are allegedly numerous Chinese trading vessels that were sunk around the area during the era of China’s Sung, Ming and Ching dynasty, when they were on their way to Sulawesi. Reckon it’s only about time when divers would start discovering wrecks and perhaps historical artefacts.
Due to its locale, the diving season typically starts from March till October with the ideal period being April-June when it’s usually the hottest and driest time of the year. Underwater temperature is typically balmy, averaging at 28°c, but it can get pretty nippy early March, going as low as 25°c. If you’re planning to dive in the earlier part of the year, it’s best to bring extra layering.
A host of activities to keep you entertained on surface
The coastline that lines the area features clear waters and powdery white sands. But bring some insect repellant if you’re looking to soak up the sun as sandflies abound. Non-diving activities include snorkelling, fishing trips, sea kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) rides, and if you’re around the area from the months of November to early-March, the area becomes a surfing hotspot.
Lodging is typically peppered along the coastline, which ranges from no-frills mattress and fan accommodation in a traditional long house, all the way to a luxurious private bungalow with a personal chef and private beach.
Thinking about filling up your belly? There are a few local restaurants along the coast within walking distance serving reasonably priced local delights. You will be in for a treat if you have no qualms consuming seafood.
The Tip of Borneo is about 40mins away from Kudat town, and the 2 main ways of getting there is via road (3 hours drive from the state capital, Kota Kinabalu) or via a 40minute internal flight to Kudat town from Kota Kinabalu, thereafter getting a local taxi ride to the coast. Given the short distance, weekend trips work perfectly, but take our word for it… you may want to consider the high possibility of extending your trip.
A slice of paradise well within reach
Although diving in the Tip of Borneo is still in its nascent stage, we are pretty certain/confident that it’s a place not to be missed. Pristine corals, plethora marine life, quiet coastline, friendly locals… what more could you ask for? =)
For more information on the Tip of Borneo click here.