Overlooking Marudu Bay, Kudat is a friendly town centred on the intersection of Jalan Ibrahim Arshad and Jalan Lo Thien Chock. The latter, the main street, holds some of Sabah’s oldest wooden shophouses and a Standard Chartered Bank. During a visit, leave time to peek at the central, orange-hued Chinese temple close to the Ria Hotel, plus the stilt village and the harbour, now significantly quieter than in the days when Kudat had an active fishing industry.
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The Kudat Peninsula is home to the Rungus people, members of the wider Kadazan/Dusun ethnic group. Like most, the Rungus have gradually modernized, but many still hold their traditions dear. Older people in the kampungs still dress in black, and only two generations ago some Rungus wore coils of brass and copper on their bodies.
The architectural style of the traditional longhouse is distinctive too, built with outwards leaning walls and decorated with motifs and imagery from farming and nature. Today though, most dwellings are made from sheets of corrugated zinc, whose durability makes it preferable to the traditional materials like timber, tree bark, rattan and nipah leaves.