Sabah’s trunk highway hurries through the northern suburbs of KK to the more pastoral environs of Tuaran. From here, the atap houses of the Bajau water villages, Mengkabong and Penimbawan, are only a stone’s throw away. Just outside Tuaran, the main road forks, with the eastern branch heading towards Gunung Kinabalu National Park and Ranau, then onwards to Sandakan.

Continuing north instead, the main road arrives at bustling Kota Belud, where a weekly tamu attracts tribespeople from all over the region. Beyond, the landscape becomes more colourful: jewel-bright paddy fields and stilted wooden houses line the road for much of the way up to the Kudat Peninsula, with Gunung Kinabalu dominating the far distance.

On the way to Kudat, the first administrative capital of the East India Company, it’s possible to stay at a Rungus longhouse in Kampung Bavanggazo. North of town the area known as the Tip of Borneo has quiet beaches and a few guesthouses. Remote islands reached from the peninsula include Pulau Banggi and Pulau Mantanani.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

Malaysia features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Living the good life in Borneo

Living the good life in Borneo

Life in the beautiful region of Sapulot is relaxed and uncomplicated, and the communities who live here want to keep it that way. They are inviting visitors to …

02 Jun 2016 • Ros Walford insert_drive_file Article
7 reasons why Langkawi is Malaysia's ultimate island escape

7 reasons why Langkawi is Malaysia's ultimate island escape

Looking to unwind on a tropical island somewhere in Southeast Asia? Then head to the island of Langkawi, Malaysia’s ultimate escape from the country’s frene…

09 Feb 2016 • Stuart Forster insert_drive_file Article
Quiz: can you locate these national parks?

Quiz: can you locate these national parks?

National parks are some of the world's most awe-inspiring natural places, taking in mountains, glaciers, waterfalls and forests (sometimes all in the same one…

02 Jul 2015 • Rebecca Hallett help Quiz
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month