Laid back port town.

Laidback and slightly threadbare, Kudat is a friendly port town in the northern tip of Sabah, a flea tucked into the dog’s ear of the map. It’s unhurried, and easy to like, but there’s not a lot to keep most travellers hanging around for too long.

More on Kudat

Kudat is found 175 kilometres north of Kota Kinabalu, and 380 kilometres northwest of Sandakan. The Kudat peninsular has long been the heartland of the longhouse-dwelling indigenous Rungus and today, several of their villages are open to passing tourists.

Welcome to Kudat. : Sally Arnold.
Welcome to Kudat. Photo: Sally Arnold

Back in the early 1880s, Kudat was the capital of North Borneo, however the honour was short lived (too many pirates), and Sandakan soon took the accolade. This time saw an influx of Chinese migrants, and the town bares many Chinese street names. A colourful Chinese temple near Hotel Ria is worth a look. Around here, at the western side of town, you’ll find some old wooden shophouses of interest too. Moving east, the fish market does a brisk business on the port side, and city side, equally busy is the produce market.

Past the markets, a grid of concrete shop-lots dispersed with large shady trees in the Secdo area houses Kudat’s budget hotels, banks with ATMs and a notably uncommon number of pool halls that all seem to be full (there’s really not a lot to do in Kudat). The esplanade edging Marudu Bay makes a pleasant stroll to watch the fishing boats. Nearby the small but busy ferry terminal transports folk daily to Banggi Island, Malaysia’s largest island just north of Kudat. If you want to get off the tourist trail, jump ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 300 words.)

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7 other destinations in Sabah

Learn more about Kinabalu Park
Kinabalu Park

Home to Malaysia’s tallest peak

Learn more about Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu

Amazing seafood

Learn more about Kota Belud
Kota Belud

Island time.

Learn more about Lahad Datu
Lahad Datu

Head to the Danum Valley

Learn more about Sandakan

A gateway to wildlife adventure

Learn more about Tawau

A chocolate tour perhaps?