Tag Archives: Kudat

Loro Kecil Beach, little embayment of Kudat

Mussels are abundant on the rocks at the beach

If we have a choice of our childhood, most of us would want to grow up near to a beach, which is the favorite playground for children (and a dating place when they become adult). People who born in Kudat district are lucky, because Kudat has a lot of nice beaches, besides coconut and longhouse.

Loro Kecil Beach during low tide

The pocket beach of Loro Kecil during low tide

Sunset at Loro Kecil

Sunset at Loro Kecil

In Sabah cities such as Kota Kinabalu, houses with sea view can easily cost over RM1 million. It’s really a dream home because most middle-class people only can daydream about it.

Panoramic view of Loro Kecil Beach

Panoramic view of Loro Kecil Beach

Sometimes I envy those who live in seaside village, though their place is not as prosperous and developed as big city, at least they don’t need to work their ass off to live in a sea-view apartment.

Loro Kecil Beach

Loro Kecil has the potential to be a tourism destination

Loro Kecil Village is the place like this. Actually it’s not a tourist beach. A friendly local showed me Loro Kecil Beach when I was travelling around Kudat, as the beach is only 10 KM before the Tip of Borneo and 32 KM from Kudat town (GPS: 6.973331, 116.726774, see Location Map)

Loro Kecil cove surrounded by lush hill

Loro Kecil is a cove surrounded by lush hill

Rocky shore of Loro Kecil

Rocky shore of Loro Kecil

Look at the aerial map below and you can see that Loro Kecil Beach is adjacent to Bawang Jamal Beach and Kelambu Beach, and you can have “Beach Hopping” trip to visit them all until your skin get wrinkly after swimming.

Map: Beaches of Kudat Peninsular

Map: Beaches of Kudat Peninsular

Small boat resting on the beach

Small boat resting on the beach

Morever, these three beaches have distinctly different geological features, namely, Pocket Beach (Loro Kecil), Tombolo (Kelambu Beach) and Linear Beach (Bawang Jamal Beach).

Canoe on the beach

Canoe on the beach

The hashtags (keywords) that best describe Loro Kecil are #villagelife #beach #childhood #PocketBeach #beautiful #kudat #nature #beachlife and #sea.

Kampung Loro Kecil is a fishing village

Kampung Loro Kecil is a fishing village

According to a research titled The geological heritage values and potential geotourism development of the beaches in Northern Sabah, Malaysia written by Joanes Muda:

“Beaches such as the Tanjung Simpang Mengayau (Tip of Borneo), Kulambu (Kelambu), Loro Kecil, Torongkongan and Marasimsim Beach have research, educational and recreational values and therefore have high potential for geotourism.”

Remains of World War II warship at Loro Kecil Village

Remains of World War II Japanese warship at Loro Kecil Village

The villagers say there is a Japanese warship of World War II being sunk in the sea there. They can see the shipwreck during certain monsoon period.

Engines from a World War II warship

Engines from a World War II warship

Two engines were salvaged from the wreck and placed on the beach. Hope the history and relic of this ship are preserved, to turn this beach into an interesting destination. I wonder where I can find more information about this ship. Without any story, this WW2 remnant is only as good as scrap metal.

Inlet of Loro Kecil

Inlet of Loro Kecil

Scenic embayment of Loro Kecil

Scenic embayment

Technically Loro Kecil Beach is an Embayed or Pocket Beach. During high tide, the cove is filled with sea water.

Embayed beach of Loro Kecil

Embayed beach of Loro Kecil

Large area of intertidal sandflat is exposed during low tide, where you can see thousands of small holes dug by whelks. When I walked on the sandflat, I heard continuous pop sound everywhere, probably it was the noise of whelks retreating to their burrows.

Rocky Beach of Loro Kecil

Rocky Beach of Loro Kecil

The beach is between two rocky shores with many small caves. They told me there are another two bigger caves, about 10 feet long, behind the shores.

Caves at Loro Kecil Beach

Caves at Loro Kecil Beach

Whenever I visit a place that has cave, there is always a legend saying that it’s a treasure burial site. Anyway, only bats are found in these caves, the village folks say. I bet the children there like to play hide and seek inside caves.

treasure hunting site

Some says Loro Kecil is a treasure hunting site

Honeycomb rockface

Honeycomb rockface

At the beach is a small fishing village with a dozen of houses. Most of the residents are Rungus people. They are very friendly and don’t mind stranger like me exploring around.

Interesting rock formation

Interesting rock formation

Interesting rockface at the beach

Interesting rock wall at the beach

The rocks at the shore are like art of nature and fun to look at, as they are craved into different shapes and figures by sea and wind erosion.

Rockface with China map

Did you see a China map?

Villager collecting mussels

Villager collecting mussels

Then I saw an old woman was busy beating something on the rock with a small metal rod. I’m a busybody, so I checked her out. She was collecting the flesh of mussels, which are abundant on the rocks at the beach.

Flesh of mussels

Flesh of mussels

I have a feeling that this location will become a popular homestay in future. Currently the villagers may not aware that they are living at a very unique and interesting beach.

Photos taken in Kudat, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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Bawang Jamal Beach: Sunset, Longhouse, Milky Way

Playful children from local village

Need a break? Hearing someone says, “let’s go to the beach!” will definitely cheer you up. Everyone loves going to the beach. However, it stinks for beachgoers to get only a few meters of space at a popular but crowded beach. Personally I dislike sharing a beach with hundred of people.

Bawang Jamal Beach (or Pantai Bawang Jamal in local language)

Bawang Jamal Beach (Pantai Bawang Jamal in local language)

Photo of Coney Island Beach by Michael Candelori

A crowded beach in USA (photo by Michael Candelori)

Luckily, with about 1,300 Kilometers of coastline, Sabah has so many nice beaches that are enough for everyone to get over 10,000 Sq. Meters of space.

Bawang Jamal Beach

Bawang Jamal Beach is about 1 KM long

I’m not exaggerating. Bawang Jamal Beach (Pantai Bawang Jamal in local language), in north of Sabah, is one of them, and most of the time you would see less than 10 people on this 1-Kilometer long beach.

Intertidal zone

Water-filled trough (Runnel)

Promoting the beaches of Sabah to foreigners can be challenging sometimes, because my marketing managers would comment, “The photos are nice but hey.. the beach is so empty. Tourists would think that our beach ain’t fun or got shark!”

Panoramic view of Bawang Jamal Beach

Panoramic view of Bawang Jamal Beach

Located in Kudat, Bawang Jamal Beach is really hidden well behind a village and dense casuarina trees (GPS: 6.993149, 116.727974, see Location Map).

End of Bawang Jamal Beach

End of Bawang Jamal Beach

During my visit, I saw an Australian couple spending their vacation at this beach, and they say Bawang Jamal Beach is probably the best beach in Borneo. I had seen the seething mass of meat (people) in Bondi Beach of Sydney, so I understand why they love this secluded beach so much.

Tourist walking on the beach

Tourist walking on the beach

This beach is unspoiled and turtles also come to nest occasionally, and a turtle hatchery was built around here. Street and house light can drive turtles away, so no development could mean a good thing to wildlife.

White sandy beach of Bawang Jamal Beach

White sandy beach of Bawang Jamal Beach

Local children beachcombing for shells and seaweed

Local children beachcombing for shells and seaweed

The blue sea and snowy beach here are something that tourists willing to pay high dollar for staying in such an untouched beach. It’s a small bay flanked by rocky shores. The intertidal zone and sandy beach are wide, which is very suitable for kids who can’t stop running around.

Bawang Jamal Beach of Kudat

The island far behind is Kelambu Island

Edible seaweed

Edible seaweed found on the beach

Sometimes group of village kids would walk along the shore to collect edible stuffs such as shellfish and seaweed. In tourist beach we can’t do this because usually there is nothing left.

Crawl marks left by seashells

Crawl marks left by seashells

Rocky shore of Bawang Jamal Beach

Rocky shore of Bawang Jamal Beach

Rocky beach at the end of Bawang Jamal Beach

Rocky beach at the end of Bawang Jamal Beach

The rocky shore at the edge of the beach is fun to explore. You would see many small marine animals trapped in the tide pools. I can sit there whole day watching them crawling or swimming.

Starfish in tide pool

Starfish in tide pool

Rocky beach covered by yellow seaweed

Rocky beach covered by yellow seaweed

The most interesting feature of Bawang Jamal Beach is big area of rocky shore covered by yellow seaweed. It looks like a golden carpet when lighted by warm colors of sunset.

Beautiful sunset at Bawang Jamal Beach

Beautiful sunset at Bawang Jamal Beach

Rock formation along the beach

Rocks along the beach

Actually I want to photograph the luminous sea (“glowing sea” caused by bioluminescent phytoplankton) of Bawang Jamal Beach, but it wasn’t in peak condition during my visit. Anyway, I saw many fishes swam near to the shore to lay eggs, and a fisherman showed me his caught after night fishing, it’s kind of fun.

Fish caught by villager at night

Fishes caught by villager at night

Mossy rocks and seaweed on the beach

Mossy rocks and seaweed on the beach

No matter what, this beach is quite unique that I’m sure many photographers would thank me for introducing them another nice spot for landscape shots.

Milky Way at the beach

Milky Way at Bawang Jamal Beach

As this beach is free from light and dust pollution, you can see thousands of stars clearly in crystal clear sky. I shot a few photos of Milk Way. Later I found that some of my friends have no idea what is Milky Way because they never see one in the city.

Super Sunset

Not only that, the sunset view at Bawang Jamal Beach is spectacular. No kidding. The nice sunset and beach can be the excellent backdrop for romantic movie scenes.

Dog and cat enjoying sunset

Dog and cat seem to enjoy the sunset

Sunset view at Bawang Jamal Beach

Sunset walk at Bawang Jamal Beach

Our beaches are really underrated. I’m kind of upset when some travel portals rank some mediocre (but popular) beaches as the best in the world.

Panoramic sunset view

Panoramic sunset view

Sunset run on the beach

Sunset run on the beach

After seeing so many nice beaches in Sabah, I’m not easily impressed by beaches in other countries. In fact, many Sabahan friends return from overseas trip and say, “heck, you know what? Our beaches are better.”

Secret Place Cafe

By the way, if you stroll around this beach, you would find Secret Place Cafe near the midsection of the beach. Well, it’s not that secret. I saw a number of westerners relaxing there.

Secret Cafe Place

Secret Cafe Place

You can buy hot and cold drink such as tea, coffee, soft drink and beer there. They also sell food like fried rice, noodles, toast and omelette. The prices range from RM6.50 to RM8 (≈US$1.60-2.00) and the serving size is quite big. Though the cafe is not certified Halal, they serve no pork.

Beach at Secret Cafe Place

Beach at Secret Cafe Place

FYI, you also can rent snorkelling gears and camping tents at this cafe. I think they offer sunset BBQ too.

Lupa Masa Longhouse

For those who want to spend more wonderful time at Bawang Jamal Beach, Lupa Masa Longhouse is only 3 minute walk away from the beach. The design of this accommodation is based on traditional bamboo longhouse of Rungus people in Kudat. “Lupa Masa” means “Forget Time” in Malay language, which conveys that it is an enjoyable place where you would forget about time.

Lupa Masa Longhouse

Lupa Masa Longhouse

Like how villagers live, the bedroom and amenities of the longhouse are very basic. The room is quite warm during daytime, but quite cooling at night. Electricity for lighting is available. Common toilet and bathroom are just 10 Meters outside the longhouse. The place can accommodate about 12 guests.

Lupa Masa Longhouse

Lupa Masa Longhouse has some basic amenities (From left to right, top to bottom: longhouse, bedroom, washroom, verandah)

The accommodation fee per night is RM50 – 75 (≈US$12.50-19), depend on if you want to participate in Homestay (with full meals) or just Bed & Breakfast. They can help you to arrange various activities around Kudat, for example, snorkeling, fishing, sunset tour and river cruise.

Longhouse under the starry sky

Longhouse under the starry sky

Lupa Masa Longhouse is only 7 Km before the Tip of Borneo. Below is their contact:
E-mail: lupamasaborneo@gmail.com
Tel: +60 19-8020549
Website: lupamasa.com
Facebook: Lupa.Masa

Mangrove river behind Bawang Jamal Beach

Mangrove river behind the beach

Would you prefer a crowded beach or a tranquil beach? Please tell me in comment section below.

Photos taken in Kudat, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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