Tag Archives: sunset

Sunset, Fireflies, Sambah River Cruise

Beautiful sunset at Tenghilan

River cruise in mangrove forest is one of the most popular tours in Sabah. Normally tourists pay about MYR200 to see long-nosed monkey, sunset and fireflies in wetlands of Klias, Weston or Kota Belud.

Sambah River Cruise

FYI you can see these in Tenghilan (in Tuaran district) for about half of the price (MYR80), but without wildlife such as proboscis monkey. Anyway, its advantages are: (1) the destination is less than an hour drive from Kota Kinabalu City (KK), (2) You will have a chance to sample a delicious snack called Udang Salai (Smoked Shrimps).

smoking fresh shrimps

Udang Salai (Smoked Shrimps) is a special product of Sambah Village

This tour is named Sambah River Cruise because it is based in Kampung Sambah (Kampung means Village in Malay language). Before the river cruise, my group was invited to the house of David (our host) in Kampung Bunga, where welcoming drink and light refreshment were served, and an introduction about the trip was given.

Briefing at Kampung Bunga, Tenghilan

Briefing at Kampung Bunga, Tenghilan

Then we moved to the jetty in Kampung Nouga (GPS: 6.233895, 116.307495) around 5pm to start our first river cruise in mangrove forest.

Jetty in Kampung Nouga, Tenghilan

Jetty in Kampung Nouga, Tenghilan

Mangrove Forest

As part of the Sulaman Lake, this wetland has been a fishing zone. If you are an avid angler, you can request them to include fishing as part of the activities.

river cruise in mangrove

Mangrove is the breeding place for seafood.

Technically this swamp is a lagoon as it is directly connected to the sea via a channel. During high tide, fishes such as grouper follow the sea current to enter this mangrove to forage and breed, so it’s not uncommon that you can catch very big fish here.

River cruise at Kg Sambah

The river cruises are between 5pm to 8:00pm

Tuaran has one of the best mangrove forest near KK. The area we visited was mostly intact and large. The brackish water may look dirty, but crabs and prawns grow faster and fatter in such environment. The mudflat of mangrove is also the best place to harvest clams.

Navigate in maze of mangrove forest

Navigate in maze of mangrove forest

Located between sea and river, mangrove swamp is one of the most peculiar forest in the world. The trees can grow in the water and tolerant to saline water, and they breathe with roots. Living among the trees are some weird animals such as the walking and jumping fish, mud-skipper and colorful fiddler crabs with huge pincer.

Approaching Kampung Sambah, a fishing village

Approaching Kampung Sambah, a fishing village

Our boat navigated in a maze of mangrove forest network. The panoramic view of lush mangrove forest is impressive. Some trees grow over 10 Meters. I think Sabah Wildlife Department can bring in some proboscis monkey families. I’m sure they can live happily here.

Group photo at jetty of Kampung Sambah village

Group photo at jetty of Kampung Sambah village

59% of the mangrove forest of Malaysia is located in Sabah. Do you know Sabah has both the smallest (KK Wetland) and largest (Kinabatangan) Ramsar sites of Malaysia? Ramsar Site is a wetland site designated of international importance in terms of conservation, ecology and biodiversity.

Kampung Sambah next to Sulaman Lake of Tuaran

Kampung Sambah is a small fishing village next to Sulaman Lake of Tuaran

Udang Salai (Smoked Shrimps)

Around 5:30pm, we arrived Kampung Sambah, a water village next to the lake.

Taking a stroll in Kampung Sambah Village

The tour includes a stroll in Kampung Sambah Village

stilt houses in Kampung Sambah village

The houses in Kampung Sambah are on stilt to avoid flood and high tide

We took a walk in the village, which has a population of 200 of mainly Bajau people. Most of them live in wooden houses on stilt on the mudflat of mangrove, a typical view of fishermen village in Sabah.

Smoke House for making Smoked Shrimps (Udang Salai)

Smoke House for making Smoked Shrimps (Udang Salai)

Only two villages, Kampung Sambah and Kampung Penimbawan, produce Smoked Shrimps (Udang Salai)

Only two villages, Kampung Sambah and Kampung Penimbawan, produce Smoked Shrimps (Udang Salai)

However, this ordinary village has an extraordinary snack called Udang Salai (Smoked Shrimps). Believe me. The taste of Udang Salai is unforgettable. Once you try it, you would crave for it occasionally.

The burning wood for Smoked Shrimps

The burning wood gives Smoked Shrimps (Udang Salai) very nice aroma

Shrimps are abundant in this area. Only fresh shrimps (no frozen shrimp) are used in making Udang Salai.

Udang Salai (Smoked Shrimps) is one of the tastiest Sabah snack

Udang Salai (Smoked Shrimps) is one of the tastiest Sabah snack I’ve ever tried

They have a simple small hut with wood burning stove to smoke the shrimps. The small shrimps are placed on mesh wire above the burning wood and being smoked until they are totally dry and cooked. The taste is yummy and crunchy with nice barbecue flavor. Even the shell is edible. You can’t stop once you start eating it.

Udang Salai (Smoked Shrimps) in a plate

A small pack of Udang Salai can cost about MYR30

Sambah Village is one of the largest producers of Udang Salai, apart from its neighbors Kampung Penimbawan in Tuaran. Smoked shrimps are sold at tamu (morning open market) of Tenghilan on Thursday and Tuaran on Sunday. It’s always sold out before 8am.

Making Smoked Shrimps (Udang Salai)

You can buy Smoked Shrimps (Udang Salai) in weekly open market (tamu) of Tenghilan (Thu) and Tuaran (Sun)

Sunset & Firefly

Though I wanted to stay back to eat more Udang Salai, we had to start our second river cruise at 6:10pm.

Departing for sunset and firefly cruise

Departing for sunset and firefly cruise

Waiting for the magic hour of sunset

Waiting for the magic hour of sunset

Soon our boat approached the estuary, where we could see the sun started sinking into the ocean. The blazing sun ray gradually turned into warm and golden beam, marking the start of twilight.

Love shape cloud

See the love shape cloud?

nice sunset at estuary

WOW!!!

The sunset view was hypnotizing. Even though it rained earlier, the extra moisture in the air is the recipe for making of a beautiful sunset. The colors of the sky and cloud went wild and intense, and we were lucky to see the famous flaming sunset of Sabah.

Beautiful sunset at Tenghilan

Spectacular sunset at Tenghilan

After the sunset, our boat cruised slowly in the total darkness in mangrove. We saw some congregating fireflies flashing on the mangrove tree like summer Xmas tree. The density and scale of fireflies here are small, but good enough for people who never see firefly.

Dinner at the end of tour, rice with fried chicken, crabs, mixed vegetables and some fruits

Dinner at the end of tour, rice with fried chicken, crabs, mixed vegetables and some fruits

Fresh crabs from the mangrove

Fresh crabs from the mangrove

The river cruise ended around 7:30pm and we enjoyed our dinner at David’s house.

How to get there

This destination is less than 50 Kilometers from KK. The tour operator can pick you up at your hotel. The fee is about MYR80 (about USD$20) per person for this half-day tour (3:30pm-8:30pm).

Below is contact information and more details for you to find out more:
Tel: +60 14-6751256
E-mail: sambahrivertour@gmail.com
Facebook: sambahrivercruise
Instagram: @sambah_river_cruise
Website: sambah.weebly.com

Photos taken in Tenghilan, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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5 Reasons Why Sunset Cruise is Fun in Sabah

sunset cruise

Sunset is the most beautiful view of nature, and feeling rich and romantic are the two best life experience. Isn’t that exciting if we can enjoy all these at once in sunset cruise?

10 years ago, people didn’t get it why they need to go to open sea to watch sunset. Now sunset cruise is on the bucket list of many because of the following five reasons. I use a lot of photos of North Borneo Cruises here because they offer the best experience.

1. World-Class Sunset

Not all sunsets are the same. We had been taking our beautiful sunset for granted, until 3 years ago, a foreign writer featured Kota Kinabalu City (KK), capital of Sabah as one of the great places to watch sunset in a popular website.

Fire cloud of Sabah sunset

Fire cloud of Sabah sunset

Sabah is famous for its vibrant “Fire Cloud” sunset, a phenomena when the sinking sun photoshops the sky and cloud with intense red, yellow, orange, pink, and purple colors.

sunset cruise

“Sunsets are proof that no matter what happens, every day can end beautifully.” ― Kristen Butler

During magic hour, you would see hundreds of people congregate at our beaches to watch sunset and take photos. And now you can find “sunset bar” in many resorts and hotels of Sabah.

Beautiful sunset at Kota Kinabalu Marine Park

Beautiful sunset at Kota Kinabalu Islands Park

Tourists enjoying the sunset view

Tourists enjoying the sunset view on North Borneo Cruises

Actually beach and hilltop are only the second best location to watch sunset. The Best Viewpoint for Sunset is in open sea, it’s like getting a front seat for a spectacular stage show.

Sunset in open sea

Sunset with panoramic ocean views

2. Feeling Rich

Most of us would never make enough money to buy a yacht, but I’m sure we all want to know how it feels to ride on a luxurious yacht. No doubt you will feel super rich on the 92-feet yacht of North Borneo Cruises.

Sunset cruise by North Borneo Cruises

Sunset cruise by North Borneo Cruises. Note it has 3 decks

With a maximum capacity of 100 people, North Borneo Cruises can host fairly big private function such as wedding, birthday, party and corporate dinner.

Guests enjoying the moment onboard

Guests enjoying the moment onboard

Your staffs will love you if you throw a company party on-board. This is far more fun and creative than a formal dinner in hotel.

“Sunsets are just little glimpses of the Golden streets of Heaven…”

VIP Room of North Borneo Cruises

VIP Room of North Borneo Cruises

Want more upper-class feel? VIP Deck boasts a private room equipped with a Karaoke audio and visual sound system best suited for birthday parties and business meetings of up to 30 people. The interior is decorated with motif of Borneo’s indigenous tribe.

Spacious and comfortable lower deck area of North Borneo Cruises

Spacious and comfortable lower deck area of North Borneo Cruises

The crews of North Borneo Cruises are friendly and treat us like a VIP. On this big yacht, we don’t need to fight for space with throngs of noisy tourists.

excited on a 92-feet big yacht

It’s hard not to get excited on a yacht

3. It is Romantic

Lovely sunset moment is best shared with your special someone. According to the “Love’s To-Do List”, watching sunset together is the most romantic thing couples do, followed by candlelit dinner.

Happy time on different boats (left: Sea Tango, right: North Borneo Cruises)

Happy sunset time on different boats (left: Sea Tango, right: North Borneo Cruises)

“The first stab of love is like a sunset, a blaze of color — oranges, pearly pinks, vibrant purples…” ― Anna Godbersen, The Luxe

Boarding to North Borneo Cruises

Boarding to North Borneo Cruises

You would tend to mimic “Titanic pose” of Rose and Jack. That might be a bit tacky lol.

rainy day

Though it was a rainy day, it’s still an enjoyable trip

Big yacht is great because it can remain stable in choppy sea, you don’t want your loved one gets seasick and vomit right.

sunset of Kota Kinabalu City

Not all sunsets are the same

Got idea for your next Valentine’s Day or Anniversary? You are welcome. 😉

4. Multi-sensory Enjoyment

Sunset cruise is more than just watching sunset. The tour operator has perfected it by making it a multi-senses experience.

Sabah sunset

“Sunset is the opening music of the night.” ― Mehmet Murat ildan

During the cruise, you will have sunset for your eyes, food for your mouth, and music for your ears.

food and music onboard

Sunset for your Eyes, Food for your Stomach, and Music for your Ears

Having dinner onboard

Another meaning of sunset is – it is about dinner time lol.

International dinner buffet served onboard

Sumptuous international dinner buffet served onboard

There is live band performance in North Borneo Cruises. Guests are very encouraged to join group dance for fun.

Party onboard

Party onboard with Bamboo Orchestra

If sunset cruise is only about watching sunset, a rainy day can ruin the whole experience, so it’s good that they have other activities on-board.

Group dancing in the yacht

Group dancing in the yacht

5. Sightseeing without Walking

Another bonus of sunset cruise is – you don’t need to walk to see the beauty of KK City.

Cruising around the islands before sunset

Cruising around the islands before sunset

You can admire the panoramic view of KK City from Sabah Port at the left to Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) at the right. Most landmark building such as Tun Mustapha Tower is in the view. In good day, you even can see Mount Kinabalu, the highest mountain of Malaysia.

sea view of Kota Kinabalu City

You can see Kota Kinabalu City from the sea

The yacht will cruise around the most popular tropical island park of Sabah, i.e. Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, which consists of five islands.

sunset cruise in Sabah

“It is almost impossible to watch a sunset and not dream.” ― Bern Williams

Water village on Gaya Island is probably something unique to foreign tourists, they find it interesting that houses, mosque and school are built on the stilt platform on the sea.

sunset in Sabah

Sabah has one of the best sunset views in the world

At the end of the cruise, you would see the mesmerizing city light of KK on the way back, to mark a great ending of the tour.

Sunset Cruise along coastal area of Kota Kinabalu City

Sunset Cruise along coastal area of Kota Kinabalu City

How to Join

The sunset cruise of North Borneo Cruises (NBC) starts at 4:50pm and ends around 7pm. Personally I recommend NBC because it’s the best.

Sunset Cruise promotion by North Borneo Cruises

Sunset Cruise special rate promotion by North Borneo Cruises

Below is the contact for booking a sunset cruise with NBC:
Website: NorthBorneoCruises.com
Facebook: northborneocruises
Booking: AmazingBorneo.com
E-mail: info@northborneocruises.com
Tel: +60 18-6662009 / +60 16-5242009

Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu City, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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