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Sunset Standup Paddleboarding at Tanjung Aru Beach

Sunset Standup paddleboarding at Tanjung Aru Beach

(Update (Jul 2015): This activity has stopped until further notice.) Everyone from Kota Kinabalu City (KK) loves Tanjung Aru Beach, a place filled with sunshine and laughters. If Mt. Kinabalu is like our father, Tanjung Aru Beach is an affectionate mother. In late afternoon, many couples, families, picnickers, tourists, joggers and photographers congregate at the beach, and they won’t miss one of the most beautiful sunset of Sabah, which marks a perfect ending to their busy days.

sail boat at Tanjung Aru Beach
Though a lot of locals walk and frolick on this golden beach, most of them stay away from the inviting seawater as if it is a boundary. However, I have no doubt that they have ever imagined themselves cruising freely on the sea and sailing to the sunset.

Stand-up paddle-boarding and windsurfing

Stand-up paddle-boarding in Tanjung Aru First Beach
People doing pretty much the same things there every day like what our grandparents did 50 years ago. Then in 2014, beachgoers started to see someone “standing” and paddling in the open sea. FYI, it is a fast growing global sport called Standup Paddleboarding (S.U.P in short).

stand up paddle boarding lesson on the beach
The cool thing about S.U.P is – you can hit the water only after 10 minutes of training, without the need to operate a bulky sailboat or master the skill to maneuver a wobbly windsurfing board.

S.U.P group in Tanjung Aru Beach
I’ve tried S.U.P on Sapi Island and like it very much, so I strongly recommend you to experience a different way of enjoying sunset hour in Tanjung Aru Beach.

participants of Standup paddleboarding
Paddle Below the Wind conducts sunset S.U.P session at Tanjung Aru First Beach around 4pm almost every day, and you are just a call away to join them (Phone: +60 17-8960341).

Stand-up paddle-boarding group on the sea

You may watch the following video of excited students in S.U.P:

There are Three Good Reasons why you should give Standup Paddleboarding a shot.

1. “Reconnect” with Friends and Nature

Nowadays we are so hyper-connected, we have Facebook, WhatsApp, E-mail, WeChat, Snapchat, Line, Twitter, etc. Ain’t you upset when you gather with friends, but they just busy poking their phones?

duo Standup paddleboarding
We can’t create cherishable moments with friends on social media, we will forget what we say on Facebook shortly, but we won’t forget the time we were doing something fun together. Let’s talk with our mouth, not fingers. Be more likeable by being there for them, not just posting food photo.

stand up paddle boarding group photo in Pantai Tanjung Aru
Let’s disconnect from virtual world on small screen and see the real beauty of our big world. Feel the sand between your toes and gentle breeze from the ocean.

falling from Standup paddleboard
Pic: the moment before falling into water. It’s just part of the fun.

get ready for Standup paddleboarding
The one smiling face of your friend is better than 100 smiley emoji in messenger apps, isn’t it? When people type LOL on screen, how many of them are really laughing?

Stand-up paddle-boarding on the sea of Tanjung Aru First Beach
Another nice feature of S.U.P is you can do it in a group, but able to stay close and chat with one another. Everyone has story in Tanjung Aru Beach. What’s yours?

2. Exercise for Fun

For me, I like the idea that exercise keeps me healthy, but most sport is just boring. For example, jogging, the boredom kicks in much sooner than the fatigue. :-p In contrast, stand-up paddle-boarding is super fun and I’m pleased to do it every day. If big waves come, I can even surf. Did you know Tanjung Aru also has very nice corals? You can reach it easily with S.U.P.

S.U.P at Tanjung Aru Beach
Stand-up paddle-boarding is a good exercise for our limbs and abdominal muscles due to constant paddling and balancing. S.U.P may seem very pleasant and relaxing, but you can go as extreme as Justin DeBree, who paddled all the way up from Florida to Georgia (USA) for a total of 676 KM (420 miles) and set the world record for the Longest Stand Up Paddle Board journey. Some adventurers even ride on S.U.P in Arctic expedition.

GoPro on stand up paddle board
Pic: you can mount your GoPro camera on S.U.P board

You might be able to paddle from KK to Brunei (remember to bring your passport hehe..) if you are extremely fit and the sea condition is good. Richard, our S.U.P instructor, says we can paddle to Sapi Island in 1.5 hours.

Standup paddleboarding Tanjung Aru Beach
Pic: you can go very far away from shore with S.U.P in just minutes

However, not everyone wants to be an athlete, so you can choose to drift in placid water, just to get in touch with nature and unwind yourselves. In USA, Stand-up paddleboarding had the highest percentage of new participants in 2012. It has become a trendy sport in Australia, USA, Canada, Germany and Australia. Paddle board yoga is also getting popular.

kayaking in Tanjung Aru Beach
Pic: Paddle Below the Wind also provides kayak

3. Watching Sunset

To break out of monotony, it’s human nature to constantly explore new sources of happiness. You may have already long retired from the age of building sand castle, so Tanjung Aru Beach can’t be a playground to grow-up like you? Wrong.

sunset in Tanjung Aru Beach
Why not paddling out to the sea to enjoy the mesmerizing sunset view this time? When was the last time you did something for the First Time? It could be your best day ever in Tanjung Aru Beach.

stand up paddle boarding under sunset
To release your stress after work, you need to move your body, to detach your mind from work. Then go rinse yourself in the warm seawater, harvest the negative ions in the air and embrace the healing power of nature to detox.

girl standing on Stand-up paddle-board
Life is too short. Let’s try different things at least once in a while. You also can try S.U.P with your spouse and kid. They will thank you.

sunset group photo on standup paddleboard
Pic: this sunset group photo will make your other friends envy

Sunset S.U.P in Tanjung Aru Beach
One day perhaps the face of Tanjung Aru Beach would change dramatically if Tanjung Aru Eco Development (TAED) takes over the place and develop it into resort area. I don’t know whether that day will come. For now, let’s enjoy what this beloved beach offers. Enough talking, below are more sunset photos for your viewing pleasure.

stand up paddle boarding during sunset

Standup paddleboarding in sunset

watching sunset of Tanjung Aru Beach

couples walking in sunset of Tanjung Aru Beach

Contact

To join S.U.P session, you may book with Paddle Below the Wind:
Mobile Phone: +60 17-8960341 (Nora / Richard)
Facebook: BorneoSUPpaddlebelowthewind (many photos!)
Website: www.paddlebelowthewind.com
E-mail: paddlebelow@gmail.com

Stand-up paddle-boarding at Tanjung Aru First Beach
The S.U.P lesson at Tanjung Aru Beach takes about 1 hour and costs RM80 (≈US$24). The S.U.P session costs RM50 (≈US$15) and RM40 (≈US$12) for adult and kid respectively (No 6% GST tax). Life jackets, stand up paddle board and paddle are provided. Besides training, the instructor will guide you on the sea. They also offer Snorkelling with S.U.P at Sapi Island.

lifeguard house in Tanjung Aru Beach
The meeting point is next to the yellow lifeguard building in a small stretch of picnic area near to Kinabalu Yacht Club in Tanjung Aru First Beach.

yellow lifeguard house in Pantai Tanjung Aru
Pic: lifeguard building

More Photos

You may check out my photo album for more photos of S.U.P:
Photo album of Sunset stand-up paddle-boarding at Tanjung Aru Beach

Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

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Island Sunset Cruise off Kota Kinabalu City

sunset cruise

Sunlight can’t enter a room full of furniture, similarly, we need more spaces sometimes to light up our hearts. That’s why I like the sense of freedom in sunset cruise. The feeling of watching sunset from the vast open sea is very different. On the land, sunset is only a nice background to mark the end of day. On the ocean, you are like an audience standing on the stage of sunset for its magic moment.

our boat Hydian Way
Pic: our cruise boat, Hydian Way

Kota Kinabalu City (KK) has nice sunset and our beautiful islands are just a few Kilometers away, so all we need is a boat for the trip. For the New Year Sunset Cruise Gathering, Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society chartered a cruise boat which could accommodate up to 50 people.

closer look at Hydian Way boat
Hydian Way looks like a double-decker bus of the sea. It’s a 60-feet passengers cruise boat designed for short distance tour cruise. The lower and upper decks are flat surface with many chairs and tables, so passengers can carry out any activity and enjoy open view of the sea, exactly what we need for a leisure ride. Most area is sheltered from rain and hot sun, another plus.

double deck boat
Pic: lower and upper decks of Hydian Way. The toilet and bathroom are at the rear of lower deck.

We departed around 5pm from Jesselton Point Ferry Terminal and headed to the sea and islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Park. Everyone was so excited onboard, we explored around as this was our first time experience on sunset cruise. The boat has an area of 1,500 square feet.

enjoying sea breeze and sunset view
Most seemed to like upper deck better, where we could see the surrounding on higher vantage point and enjoyed the sea breeze. Lower deck is more stable and suitable for those who are prone to seasick. Anyway, the swaying motion wasn’t strong when the boat was moving.

gathering on Hydian Way
I also walked around to find the best viewpoint. After a while, everyone was settling down and started their romantic or family time.

view of Kota Kinabalu city from the sea
Pic: our boat leaving KK and head to the sun!

cruise ship at Sabah Port
Pic: a cruise ship in Sabah Port. I wonder how it feels to see sunset from that huge ship.

relaxing on the deck
It had been raining in past few days, we didn’t know if the sunset view would be nice. The sky was cloudy, so I didn’t expect a spectacular sunset. As long as it didn’t rain, I was happy.

barbecue on the boat
Even if the sunset wasn’t nice, we still had nice food onboard. Yeah, check out that BBQ lamb, it’s the one of the highlight man.

upper deck of Hydian Way boat
Everyone’s spirit is high. For company annual dinner, you may consider organizing a sunset cruise party. Conventional dinner in hotel is just boring and everyone wants to leave after meal.

waiting for the sunset
Pic: the sunset is about to start. When the sun moved closer to the horizon, the sea water turned into silvery blue, an interesting color that only can be seen from open sea.

snorkelling at Sapi Island
Then the boat brought us behind Sapi Island, where we could snorkel (snorkelling gears provided onboard). It was a bit cool probably due to the recent rainy season, so only one person doing it. Just to let you know that you can have this activity, and the boat can take you to snorkelling spot far away from crowded tourist area. If it was a hot day, I would take a swim.

BBQ Satay and Chicken Wings
Our barbecue chicken wings and satay were ready, just in time for the sunset. With free flow of soft drink, it couldn’t be better.

satay
Pic: satay for the sunset!

BBQ onboard
Pic: more BBQ food. Wish you were there.

family shot with sunset
We were so happy about the exceptional view of sunset. In fact, we thought of postponing the trip because of the possible bad weather, now we have no regret.

sunset view from the boat
Alex, the owner of the boat, was happy too. We were the only group on the open sea that day, this sunset view was exclusively for us.

sunset cruise
We were busy taking and posting sunset photos to our Facebook. Some even updated their profile photos with sunset as background. Bet these photos got many likes and made their friends envious.

looking at the sunset
Pic: the magic moment with the most intense colors, cloud and sea were painted with rosy colors but only lasted a few minutes.

fishing in open sea
After the sunset was over, our boat moved further and anchored in open sea for next activity, fishing. The crews had prepared fishing rods and bait for us.

red snapper took the bait

small grouper
We caught a few snapper and grouper. However, the fishes were too small, so we released them back into the sea after photo taking. If we were lucky, we would have BBQ fishes.

BBQ lamb

cutting barbecue lamb
Though we have no BBQ fish, there’s something better waiting for us. Our BBQ lamb is ready. We started second round of feasting. The lamb was roasted slowly, so the meat was kept juicy inside, very yummy.

buffet dinner onboard
For buffet dinner, we also had fried noodles, curry chicken, butter prawns, mixed vegetables, salad and sweet & sour fish. The BBQ just now was more like high tea lol.

karaoke onboard
Our eyes and mouth were satisfied, next it’s the turn for our ears. Let’s have some music. The boat has karaoke set in lower deck, so you can show your talent. Your voice will be broadcast to upper deck too, so nobody could escape from your performance, unless they jump into the sea. Sing as loud as you can, because there no neighbour will complain you.

KK city night view from the sea
We had fun until 8:30pm, then we had to go home at last. Watching night view of KK city is the last part of our trip. The bustling KK looks like a sleepy city from a distance.

night view of KK City
Instead of heading straight to the port, our boat cruised slowly along the shoreline of KK, to have closer look of KK city night.

cruising along seaside of Kota Kinabalu
To be honest, though lovely, the night view of KK is not as magnificent as big cities. Anyway, I don’t see this every day, so I still enjoy the moment.

Le Meridien Hotel and Night Market of Kota Kinabalu city
Pic: Le Meridien Hotel and Sinsuran Night Market are the brightest section of the KK night view.

Sinsuran Night Market
Pic: Sinsuran Night Market with busy hawkers and customers. Guess they didn’t know they were being watched.

Waterfront of Kota Kinabalu city
Pic: KK Waterfront Esplanade won my award as the most colorful night view of KK, haha.

Overall, this is a delightful trip and a luxury to me, who spend most of my time living and working in a world as small as an office cubicle and bedroom. I bet you will enjoy such tour.

group photo of Sabah Wetlands Conservation Society (SWCS) members
Pic: 40 passengers and 40 happy faces

Joining a Sunset Cruise

You can either join a tour or organize a party yourselves. The following are the packages and prices for tours by Hydian Way (as of Jan 2015). You can download their brochure for full details.

Type of Tour Activities Fee
Morning Cruise
(10am-2pm)
Snorkeling, Fishing, Lunch with free flow of drinks RM249 per person (≈US$70)
Sunset Cruise
(5pm-7pm)
Night Cityscape, Sunset Viewing, Refreshments RM199 per person (≈US$56)
Sunset Cruise with Fishing
(4pm-8pm)
Fishing, Night Cityscape, Sunset Viewing, Refreshments RM249 per person (≈US$70)
Private Chartered Customized
Hydian Way can host up to 50 people (30 would be the most comfortable size)
Rental Fee: RM2,500 to RM5,000 (≈US$700 to 1,400) for 4 hours

For booking and enquiry, please contact Huang Long Travel & Tour (皇龙旅行社) at:
E-mail: info.hydianway@gmail.com
Tel:: +60 16-557-0211 (Terita – Marketing Manager), +60 13-863-1982 (Melessa – Sales Manager)
Address: Ground Floor, Premier Golf Center, Jalan Istiadat, Kompleks Sukan Likas, 88400 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia.

More Photos

The photos in this article are small. You may browse my photo album for bigger and better photos:
Photo album of Sunset Cruise

Related Posts

I had tried sunset cruise with different types of boats too. You may check them out and compare the experience:

Photos taken in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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