As you make your way on the narrow road leading to the Tanjung Simpang Mengayau ‘Tip of Borneo’ in Kudat — keeping your eyes peeled as to not accidentally hit a deep pothole (and they are many!) along the way — you may not be able to imagine what beauty may lie ahead. Despite being quite the tourist attraction, offering one of the most beautiful sunset views in Malaysia, Kudat is perhaps overlooked because of its location — being three hours’ drive away from Kota Kinabalu. However, this is exactly what makes the place unique. Enter Kudat Riviera: Sabah’s latest offering for the holidaymakers.
Located at the western shores of the Kudat peninsular — about five minutes’ drive away from the Tip of Borneo; 20 minutes’ drive away from Kudat town — Kudat Riviera is an exclusive retreat development project, which is sensitively-developed to blend in with nature. The Kudat Riviera villas are spread over a 10-kilometer coastline, overlooking the South China Sea. Some of the villas are perched atop a cliff, some at the beachfront, while others are situated on the hillside, surrounded by the paddy fields.
The Kudat Riviera villas are actually holiday homes belonging to different owners. Basically, these villas will be available for rent whenever the owners are not using themselves — like posh Airbnbs. Rental at Kudat Riviera is also very affordable, starting at MYR500 per night for a spacious villa that can accommodate five to six adults. Perfect for small group getaways with friends and family.
There are three locations at Kudat Riviera, namely the Coconut Reef Club, the Kudat Karma and the Kulambu Cove. The Coconut Reef Club is located on top of the 34-acre prime beachfront and hilltop land. Situated overlooking the pristine Kulambu Beach is the Kudat Karma, which is divided into two areas: along the 1-kilometer stretch of Kulambu beach and high on top of the 800-feet high Kulambu Hilltop. The Kulambu Cove, as its name suggests, is nestled on the cove of Kulambu Beach, surrounded by cliffs and offering plenty of privacy.
Each villa is equipped with four single beds or two twin-sized beds (depending on the villa you choose), cable television channel, air conditioning, pantry/kitchen with BBQ, cooking and coffee-making facilities, a bathroom with exclusive toiletries, a beautiful infinity pool overlooking the garden or beachfront, as well as housekeeping services as and when required.
One of the villas’ kitchens was also chosen as the filming location for a Korean cooking show called ‘Go Go with Mr. Paik in Kudat’, which featured South Korean superstars, Onew of the K-pop boy band SHINee and Jung Chae-yeon of the girl band DIA, together with Chef Paik Jong-won.
The 38 villas on Kudat Riviera feature three different designs with earthy-themed Balinese-style interior design and layout — complete with beautifully manicured gardens, straw roofing and wooden furnishing. The villas’ wooden structures are imported straight from Bali and assembled locally. In the gardens, there are gazebos where you can chill while enjoying the view of the beach or get a relaxing massage. The gardens are also large enough for outdoor affairs, such as birthday parties, MICE events, cocktail parties and even intimate garden weddings.
Being in a secluded location, the only weakness of the Kudat Riviera is probably its limited mobile reception and weak-to-nonexistent internet access, so Instagram would have to wait. However, there are plenty of things to do to keep your mind off your phone. In the mornings, you can choose to go trekking in the nearby forest, go running or do yoga on the beach. While you’re here, do make a point to wake up earlier to catch the sunrise — the view is so worth it!
If you’re up to more adventure, you can also rent a bicycle and explore the surrounding village or cycle up to the Tip of Borneo. The beautiful Kalampunian Beach, which is situated along the road leading to the Tip of Borneo is also impossible to resist — sparkling white sand, azure blue waters and all. If you are a surfer, Kalampunian Beach is one of the best places to hang ten in Sabah.
Every hour is Happy Hour @Kudat Riviera 🤘#happyhour #kudatriviera #beachvacation
Should you have more time to spare, you can also book a tour to visit the places of interest around Kudat, such as the Bavanggazo village to see the traditional Rungus Longhouse and experience the Rungus culture; the Sumangkap village Gong-making Factory, as well as the Gombizau Honey Bee Farm where you can purchase some fresh Sabah honey.
The next time you’re planning for a group or family vacation in Sabah, consider journeying north to the quaint town of Kudat and delight yourself with the hidden gem that is the Kudat Riviera.
Kudat Riviera Resort is located at Jalan Marang Parang, 89500 Kudat, Sabah. For info and reservations, call 013-811 2315 or visit their Facebook page @kudatriviera.official.