Sponsored by Tourism Malaysia Brunei Darussalam
Written by Rozman Mashor
B.I.G JOURNEYS TO KOTA KINABALU & KUDAT AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN
In a highly interconnected world where one can easily traverse great distances via plane — the trip between Brunei Darussalam and Sabah can be made in just 40 minutes. As a result, it has become a societal norm in this day and age to take journeys such as this for granted. However, when you settle for travelling via ground-based modes of transportation along a land route, which often results in the scenario “Are we there yet?” — it is only then that you truly learn (1) patience due to the (2) vast distances involved in these journeys, which also grants us the opportunity to (3) appreciate the magnificent beauty of Mother Nature, and everything else along the way.
Borneo is the Earth’s 3rd largest Island after all, and home to the 2nd oldest tropical rainforest on our beautiful planet (130 million years). Just last month I made the journey from Brunei Darussalam to the Sabahan capital of Kota Kinabalu (KK), before moving onto Kudat, via bus, coach and range rover. This distance amounts to roughly 1/3 of the entire northern coast of our Island. The trip between the 2 capitals was along a 257 km route that took slightly over 7 hours. The follow-on trip from KK to the Tip of Borneo in Kudat is another 4 hours along a 182 km route.
Naturally, these journeys can be made shorted if you travel via your own personal vehicle, just keep in mind to be careful and alert at all times as most of your travel will be along single lane roads in both directions, while flanked by trees to either side which stretch beyond the horizon. A wild corridor within which animal life such as dogs, monkeys and more, can be seen crossing the narrow width of hilly roads, or even lazing around on them, so take note!
The route is sparsely populated, with the odd small collection of rural villages popping up occasionally. But do not worry and let me ease your concerns, for there are bigger administrative districts along the way, such as Sipitang, Beaufort for example, where you can make stops to appease your rumbling stomach, take photographs for the Gram, and even visit the attractions in the vicinity. From spacious beaches such as Pantai Merintam Sipitang, exciting white river rafting on the Padas River, and the chilled-out Klias River Cruise, to the numerous gazetted forest reserves of which Sabah has a total of 333! — there are things to check out depending on what your passions are. Not on my schedule this time round, so for now, ONWARDS!