Tuesday, 21 March 2023

Camping at The Tip of Borneo

One day ride took me to Kota Kinabalu from Labuan and the two nights I planned to briefly explore the capital of Sabah did not happen. I stayed there for two night sure, but the unusual full day rain kept me indoors. By the third day, the rain stopped and I decided to leave KK lest the rain decided to come back and keep me from moving again.

Thats when I went to Kudat area.

There was no really any special reason to visit Kudat other than just to mark the ride with Bluey all the way to the Tip of Borneo. I did started the journey all the way from Sematan KM. 0 of the Pan Borneo Highway so I guess it was only fitting that I go visit some landmarks like a milestone to the progress of this Borneo adventure.

Bluey at the Tip of Borneo

Bluey at the Tip of Borneo 

The ride was easy and it was a beautiful view at the Tip of Borneo with even a signpost for photoshots and a marker that saperates the South China Sea with the Sulu Sea. This place has some magic to it in a sense even though there was not much else to do or see.

The Tip of Borneo - The meet point of the South China Sea and the Sulu Sea

Tip of Borneo

To make it a little more special, or rather so I could save some money, I decided to camp at the very Tip of Borneo. There are many local campgrounds cum vacation homestay along the way to the Tip of Borneo where the local houses would accomodate campers or even rent out tent to those who wish to camp by the beach and use their facilities. I did not even bother to ask them for the price and just rode by to the public monument.

No guards, no food stalls, no nothing other than some monumantal signpost. It was perfect to hideaway for the night. So I set up camp at 630pm just as the final glimmer of sunlight begin to fade. The winds were so strong that pitching the tent seamed to be a challange. First try and althought I got the tent up, it looked like some distorted, disfigured pethatic poor creature that says to me, this aint gonna last the night.

Camping at the Tip of Borneo

The failed 1st attempt, distorted Tent Due to Crazy Winds ... 

I could barely stand facing the wind without concentrating. A few times while my mind wanders planning the campsite, a sudden gush of stronger wind would push me off balance. Maybe camping at the Tip of Borneo was not such a good idea. Halfway unfolding the tent thinking I should ride further backwards and find some wind shelter to pitch camp, I decided to give it one more try reoreantating the camp to face the wind head first like a boat facing the high waves and what do you know, it worked.

The further back windbreak where I would have pitch Tent if the Tip was not feasible ... still an amazing view

The whole night was filled with ear deafening winds but luckily within the safety of my tent the sound was still comfatable. My tent flapped continuously like a flag from left to right but stayed anchored without the danger of being blown away. Have to say, it was not easy falling asleep when you know that a force of nature is raging just outside the thin layer of sheet that is your tent.

Traveled on : Aug 2019

Sunday, 19 March 2023

Kudat Town & Sumangkap Village Gong's

Kudat town was one of those laid back ride by kinda town that you only stop by for an hour to get a drink and some food and a snap of photo before moving on. As a tourist town I could not see any charm in it but as a place to settle down lay back and just enjoy the sunrise everyday, this was the little cosy dream retirement place.

Kudat Seaside Fishing Boat Port

Kudat Town 

Kudat region apparently has the highest concentration of the Rungus Tribe and along the way on the main Route 3 there was two supprise attraction for a short detour. The traditional Rungus Longhouse and the Sumangkap Gong Factory village.

The Bavanggazo Longhouse Kudat is like an exhibit now for the tourist and it is made entirely in the traditional way set with tatched roof. This was really rare in a sense since traditional longhouse nowadays tend to cheat with some zink sheets underneath but this one was legit. I could not enter no do any real viewing as they seam to be open only for tours and its quite understandable since the lone stranded rider is somewhat very rare for them to justify a maned counter. View from the outside was still interesting

Bavanggazo Longhouse Kudat Entrance 

Traditional Rungus Tribe Longhouse

Sumangkap Gong Factory village was another wonderful find. This kind of one trade skill village is a dying culture in this modern age and yet they continue to produce traditional gongs by hand. At any point in time, each huts which represents the individual family factory for gongs would have someone hammering away making small peices of gong.

I chatted up some of the locals and they told me that making a gong is not dificult, for anyone can make a single gong so long as the shape is hammered roughly the same but the true craft masters are the one that make the musical instrumental gongs which required finding the right tune.

Sumangkap Gong Village / Factory - Kudat

Tourist Information on Sumangkap Village

Large Gong at Sumangkap Village

Musical Instrumental Gong's - Sumangkap Villaged

Family Skill of Gong Making. 

Short stop done it was time to do the longer ride to Kundasang. From Kudat to Kundasang the ride was a slow and uphill climb. Nothing much to talk about really, scenic through the Kota Belud road and the higher I go the cooler the air became.

Riding To Kundasang Via Kota Belud

Road by the River - Kota Belud - Ranau Route 

Climbing up Route 22 to Kundasang 

Traveled On: Aug 2019

Ferry Ride to Labuan

A few days back when I first reached Bandar Seri Badgawan, I did a ride to the port Serasa Ferry Terminal. Quite easy to find using google maps and in a way it was a mini loop of 60km perfect for a day trip to visit riding around.

Hence I got the timetable for the ferry and had a little chat with the guys to ensure me that the boats were running. Never can trust too much information on the internet with these stuff as it really does change with time so it was always good to have solid confirmation.

RORO Ferry Timetable Between Brunei - Malaysia (Labuan)

The day to depart Brunei and take a Ferry across back to Malaysia-Labuan was quite strightforawrd. Reach Serasa Ferry Terminal, bought a ticket at Goodwill start counter and roll on to the Ferry. Documents require was quite strightforard for a Malaysian Bike, just the vehicle ownership certificate and my passport which was processed easily at the Brunei exit customs. Once on the ferry they actually strap the bike down as the ferry does rock a bit at the open waters.

Buying RORO Ferry Tickets at the Terminal 

Clearing Customs & Immigration at Brunei before going up the Ferry

All Vehicles are Straped down for the boat ride

RORO Ferry from Brunei to Malaysia - Labuan

Passenger waiting area during the Ferry Ride 

A ride across the Brunei Bay Sea and of course a few view of Oil Rigs up close is quite a sight. Reach Labuan and roll off and stright to imigration to get passport stamped back into Malaysia. No paperworks for Bluey as its just re-entering back into the country.

Watching some Oil Rigs at the Brunei Bay Sea 

The simplest and easiest border crossing I ever had with Bluey was Brunei. Even Singapore had more complicated procedures.

Traveled on: Aug 2019

Sunday, 5 March 2023

Bandar Seri Badgawan and Around

To be frank, I totally forgot to write about Brunei or rather Bandar Seri Badgawan. Weird as well since I spend quite a few days in the city exploring. If anyone tells me there is nothing to see or do in Brunei, I would definately say not true, it is worth a visit at least once for it is a country like no other, semi frozen in time and the culture itself while boring is worth observing.

Omar Ali Saifuddien Mosque, Brunei

Brunei is a slow country ... slow pace of life which is exzactly what I felt when I was there. Everything had their own time and in a way it was peaceful. However I could see very little young people as the life can be very boring as well. The capital Bandar Seri Badgawan (BSB for short) kept me around for a few days to explore.

Gadong Night Market - Brunei 

Downtown Bandar Seri Badgawan - Brunei

Riding Around Downtown Bandar Seri Badgawan - Brunei 

Most times I was visiting Mosque after mosque ... like Malaysia it is one of the few muslim countries where non-muslim can enter a place of worship as a tourist. Other times I was just riding around everywhere I could. Weird as well since I could not remember ever see another motorbike in Brunei.

I remembered spending half a day in the Royal Regalia Museum yet I had no photograph records. Probabaly had some sort of no Photography requirement in the Museum which usually means a good sign.

The other half of the time was spend exploring on foot the water village settlement called Kampung Ayer. Facinatingly modern and upkeep to have power, water and internet yets rusticly old in its history and trade. Just getting lost walking about is all one can do.

Kampung Ayer Cultural & Tourism Gallery

Signpost for the Water Village Places of Interest

Life on the Water - Kampung Ayer Brunei

Water Taxi - Life on the River Kampung Ayer - Brunei 

Al - Muhtadee  Billah Mosque - Kampung Ayer - Brunei 

The New with the Old 

Traveled on: Aug 2019

Tuesday, 31 January 2023

Riding from Kuala Belait to Bandar Seri Bagawan

At the border, once the rain subside, I took a ride to the nearest town called Kuala Belait for lunch, and along the way passed my first and only toll in Brunei. Bluey cost BNR 1 but I only had SGD with me. Luckily too since if I was to wait till the city to change money, I would have been stuck at the toll with no way to get money other than to go back to Miri.

Only 126 km From the Miri Border to Bandar Seri Bagawan Brunei

The Only TOLL I encountered in Brunei

Kuala Belait was a small town I thought but apparently the district is the biggest in the whole of Brunei. They had a mini museum there which was free entry so a nice introductory of the migration and type of people living in brunei espescially around the Belait district. Not supprising, their history and people is very much similar to Sarawak history and people just with a line on a map that marks the divide.

After a good break from lunch at Kuala Belait, I rode the coast passing all these little “donkeys” as the Brunei people call them, oil retriver pumping up oil from the ground, the number one source of income for Brunei. Along the way near Seria, I made a pitstop at the Billionth Barrel Monument.

Hard Working "Donkeys" in Brunei 

Billion Barrel Monument 

The coast was prestine, with no habitants at all, but of couse along the way was the oil refinery which seams to be the main source of work in Brunei as well.

Prestine Beach in Brunei 

Brunei Oil Terminal 

Traveled on: Aug 2019