KUDAT, Feb 25 — Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, which is at the tip of Borneo, or known by the locals as “‘Pengujung Borneo” or “Tanduk Sabah”, is a hidden gem and a “must visit” destination for tourists.

A tour guide, Taty Ilyana Md Ali, 31, said Tanjung Simpang Mengayau Peninsula is a plain area on the northern tip of Borneo and located about 200 kilometres north of Kota Kinabalu.

“It is the meeting point between the South China Sea on the west and the Sulu Sea on the east and provides a good location to watch the sunset.

“If we look at the map of Borneo, the horn-shaped northern end of Sabah is Tanjung Simpang Mengayau, hence its name Tanduk (Horn). In the past, sailors used to make this area a place to land because of its strategic location, she told Bernama.

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According to her, she has been bringing more than 100 tourists a month to Tanjung Simpang Mengayau.

“But its location, which is far from other tourist spots, in Kota Kinabalu, is quite challenging, coupled with the poor road condition,” she said.

However, she said some of the tourism facilities had been upgraded last year by the Sabah Tourism Board (STB), ensuring more comfort and safety for tourists.

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Last month, the State Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Christina Liew said the Sabah government is targeting the arrival of three million tourists this year.

The Sabah tourism industry generated RM4.6 billion in revenue last year with the arrival of 2.5 million tourists.

Yun Eun Ae, 43, a tourist from Incheon, South Korea, said she knew about Tanjung Simpang Mangayau about two years ago when planning a trip to Sabah for her getaway and much needed rest and healing time after an exhausting period of Covid-19 pandemic.

“I’m a pharmacist, so you can imagine how hectic my life was during Covid-19 pandemic. I want to go to a place with a beautiful natural environment, and of course, Sabah is one of the best places in Asia and I love searching for hidden gems, that is when I stumbled upon the Tip of Borneo on the internet.

“The pictures on the internet didn’t give justice to the really beautiful scenery and environment here. The blue sea, clear beaches and the hospitality of the Sabahans here are just wonderful.

“Love it here. Worth the challenging trip to get here, and it really heals my body and soul when I’m here,” she said.

She is currently on a week trip to Sabah with her husband and will leave for Thailand next week in search of more beautiful beaches.

Nevertheless, the beautiful sea, beach and nature in Tanjung Simpang Mangayau is a tough one to beat, she said.

Mohd Khairul Mohd Bakri, 25, a salesman from Baling, Kedah, said he went to Tanjung Simpang Mengayau with three friends for fishing activities.

“The place is a haven for fishing and scuba diving activities, but to go fishing here one has to know to read the sea. There are fish you cannot find in the peninsula such as baulu, uji rashid, bananas and kumbakak,” he said.

Meanwhile, Simpang Mengayau Laut Village Development and Security Committee (JKKK) member Sabaruddin Pahtani, 51, said the original name of Tanjung Simpang Mengayau was Sampang Mengazou, which in the Rungus ethnic language means battle junction.

“This place was where many battles took place, including with the sea pirates,” he said.

He said the area has changed a lot following efforts by the federal and state governments to work together to promote and upgrade facilities.

“The Pan Borneo Highway between Kota Kinabalu to Kudat is our hope for more tourists to come to Tanjung Simpang Mengayau,” he said.

The 1,236 km long Pan Borneo Highway involves three phases of which Phase 1 covers 706 kilometers involving the route Sindumin-Kota Kinabalu-Kudat, Ranau-Batu 32 Sandakan and Batu 32 Sandakan-Tawau.

Last month, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said the four work packages of Phase 1 of Sabah’s Pan Borneo Highway, namely Jalan Papar Donggongon, Jalan Tawau-Semporna, Jalan Bipas Lahad Datu and Jalan Kampung Lot M - Batu 32 Sandakan had been completed as of Dec 31 last. — Bernama