In Sabah, Malaysia, I head further north, 3-hours by public transport, to Kudat, for a couple of nights at Tommy’s Place at the tip of Borneo to spend time on the beach – my first time since I was at the Damai Beach Resort with its lovely sunsets.
Although it’s advertised as basic accommodation I stayed in one of their excellent villas, on the rise behind the restaurant and the simpler rooms. The food too is unassuming which is exactly what’s needed at the beach, and they are proud of their eco-credentials which concentrate especially on water conservation and energy reduction.
Tommy says they’re hoping others can see what we are doing and copy it for their homes, resorts or business. In addition to having chlorine-free water, which uses lots of energy to transport it there, they have reduced their water energy waste down to zero by using rainwater collected in two huge tanks.
One disadvantage this small resort has is its position on the long curved beach: the wind and current deposit rubbish right on the beach in front of their accommodation. This is the same wind that encouraged Tommy to build the units as he’s a keen windsurfer and he has them, surfboards and canoes for hire.
I tell the desk staff that I will help with a beach clean-up if they arrange one and the next morning they are waiting for me with bags and rakes ready. Although proud of a certificate for cleaning the beach that’s on the wall, and their eco-practices, it seems they rarely find time to clean the beach. We remove about 4 large bags of food wrappers, kids’ lollipop sticks, plastic, straws, butter containers and lids and the ever-present water bottles we leave behind. Rubbish removal can be difficult in small, remote places and I suggest weekly clean-ups like this are needed as guests always see the trash but don’t see the water savings.
Twice I take the 10-mins walk to the Tip of Borneo, the draw card of the area, enjoying the birds and monitor lizards on the way. A snake slides off the warm pathway as I walk back and I return to the spot three or four times to see if I could photograph it, with no luck – a monitor lizard proves more photogenic.
The tip has a beautiful globe, and a huge flagpole, as well as the stunning scenery here at the true top of this huge island. The British gave this area the romantic name of ‘The Parting of the Pirate Ways’, however I didn’t see any pirates as I sat and watched the swirling tides of the South China Sea collide with the Sulu Sea. This wave action has created a dramatic headland carved into the stone cliffs and it’s a great spot to just relax in the sun.
I found Tommy’s Place is a great place to chill for a few days – others used it as a base to explore more of the area.