Traditionally, the Rungus people live in longhouses built on stilts, but the shift to modern-day living has meant that the sight of such longhouses is getting more rare. In Kg. Bavanggazo near Tinangol in the Kudat district, you can still experience this fascinating communal lifestyle in a purpose-built longhouse constructed entirely of traditional materials but with added modern comforts like toilets and showers.
The northernmost tip of Borneo is locally known as Simpang Mengayau. Situated in a valley about 41 kilometres south of Kudat town and 98 kilometres or two and a half hours drive from KK City, you can get a taste of real Rungus living through their food, daily rituals and music on a day trip or overnight stay. The later will need prior arrangements. Accommodation ranges from homestay programmes in villages where you can taste longhouse living over simple town hotels to the luxury Kudat Marina & Golf Resort.
One of the many activities would be to visit the nearby kampungs (villages) such as Gombizau (honey), Sumangkap (gongs), Tinanggol (beads) and Bavanggazo & Maranjak (longhouse living culture).
The Rungus living in the Kudat district are known to have maintained their ancient traditions to this day. One of the unique features is that they have preserved the way to utilized brass coils circling their necks, waists and ankles. Legend has it that a long long time ago, a local fisherman once married a mermaid. To keep his wife from returning to the seas, the metal coils would prevent her from changing back to her true form. The Rungus are also well-known for their beadwork and the costume shows off some of their finest.
TIP OF BORNEO
Visiting the tip of Borneo serves as a complimentary trip for those visiting Kudat. Kudat remains as a modest place to visit, despite its upgraded infrastructure that brought better accessibility and accommodation. It is a truly fascinating area to visit and a visit to Sabah should not be complete without having seen the very Tip of Borneo at least.