The Tip of Borneo – An Area of Stunning beaches
A scenic headland with a stunning beach, the Tip of Borneo is locally known as “Tanjung Simpang Mengayau”. Tanjung Simpang Mengayau is located in the district of Kudat in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.
Geographically, the headland marks the very northern-most “tip” of the island of Borneo, and beyond this tip on a clear day you can see in the distance the offshore islands of Banggi and Balambangan (also part of Malaysian Borneo).
Looking out from the tip, the sea to the west and north of the headland is the South China Sea, and to the east and south is the Sulu Sea.
White Sand Beaches
Apart from its geography as the “tip of Borneo” the feature that really makes this spot worth visiting is the gorgeous white sand beaches, lapped by the waves from pristine seas. The waters are unusually clear compared with any other beaches in Malaysia or Borneo (except for the offshore islands), and when the sea is in a restful mode, tranquil and glistening, there are few beaches in Malaysia that can hold a candle to the “tip of Borneo Beach”.
The lands surrounding are mostly covered with coconut trees, and to the south forms a series of coves, also with some very pretty beaches leading to the “Kudat Riviera” – a development of private luxury villas.
There are several luxury villas available for holiday makers to rent, there are also accommodations around the tip of Borneo for all budgets.
Mostly there are small resorts with little chalets or beach huts priced around RM150 per night, but there are also accommodations featuring dorm rooms, and a long-house style lodge, for budget travel.
A sejour at the tip of Borneo is mostly about enjoying the beach, the sun, and the sea. Depending on the conditions you might be swimming, snorkeling, or paddleboarding. During periods of low pressure and wind the northern beach is good for surfing and boogie boarding. There are also several other things you can do there including scuba diving (around the tip or further offshore in the islands of Banggi/Balambangan), cycling, and sightseeing around the local farming villages.
TIP OF BORNEO – GEOLOGICAL FEATURES
Apart from its beautiful white beach sand, the rocky headland is interesting for geologists, since it provides an excellent exposure of the lower sandy unit of the Early Miocene Kudat Formation.
The sedimentary formation, comprising of a thick sequence of sandstone exhibits primary depositional structures such as lamination, graded bedding and load structures. The thick sandstone beds dipping moderately to the north are cut through by a series of NE-SW trending normal faults and N-S trending joints, clearly visible during low tide. The headland also possesses coastal landforms such as caves, holes and tafoni.
The headland at Simpang Mengayau is made up of the lower sandy unit of the Kudat Formation (Tongkul, 2006). The sandy unit here represents part of the northern limb of the huge steeply plunging fold structure in Kudat. The unit consists of thick sandstone beds ranging in thickness from 30 to 4000 cm with thin (5-30 cm) mudstone interbeds. The sandstone beds are mostly amalgamated or stacked on top of each other forming enormous thickness reaching to more than 50 meters. In fact the whole of the headland is made up of these sandstones. The sandstone beds show good lateral continuity dipping moderately to the north. The coarse to fine-grained sandstone beds mostly show graded bedding indicating deposition of the sediments by turbidity currents. Parallel and cross laminations are often seen towards the top of the sandstone beds whereas load structures are at the bottom. Very coarse to granular sandstones are seen in some beds indicating high energy depositional currents, possibly related to channel depositional processes.
The moderately dipping sandstone sequence oriented around 280° is dissected by a series of vertical conjugate joints trending around 185° and 140°. Normal faults trending around 60° cuts through the sandstone beds showing displacement up to 2 m. The faults and joints can be clearly seen during low tide . The normal faults occur as conjugate pairs producing a graben structure.
Weathering, erosion and deposition has resulted in the formation of cliffs and beaches. Waves crashing on the rocky cliffs have created numerous small sea caves and holes on the rocky floor. The presence of iron oxide concretions in the thick sandstone beds also creates holes once they are eroded by waves . Weathering on the sandstone surface sprayed by saltwater from the sea has also created honeycomb structures called tafoni. The joints which are more susceptible to weathering are filled by iron oxide deposits and in some instance provide spaces for roots to grow longer and deeper.