As of late, nature-themed and outdoor activities have been my go-to whenever I travel. On the daily, I am surrounded by a concrete jungle and the busy sounds of the city. So, when it’s time for a vacation, I make it a point to explore the Earth further by surrounding myself with streams, friendly wildlife, and lush greenery.
Not one to have pitched a tent before, it’s now an experience I couldn’t imagine not having, especially after spending 11 days camping in Thailand. After that, I began researching more, and found that Sabah has many scenic camping spots, and here are six of the best.
1. Tambiau Forest House, Ranau
My first recommendation is Tambiau Forest House, located in Kampung Kibbles in Ranau. Set up camp in the cool breeze of the mountains and be in awe of the mesmerising sunsets you’ll start each day with.
For a good outdoor workout session, take on the hiking trail nearby and admire your surroundings. Be sure to bring enough food supply with you if you’re staying for long, as there are none on-site for purchase. Yogis can jump for joy because there’s a yoga deck here, too, so you can practice ashtanga in the clouds!
Address: Jalan Kibbas Mohimboyon, Kundasang, 89308 Ranau, Sabah
Contact: +6012 894 9578
2. Polumpong Melangkap View Camp Site, Kota Belud
Polumpong Melangkap View Camp Site has come a long way since I last visited with friends, and it was still an unknown hideaway that took quite an effort to find. Now, its reputation has grown as one of the most scenic riverside campsites.
With an incomparable view of Mount Kinabalu and the calming sounds of the river, you can rest easy knowing you’ll have the most relaxing campsite experience here. This location will be an outdoor stay like no other and is fully equipped with sleeping amenities, showers, a barbecue area, and a multi-purpose hut. If you’re lucky, you may catch a shooting star at night!
Address: Kampung Melangkap Baru 89158 Kota Belud, Sabah
Contact: +6011 3624 4723
3. Nohutu Ecotourism, Kota Belud
Located opposite Polumpong Melangkap View Camp Site is Nohuto Ecotourism, an alternative site for visitors if the previous is at full capacity. Nohutu offers an authentic experience of living in an Orang Asli hut paired with the cool mountain breeze and the sounds of the river.
Near the campsite, you can have a short adventure jungle trekking to their lagoon and have a chance to witness their untapped flora and fauna. Talk about a perfect respite!
Address: Melangkap Tiong, 89150 Kota Belud, Sabah
Contact: Get in touch WhatsApp
4. Minakit Retreat Bundu Paka, Kota Belud
A campsite with durian and rambutan trees in one location? Yes, please! The first of its kind, Minakit Retreat Bundu Paka, is a campsite with an orchard and a farm in the same area. Like all the campsites on this list, you’ll be surrounded by the beauty of nature, of course. There’s also a fully equipped hut with cooking utensils and a fridge to store food in.
Take a dip in the river, and if you can’t swim, don’t worry; floats and life jackets are available for rent. At night, enjoy the incredible view of the Milky Way as you trade stories with loved ones.
Address: Jalan Tambatuon, 89150 Kota Belud, Sabah
Contact: +6012 840 3913
5. Tegudon Tourism Village
About an hour and a half drive from Kota Kinabalu is another notable campsite called Tegudon Tourism Village (TTV). It’s also gained popularity for its hanging bridge. Visitors can choose to bring their own tent and set up here, or they also have the option to rent one from the TTV centre.
If you’re not into cooking your own meals while camping, the TTV community will be more than happy to whip something up for you — just give them a heads up three days prior. Feel like snacking under the stars? A tuck shop with food and basic necessities makes buying things you may have forgotten to pack easy. Visitors can also sign up with the local guide for a hike to Bukit Bendera and Wasai Waterfall.
Address: P/S 291 Tegudon, 89158 Kota Belud, Sabah
Contact: +6013 602 4089
6. Secret Place Cafe & Camping, Kudat
Skip the 5-star hotels and opt for this family-run cafe and campground instead. We promise you, the view and surroundings are worth it. Unlike the rest of the campsites on this list, what sets Secret Place Cafe & Camping apart is that it’s a beachfront campsite along a pristine shore. So, beach bums, enjoy your time in the great outdoors!
Address: Jalan Marang Parang, Tip of Borneo, 89050 Kudat, Sabah
Contact: +6010 414 5291