Tampat Do Aman is truly a unique place. Not because of its accommodation per se, but because of its character, thanks mainly to Howard, the British expat who set it up 2 years ago. Howard is a sort of local celebrity, he speaks the local Rungus dialect and seems to be on a one-man mission to develop the villages around the Tip of Borneo and improve the quality of life of their inhabitants. He has stacks of charity projects either already operation or in the works, and you get a sense that business and making money comes a definite second to promoting these other endeavors. Half the people staying in the jungle camp at Tampat Do Aman seem to be volunteers, who are given free accommodation in exchange for their services. TDA runs a turtle hatchery, a wildlife education centre for locals, a Rungus cultural museum, and a cafe employing local chefs and waitresses, as well as promotes local handicrafts and local initiatives such as guided trips in the mangroves and fishing trips with Rungus fishermen. You also get free beer for picking up rubbish on the beach! Howard also works with the village school and is currently renovating it, and also has plans to open luxury villas on the beach as well as a dive shop.
Your stay at Tampat Do Aman means lots of relaxation on unspoilt beaches not yet over developed by tourism, with their jungle largely still in tact (Palm oil has almost reached the tip of borneo, like everywhere else on the island, but you still get a sense that the villagers are holding out, most of the forest around Tampat Do Aman is still largely untamed). The camp itself is located 30 mins walk from the beach, and you have to rely on Howard to drop you off there in the mornings and back again in the evenings. Or you can walk it, which is also pleasant. The accommodation is very basic, and is only suitable for those who dont mind roughing it. The toilets and showers are open to the elements and there are lots of mosquitoes around. At night you are surrounded by the sounds of the jungle. There is no hot water (not that you miss it, as it is very humid and sticky!). If you enjoy camping style holidays then this is the place for you! The camp itself is beautiful, there are lots of flowers and pretty jungle plants as well as birds and butterflies.
Are there any downsides?
Nothing which should really put you off coming. We didnt sleep very well in the jungle camp, as there is a troupe of geese, ducks, chickens and roosters which apparently live there and make a lot of noise early in the morning (the roosters start crowing before the sun comes up- around 430am) and the place where they go for water was right next to our little hut. Also the mosquitoes were ferocious, and every nip to the toilet left you with several new bites. There are mosquito nets in the huts however, so sleeping is not a problem.
Another issue is that many of the activities are quite expensive. You basically have to eat all your meals at Howard's reasonably priced beachside cafe, whose food is excellent, however it does add up and we did not feel we had enough money on a backpacker budget to indulge in the many activities which were available. Even hiring a snorkel is 30RM, and the cost of hiring a bicycle for the day was more than the cost of a nights accommodation (50RM)! All of the half day trips were well out of our budget, but unfortunately we felt that the basic activities were also overpriced.
We still had a wonderful time however wandering along the endless deserted beaches and swimming in the clear green ocean, it really is the most paradise-like spot we visited in Borneo. The locals are very friendly, they smile a lot and say hi and you dont get the sense that they are looking at you and seeing dollar signs like in most other places in Borneo. I really recommend Tampat Do Aman, it is definitely worth the trip out to Kudat for, and was without a doubt one of the highlights of our trip to Malaysia. Go there!!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Welcome friends. At the Tip of Borneo lies an Eco resort and jungle camp called Tampat Do Aman. In the local Rungus language this means "a place of friends".We are located by the only road that leads to this phenomenally beautiful coastline that stretches from the Tip of Borneo 10km to the south, incorporating eight of the best beaches Sabah has to offer. The area really is a jewel in the crown of Sabah. In Tampat Do Aman Tip of Borneo you will find : A Jungle camp (Traditional Rungus long House), A beach front restaurant and Bar (“Tip Top”) and an activities center. If you are a nature lover like us then there is lots to do here in Tip of Borneo. Our activities center offers bicycles and snorkeling gear for rent. There are different trekking and night tours happening and you can even take a course in Jungle Survival. ... more less
- Also Known As:
- Tampat Do Aman Jungle Camp Kudat, Sabah