Location : Kampung Laya-Laya, Tuaran, West Coast Division, Sabah, Malaysia.
An impromptu visit to this hidden jewel facing the South China Sea turned out to be a lot more exciting than expected. We were heading towards Tuaran for its famous Hakka noodle after intentionally passing Kibabag to see first hand how bad the flood was that inundated the town the day before. It was bad with more than a foot thick of mud washed down by heavy rain from the nearby hill cutting. Another example of man’s careless interference of nature. Tom my more than 30 year long buddy was driving us in his black Triton and by the time we drove pass Kibabaig, his car looked more like a muddy buffalo.
Flooding at Kibabag
Mud brought down by the rain
As we drove pass the junction of Rasa Ria Resort, Tom suddenly suggested we visit Kelly’s Bay as he had recently befriended its owner through his restaurant business in Kota Kinabalu. At some point along the way we turned to the left off the main road and passed several housing estates. Parked our car and walked along a plank walk about a 100m over brackish water. Lush mangrove swamps lined both sides of the river.
Signage of Kellybays at carpark
Walking towards the jetty
The riverside restaurant
Tom made a phone call to the lady owner Alice Tseu and within minutes her boatman from across the river made its way to pick us. The boat was no ordinary boat. Quite a marvelous innovation of putting two longboats together to convert them into an awesome looking catamaran.
Kellybays’ very own catamaran
The boatman asked if we would like to lay traps for crabs along the ride but we declined as it was part of the package for ‘normal tourists’.
Bringing up the crab trap
When we arrived at the jetty across the tannin coloured river, there were at least 150 tourists busy enjoying the buffet lunch at the restaurant.
This restaurant could easily host 300 guests
Tom introduced Alice to us but knowing how busy she was we quickly excused ourselves so we could tour her property on our own. I wished we had more time to talk to her so we could learn more of what she could offer here. The impressive landscape was filled with exotic plants. We could see a blowpipe shooting range, banana boat, kayaks and skim boards available here for the young.
Nice landscaping in a very cool and breezy spot
Big mushrooms sprouting from the sand
Blowpipe shooting range
Pool and soocer game tables
One of the choices of activities here, river or sea
And what was surprising was a special place for guests to paint their own batik. But of course the white batik clothed had been pre waxed so guests need only put in whatever colours they fancied. Very ingenious and very much overlooked by many tourism players in Malaysia. After all, Malaysia is very famous for its batik painting. Hands on experience is what tourists would very much enjoy doing.
The batik painting hall
Even senior citizens find it fun too
Less than 50m away was what took us by surprise. Right in front of us was the South China Sea with a long white sandy beach.
Nice long white sandy beach at 45 deg to the South China Sea
Skim boarding for the young and energetic
I immediately told myself I needed to look at Google Earth to get my orientation right. The river actually ran parallel to this narrow long finger like piece of land with the sea on the other side.
This screen shot should be able to indicate Kellybays and explain how it is sandwitched by the sea and river
After a heavy lunch, one could relax at the hammock shed looking at the sea. There are no chalets in Kelly’s as they do not cater for overnight stay. Something very unique. So if you guys want to spend some good time at the beach before hitting Mt Kinabalu or Kundasang Kelly’s Bay is the place for only RM100/pax. Very suitable for family outing. Check out their website at www.kellybays.com