Hakka Heritage Trail

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Hakka Heritage Trail

In very early colonial days, Kudat was the original capital of British North Borneo (now Sabah). Situated on the north-western shore of beautiful Marudu Bay, Kudat was, and still is, the most northerly town in Sabah. Although the capital later moved to Sandakan and then, post-WW 2 to Kota Kinabalu, Kudat remains an important centre for all those wishing to visit the Kudat Peninsula, which incorporates Tanjung Simpang Mengayau (‘The Northern Tip Of Borneo’) – the place where the Sulu Sea meets the South China Sea. However, although the area is blessed with many kilometres of pristine white beaches, lapped by brilliant aquamarine waters, the Kudat region is not simply an unspoiled tropical paradise. It is also interesting for its cultural heritage.

Kudat has long been settled by the Chinese. Between 1883 and 1889, many Hakka Christians emigrated in groups from China, a move facilitated by the Basel Church which had created a strong mission network in northern Sabah. One of the first immigrants under this scheme was Chong Yun Chew (my great grandpa), a farmer who began his new life in Kimeheng, a small village between Kudat and the Tip of Borneo. His son, Chong Su Pen(my grandpa), was born in the village but on reaching adulthood moved from the family home to begin farming at Lausan village, where he and his wife raised 15 children.

The youngest child, a girl, was my mother and in November 2008, i took my uncle Stephen Chong, who had emigrated to Australia but had returned to Sabah many times, to the Kudat region to show me the path taken by our Hakka ancestors and to reacquaint me with his roots. The trip was so successful, from the scenic, cultural and historical point of view, that we and our company TYK Adventure Tours put together the Hakka Heritage Trail, a tour for travellers wishing to experience something a little different.

In additions to Kudat’s other well-known attractions – swimming, cycling, sightseeing, fishing and golfing – visitors can now sample the lifestyle of the Hakka people, staying in their homes and enjoying their distinctive cuisine and magnificent seafood, for which the Kudat area is famous. This unique tour, exclusive to TYK Adventure Tours, retraces the route taken by the early Hakka Chinese immigrants, visiting the villages of Kimeheng and Lausan villages, where my relatives settled, before ending in Kudat town.

For more details on the Hakka Heritage Trail, as well as cycling and sightseeing adventures which take you off the beaten track, please contact us.

Created on 28/11/2008