K a b a n s a y a n



Legend has it that a long time ago, a ship from China arrived at the shores of Kuala Penyu and docked near  the Sitompok river estuary.  The sailors were excited to see so many turtles, and so the name kuala penyu (turtle estuary) was given to this new place.  


Some people think that what they saw were actually round stones that looked like turtles, but the main belief is that this was once a favourite place for turtles to land and lay their eggs. 



Kuala Penyu is a gem waiting to be discovered.  There are 80km of beaches waiting for feet to tread on them, and the waters for people to swim in them.  Imagine yourself walking on a deserted beach with a gentle breeze blowing, or soaking up the sun on a beach all your own!  


The most exciting part is that these are the same beaches where the Hawksbill turtles come to nest. Kuala Penyu is the only place on the West Coast of Sabah that has turtles coming to lay eggs on the beaches.  Who knows - you may very well be the next lucky person to discover a batch of turtle eggs that will later turn into hatchlings!  


Kuala Penyu offers the freshest seafood - fish, prawns, crabs, cuttlefish - with catches as recent as that morning itself.  And the good news is that even though the seafood is fresh,  they are very much affordable!  There are more than 20 restaurants and foodstalls to chose from, with menus ranging from local, Malay and Chinese cuisine.  Which means that if you are an adventurous person, you can try eating ambuyat (sago) instead of rice with a spicy dip, or eat nasi lemak for breakfast or have steamed fish at any time while you are here.


You will feel very much welcomed here as the locals are tourist-friendly. They are warm, polite and courteous. You will only need to smile to start a conversation going!  One comment that is always heard is that the people here are 'hospitable, '   and they are indeed.


But as the saying goes - 'you'll never know until you have tried it'.  


Come and visit us soon!


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Stay with us

Sawangan Beach Lodge

'Home sweet home' for back packers ...


How to get to us  

By taxi, bus or van ...




Kuala Penyu is indeed a gem waiting to be discovered 

About Kuala Penyu


Topography and Climate

Kuala Penyu is located on the Klias Peninsula. There are long stretches of sandy

beaches (80 km) along the coast, facing the South China sea ...






The population of 18,958 comprise mainly of Dusun Tatana (32%), Bisaya (28%),

Brunei (26%), Bajau (6%), Kedayan (5%)  ...


Religion & Culture

The main festive celebrations observed by people in the district include Kaamatan,

Aidil Fitri, Christmas and Chinese New Year  ...




Places of Interest

Rumbia Information Center, Klias Wetlands, Garama Wetlands, Pulau Tiga, Sitompok Lake ...


Places to eat

There are more than 20 eating places in Kuala Penyu town ...

Traditional Food

People in Kuala Penyu enjoy eating natually growing vegetables like the ‘titidong’ ...




While hotel-type accommodation  in Kuala Penyu is still lacking, there are a number

of privately owned accommodation available ...


Roads & Transportation

The road system is of good standard and roads in all towns and almost all villages are tarred

with bitumen ...

Distances and Approximate Travel Time by Car

Kuala Penyu – Kota Kinabalu : 135 km (2 hours)  ...



 Kuala Penyu has a 76-bed hospital costing RM76 million ...

Annual Events

Pesta Rumbia (Sago Festival),  2nd weekend of July 

Odou Bakanjar (Tradition Day),  Chinese New Year period ...




Events 2015

Pesta Rumbia (Sago Festival)  11-12 July 2015 ...

Hawksbill Turtle Hatchlings Release

Kuala Penyu is at present experiencing exciting times.  Three batches of turtle eggs were successfully hatched within the last one year, from eggs found on the beaches by villagers ...

Learn to Speak Tatana

Some everyday words

Local Legends

The legend of Batu Nousung (Cursed Rock) - Sawangan Beach

Batu Payau, Batu Kuyuk (Deer Rock, Dog Rock) -Tanjung Sawangan Beach

The Unfortunate Bride - Batu Luang Beach