Seaside Resort in Sabah, called the Tempurung Lodge is one of the best kept secret or true hidden gem of Sabah Borneo. This amazing unique place is located just two and a half hours from the capitol, Kota Kinabalu and is situated deep inside the village of Kuala Penyu with no other resorts around. The rustic Tempurung Lodge is also perched up on a hillside with magnificent views of the South China Sea.
Tempurung Lodge in Kuala Penyu
Tempurung Lodge is run by Yanti and Frankie for the last ten years and has been one of the best isolated and romantic places for many couples and families seeking a true beach side holiday minus the crowds. If you love seclusion with breath taking sunset views and an amazing empty beach, this is definitely the palace you should be at. For the record, Tempurung is Malay for a piece of a coconut.
Tempurung Lodge wooden stair main entrance
Getting to Tempurug Lodge was pretty simple as Arleen offered to drive me there from Kota Kinabalu and on arrival here, I did not expect such a beautiful place hidden away in the middle of nowhere and absolutely private. After parking the car by the beach, the first thing that welcomed me was the authentic wooden staircase that lead up to the lodge and reception area.
View of Tempurung Lodge from the beach
I honestly swear that the natural surroundings here were stunning with blue skies and sea breeze blowing from every possible direction. The colours of the greens against the blues were out of this world as I walked up the wooden stairs to the reception of Tempurung Lodge.
Tempurung Lodge restaurant and reception building
At the reception, we were given a glass of chilled orange juice and a nice cold towel by the local Sabah girls who work there. There was only one other couple staying there on my visit so the entire place was just dominated by sounds of the waves breaking on the shore and the ambient nature sounds.
View of the sea from the main balcony
I was then ushered to my room where I had to continue back on the wooden walkway to the highest point where the main rooms were. A large wooden balcony sits up top before entering the hall and rooms. This balcony has some serious views and can easily hold 20-30 people. Imagine having your seaside wedding or private party here!
Tempurung Lodge video from the balcony
Tempurung Lodge balcony view
Looking around from the wooden balcony, I could only see pure natural beauty from all angles. The main double and family rooms had the sea views from up top and come without air-conditioning. Honestly, who needs air conditioning when you have the sea breeze constantly blowing into your rooms. Note that all rooms come with attached bathroom and hot showers. The place is not your regular five star hotel. This is a family run lodge after all. Below are some videos of the rooms available at Tempurung Lodge.
Video of Tempurung Lodge Double room
The above was my room when I stayed here. I honestly thought how I wold make it without the air-conditioning but to my surprise, it was really cozy and nice at night. Imagine waking up to the sounds of the waves and birds chirping with the sea breeze blowing in.
Video of Tempurung Lodge Family room
Video of Tempurung Lodge Dormitory
Common living room where the main rooms are
The common living room where all rooms are located is a excellent mixture of modern and traditional architecture which was self designed and built by the owners. A side ladder leads up to a small balcony area where one can sit down with a book or just laze around. Looking around, I saw a picture frame with a photo of a guest with the title 'Longest Staying Customer' at Tempurung Lodge. He stayed for almost three months there.
Beach at Tempurung Lodge
So, what does one do at Tempurung Lodge, I asked Arleen. The answer was pretty straight forward - Chilling out, relaxing and absorbing the natural beauty here. I took a walk down to the beach that same day and found it to be absolutely peaceful and quiet with only the sounds of waves breaking throughout my walk. I looked left and right to see that the beach here stretched at least two kilometers without any disturbances.
Tempurung Lodge - Some of the activities
Some of the activities that the lodge provides are Kayaking, Mountain Biking, Camping, Fishing and Kampung visits or local village visits. A guide is available but you need to let the lodge know before hand or you can simply do it yourself. People there are extremely friendly for your added information.
Beautiful Sabah Sunset at Tempurung Lodge
Just when I got back, it was in the evening and the sun was setting quickly. With camera in hand, I could not resist taking pictures of one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world and here in Sabah. The colours of the sun stretch out so far that the entire sky was orange in colour.
Orange sunset dominating the sky at Tempurung Lodge
Apparently, this sort of sunset is a common sight here in Sabah and I do not deny that it was totally out of this world. At one point during the sunset, the sun rays started to appear out from behind the clouds.
Video of the Sabah Sunset from the top of the Tempurung Lodge
One of the best sunsets I have witnessed in Sabah
I saw this and immediately went up to the highest point of the lodge via staircase from the common room to the balcony. It was really amazing to see this kind of sunset and my camera just kept on snapping. One for my sunset picture collection.
Amazing table setting for dinner
Soon it was dinner and after a good shower, I adjourned to the main reception area lounge where dinner was served. I have to say that a lot of attention to detail was presented here. Traditional Batik cloth was cleverly used to decorate the dining table and as chair covers.
Local home cooked Sabah dinner
The food served here was all local home cooked Sabahan food. Most of the time you will experience eating local food and occasionally you may request for something continental. As far as I know, breakfast, lunch and dinner were all local dishes and was really good. Compliments to the young chef that managed this all by herself.
Morning local Sabah fried noodle breakfast
The next morning, I was treated to some fantastic home cooked breakfast at the dining area with the morning sea breeze blowing in. Some Sabah style fried noodles with coffee to start up my adventures day. I had a bicycle trip planned out for me. Arleen and me were to cycle around the village, through some orchards and then on the beach on our way back to the lodge so I needed the energy before this trip.
Amazing scenery along my biking trip
While cycling around the village, we made a stop at one of the local warungs or stalls to have a cup of coffee which we ended up with three cups. From there, we made out way through the local orchards spotting some Sabah birds. Finally at the end, we came to a picturesque scenery where I only see them in postcards. It was utterly amazing with the blue skies.
Cycling along the local villages video (A little bumpy)
Arleen's bike on the beach
On the beach, cycling was really fun as there was no one around except for a local fishing boat that came in with the days catch. It was one of the best cycling I had in years with the sea breeze in your face and I did not feel exhausted at all.
Cycling along the beach side at Tempurung Lodge
Tempurung Lodge beach side BBQ area
Finally we reached back to the lodge and made a stop on the beach. As you can see, the Tempurung Lodge has their own patch of land where you can organise a barbecue or have a picnic. The place is also very suitable for a nice quiet beach wedding or party.
Guests arriving at Tempurung Lodge
My conclusion to Tempurung Lodge in Sabah - You have to visit this place if you are seeking absolute peacefulness, isolation and time for yourself. A truly well maintained place that makes it into my 'Hidden Gem' or 'Off The Beaten Path' of Sabah list. Excellent service is provided while great local home cooking is available. Fun for single travelers seeking nothing but quietness, families that want to bond without the hassle of distractions or romantic couples looking for a great honeymoon or a quality-time-together holiday.
I cannot stress enough on how isolated and beautiful the Tempurung Lodge in Kuala Penyu is. You have to visit this place to fully experience this Hidden Gem of Sabah! It is so secluded, it is located smack in the middle of nowhere that even locals do not know of this place. So, best head there now as it is absolutely unspoiled and has that natural zen charm.
Tempurung Lodge in Sabah - A 360 degrees video taken from the beach below
Please note they do no do walk-in for dining. So if you have plans, make sure you call the office way before your exploration trip there.
Room Rates at Tempurung Lodge:
12 units standard rooms/chalets - RM135 (US$40) per person/night inclusive of full board. This includes free flow of coffee and tea and usage of the general facilities the lodge offers.
6-Bed Dormitory prices - RM95 (US$28) per person/night full board as above.
Camping is available. Please contact the office for details.
Tempurung Lodge Packages:
3D/2N "Rest and Relax Package" at RM540 (US$158.8) per person. 2 Breakfast, 2 Lunch, 2 Dinner and 2-Way Transfers from KK to Tempurung Lodge. Free usage of all facilities during stay. (Kayak, Beach Mats and Chairs, Mountain Bikes, etc.)
4D/3N "Rest and Relax Package" at RM650 (US$191) per person. 3 Breakfast, 3 Lunch, 3 Dinner and 2-Way Transfers from KK to Tempurung Lodge. Free usage of all facilities during stay. (Kayak, Beach Mats and Chairs, Mountain Bikes, etc.)
Rainy Season for Sabah is from December to February.
Activities available at Tempurung Lodge;
Rubber Tapping (seasonal)
Padi Harvesting (seasonal)
Kampung (Village) Visit
Tempurung Lodge contact details and office address;
Borneo Authentic Lot 3, 1st Floor, Putatan Point, Off JKR Road, Putatan, 88300 Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Best way is to arrange for a transfer from Kota Kinabalu via the main office.
Self driving can be done but seek the almighty help of the GPS.
Taxi will cost you around RM100-200 (US$29-58) for a one way trip.
Bus Service from Kota Kinabalu Hight Court Building will be around RM15 (US$4.40) and stops at the junction to Kuala Penyu. From here, you need to arrange for the resort to come pick you up at additional RM20 (US$5.90) per person.