This travel article is for the self-drive journey originating from Kota Kinabalu to Kudat for a 3-1/2 hour of travel duration.
From Kota Kinabalu, take the Coastal Highway off the Likas Bay that heads to the north of the city. As the road can be somewhat confusing with multiple roundabouts, traffic lights and inadequate signage, try to stick the driving orientation towards the town of Tuaran (I've learnt my lesson the hard way when I got diverted somewhere into no man's land just outside Telipok). At the big roundabout just outside Tuaran town, do ensure that you take the turn towards Kudat, Kota Belud and Kota Marudu.
The road to Kudat is truly a road less traveled. The journey passes through acres of beautiful paddy field which is particularly spectacular during sunset, as well as majestic rolling hills of the interior districts of Sabah. The road condition is generally good and not too winding, with some exceptions at certain stretches which seem to be undergoing road resurfacing.
The villages particularly after Kota Belud are often filled with reared cattle along the roadside, hence caution should be exercised to avoid any untoward incidents, especially if you are renting a car like I did. In general, there is not much traffic on the road, and even if there is, overtaking is relatively easy with the straight road stretch.
While the main features along the route are the spectacular views of the farmlands, paddy fields and rolling hills, one can also attempt a pit stop at the many roadside stalls to freshen up and to do some shopping. Certain areas are particularly filled with handicraft vendors, while others are flanked by fresh produce stalls such as bananas, sweet corns, pineapples, coconuts, etc.
A scenic and eye-opening road trip through the rustic interior of Sabah. Plenty of photo opportunities as well as exquisite roadside items on sale. A unique local experience overall.