Originally from Stratford-Upon-Avon, England, Howard first came to Sabah in 1995 as the pre-opening recreation manager of a new Shangri-La hotel in Sabah. He was there for 3 years and fell in love with the diversity of the state – mountain, jungle, stunning beaches and its awesome people
“It was the gentle, humble and hospitable nature of the people that captivated me, such great people surrounded by such a beautiful natural environment. I knew I would return one day.”
He left Sabah at the end of 1998 and headed back to the UK to finish his hotel and restaurant management degree and then following an opportunity to work in the Caribbean. He headed to the British Virgin Islands for eight years.
In 2007, when an opportunity came to him to manage a new development project in Kudat, Sabah, he jumped at it without hesitation as he had always had a longing to return to Sabah. The project, however, did not push through but he was offered a deal to purchase a land near the tip of Borneo.
“Seeing this as an opportunity to do something for myself and set up a tourism business, I bought the land.”
His vision was to preserve the beauty of the area for generations to come and build an Eco resort for tourists to visit the area and learn about natural resources and environmental conservation.
The local area has indeed become more popular with tourism but the the lack of support from the government has led to the detriment of the area – the lack of garbage and waste disposal has led to more rubbish piling up in the area; the neglect of the infrastructure, for example, roads are left in bad condition; the disregard of nature to the demise of many species of animals – turtles/pangolins/birds etc.
“With the tip of Borneo being the main tourist attraction in the district, it astounds me that the local government is not doing their best ability to improve the area .”
“Tampat Do Aman (the name of our resort) – meaning a place of peace or friends in the local indigenous language of Rungus, still prevails and will continue on its mission.”
“We hope that the government will proactively work to resolve the environmental issues that are affecting the area and make the area a better place for everyone.”
Tampat Do Aman is there to promote all the gems of the area – the beautiful beaches and coastline, the unique and intricate culture of the indigenous Rungus tribe, the jungle and its wildlife inhabitants.
Tampat Do Aman has built a small museum dedicated to helping preserve the local culture. Guests can visit the museum for free to gain an insight into the deep culture of the Rungus people. The museum only really scratches the surface of the culture but is designed to give an overview to visitors so that they can grasp an understanding of the people whose area they are visiting.
“We also allocated the lion’s share of our property to create a small wildlife reserve/refuge, so the wildlife has a place to call home instead of being driven to the palm oil and rubber plantations.”
Within the reserve of Tampat Do Aman, a small wildlife education center is built to educate locals and tourists alike as to what is in the area, how it is threatened and what they can do to help preserve and protect it.
“In recent years, we have looked to expand this educational area to explain climate change, the issues that it brings and again what people can do to help mitigate it. Within the accommodation side of the eco resort, we look at everything we do with a sustainable eye, for instance, compost toilets are the toilets for our traditional Rungus sulaps (little huts) and our traditional Rungus longhouses. The idea being for us to walk the talk, highlight to users how good they are and to encourage people to look at the way they do things differently.”
Tampat Do Aman brings in volunteer groups from all over the world to undertake infrastructure projects for the local community and area. These projects are designed to help deliver a better quality of life to the local people and improve what they already have. The groups work at the local schools, mosques, churches, turtle hatcheries and villager’s houses.
“We have turned a dilapidated village school into a place where the local children are able to safely learn and enjoy learning.”
To date, Tampat Do Aman has facilitated a total of 186 groups into the area and would like to hear from any teacher or youth organization that is looking for a meaningful way to give back while having fun and learning something new.
Tampat Do Aman also capitalized upon the local Rungus knowledge of the jungle and built a jungle camp 2-hour walk from the resort.
“This is our survival camp where we teach jungle survival courses by imparting the local knowledge of the indigenous people (medicinal and edible plants, trap making, navigation etc) combined with military survival skills. Pinang Breeze camp has been in operation for 3 years. It has been used to teach elements of the British military, school and youth groups a deeper knowledge of the jungle and survival skills. Again, we would love to hear from anyone interested in the courses so that we can provide more information and discuss what we can do. We can conduct courses and treks as long or short as needed, thus being able to fit in with any groups or individual’s plans.”
Having lived in Sabah and extensively traveled around the state for 18 years, it is always his pleasure to help the guests plan a memorable trip to take in “off the beaten path ” locations and mainstream hotspots so that they are able to get the most from their trip.
Kudat is a fantastic area to explore – The beaches are magnificent, fantastic coastal walks, great diving, and easily one of the best places to surf and learn to surf in Malaysia – It has a mass of goodness to offer.
Tampat Do Aman’s website : www.tampatdoaman.com.my
Contact Howard if you need more information or book your stay with Tampat Do Aman: firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen to his interview on a podcast with Amateur Traveler.
Photograph credit: Howard Stanton