Kota Marudu - The History

Legendary Beginnings

Kota Marudu was originally known as Bandau. This name was used until 1974 before Sabah gained her independence through Malaysia. According to legends, Bandau is derived from a Kadazan word 'Mondou' which means a ghost that resemble a buffalo. According to beliefs, Mondou was frequently found along the Bandau river.

Historical Background

The district of Kota Marudu has its history traced back to the year 1845 or earlier with the rise of Sharif Osman, a local independence fighter from Kota Marudu.

Bandau was renamed Kota Marudu during the USNO rule. The name change was proposed by the State Assemblyman at that time, The Hon Datuk Idrus Matakim @ Andrew Matakim.

The name Kota Marudu was chosen to replace Bandau in commemoration of the existence of a town or fort located in the Marudu Bay and used by Sharif Osman and his followers to fight against the British Colonialist in the 1900s. To this day, Sharif Osman's grave and fort is still found in Kampung Marudu.

During the Chartered Company's rule established on 1st November 1881, the district was opened up for the cultivation of rubber and tobacco. The tobacco farm was within the area of Bandau town and was developed by the Dutch. Rubber was developed by an English company in Langkon. A jetty was built in Bandau town for the purpose of ferrying the tobacco on to the small ships for export. At that time, Bandau was widely referred to as Bandau Port. Other than rubber and tobacco, coal mines was also opened up in Kampun Tanjung Batu by an English company. The coal mine was closed before the 1920s.

Location and Area

The district of Kota Marudu has an area of 1,917 square kilometres or 740 square miles. According to the map, the Kota Marudu district is located between the latitude of 6° 15" to 6° 45" N and the logitude of 116° to 117° E.

The distance between Kota Marudu from the following destinations are:

  • Kota Marudu - 130 Km
  • Kudat - 90 Km
  • Kota Belud - 60 Km
  • Pitas - 52 Km


Kota Marudu is made up of 3 distinct area i.e. mountainous terrain, valley and the coastal area. More than two-thirds of the area of Kota Marudu is situated in the mountainous area. There are 5 major rivers namely:

  • Bandau River
  • Rakit River
  • Bongon River
  • Tandek River
  • Langkon River

There are two mountain within the Crocker Range namely Mount Tambayukum (8,462m) and Mount Tendok Sirong (3,315m). The type of soil found in the Kota Marudu district is the alluvium and sedimentary rock.

Places of Intereset

Among the places of interest in Kota Marudu include the famous Sorinsim Waterfall, located 40 km from the main town and Taman Sagabon, an agriculture research station at the Buyut lake. You can find South East Asia's biggest solar power station in Kota Marudu.

One may enjoy the district's celebration of the annual Maize Festival in honour of the agricultural product's contribution to the socio-economic development of Kota Marudu. The line-up activities includes a variety of exhibitions, competitions, traditional sports and the crowning of Maize Fashion Queen!