Kuala Penyu is a town located in Interior Division, Sabah, Malaysia. Its population was estimated to be around 18,958 in 2010, with ethnic Dusun People of the Dusun Tatana subgroup forming the largest single ethnic group.
Kuala Penyu was declared as full district in the year 1975 and established as focal point for administrative and business centre. This district call as Kuala Penyu - derived from a group stones forming types of "Turtle" or call penyu situated at river bank or Kuala (in Malay). In early 60's this area was popularly known as "sitompok" whereby it refers to a group of stones.
It is administratively divided into three parts namely, Sitompok, Bundu and Menumbok. The district shares a land border with Beaufort to the west and a maritime border with the Federal Territory of Labuan to the east.
It is one of the gateways to Pulau Tiga where Survivor: Borneo was set. Kuala Penyu is also famous for its beaches, especially Tempurung beach, Sawangan beach and Sungai Labuan Waterfront. Sungai Labuan, as the name implies was taken from the name of a river flowing in the heart of Kuala Penyu.
"Pesta Rumbia" is a special celebration for "Sago" trees which are only planted widely in the district. This festive season targets to promote "sago" as traditional food and multi purpose product with full of nutrition.
Kaamatan or Pesta Kaamatan is also cebrated here. It is a form of harvest festival celebrated annually in the state of Sabah in Malaysia. It is normally celebrated by the ethnic Kadazan-Dusuns, as well as by other related ethnic groups in the state, and lasts for the whole of the month of May, ending with a public holiday on the 30–31 May. On 31st May, a beauty pageant known as Unduk Ngadau will be held and it ends the harvest festival with a newly crowned Unduk Ngadau in the annual host district, Penampang. The Harvest Festival comes under the ambit of what is known as Momolianism the belief system and life philosophy of the Kadazan-Dusun.
More recently Kuala Penyu's surrounding long, desserted beaches have brought in both international and local tourists to the area. Positioned perfectly for a sun rise, or sunset, depending on which side of the peninsular you are, the location is proving to be a 'weekend hot spot' for those escaping the city life. In addition, Kuala Penyu district also hosts a minor seaport or jetty and a major gateway to the island destination of Labuan through the town of Menumbok where ro-ro ferries depart and arrive for the daily Labuan-Sabah ferry crossings.