SANDAKAN, The Nature City of Malaysia: Land of Diversity and Conservation Part IV

Sandakan Orchid House

After long walks at the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary at Mile 19; and Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Borneon Sun Bear Conservation Centre and Rainforest Discovery Centre at Sepilok, Sandakan, why not take a breather and visit Sandakan Orchid House, the Crocodile Farm and Agop Batu Tulug Museum?

Sandakan Orchid House

Sandakan Orchid House has a collection of rare orchids and is a must-see for green-fingered enthusiasts.  You could even buy yourself some orchid species to take home.  And if you want to see reptiles, along the Labuk Road from Sandakan is a crocodile farm, which is home to about 1,000 crocodiles of various sizes.

Agop Batu Tulug Museum

Agop Batu Tulug Museum

Next, drop by Agop Batu Tulug Museum.  Even with its eerie atmosphere, it could be a good place to test your stamina, leg muscle-strength and whether you have a fear of heights, dark caves and coffins.  😀  If I were living in Sandakan and planning to conquer Mount Kinabalu, I would start my training on the steps adorning Agop Batu Tulug caves.

Agop Batu Tulug Museum is situated in Batu Puteh Village, about 80km from Sandakan town and 41km from Kota Kinabatangan town ship.  It stands on an isolated steep limestone cliff that reaches about 40 metres in height, part of the Labang limestone which was formed about 20-25 million years ago.  About 500 to 900 years ago, it was used as an ancient log coffin burial site.

Agop’ means ‘cave’ in the Orang Sungai language.

The drive to Batu Tulug Museum takes about one and a half hours from Sandakan or 45 minutes from Lahad Datu.

You may drive there yourself or go through a tour operator.

Agop Lintanga

Although there are 3 main caves in Agop Batu Tulug, the coffins are mainly found in 2 caves : the one below (Agop Lintanga or the middle cave) and the one high above (Agop Sawat or the upper cave).  The latter involves climbing steep and quite damp staircases – the hardest part being the going down.

So, if you’re planning to be a dare-devil, make sure your sandals or shoes are equipped for the task….. and your leg muscles are strong enough to carry you up and down the steep stairs.  Once you’ve almost reached the opening to the upper cave, don’t forget to look down – the view is breathtaking, literally! 😀

Agop Batu Tulug cave

inside cave

agop cave

Agop Sawat and Agop Lintanga

There are more than 125 ancient log coffins in Agop Sawat and Agop Lintanga aged up to 250 years old.  These Belian hardwood coffins are decorated with carvings that symbolize different myths and legends of the Kinabatangan people.

They were discovered with remnants such as human bones, gongs blowpipes and Chinese ceramics.

According to folklore, the discovery of Agop Batu Tulug was made by a wandering hero named Raja Tua Baturong.

The caves which served as a burial site were also used by the locals to practice asceticism. Although the coffins are said to belong to the Orang Sungai community, some believe that the caskets contain the remains of Chinese traders who once settled in the area as Chinese artifacts were found among the remains.

Agop Sawat and Agop Lintanga

Luckily, there is an information centre on the way up with washroom and also resting huts – very necessary for those who need to take a rest after climbing down the steep staircases.

Admission Fee:

MyKad holders : RM 2.00 (Adults)
Others : RM15.00
(Students in uniform, children below 12 years, disabled persons and senior citizens enter for free)
Visiting hours : 9am – 5pm

– SANDAKAN, The Nature City of Malaysia: Land of Diversity and Conservation Part IV

14 thoughts on “SANDAKAN, The Nature City of Malaysia: Land of Diversity and Conservation Part IV

  1. Very interesting indeed. I have been to KK once in 2009 or 2010. Visited kaki gunung Kinabalu, but not to the top. I am with my family, so tak dapek lah naik gunung…hehe…anyway, to Sandakan not yet. InsyaAllah if God will, maybe we’ll go there. But priority will be on visiting the pantai…then nature…but the cave seems interesting…hmmm tengok lah dulu…huhu

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