Weekend Gateway #2: Agop Batu Tulug (Kinabatangan)

Hello. I have basically done making videos for all of the places we have visited during the short weekend trip to Sandakan. I love making videos especially to the things I loved doing most. I have posted 3 different parts of this trip in this blog. Check them out if you are interested to know more.
Day 3: AGOP BATU TULUG (Batu Tulug Cave)

The view from the top of the limestone cliff.
This is our last destination that we have managed to squeeze in our schedule on our way back to Tawau. On that day we have also visited Puu Jih Shih Temple (in Sandakan) and Gomantong Cave (in Sukau). It was already around 3-4pm that my friend (who was in Car 1) called us to stop by this cave which is just located next to the main road (KK-Tawau). Once we arrived, I was in a complete blank about the place. Honestly, this cave was very unfamiliar and I have never heard of it ever in my entire life (did I skip learning about this place in secondary school?). But I was sort of excited to know more about it now that I didn’t have an idea whatsoever until I read the information board placed at the front.
“…ah, this cave has ancestral wooden coffins..”

that was the first thing I have learned about the cave.

We bought our ticket for RM2 per person. Others would cost RM15 per person. There was a counter that provide visitors a log book to write down their names and as I waited for my turn, I skimmed through the pages and saw quite a number of names written down. So I thought, this place must have at least been known to some tourists.

The were three different caves in the hill namely Agop Siriba (lower cave), Agop Lintanga (middle cave) and Agop Sawat (upper cave). However, we only managed to go to the middle and upper cave, where we had to climb using the wooden stairs, the only way that was provided to reach the top. This is the cave where it allows only one person to enter at each time, because of its small and hollow entrance. The condition of the inside was quite scary for me personally because we came late in the afternoon and the surrounding was quite dark. We have seen the wooden coffins being put up at the corners of the cave and they have different kind of sizes, depending on the size of the dead one.

We later climbed up a little more to the top until we reach the Agop Sawat and this is where we have found coffins that are bigger and more exclusive. Inside of the Agop Sawat, we have seen a several number of wooden coffins that were uniquely carved, such as the head of the buffalo and snakes. While the coffins that we have seen in the middle cave were quite standard (not being carved) but both caves have been keeping coffins that aged 700-900 years ago (according to the information board). The coffins were believed to be associated to the belief of the Orang Sungai but has also been said that they are the coffins of the Chinese who once settled in the area as Chinese artifacts were found among the remains (http://www.sabahtourism.com/destination/batu-tulug).

the only way up and the only way down.

It was a new knowledge learned that day. Not only it offers quite a challenge to climb up the stairs but it also helps to educate both locals and the visitors about the history of the past and the amazing remains that are still existed up to this day. Personally I was wondering in awe that these people of the past were able to do these amazing pieces of work and their dedication to provide such a unique way of respecting the dead person. It would have been an interesting research to find out the reason why these tribe/clan chooses to place these coffins inside the caves of the 39 meters limestone cliff. Probably in keeping the coffins safe from animals but who knows the right answer right?

some of the remains kept inside the cave.


My tips for visiting this place:
1. If your trip starts from KK then you would have around 5-6 hours to reach this place, so make sure to plan a perfect schedule. It opens from 9-5pm everyday.
2. If your trip starts from Sandakan or Tawau, then you would have a minimum of 2 hours to get here, plan a good schedule for your trip.
3. You can arrange a tour to this cave with the hotel that you stayed in. (We didn’t because we are studying in Tawau and we used cars for this trip)
4. Be careful with your steps on the wooden stairs. It might be strong but it’s been there for years and the cliff is very steep.
5. Bring at least a friend. The surrounding could be quite gloomy.
6. Enjoy the view from the little hut at the very top. You can definitely feel relaxed looking at the Kinabatangan area, and of course the river as well.
6. Be as light as you can. Don’t bring too much stuff with you.
7. I strongly encourage you to use proper shoes.
I think that is all for this trip. I hope you enjoyed reading as much as I have enjoyed the trip and writing it down here. 
Stay alert because I am writing up my Weekend Gateway #3!
Read my other parts of the Weekend Gateway #2 in our short trip to Sandakan:
            and Tea House 

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