Last week we went to Semporna for another 1-day trip. Our main goal was to get to Bukit Tengkorak or Hood Hill that is quite popular as one of destinations worth visiting in Semporna, apart from island hopping activity. The hill (or in Malay, bukit) is located in Kampung Tampi-Tampi. It was officially opened for public in 2012.
Bukit Tengkorak is one of the largest pottery making sites in Southeast Asia during Neolithic period (about 3000 years ago, between 4340bc and 50bc). Apart from that, research also shows that people have been travelling between Borneo and New Britian in Melanesia (near Papua New Guinea), which was one of the longest trade routes (3,500KM) in the world during that period. info: MySabah
At first I thought it would take a long journey to get to the top. But it was not that tiring, although I was gasping at some points. We took it a steady way, and mostly just enjoying the view of Semporna while having a rest for a short minutes at the shelter.
The view was getting much more enjoyable as you went higher. I especially loved looking at the sea water where you can distinguished the depth just by looking at the different shades of the color. Semporna has a very amazing islands that scattered around it. The Tun Sakaran Marine Park is clearly visible from the hill and you can try to have a little game of guessing out each name of the island you see. At the shelter, there is a small information board that helps the visitors to figure out the exact names of the islands.
Once we arrived at the peak, we went on a little tour out from the boardwalk but there is nothing historic/archaeological that were put on display. Everything was kept and moved into the gallery that is provided at the foothill. Since this hill is open free for public, the security of the archaeological leftover needs to be protected and therefore the only thing that you can find at the peak is the uniqueness of the rocks that are scattered around the area. Bukit Tengkorak is actually part of the exposed rim of an ancient volcanic crater about 2KM in diameter. The rock formation at Bukit Tengkorak consists of volcanic brecca, mostly andesitic rocks, and it believed to be the remnants of past volcanic eruptions which occurred during the Pliocene Period (5.3 to 1.8 million years ago) (www.mysabah.com)
The best part of this journey was that we went to the path less taken. The surrounding of the hill was cleared off for the visitors to get a better view of the Semporna. There is a way that leads you to the end of area at the top, which you will have to walk without the help of the boardwalk where everything is surrounded with small trees. I am not sure what it’s called in English. Among all other visitors that came, we were the only that went to the end and rewarded with I think the most spectacular view of Semporna. It was probably the highlight of our trip that day.
We arrived at the foothill almost at noon that day and the sun was striking really hot. Thankfully they were selling drinks in front of the entrance leading to the gallery. After resting for awhile, we went to have a tour of the gallery. The gallery was full of information about the hill in overall, the archaeology that were found at the hill, displays of different kinds of rocks, the remains of potteries, an old wooden boat, and the remnants of wooden/log coffins that are similar to the ones in Agop Batu Tulug were also found around the hill in Semporna (not exactly found at Bukit Tengkorak but it was kept in that gallery for display purposes). Pictures of research that was done by archaeologists from the beginning until the end of the process were also displayed on the board. One thing that amazed me among all the displays was the amazingly beautiful and healthy teeth that were still attached to the skull, with few other bones that remained together. It was stated on the board that these people were practicing a healthy eating during that period. How amazing. The teeth were in absolute good condition. Acceptable though. they don’t have sugary processed foods at that time.
8. The toilet is no running water. Recommend not to use it,