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 Leisure

Intriguing resting place

30th September, 2016

Story by ROZELLA MAHJHRIN Photos by MySabah.com

Agop Batu Tulug is a steep limestone cliff that is part of the 25 million years old limestone formation called Lambang. In the Orang Sungai language, the word ‘agop’ means cave.

Standing at 39m-high, Agop Batu Tulung consists of three main caves: Agop Suriba (lower cave on the forest floor), Lintaga (middle) and Sawat (upper cave betweeen 12 to 15 meters high).

A unique feature about this cave that makes it a popular destination is the contents of the middle and upper caves. Because the Kinabatangan River triggers floods during the rainy season, the final resting place of the dead has traditionally been located in higher grounds and cave complexes.

Inside Agop Batu Tulung, visitors can find more than a hundred carved wooden coffins that date back to 200 to 250 years. Bats and swallows watch over these caves like guardians.

These coffins resemble different animals associated to the beliefs of the Orang Sungai.

You can also see designs such as spears, knives, gongs and bells engraved into the wooden logs. It has also been said that these coffins contain the remains of the Chinese people who once settled in the area. Chinese artifacts were found in the cave.

Agop Batu Tulug is one of the most important archaeological sites in Sabah. In 1996, it officially became a museum site. The area has facilities such as an information centre, toilets and resting huts.

Visitors have to be fairly fit, as the stairs leading up the caves can be rather steep at certain areas. It is best to wear correct footwear and lightweight clothing to absorb the heat.

There is a small amount of entrance fee that is charged, but students, senior citizens and disabled guests can enter for free.

The best way to visit this destination is to self-drive to the museum.

It takes about one and a half hours from Sandakan or 45 minutes from Lahad Datu. Alternatively, you can also sign up with a tour operator that provides this destination as a pit stop in their packages.

Museum Agop Batu Tulung is located at Kampung Batu Putih, Kota Kinabatangan, Sandakan. Opening hours are from 9:00am to 5:00pm daily. For more information, call +60 89 565 145 / +60 89 551 062 or email muzium.sabah@sabah.gov.my.

   
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