Tag Archives: tawau

USBA Jetty at Kampung Batu Payung

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Port for the anglers at Jetty USBA

I was looking for a good sunrise and sunset spot when I was in Tawau just recently.

My friend, Zell suggested that I should check out some beaches at Kampung Batu Payung for sunrise.  The village resides along the coastline of Jalan Tinagat road. The only place in Tawau that has sandy beaches. This place brings back sweet memories, when I was young my father used to bring me and my brothers here for our weekend gateway.

So, we went driving along the coastline when I spotted a jetty on one of the beaches. A burger stall sits strategically next to some well-decorated benches. I saw several hammocks tied to some trees around a shade. Seeing the burger stall, our children screamed that they are hungry (just after our ‘big’ lunch, 2 hours ago lol). We then decided to check out this place.

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Lovely couple Aisyah and Zell posing on one of the hammocks

Jeti USBA kampung Batu Payung, Tinagat, Tawau

USBA Jetty at Kampung Batu Payung is owned by a 71 years old man, Uncle Sabturani bin Angsa. USBA stands for Usaha Sabturani Bin Angsa. Usaha means effort, so USBA stands for the effort of Sabturani bin Angsa taken care of this place.

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No sunrise for me on that morning, the cloud was too thick

Uncle Sabturani came to greet us at the bench while I was busy with my cameras, attempting to capture the sunset. My children were dangerously goofing around in one of the hammocks and he was worried that the hammock might snatch and hurt them. Well, children usually would listen to a stranger than to their parents, right?

This is the only place along the Tinagat road that has an Instagram-worthy spot. Except for the warning sign “Tinggalkan tempat ini jika bukan suami isteri atau muhrim” which are written at every corner of this place, this place is soothing. The warning sign says, lovebirds or unmarried couples are not welcome here and please leave this place as soon as possible. So, if you are unmarried lovebirds, you are not welcome here. Please respect that.

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Cozy place for family hangout

This place is for family hangout and for anglers, oh yeah … and for a photographer like me, lol. He provides hammocks, small surau (prayer place), light for the night anglers. And, if you are hungry … just order your Ramlee burger from the nearby burger stall.

Since this place is a private place, I think it would be good if we can donate some tips for his effort in maintaining the area. The donation box is just next to the surau.

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Rumah Khazanah USBA

Rumah Khazanah USBA, Kampung Batu Payung

Across the road is Uncle Sabturani’s home where he converts it into a little cozy personal museum, displaying his collection of antiques. He called his little museum as Rumah Khazanah USBA. Old telephones, lights from the previous old lighthouse, his records collection and his well-maintained record player etc.

Ahh … he was a videographer for events and weddings during his younger life, so he showcases all his old video making equipment at one corner. And, he has a storytelling corner too where he displayed old pictures of places in Tawau. A passionate storyteller, it shows when he eagerly narrates the early story about Tawau and Sabah to our children.

“Melopong mulut” our children listening to his story.

My little daughter Arissa loves his museum so much. When I asked her why she likes this place? She said because she could touch and test the things there (direct interactive), most museums do not allow us to touch the items on display. And, the children are happy that they were allowed to leave their message on his logbook. Easy entertainment for the children.

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Donation box

There is a donation box located outside his museum, I strongly encourage visitors to drop some donations for him as a token of appreciation for his effort.

The beaches here need cleaning work

As I said earlier, the jetty has an Instagram-worthy view but the condition of the beach here is another story. We as Malaysians generally are still not doing much about our rubbish, particularly our plastic issues. The beaches along Tinagat road are filthy with all kinds of trashes. So, if you plan to walk along a clean romantic beach here you might as well forget about it.

Of all the things that being said, if you happened to pass by this area, I still think that the USBA jetty and Uncle Sabturani are worth a visit.

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Us with Uncle Sabturani bin Angsa

Time well spent here in Tawau. Sharing with you timelapse landscape videos of a few places that I went during my stay in Sabah. Stay curious and keep on exploring your surroundings.

Cheers

MM


Hiking Bukit Gelas Waterfall, Tawau

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The trails signboard at Taman Bukit Tawau

I just came back from a refreshing trip to Tawau, Sabah.

A 12 days school holiday trip with 2 of my kiddos, Azzim (16 yrs) and Arissa (10 yrs old). Instead of the usual eat and sleep trip, I plan to have an adventurous and eye-opening trip for my 2 champs. Keeping in mind that I need to be flexible with my plan as traveling with young teenagers is challenging. Their mood swings could definitely kill my mood to explore the place.

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Entrance sign of the waterfall

I always love a short walk or a short hike in the jungle and Tawau has a lot of short length hiking tracks. One of the mornings, we decided to go for a short hike to Bukit Gelas Waterfall, Tawau.

Bukit Gelas waterfall or Air Terjun Bukit Gelas

Located in Taman Bukit Tawau or Tawau Hills Park, approximately 30 minutes drive or 22 km away from the town. This place is properly maintained and enlisted as one of the Sabah Park (1979). The pristine clear water running through the river, the humid foresty tropical forest and the peaceful sound of the jungle are soothing for any nature lover soul. I always love the smell of the forest.

Azzim, Hafiz and Izan decided to hike with me while Arissa opted out.

The 3 young teenagers looked eager to explore the forest. We plan to trek to the nearby waterfall, the Bukit Gelas waterfall.  The kids were curious and as we stepped into the track, their eyes started to focus on the route and for the hungry leeches. It is interesting to watch their reactions throughout the trekking.

We are surrounded by greens and all sorts of nature sounds. Tall giant trees are randomly scattered along the trail, beautiful sight to look at.

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The track starts here

The track is well guided with visible road marks every 100 meters and the trail is relaxingly easy to follow. Suits for a family with young teenagers looking for relaxing light trekking. The route follows along the river and as you walk, the sound of running water accompanies your walk, very calming.

Strolling slowly along the track would take you 1 hour and 30 minutes to reach the Bukit Gelas waterfall. A few places along the trail are slippery and muddy, watch your steps.

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My hiking companion: Hafiz, Izan and Azzim

Checklist for hiking

This hike suits novice or anybody who needs a quick dose of nature. Nonetheless, you always need to be well prepared whenever you are in any jungle. It’s good to be well prepared than being sorry right? My usual checklist includes:

  • Good hiking shoes. No slipper or sandal, please.
  • Water bottle. Please bring your own water bottle and refills as you go. Empty mineral water goes back into your backpack. Don’t just dispose them along your trail. I have seen hundreds of empty bottles thrown along my trails in Bohey Dulang a few days ago. Please, please, please do your part to save our earth.
  • Well powered handphone.
  • Food. I always prepare energizing tidbits in my backpack in case I got hungry while trekking. Energy bars, apples, bread or a bar of chocolate, maybe?
  • A hat
  • A small towel
  • A small camera and a GoPro (optional)
  • A small tripod (optional)

The National Park front gate opens from 8 am to 4.30 pm. You might spent around 4 hours for a light track, so plan your journey accordingly.

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The map

Start early as morning hike is very therapeutic. If you are early, you could hike to 3 different trails here. I would suggest you start with Bukit Gelas Waterfall. Spend about 30 to 45 minutes for a quick dip then walk down the trail at km 1.5 and hike for another 1.7 km for the Sulfur Hot Springs (total distance 3.2 km from the base). And, on your way back to the base don’t forget to visit the world’s tallest tropical tree (88.32 m) and walla! you are done for the day.

Please be reminded that this place has hungry leeches, crawling quietly for food, lol. I am scared of leeches. Actually, I hate those sucking blood insects but I could not avoid their existence in our Malaysian rainforest. So, I put on extra effort to avoid them.  To minimize your encounter with leeches,  I would suggest that you choose your hiking time properly, those leeches are super active during the raining season.

Ahh … another thing.

Locals here thinks that this place is haunted. So, just be extra cautious about your actions and your surroundings while you are here. They said this place is ‘keras’. But I didn’t experience any weird incident during my visit there, alhamdullilah. Most jungles are naturally haunted, I think. After all we humans are not the only occupants on this earth.

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Bukit Gelas waterfall, Tawau

If you happened to visit Tawau, you might want to check out this place with your family. Taman Bukit Tawau is easily accessible and it is worth your time. For those who have been to this place, please share your experience here. Leave your note in the comment section below.

Have you been to Taman Bukit Tawau or Air Terjun Table? How was your experience there?

Share with me

Cheers

MM


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