Balung River Eco Resort and Columnar Basalt of Giram Nek Legek
I have always loved Sabah and it’s natural beauty. It is a state that I never minded coming back to again and again. The last time my friends and I was in Tawau, Sabah, we took some time to visit Balung River Eco Resort and the columnar basalt located at Giram Nek Legek, Kampung Balung Cocos.
Did you know there are columnar basalt in Malaysia’s own Sabah?
The second we stepped on Balung River Eco Resort’s ground, the attractive scenery, trees and various type of flowers captivated most of us. Not more than 5 minutes arriving at this place and already we felt relaxed and at ease. We even tried some of the local delicacies for lunch – fried baiduri vegetables and peach palm.
Nearby the restaurant was a plateau where we can sit around (there are garden chairs available) and hang out after food. In the distance are lush green rainforest and near the bottom of the lookout point is a river that is connected to the Balung River.
If you are planning for a peaceful getaway, a night at the resort would be a very pleasant stay.
Many Malaysians (including myself!) didn’t know that Malaysia has her own columnar basalt and it is located in Sabah’s own Tawau! Do you know what columnar basalt is?
Basalt is a fine-grained ingenious volcanic rock which is very common in many mid-oceanic islands such as Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Réunion and islands of Hawaii. If you’ve been to or seen photos of the popular Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland or at Yellowstone National Park in USA, you would be able to picture the form of the basalt.
So, when my friends and I was at Tawau and we were informed of columnar basalt located on a private property, we decided to visit it. Located at Giram Nek Legek in Kampung Balung Cocos, it is about 25 minutes drive (about 18.5km) from Balung River Eco Resort and 16 minutes drive (13.8km) drive from Tawau Airport.
Getting to Giram Nek Legek is slightly challenging – going through palm oil plantation and villages. After arriving at the private property, you would have to get on foot to the columnar basalt, which would take about 10 minutes walk. Sometimes locals would come here to fish or to swim. If you happen to visit this place, a dip in the water to cool yourself from the sweltering heat would not seem like a very bad idea.
This place is now open to public, provided you get permission to enter from the property owner.
If you noticed the name “Cocos” and if you are familiar with the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in Australia, it is not a coincidence. The forefathers of the Cocos Malays were brought to the island from the Malay Archipelago in the 19th century as slaves. When Clunies-Ross family who employed them to assist the harvesting of coconuts for copra eventually sold the Cocos Islands to Australia, the Cocos Malays are now represented by the current Governor General and the Chief of State is Queen Elizabeth II.
In Malaysia, Cocos Malays can be found in Lahad Datu and Tawau, Sabah. They settled in the area around 1950’s and currently there are more than 4,000 Cocos Malays in Sabah – which is eight times more than the remaining population of Cocos Malays in Cocos Islands, Australia.