Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Kunak's Salt Water Hot Spring Draw Tourists

KUNAK (Sabah) -- If there is any mention regarding a hot spring, then one may think it is something common as there are many such locations spread over the country.

Among the hot spring areas in Sabah is the spot in Ranau that has been drawing thousands of visitors monthly.

But have you ever heard of a hot spring that contains salt water? It sounds a bit 'weird' but such a salt water hot spring does exist in Kunak.

The salt water hot spring is located on the high ground at the Sime Darby plantation in Tingkayu at some 650 feet (around 216 metres) from sea level and 60 km from Kunak town.


Even though the hot spring at Tingkayu is yet to be developed into a tourism spot, the estate owner has 'excavated' two ponds that each measures 2.0 to 3-0 metres in diameter to pool the hot water that flows out from the earth's bowels.

A unique feature is that water in one of these salty hot springs is clear while the water in the other pond is cloudy.

The flow of hot water into the clear pond is rather 'sluggish' as compared to the gush and bubbly hot water that poured out from the earth's depths in the other pond.

Apart from these two ponds, there are other 'untouched' hot springs spread over the high ground plateau within that area making the location to be rather damp particularly along the route up to the salt water hot spring.

According to the local residents, the type of vegetation that grows near the salt water hot spring is also similar to that which can be found near the coastal line.


A local resident Abdul Kusin Husin, 39, said his uncle, Saraii Panglima Ombit, who was a hunter and lumberjack discovered the area in the 1970s.

Abdul Kusin said apart from the hill with the hot spring, there is another high ground that is yet to be 'touched'.

A villager from Kampung Langas, Endem Suliman, 81, attributed the existence of the salt water hot spring and seaside vegetation to two giants that exchanged attacks with missiles.

According to the legend, Endem said a giant on top of the hill nurled bamboo trees (or tamiang in the local dialect) at anoter giant on Pulau Timbun Mata who replied by hurling mangrove trees (or tangar).

That is why the hot spring has salt water and the surrounding is abundant with seaside vegetation while Pulau Timbun Mata has many bamboo trees.

Continue reading at: Kunak's Salt Water Hot Spring Draw Tourists

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