Baturong Cave and Tingkayu Lake, Kunak, Sabah

Sabah Vacation Guide

Caving, Spelunking or potholing in Sabah's Caves


Baturong cave is a group of limestone hills about 820 feet (250 meters) high located in the middle of the Tingkayu Lake which have dried up some 12,000 years ago. These caves and the surrounding Tingkayu Lake is one of the most important archaeological sites in Sabah as it is the place where early humans have come to settle some 20,000 - 25,000 years. These early humans lived in the shores of Tingkayu Lake before spreading out to the surrounding caves in the east coast of Sabah to the Baturong Cave, the Madai Cave and Tapadong cave after the lake dried up.

One of the interesting facts that caving or spelunking enthusiast will notice about the Baturong cave is the stalactites and stalagmites shapes inside the cave which have a blunt or rounded tips instead of the normal sharp tip. This is due to the fact that these caves were once submerged by Tingkayu Lake after the eruptions of the now extinct Mostyn Volcano. These caves are also home to bats and swiftlets and as such has becomes a source for bird's nest with many individual harvester coming here.

Baturong Cave and its blunt tips stalactites and stalagmites
Baturong Cave entrance (insert: blunt tips stalactites and stalagmites in the cave)

Getting There: These caves are located on the east side of the road linking Lahad Datu with Semporna and Tawau. From Kota Kinabalu, first you need to take a one hour flight to Lahad Datu. The Baturong cave and Tingkayu Lake are located inside the Mostyn Oil Palm Plantation and can be reached by about half an hour walk through the plantation. If you are interested in caving or spelunking, please get the service of a local guide or tour agent when visiting for this place during your Sabah vacation as this is an isolated area.

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