When school holiday approaches, parents would think hard where to bring their children for some quality family time. Guess what, there were two places that I really hated my parents sent me to when I was a kid. First is tuition class. What The Fish, the children are deprived of break time they desire. It’s a child abuse!
The second place is relative’s house. Usually it ends up like the adults mingling and having a great time among themselves, but leaving me bored to death (unless my favorite cousin is around).
Awesome parents will put some thoughts on making their children enjoy hanging out with them, which is important for bonding. Among some popular choices for family vacation are “Jalan-Jalan” (walk around) trip to Kundasang highland, islands off Kota Kinabalu City (KK) or staying in beach resort.
Tempurong Golden Beach Resort
There are a lot of options for a wonderful family trip in other locations. Just for sharing. If you want the trip packed with fun activities in nature, you may consider going south to Kuala Penyu.
Tempurong Golden Beach Resort is located at Tempurong Beach (or Pantai Tempurung) about 15 Kilometres away from Kuala Penyu town. It targets at family groups which want to unwind themselves with leisure stay and having some activities.
Besides accommodation, they offer outdoor activities package for family and company too.
Tempurung means Coconut Shell in Malay. About 200 years ago, the villagers found a coconut shell engraved with holy verses of the Al-Quran on the beach, so they renamed this village from Tanah Merah to Tempurung.
Just look at the photos of Tempurong Golden Beach Resort I post here and you shall get a good idea what you can do there.
The resort has 15 basic rooms with air-conditioning and attached bathroom cum toilet. Their highlight is the nature-based activities such as fishing and island survivor program.
A study conducted by two PhDs found that exposing children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to “green outdoor activities” reduces symptoms significantly.
The white sandy beach is just next to the resort. Tempurung Beach is not a touristy beach so it is not crowded, your family can have the whole beach most of the time.
The visitors can use the activity hall next to the beach for gathering and group activities.
Volley ball is one of the great past time activities.
Or you can choose to take a nap in hammock. The wind was quite strong at Tempurung Beach during my visit. I didn’t really feel warm.
Camp fire at the beach can bring back a lot of memories. This place is far away from city and free of pollution, so you can see starry sky at night. The resort can prepare BBQ or steamboat dinner for you upon request.
Your children will enjoy a stroll on the beach and run like wild horse. The resort can bring you out to the sea for snorkeling and fishing.
In the morning, you would find local fishermen catching fishes in the sea. They are very friendly and won’t mind you joining them or busybody with their caught.
Though Tempurung Beach is big, only a dozen houses are built along it. It’s a peaceful and underpopulated village.
We human are biological being, and our body system is linked to nature. Biophilia hypothesis says humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. That’s why we are always happy when we are in the wild.
However, nowadays kids are isolated from nature because both parents and teachers think outdoor is full of hostile things for kids, like UV, bacteria, bees… Many shcools have strict policy of not allowing students to get near the water in school trips.
Therefore, our society has cultivated “strawberry generations” which are overprotected and overly dependent on technology. If you put a kid in the wild, they won’t know how to get around and will cry for mommy very soon. It’s just not right if human is uncomfortable with nature.
The beautiful Batu Luang Beach is only 1 KM away from the resort. It has one of the best sunset view in Sabah.
There is a small river next to Tempurong Golden Beach Resort. It’s connected to the sea during high tide, and you can see lot of fishes.
The river is part of a mangrove teeming with fishes, shellfish and shrimps.
You can do fishing and rowing boat in this river. Kids love this because they never have a chance to do this in city. At first they would be a bit worry sitting in the wobbly boat, but soon they will enjoy the experience.
At night you can have a little adventure at the riverside to see what comes up in the dark. Have you ever seen a Mud Lobster before?
Don’t let your mom cook. The resort can prepare special meals such as traditional food and steamboat for your family.
I have tried some of their nice food during my stay, for example, tom yam steamboat, sago (Ambuyat), seafood buffet. They also have a small shop to sell cold soda drink and beer.
We are getting smarter living in city but become stupider in the wild. It’s highly probable that people can die of hunger in the wild, even if there are plenty of edible things around them. You can take part in Island Survivor program of the resort. An instructor will bring your family for a taste of adventure in a wood area near the resort.
Some of the skills taught in the survival program includes using knife, setting trap, making shelter and starting a fire.
The course caters to the comfort level of your family and company. It’s designed to be relaxing, so everyone from kid to adult will find it comfortable and enjoyable.
If you want it more stimulating or challenging, of course you can discuss with your instructor beforehand, to make the experience more thrilling. Company could organize team building and competition for their staffs too.
Some may think outdoor survival skill is unnecessary, until one day they find themselves a victim of earthquake and flood (touch wood!), and don’t know what to do. Like it or not, natural disaster does happen unexpectedly, so there is no harm to equip ourselves with some survival knowledge and that may save our lives one day.
During survival challenge, it’s the best time to observe the strength and personality of your mates. A big guy with six-pack abs in your office can turn into a wuss, and a clerk may show better leadership than her boss in pressing environment. For survival, mental strength is matter more than muscle.
The following is the contact of Tempurong Golden Beach Resort if you need more info:
Tel: +60 16-831 3163
GPS: 5.531031, 115.536236 (see Location Map or Street View)
Photos taken in Kuala Penyu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo
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I was astonished when a famous photographer from West Malaysia showed me some stunning photos of Batu Luang, a bell-shaped rock located in a beach of Kuala Penyu. Batu means “Rock” in Malay language, and Batu Luang means “Luang Rock” literally.
Batu Luang is surrounded by mossy green rocks, sea, pebbles, rusty-red rockface, and caves, when one or more of these being framed into a photo during orange-hued dusk, you will get one of the most amazing sunset shots of Sabah.
It is funny that it’s non-Sabahan who introduced Batu Luang to me. Anyway, I’m excited to check out Batu Luang near Tempurong Beach (or Pantai Tempurung). The rock is very accessible and near to the main road in Tempurung Village.
Batu Luang Beach
The view is better than what I saw in the photos online, which show only a small part of the beach. The beach and rockfaces are covered by pebbles in different size and shapes. There are 5 or 6 caves at the base of the hills there. The biggest cave can fit in 10 or more people, other caves are more like a hole.
Batu Luang may look small in photos. Actually it’s over 12 Meters high and the only big rock standing in the sea (as far as we can see).
Though Batu Luang is a new hot spot for local photographers, there is no hotel, restaurant, parking lots and toilet nearby. Occasionally you would see some local youngsters frolicking there in hot days, or a few photographers taking photos during dusk, Most of the time you would be the only one at the beach.
Therefore, Batu Luang Beach retains its beauty of untouched nature. It has some special geological features which are uncommon in Sabah. For example, the rustic-red color of the rockfaces are so magnificent when they are painted over by golden sun ray in late afternoon.
Legend of Batu Luang
The beautiful Batu Luang has a tragic story about a newly-wed couple. Many years ago in Kuala Penyu, after the wedding celebration at the bride’s home, the couple walked to the house of bridegroom with their families in a fine morning. When they were approaching Batu Luang, the sky turned dark, and they were hit by heavy rainstorm.
Therefore, they ran and took shelter in a cave at Batu Luang. When the storm was over, the group moved out from the cave. The couple was the last to exit. Suddenly, the cave collapsed and closed, the bride was the last person on the way out. The bridegroom grabbed her hands trying to pull her out. Unfortunately, her hands slipped and left the wedding ring in the hand of her husband. She was sealed in the cave forever.
The locals say sometimes they can hear woman crying inside the rock at night. So sad… On positive side, the bridegroom doesn’t need to buy a new wedding ring if he remarries.
According to a local blog by Muzaffar Libon Jueh, there is a part two for this story. The bride was trapped in the cave and alive. The villagers tried everything to open the cave but unsuccessful. Then a bird flied by and chirped, like saying, “Poke with a needle then it’ll open.” However, the people there just scoffed and ignored it. After 7 days of trying, the villagers gave up, so was the bride. She handed over the wedding ring to her husband through a small opening, asking him to forget her. She was then locked inside forever and marry to the guardian spirit of the cave, and became an angel named Kasum. If you bump into a pretty girl playing at Ara tree on top of the hill near Batu Luang, she could be Kasum.
However, this sounds like a “modern” legend because Sabah had no such thing as wedding ring a few hundred years ago. Very likely parents make up this story to scare children, so they won’t go playing around Batu Luang, which can be dangerous due to a few reasons. The water at Batu Luang Beach can be quite deep during high tide, and the current is strong.
Furthermore, they could be hit by falling rocks from the loose rockface above. Our people also believe exploring cave would disturb the “Bogeymen” dwells inside, hence the warning they would be eaten alive by cave and become the next Batu Luang.
A Beach that Rocks
Batu Luang is not the only interesting rock here. Just look around and you will be fascinated by variety of rocks at the shore.
Most of the rocks at Batu Luang Beach are cobble with round edges, after being moved and tumbled by sea waves over time.
The most intriguing rocks are those covered with green algae. These rocks are only present from January to June, the months when monsoon washes away the sand that buries them.
The conglomerate deposit on rockface and the beach is another highlight of Batu Luang Beach. Conglomerate is made up of rounded pebbles glued together, formed by the lithification of cobble-size rocks and gravel.
To me, the conglomerate cemented with round pebbles looks like dinosaur eggs fossils. This is the first time I see such rock formation in Sabah.
The conglomerate is really nice, like a piece of art, so I joked to my friends that I wanted to bring some home. The moment I finished talking, a few rocks fell right in front of me. We have to watch our mouth in the wild, because “something” might be listening. Ok then, I took nothing but photograph.
Tour around Batu Luang
Batu Luang is a public beach, so anyone can go there. It’s safe for children to explore around under the care of adults.
The only problem is the tiny blood-sucking sandfly. Its bite can stay itchy for days. Try to cover as much exposed skin as you can. There are not many sandfly anyway.
If weather permits, you can have wonderful picture and welfie moment during sunset.
Part of the beach is rocky, so you better wear shoes.
There are a few villagers living near to the beach. You might find them catching fishes in the morning.
At another side of Batu Luang is a vast area of sandy beach. The waves are quite strong, so don’t go too far away from shore.
The old folks say there was used to be a deep cave at Batu Luang in the past, which they believe hidden with a lot of treasures, but the cave has disappeared. You may try your luck there. Just watch out for falling rocks when you explore the caves.
How to get there
There is no public transport that reaches Batu Luang, so you have to get a taxi or drive on your own for 2 hours. If you depart from KK, you will reach a roundabout with turtle statues (about 10 Km before Kuala Penyu town). Turn left to the direction of Menumbuk.
After 1.5 Km, turn right to the junction with the signs (see photo above) that read “JLN Kasugira BT Luang” and “Selemat Datang ke Kg. Gorowot” (opposite to Rumbia Information Center).
Then follow the road sign to Tempurung Golden Beach Resort, and you will see Batu Luang at your left after 4 to 5 KM. The place is highly accessible by asphalt road in good condition. You can park your car at the roadside and walk 100 Meters to the beach.
Photos taken in Kuala Penyu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo
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