Last Update on Monday, 06 August, 2018 11:17:27 PM


Bukit Gemok Recreational Forest Park


We rested at the canopy walk and enjoyed our little sandwiches we prepared earlier. What a great place to eat a sandwich hanging on a tall tree, overlooking part of Tawau town! Now, that’s what we called Brunch on The Tree!

Sharing all things wonderful.

Bukit Gemok Recreational Forest Park

Gemok Hill once had very rich wildlife. In the last century, the calls of gibbons were common, and so were sambar deer, elephants at the foothills and orangutans up on the trees. But, gradually gradually forest around the hill being cut down by greedy politiciants in the name of economic development. The hill today is surrounded by developed lands, these animals are not present in Gemok Hill any longer.

Town people can seen long-tail macaques, squirrels, short-tail macaques, wild boars and barking deer, although the numbers are quite low. There are more bird species, including a few species of hornbills, as they can fly from other nearby forests.

Bukit Gemok Recreational Forest Park

List of attraction around Tawau
Balung River
Bukit Gemok
Maliau Basin (Sabah's Lost World)
Shan-Shui Golf & Country Club
Tawau Tanjung Market
Teck Guan Cocoa Museum

Similar Destination Type around Sabah
Batu Tulug, Sandakan
Kawang Forest Centre, Kinarut / Papar
Kota Kinabalu Wetlands, Kota Kinabalu (Capital City)
Madai - Baturong Forest Reserve Nature Centre, Lahad Datu
Maga Waterfall of Long Pasia, Sipitang
Mesilau, Kundasang
Rafflesia Information Centre, Tambunan
Rumbia Information Centre, Kuala Penyu
Sabah Agriculture Park, Tenom
Sandakan Crocodile Farm, Sandakan
Sorinsim Waterfall, Kota Marudu

Bukit Gemok Recreational Forest Park
Hutan Rekreasi Bukit Gemok Tawau

Picking or destroying any fauna or flora is strictly forbidden.

Bukit Gemok Recreational Forest Park

Tawau District Forestry Office
Telephone: +6089-7618 333 / 761 835 / 761 863

BBQ Hiking Trials Administration Picnic Shelter Playground
Canopy Walk BBQ Hiking Trials Administration Picnic Shelter Playground




BBQ Hiking Trials Administration Picnic Shelter Playground
Canopy Walk BBQ Hiking Trials Administration Picnic Shelter Playground

Bukit Gemok Recreational Forest Park



Photo Gallery

George Mais Trail
Canopy walk in Bukit Gemok Park : Titian Silara, 231 meters long, 2nd longest in Sabah. It hangs from tree to tree on the top of Bukit Gemok providing visitors a good view of Tawau town.

Information Center

Natural Life around Bukit Gemok

The rare and threatened Chinese Egret has wintered recently near Bukit Gemok

Flora of Bukit Gemok Park
Protected natural forests of Bukit Gemok Hill
Insects in Bukit Gemok Park - A park where chances are you'll see more insects than you've ever seen in your life.

Wild Fruit in Bukit Gemok Wild Fruit in Bukit Gemok

Alsomitra macrocarpa
Photo above : This seed, commonly found in Bukit Gemok, has a clever structure to help glide through the air. This seed's wing span measured 5.5 inches. Alsomitra macrocarpa is the biggest winged seed.

Alsomitra macrocarpa

Wind Dispersal Of Seeds in Malaysia

The winged seed of the tropical Asian climbing gourd Alsomitra macrocarpa is remarkable. The entire seed has an average wingspan of 5 inches and is capable of gliding through the air of the rain forest in wide circles. This seed inspired the design of early aircraft and gliders.

The wings are very thin film with wrinkles help the seed pick up lift when flying at a low speed. The seed is located toward the front from the center, which makes a perfect centroid for gliding through the air.

The climbing gourd plant Alsomitra macrocarpa is native to the Sunda Islands of the Malay Archipelago, produces one of the largest winged seeds up to 5 inches wide inside a football size club-shaped gourd. The football-sized gourds hang from a vine high in the forest canopy, each gourd packed with hundreds of winged seeds.

There are few species of hornbills frequently fly from other nearby forests to rest in Bukit Gemok

History of Sabah Forest

Gemok Hill Forest Reserve was first gazetted in 1949 as a water catchments for the town of Tawau. It was regazetted as Class 1 Protection Forest Reserve m 14/3/1984. It is managed by the Tawau Forestry District Office which is under the Sabah Forestry Department.



Gemok Hill Is generally a very steep hill except for low-lying areas. The peak of Gemok Hill is 396 m above sea level.

The Semporna Peninsula has many extinct volcanoes!

. Almost all mountains and hills around Tawau are actually 'extinct' volcanoes!

They include:

. Mt Tiger,
. Mt. Bombalai
. Mt Andrassy
. Mt. Maria
. Mt Lucia
. Mt. Magdalena
. Quion Hill
. Mt. Wullersdorf
. Mt. Tagasan
. Mt. Glas
. Tengah Hill
. Kukusan Hill

. Extinct volcanoes near Semporna are Mt. Pock and Mt Conner.

. The islands of Boheydulong and Tetagan near Semporna are actually parts of the rim of an extinct volcanic crater. The original crater, at least 3 miles in diameter, was part of probably the largest volcano in the Semporna Peninsula.
. Mt Magdalena (4,200 ft) is the highest mountain in the peninsula.

Soil types

The types of soils in Bukit Gemok are classified as Tinagat. Apas and Brantian. Most of Gemok Hill is made up of the Tinagat type which are derived from basic and intermediate igneous rocks. These rocks originated from magma below the earth's crust which coded before pushing through the crust, forming a very steep hill. These rocks are suitable for building roads.

In the northeast and northwest, the Apas soil type is common and Is made up of volcanic lava and ash. Small areas in the southeast and southwest have the Brantian soil type where the whitish soil contains pebbles of various sizes.

The main vegetation of Gemok Hill is the mixed dipterocarp forest (MDF) and is largely intact, mainly because of the steepness of the hill. The most species of timber trees that you can find here is seraya batu kumus (Shorea laevis), a dipterocarp.

There are many species of selangan batu here such as:

. selangan batu (S. inappendiculata),
. sefangan batu assam (S. maxwelliana),
. selangan batu bersisik (S. foxworthyii) and
. selangan batu daun halus (Shorea superba).

Other large dipterocarps found here are:

. keruing daun besar (Dipterocarpus applanatus),
. keruing merkah (0. acutangulus),
. kerning daun tebal (D. pachyphylfus),
. kerning merah (D. vermcosus) and
. keruing kerukup (D. humeratus)

Gemok Forest Resort is situated 10 km from Tawau. This forest resort consists of a small hill named Gemok Hill. Sharing the boundary of this hill is a palm oil and cocoa plantation owned by a private company.

This forest resort was developed in the early 1990’s, basic facilities such as rest tents, wash rooms and trails have been installed. These facilities will be increased and maintained to cater for the needs of visitors. The trails cover the perimeter and peak of the hill. They also allow for activities like jogging and the appreciation of the resort’s natural beauty.

The natural forests in Gemok Hill are protected. Various commercial timbers can be found here. Wild plants such as the forest orchid can also be seen. On top of Gemok Hill, one can see the panoramic beauty of the city of Tawau. Besides offering Gemok Hill climbing as one of many sports activities, the breeze and the sacredness of this forest resort can sooth the mind of any visitor.

External Links :

Sabah Government Classification on Gemok Hill :
Some nature collection from Bukit Gemok by school children :

Wildlife Research in Sabah : Many research on wildlife resources has taken place in Sabah. Both local and international researchers cooperate with Sabah Wildlife Department which is responsible for guiding wildlife research and issuing research permits.

Sabah Wildlife Department has close cooperation with many different stakeholders in research. One of the most important partners is University of Malaysia Sabah (UMS), with which the department has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding on wildlife research.

Some of the wildlife research issues which the Sabah Wildlife Department gives high priority are:

  • Resource inventories and monitoring, which include research on distribution and population dynamics of plants, and animals.  Some of the animal species given priority are species such as Asian Two Horned Rhino, Asian Elephant, Tembadau, Orang-utan, Proboscis Monkey, Eustarine Crocodile, False-Gharial, Clouded Leopard, Sun Bear, all sea turtles and Dugongs.
  • Functional aspects, which include research on ecosystem dynamics and relationships, e.g. impact on wildlife of landscape fragmentation, ecological carrying capacity of tourists in protected areas, ecological corridors.
  • Management oriented research, which include research and development of standards, techniques and technologies that will improve planning and management of natural resources by the department, e.g. buffer zones, participatory management, ecological impact assessment.

There is still plenty to discover and investigate in Malaysian forests,

Forest Reserve : Bukit Gemok is about 428 meters from sea level and is part of the Bukit Gemok Forest Reserve covering 4.45 square km. It was declared a forest reserve in 1984.

Canopy Walk : What makes Bukit Gemok interesting is the challenging track to the top of the hill where there is a canopy walkway, Titian Silara, which is 231 meter long. It hangs from a few trees on the top of Bukit Gemok and provides visitors a good view of Tawau town.

Adjacent Land : Its surrounding land is planted mainly mainly oil palm.There are also rubber trees, cocoa and small fruit orchards. The dumping ground for the Tawau  in located in Mile 9, Jalan Merotai  just besite the foot hille of Bukit Gemok. (Maintenance of this dumping ground is under a Pemborong Jaya Baru Company)

Bukit Gemok haze

Forest Research Centre Forest Research Centre

Some of the Sabah Forestry Department Research Programs & Projects :

1. Natural Forest Management
2. Plantation Silviculture
3. Utilization of Forest Products
4. Tree Breeding & Seed Source Establishment
5. Soil & Watershed
6. Pests & Diseases
7. Plant Diversity
8. Insect Diversity
9. Tourism
10. Biotechnology
11. Photochemistry

1. Natural Forest Management

Tree ‘phenology’
Silviculture of logged-over forests, mangrove
Trial of selected indigenous species
Vegetation map of Sabah - Differentiation of mixed dipterocarp forest on different soil types
Monitoring forest dynamics
Assessment of conservation areas
Limestone flora

2. Plantation Silviculture
Assessment of trials of timber species, bamboos
Interplanting of oil palm with high value timber species
Trials of Tongkat Ali

3. Utilization Of Forest Products
Wood quality
Properties of lesser used and plantation timber species
Utilization - small logs, mangrove wood
Study on utilization - logging residues in Deramakot Forest
Native medicinal plants

4. Tree breeding & seed source establishment
Provenance trial - Laran, Acacia species
Provenance cum progeny trial of Sentang & Batai
Vegetative propagation - indigenous / exotic species
Breeding of teak
Phenology - lowland dipterocarp tree species


5. Soil & Watershed
Composting trial of organic wastes
Nutritional requirement of plantation tree species
Soil changes under forest plantations
Effect of forest harvesting on soil erosion in different slope and diameter cutting limit
Effect of logging activities on stream water quality in Deramakot Forest Reserve Nutrient loss under reduced impact logging

6. Pests & Diseases
Survey of insect pests in forest plantations
Defense compounds in dipterocarp seedlings against insect pests
Influence of environmental factors on damage to dipterocarp seedlings by insects
Alternatives to boron in preservation of light-colored wood ( e.g. Laran)
Wood decaying process

7. Plant Diversity
A survey of limestone flora of Sabah
Flora of ultra basic soil - Ulu Tungud
A guide to tree identification
Tree flora of Sabah and Sarawak

8. Insect Diversity
As indicators Comparison of biodiversity - habitat
Comparison of moth fauna - Sabah mainland and islands
Edible and medicinal insects in Sabah
Rapid biodiversity assessment of soil invertebrates in Sabah

9. Tourism
Determination of visitor profiles to forest-based destinations in Sabah
Economic impact of tourism in Sabah Assessment of tourism or ecotourism potential in Sabah Forest Reserves

10. Biotechnology
Development of a protocol for tissue culture of Khaya senegalensis
Clonal trial of elite strains of Acacia auriculiformis x
Acacia mangium hybrid and Tectona grandis
Assessment and optimization of micro propagation protocol for Acacia auriculiformis x
Acacia mangium hybrid and Tectona
Development of DNA laboratory

11. Photochemistry
Screening for bioactive phytochemicals (pharmaceuticals)
Development of phytochemistry laboratory
Development of phytochemical extract library




FRC Reference Collections FRC Reference Collections

Sepilok Arboretum
To maintain & upgrade the arboretum as an ex situ conservation site
SAN Herbarium
To maintain, enlarge and provide services on herbarium reference
Insect collection
To maintain & upgrade the reference collection of forest insect pests in Sabah
To develop & upgrade the reference collection of samples of Sabah timbers
To maintain & upgrade the periodicals & books coll. for literature review
Ethnobotanical garden


To demonstrate cultivation of useful (especially medicinal) plants