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HOME > Places of Interest in Tawau District > Tawau Hills Park > The Hot Springs of Tawau Hills Park :


Tawau Hills Park's HOT  SPRINGS
The Hot Springs of Tawau Hills Park
Sulphurous Springs
(KOLAM AIR PANAS)
 

Spring #1
The waters of Spring #1 emerge from among boulders of a huge rock.
There are natural hot springs - Mother Nature's very own spa, where you can ease your tired muscles and weary bones while luxuriating in the therapeutic warmth of the 'geo-thermal' pool.

Recent years the temperature of the spring water goes down and hot springs is no longer hot anymore.
The hot springs of Tawau Hills Park are not in any way developed, but left purely in their pristine state. This is why it attract nature lovers.
 

Coming to this Sulpher Spring require hour of hiking. If you come at the dry season, this hot spring may looks like a dried up drain with pungent smell of rotten eggs
At 1.5Km of the trail, you will come to the junction of a hanging bridge over Tawau River at the right hand side. Cross this hanging bridge (Suspension bridge) and heading to the Sulpher Spring. But if you are going to the Gelas Water Fall, then do not cross the bridge, just ignore the bridge and continue walking at the West side of the river.



Suspension Bridge to Hot Spring


This suspension bridge at 1.5 KM, half way to Hot Spring. After this bridge the trail is hilly

 


 



After crossing this hanging bridge over the river, the trail became smaller and muddier. Signs became less from here onward. Slops is deeper and vegetation is thicker. This mean more leeches here during wet days.
There are a couple of trail direction signboards the park entrance but with no sufficient details. The photocopy maps given by the park office is not professionally prepared.


For example it happen again and again that hikers turning round and round the bushes looking for the onward track to the water fall. Not knowing that it is necessary to cross a shallow stream to the opposite side of the stream in order to continue to the water fall.
Then some hiker arrive at the junction of the suspension bridge and mistakenly cross the bridge without sign board telling them that this bridge is for going to Sulphur Spring not to Waterfall.


Though this Sulphurous springs is becoming popular destination for visitors after the new hanging bridge was completed in 2010, the water quality of the springs is detoraiting in temperature and in water flowing amount (this mean less and less spring water coming out now). What is happening in geography condition no one explain this yet.


The 3 KM jungle trail to the spring is flat for the first half and hilly for the second half. The hilly part is exciting challenging for most adults but can be risky for elderly and children especially rainy days. During wet seasons, the trail is slippery. Old people and children can slip and lost balance at the muddy slops. It could be a problem when a person fall and break a bone. Not only because the park has no emergency ambulance services, its also your mobile phone do not have signal in the jungle to make emergency call for outside help. So always go with a partner.


After an hour of walk when you smell sulpher odor like rotten eggs in the air you know you are approaching destination.
There are 11 springs along the same mountain stream area. The first sulphurous spring Spring #1 is the largest and the destination of visitors.
Sulphurous Spring#1 is a calm shallow pool beside a huge rock. The spring water is turquoise, with white sulphur substance deposited at the bottom. The water used to be warm said to be 25-30°C but recent years visitors to the spring are disappointed the Hot Spring is not hot any longer.


While sulphur spring in other countries are fully artificially developed and reconstruct into pools with concrete and bricks, the sulphur springs in Tawau are completely in its natural original landform condition. No artificially constructed concrete pools or whatsoever.
In it natural form. the spring pool may not be conveniently for visitors soak a bit inside with the bottom of the pool and stream a bit muddy with a layer of white deposit. However the water from the spring is very clean and clear but pungent smell of rotten eggs.


While it is nothing interesting to have a bath or dip your body into the hot spring, you can feel satisfy by just dipping the hands and legs even the water is only lukewarm. After all it such a long walk to arrive here.


Sulpheric spring water flows and meet with the mountain fresh water to form the main stream of Tawau River. And Tawau River is a main water source of drinking water of people of Tawau. If the Sulpheric amount is too high, will it threaten the health of the town people who drink the water every day?
Sulphur coated boulders and stones into white . Making the spring water stream a snow white stream. If you move up along the stream there are sight of few more smaller hot springs but not as impressive as Spring #1.


More about Spring #1
 


New life from half rotten trunk
New life from rotten trunk


The fallen tree near Hot Spring No: 1
The fallen tree near Hot Spring No: 1


Tawau Hills Park is a protected forest reserve. The above fallen tree is cause by natural.


The tropical rainforest is an immense ecosystem that is on a fast track to extinction. Once stretching across entire tropical land masses these primary forest ecosystem are now small patches of isolated forest left mostly on hills and mountain ranges. The primary rainforest ecosystem is all but extinct on the plains and less hilly land stretches.
 

A tree trunk that has been here for might be decades. It will remain here for might be another couple decades.
After 1 hour non stop trekking from the park head office, you will arrive at this tree on the left hand side of the jungle trail. When you see this tree, you know you are almost reaching the Hot Spring area. The Hot Spring is just another 200 meters to go. In front this tree trunk is a huge rock by the river side.


At this time you will notice strong hydrogen sulphide smell coming from the stream ahead of you. The sulphide smell comes from Spring No: 1.


Tawau Hills Park has some of the incredible trees that we have in this part of Malaysia. This tree trunk is artistic, as the new tree growing out of the old rotten trunk of the original tree. See how the roots wrapped around the trunk in curves, it is very graceful.
 


The boulders surrounding the springs are characteristically sulphur coated.

The boulders surrounding the springs are characteristically sulphur coated.
 


Troides Brookiana
Troides Brookiana
(Raja Brook’s Birdwing)


Rear species Raja Brook butterflies drinking by the river bank. Tawau Hills Park's invertebrates include this Rajah Brooke's Birdwing butterfly .

More about Fauna at Sulphurous Springs


Three fascinating features of Tawau Hills Park :
1) Sulphur Spring
2) Bukit Gelas Waterfall
3) 2nd Tallest tropical tree in the world



Sulphurous Springs

Eleven warm sulphurous springs (25-33.7oC) occur along the above 250 meters stretch of mountain stream.


Tawau Hills Park is a favorite picnic spot on weekends offering visitors the delights of nature -meandering streams, water falls, hot springs and jungle trails. Hostels are available at minimal charge. Visitors can also camp here.
 






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