Balung River Eco Resort and Columnar Basalt of Giram Nek Legek

I have always loved Sabah and it’s natural beauty. It is a state that I never minded coming back to again and again. The last time my friends and I was in Tawau, Sabah, we took some time to visit Balung River Eco Resort and the columnar basalt located at Giram Nek Legek, Kampung Balung Cocos.

Did you know there are columnar basalt in Malaysia’s own Sabah?

Our journey to Balung River Eco Resort

That morning, my friends and I began our journey from Tawau town of Sabah to Balung River Eco Resort which was about 45km. It took us about 50 minutes to arrive at Balung River Eco Resort via car.

Balung River Eco Resort


The second we stepped on Balung River Eco Resort’s ground, the attractive scenery, trees and various type of flowers captivated most of us. Not more than 5 minutes arriving at this place and already we felt relaxed and at ease. We even tried some of the local delicacies for lunch – fried baiduri vegetables and peach palm.

Nearby the restaurant was a plateau where we can sit around (there are garden chairs available) and hang out after food. In the distance are lush green rainforest and near the bottom of the lookout point is a river that is connected to the Balung River.

If you are planning for a peaceful getaway, a night at the resort would be a very pleasant stay.

Balung Eco Resort
No. 30, Jalan Dr Yamamoto, 91009 Tawau, Sabah.

Columnar Basalt at Giram Nek Legek, Kampung Balung Cocos

Many Malaysians (including myself!) didn’t know that Malaysia has her own columnar basalt and it is located in Sabah’s own Tawau! Do you know what columnar basalt is?

Basalt is a fine-grained ingenious volcanic rock which is very common in many mid-oceanic islands such as Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Réunion and islands of Hawaii. If you’ve been to or seen photos of the popular Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland or at Yellowstone National Park in USA, you would be able to picture the form of the basalt.

So, when my friends and I was at Tawau and we were informed of columnar basalt located on a private property, we decided to visit it. Located at Giram Nek Legek in Kampung Balung Cocos, it is about 25 minutes drive (about 18.5km) from Balung River Eco Resort and 16 minutes drive (13.8km) drive from Tawau Airport.

Getting to Giram Nek Legek is slightly challenging – going through palm oil plantation and villages. After arriving at the private property, you would have to get on foot to the columnar basalt, which would take about 10 minutes walk. Sometimes locals would come here to fish or to swim. If you happen to visit this place, a dip in the water to cool yourself from the sweltering heat would not seem like a very bad idea.


This place is now open to public, provided you get permission to enter from the property owner.

If you noticed the name “Cocos” and if you are familiar with the Cocos (Keeling) Islands in Australia, it is not a coincidence. The forefathers of the Cocos Malays were brought to the island from the Malay Archipelago in the 19th century as slaves. When Clunies-Ross family who employed them to assist the harvesting of coconuts for copra eventually sold the Cocos Islands to Australia, the Cocos Malays are now represented by the current Governor General and the Chief of State is Queen Elizabeth II.

In Malaysia, Cocos Malays can be found in Lahad Datu and Tawau, Sabah. They settled in the area around 1950’s and currently there are more than 4,000 Cocos Malays in Sabah – which is eight times more than the remaining population of Cocos Malays in Cocos Islands, Australia.

Giram Nek Legek
Kampung Balung Cocos, Tawau-Semporna Highway, Sabah

Written by 

LizzaBella is a part-time traveler, amateur photographer and videographer and writer. Connect with LizzaBella through her social medias today!

19 thoughts on “Balung River Eco Resort and Columnar Basalt of Giram Nek Legek

  1. Such a lovely resort.. so close and near to nature…. Great place to relax and unwind with greenery!

  2. First time dengar nama resort ni. Memang best bila tengok persekitaran dia. Klu ayu mmg akan bw anak ke tempat mcm ni biar dowang dekat sikit dengan kehidupan flora dan fauna

  3. interesting place to go, no idea this place til I see it here. Love the river pic of yours, long time no see you 😀

  4. Subhanallah cantiknya pemandangan..alam semulajadi dia..akak pi sabah pernah sampai KK je..tak pernah teroka lebih lagi…bila baca entry Bella ni terus rasa nak terjah Sabah plak tahun ni…mesti suasana sejuk aman damai je kat Balung River tu kan…

  5. Waduhhh cantik sungguhlah tempat ni. Sis pernah ke sabah tapi naik gunung kinabalu je..tak sempat meredah kawasan lain.
    Insaallah kalau ada peluang jejakkan kaki ke sana..bolehlah singgah kat sini pulak

  6. Resort yang mendamaikan. Seriously, nama sangat tak familiar tapi tak sangka permandangan kat malaysia ni cantik dan mendamaikan. Saya pernah ke Sarawak. Belum lagi ke Sabah.

  7. oh maiii rindunya tempat ni! serius rasa nak repeat lagi. ramai orang tak tau pasal tempat ni kan? dorang kena banyakkan lgi promo tempat ni rasanya

  8. Never know or heard about this place before. Normally when we talk about Sabah, people used to go to KK or Borneo. But this is such a beautiful place. So calm and relax. Love the scenery.

  9. We do not know about Balung River as it seems to Sabah hehehehe Look at the water of the river is beautiful to have a bath but it does not look like a bath ..

  10. Kita tak pernah jejak Sabah lagi. Selalu tengok kat sana banyak tempat menarik dengan pemandangan semulajadi. Balung River ni akan masukkan dalam wishlist.

  11. Cantiknya pemandangan dekat balung river eco resort tuh..mesti seronok dapat bercuti dekat situ kan. columnar basalt of giram nek legek pon nampak best!

  12. This is my first time ever hearing about this place. It looks very calm and peace. A very good place to release stress n forget about all problems. Yes, sabah is a state where i dont mind to visit over n over again.

  13. first time dengar nama balung river eco resort ni.. mungkin sebab jauh di Sabah sana, TB pun tak pernah sampai lagi ke sana.. tapi TB suka tengok pemandangan dan suasana di Sabah yang banyak di share oleh rakan-rakan yang pernah sampai ke Sabah.. jeles jugak TB dengar.. huhu.. bilalah turn TB pulak nak sampai sabah.. TB suka tengok air yang mengalir dalam gambar atas ni.. nampak fresh je.. huhu.. hope one day kalau pi sabah dapat la menginap di resort ni..

  14. Wow, this is my first time read about this place. So it is in Tawau. On next july, i have a trip to sabah with my friends. Maybe i can plan to visit this place as well. Looks beautiful.

  15. Wah cantik giler permandangan dia. Bagi yang sukakan perxutian nature memnag seauai sangat la ni. Tetiba rasa nak ke sana sekarang

  16. when i read this i keep thinking where is this place until i see Map is in Sabah.. am i right? this place indeed beautiful and i better plan to go there jalan jalan with my friends.

  17. Syioknya gi Tawau. So far,tak pernah lagi sampai Tawau. Boleh plan ni ke sana. Sabah banyak tak tempat best, tak habis lagi explore. Baru pergi Lahad Datu, KK dan Sandakan.

  18. Waa tak sangka kat malaysia pun ada basalt cenggini. Yela, Malaysia kan duk di luar lingkaran berapi, so Annur pun tak terfikir ianya boleh wujud kat negara kita

  19. Pernah gi Tawau tapi blm pernah ke Balung River Eco Resort. I really must go there one day.

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