If you get a chance to visit Lahad Datu, Sabah, there is an observatory tower called Menara Kayangan located at 620 metres above sea level on Mount Silam, 10 km from the town.
Why is it called Tower of Heaven? Probably because of the picturesque bird’s eye view that you can see once you reach the top of the tower. From here, you can see Lahad Datu town and its surrounding mountainous forest, Darvel Bay and a few islands. If you are too lazy to climb the stairs to the top, you can enjoy the view from the scenery while sitting on the bench outside the tower. Since it is located on top of Mount Silam, the cool and fresh air would definitely tempt you to stay a bit longer to relish the beautiful scenery laid before your eyes.
While making your way to the top of the tower, you will see some posters and photograph of Mount Silam at the side of the stairs. You can take your sweet time climbing 8 floors of staircase to the top by reading information on Sabah and Mount Silam on the walls.
This tower is not the only attraction. You can also trek through the trails at Mount Silam. There are two trails, both have different difficulties. For Trail Kayangan, it is more steep and narrow but takes only about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Another trail is Trail Kalung-Kalungan, which takes about 2 hours and 35 minutes to complete.
Another unique feature at Mount Silam is the Silam Crab. Some might wonder why crabs live in mountainous area and not in a body of water, but that is the special thing about this crab. Furthermore, this small, orange crab can only be found at Mount Silam.
While trekking, you might notice that the vegetation at Mount Silam is a bit different from your usual mountain. This is because the soil is rich in heavy metals such as magnesium, cobalt, chromium and others, but has low concentration of plant nutrients.
For those who are interested to stay at Mt. Silam, there is a hostel and a rest house that you can book through Sabah Forestry Department.
To get there, you can go by car. It is about 10km from Lahad Datu town, and the entrance is next to Lahad Datu-Tawau highway. Passing through the entrance, you will have to drive another 10 km to reach the tower. Along the way, you might be able to encounter macaques and orang utans.
Please note that there is no public transport to Tower of Heaven, though taxis are available. The entrance fee for Malaysian adult is RM5, while child is RM2 and for foreigners, adult is RM10 while child is RM5.