Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Tawau Treasures

Take a trip to Tawau, Sabah’s third-largest town after Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan, to encounter more of Sabah’s amazing possessions there.

Bukit Gemok

Bukit Gemok literally translates into “Fat Hill”. Make what you may out of its catchy name but this hill is a popular destination for hiking and mountain climbing. Situated just 11 kilometres from Tawau, it towers about 428 metres above sea level and is part of Tawau’s Gemok Forest Reserve. Besides a stimulating trek, there is also a picturesque canopy walkway called Titian Silara that is suspended by a few trees and runs for 231 metres long. Go ahead and make that endeavour to walk that passage above the ground and have the benefit of a spectacular view of Tawau from there. Call the Tawau District Forestry Office for more information at 089 7618333 / 761835 / 761863.

Maliau Basin - Sabah’s Lost World

Make like Indiana Jones and venture into Sabah’s Lost World! There won’t be any treasure-hungry villains there but the Maliau Basin hold treasures of the natural kind - 12 forest types have been identified here, making it a habitat for an almost endless list of Borneo wildlife including the Borneo Pygmy Elephant, the Sumatran Rhinoceros and a host of rare birds. One of its most famous wondrous appeals is the seven-tiered waterfall called the Maliau Falls. Real adventurers will find it worth the time and effort to make necessary arrangements to enter the conservation area (permission is needed in advance from the Yayasan Sabah) and to explore the remote reserve. It is truly an expedition for the hardy - the Maliau Basin is a remote and isolated area with limited access to communication and safety facilities. Make plans for this adventure with a licensed tour operator with experience in the Maliau Basin.

Balung Eco Resort

Set within a tranquil location, this resort is a popular serene getaway. What makes this resort unique is that its 3500 acres is covered with 32 species of crops, many of them exotic local fruit like the dragon fruit, langsat and ciku, as well as economic crops such as cocoa, oil palm and coffee. With the help of a guide you can tour through most of the orchards and learn about the plants and perhaps sample a few of them. The resort is also complete with a gorgeous swimming pool, a fishing pond, jungle trekking tracks, camping grounds, picnic areas, badminton courts and a karaoke facility. Many rare and exotic birds flutter around here, so bird watchers take note! For more information contact the resort at 089 761339 or the head office at 089 261669 / 251669. You can also email them at or visit their website at

Teck Guan Cocoa Museum

Brace yourselves chocolate lovers! Cocoa is one of Tawau’s main produce and the Teck Guan Cocoa Museum is a worthy tribute to that. Drive through their gates with your windows down and you will be met with the sinfully delicious scent of cocoa. The museum opened in 2002 and has been delighting chocolate lovers with all things cocoa ever since. The tour is entirely tantalising: it begins with a short video presentation of the processing and production of cocoa, then a guided tour round the factory, followed by a demonstration of the various ways you can use cocoa in your cooking. You can also purchase a range of cocoa products, including shower cream! Located at Mile 2 at Tanjung Batu Laut, you can get there by taxi or drive there yourselves. The factory is open Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 5.00pm, Saturdays from 8.00am to 1.00pm and is closed n Sundays and public holidays. For enquiries, call them at 089 775566, ext 2601 or email

Tawau Hills National Park

Pack a picnic and head over to the Tawau Hills National Park, a rugged landscape formed by volcanic remains. Located 24 kilometres from Tawau town, the Park presents nature lovers with picnic areas, camping grounds and chalets in the midst of a lush rainforest. With more than a few trekking trails, the Park is a great place for treks through the beautiful dipterocarp forest, and you may want to lace up those hiking boots for a hike up to its highest peak Mount Magdalena at 4300 feet. The Tawau River cuts through the park and creates several beautiful waterfalls, one of them the Table Waterfall which forms a little pool at the bottom, a perfect place for a refreshing dip. Or perhaps take a short trek to the sulphuric hot springs for a therapeutic soak instead. You might sight the Red Leaf Monkeys and the Long-Tailed Macaques, but you may also spot the rarer Giant Tree Squirrels and Forest Tortoise. Within the Park is also the world’s tallest tropical tree, the shorea Faustian, standing at a magnificent 88.3 metres. Your visit to Tawau Hills Park will certainly be rewarded with these and a myriad of other wild wonders within its 280 square kilometres. As public transport is not readily available to this park located in the Bal Estate, take a taxi there. It is open daily from 7.00am to 6.00pm. For more information, contact the Tawau Hills Resort at 089 768719, Tawau Hills Park at 089 918827 or Sabah Parks at 088 211881

Shan Shui Golf and Country Club

Golfers will want to tee off at this award-winning golf course that has more than a few things to boast about. Shan Shui was designed by Nelson and Haworth, the world-renown golf course architects. Since its opening in 1997, the golf course was recognised for having the best par-5 in Asia and a Top 250 par-5. This golf course also has the unique wildlife factor - there is a resident crocodile at hole-3, hornbills and Brahman kites fly above and long-tailed macaques are known to swing in the nearby trees. Opt to stay for a night or two at the golf and country club - they have chalets, a restaurant and a swimming pool for all the comforts for a good golfing getaway. The Shan Shui Golf Club is located at Mile 9, Apas Road. For more information, contact them at 089 916888 or 089 916777.

Source: Sabah Tourism Newsletter

NOTE: All Photos Copyright to Sabah Tourism

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Borneo is fantastic and everyone should spend time on the Big Island. But if you're stuck in PM then check out Nature Escapes for more jungle action.