Monday, January 10, 2011

Places of Interest in Sabah: Tawau Hills Park

With its sprawling grounds, lush green foliage and sparkling river, Tawau Hills Park is the ideal place to get in touch with nature. Located some 24 km from Tawau town, the park is a popular spot for families and friends to enjoy a picnic or, for the more adventurous, spend a night camping under a blanket of stars.

The park serves as a vital water catchment area for the major rivers in this part of Sabah, the Tawau , Merotai, Kinabatangan, Mantri and Balung rivers. Covering an area of 27,972 hectares, the Tawau Hills Park was gazetted in 1979. It is home to numerous plant and animal species. Walking down any of the many paths, visitors will notice that a wooden label identifies almost every plant. The dominant vegetation is lowland dipterocarp forest. With increasing altitude (above 1,000 m), a thick damp mossy forest takes over. Lowland orchids are also abundant; the most spectacular is the Elephant's Ear Orchid. Be sure to check out the 2-hectare Lowland Gardens, home to an astounding selection of flora.

If you are fortunate, you might even catch a glimpse of the wildlife here. The wildlife are generally elusive but sightings of long-tailed macaques, giant tree squirrels, civets, red-leaf monkeys and even a troop of white monkeys have been reported.

Visitors can opt to stay at the chalets or lodges, most of which have basic amenities such as common bathrooms and kitchens. Feeling adventurous? A camping ground is also available not too far from the river. The rivers are clean and ideal for swimming (some parts are quite deep, so weak swimmers should be cautious). There are also plenty of hiking trails, some of which lead to a hot spring area and waterfalls. Be sure to follow the signs!

Many people visit Tawau Hills Park during the school holidays or at weekends. To avoid crowds, weekdays are the best time to explore the park.

Air Terjun, Gudang 4, Bal Estate, Tawau

Getting There
A taxi ride from Tawau town will cost around RM30.00 (one way). It is recommended that you make returns arrangement with your taxi driver. Public transport is not readily available in this area but you can book your return transportation from the Sabah Parks counter. A car from Koperasi KOKTAS Sabah Berhad will send you back to Tawau town for an approximate fee of RM30-RM45.

Opening hours
Daily 7:00am - 6:00pm

Admission fee
MyKad holders (18 years and above): RM3.00
MyKad (below 18 years): RM1.00
Others (18 years and above): RM10.00
Others (below 18 years): RM6.00

Tawau Hills Resort: +6089 768719
Tawau Hills Park: +6089 925719 or fax +6089 753564
Sabah Parks +6088 211 881

Postal address
P.O Box 62103, 91031, Tawau

Source: Sabah Tourism

NOTE: Photos Copyright to Sabah Tourism

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