10 Attractions & Things to Do in Tawau, Sabah

Embark on an unforgettable journey through Tawau, Sabah, with our comprehensive guide to the top attractions and activities. From exploring vibrant markets and tasting local delicacies to venturing into pristine nature reserves and embarking on thrilling adventures, there’s something for every traveler to enjoy in this charming Malaysian town.

The order/number on the list does not indicate rating or ranking; all are equivalently ranked as must-try activities in Tawau, Sabah.

1. Tawau Hill Park (Table Waterfall)

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Nestled amidst the verdant tropical rainforests of Sabah, Table Waterfall is a picturesque cascade known for its tranquil ambiance and natural beauty. Visitors can embark on a short hike through lush foliage to reach the waterfall, where they can enjoy the refreshing mist and serene surroundings. The area surrounding Table Waterfall offers ideal picnic spots, making it a perfect destination for nature lovers seeking a peaceful retreat in the heart of Sabah’s wilderness.

2. Inikea Forest

The Innoprise-Ikea (INIKEA) forest rehabilitation project is a joint initiative between the Sabah government’s Innoprise Corporation and IKEA Southeast Asia. Aiming to provide sustainable livelihoods for local communities, the restoration efforts include tree planting, habitat restoration, and biodiversity conservation. During the day, you will have the opportunity to participate in an afternoon nature walk and see Borneo’s magnificent wildlife in its natural habitat. Nature lovers and adventurers alike will relish this unique opportunity to explore Sabah’s remarkable flora and fauna.

3. Danum Valley Conservation Area

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Situated in the heart of Sabah’s lowland rainforest, the Danum Valley Conservation Area is a pristine wilderness renowned for its rich biodiversity and conservation efforts. Covering over 43,800 hectares, this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers visitors the opportunity to explore one of Borneo’s last remaining undisturbed rainforests. Guided tours and jungle treks provide insights into the area’s diverse flora and fauna, including rare species such as orangutans, pygmy elephants, and clouded leopards. With its breathtaking natural beauty and conservation significance, Danum Valley is a must-visit destination for eco-tourists and nature enthusiasts.

4. Tawau Tanjung Market

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Immerse yourself in the vibrant sights, sounds, and flavors of Sabah at the Tawau Tanjung Market. This bustling open-air market is a hub of activity where visitors can browse through stalls brimming with fresh produce, seafood, and local delicacies. From exotic fruits and spices to traditional snacks and handmade crafts, the market offers a sensory feast for visitors keen to experience the authentic flavors and cultural diversity of Sabah. Whether sampling street food or shopping for souvenirs, a visit to Tawau Tanjung Market promises an unforgettable cultural experience.

5. Crocker Range National Park

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Spanning over 1,399 square kilometers, Crocker Range National Park is a sprawling conservation area encompassing diverse ecosystems, including montane forests, pristine rivers, and scenic mountain landscapes. The park offers a range of outdoor activities for nature enthusiasts, including hiking, birdwatching, and exploring the park’s rich biodiversity. Visitors can embark on guided treks to discover hidden waterfalls, encounter unique flora and fauna, and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of Sabah’s highlands. With its stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife, Crocker Range National Park is a haven for eco-tourism and outdoor adventure.

6. Maliau Basin Conservation Area

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Dubbed “The Lost World of Sabah,” the Maliau Basin Conservation Area is a remote wilderness sanctuary renowned for its pristine rainforests, rugged landscapes, and unique biodiversity. Covering an area of approximately 58,840 hectares, this UNESCO World Heritage Site offers unparalleled opportunities for eco-tourism and wilderness exploration. Visitors can embark on multi-day treks through dense jungle trails, discover hidden waterfalls and pristine rivers, and encounter rare and endemic species of flora and fauna. With its untouched natural beauty and rugged wilderness, Maliau Basin is a paradise for adventurous travelers seeking an immersive jungle experience in Sabah.

7. Tun Sakaran Marine Park, Semporna, Sabah.

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Tun Sakaran Marine Park (TSMP) is situated at the entrance to Darvel Bay, off the east coast of Sabah, near the town of Semporna. It took about 45 minutes by speed boat to get from the jetty of this small town. In July 2004, Sabah gazetted it as its seventh park, named after Tun Sakaran Dandai, the Head of State of Sabah. The park is the largest marine park, covering 340 square kilometers of sea, coral reefs, and 10 square kilometers of land. The TSMP is a favorite spot for divers. Divers can find a rich variety of marine life in this park area. There are also hills that attract rock climbing enthusiasts.

8. Balung River Eco Resort

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Situated along the banks of the Balung River, Balung River Eco Resort is an eco-friendly retreat nestled amidst lush rainforests and pristine natural surroundings. The resort offers comfortable accommodations in rustic lodges or traditional longhouses, providing guests with a serene and immersive jungle experience. Visitors can embark on river cruises, kayak adventures, and jungle treks through the surrounding rainforest, discovering hidden waterfalls, diverse wildlife, and breathtaking landscapes along the way. With its eco-friendly ethos and commitment to sustainable tourism, Balung River Eco Resort offers a unique opportunity to reconnect with nature and experience the beauty of Sabah’s wilderness.

9. Teck Guan Cocoa Village & Tawau Cocoa Cafe

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Delve into the rich history and culture of Sabah’s cocoa industry at Teck Guan Cocoa Village and Tawau Cocoa Cafe. Visitors can embark on guided tours of cocoa plantations, learning about the cultivation and processing of cocoa beans from tree to chocolate bar. The village also features Tawau Cocoa Cafe, where visitors can sample delicious chocolates and cocoa-based treats, including artisanal chocolates, hot chocolate drinks, and traditional Malaysian desserts. With its immersive cocoa experience and delectable chocolate offerings, Teck Guan Cocoa Village and Tawau Cocoa Cafe provide a delightful culinary and cultural experience for chocolate enthusiasts and food lovers alike.

10. Bukit Gemok

Offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, Bukit Gemok is a scenic hill located on the outskirts of Tawau. Visitors can embark on a short hike to the summit, traversing lush rainforest trails and enjoying the breathtaking vistas of Tawau town, the surrounding countryside, and the shimmering waters of the Celebes Sea. With its serene natural beauty and tranquil ambiance, Bukit Gemok is a popular destination for nature walks, photography, and enjoying the serene beauty of Sabah’s landscapes.

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