Things to do in Tawau – Malaysia

Welcome to Tawau, a hidden gem in Malaysia offering a plethora of activities and attractions that will leave you in awe. Tawau is surrounded by enchanting beauty, cultural treasures, and wondrous wildlife, making it an ideal destination for any type of traveler. Whether you are looking for adventure, relaxation, or culinary experiences, Tawau has something for everyone.

When visiting Tawau, you can explore the city’s cultural treasures by visiting historical sites, museums, and local landmarks. You can also discover its natural wonders by exploring its parks, gardens, and wildlife reserves. Additionally, Tawau is home to some of the best beaches and islands in Malaysia.

In this Tawau travel guide, we will provide you with all the information you need to plan your trip, including the best places to stay, eat, and visit. Let’s start exploring!

Key Takeaways

  • Tawau is a hidden gem in Malaysia that offers a variety of activities and attractions.
  • You can explore Tawau’s cultural treasures, natural wonders, and beautiful beaches and islands.
  • This Tawau travel guide will provide you with all the necessary information to plan your trip.

Exploring Tawau’s Cultural Treasures

When it comes to Tawau’s points of interest, it’s hard to miss the city’s rich cultural heritage. Tawau is home to many historical sites, landmarks, and museums that tell the story of the city’s past and present. Exploring these cultural treasures is a must-do when sightseeing in Tawau.

Historical Sites

Name Description
Sabindo Old Market A century-old market that has been restored to its former glory, showcasing the history and culture of Tawau.
Tawau Japanese War Memorial A memorial honoring the Japanese soldiers who perished during the Battle of Tawau in World War II.

These historical sites offer a glimpse into Tawau’s past and are a must-visit for history buffs and culture enthusiasts. The Sabindo Old Market is a popular spot for tourists, while the Tawau Japanese War Memorial is a solemn reminder of the city’s role in the war.


Name Description
Tawau Cultural Museum A museum that showcases the cultural diversity of Tawau and its people.
Tawau District Museum A museum that highlights the history and development of Tawau, from its earliest days to the present.

If you’re interested in learning more about Tawau’s cultural heritage, the Tawau Cultural Museum and Tawau District Museum are great places to start. Both museums are filled with artifacts, exhibits, and interactive displays that provide insight into the city’s history and traditions.

Local Landmarks

Name Description
Tawau Bell Tower A landmark that was built in 1914 and once served as a signal tower for incoming ships.
Tawau Tanjung Market A bustling market where you can find fresh produce, local delicacies, and handmade crafts.

Finally, no Tawau sightseeing trip is complete without visiting some of the city’s local landmarks. The Tawau Bell Tower is a symbol of the city’s history and resilience, while the Tawau Tanjung Market is a vibrant, colorful hub of activity that gives a true taste of local life.

Discovering Tawau’s Natural Wonders

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Tawau has plenty of natural wonders to keep you entertained. From lush green parks to stunning wildlife reserves, the city is a paradise for nature lovers.

Tawau Hills Park

Tawau Hills Park is a popular destination for nature enthusiasts. The park is home to Mount Magdalena, the highest peak in the area, and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. Visitors can hike the trails, go bird-watching, or simply take in the stunning scenery.

Turtle Islands Park

Just off the coast of Tawau lies Turtle Islands Park, a protected area dedicated to the preservation of endangered sea turtles. Visitors can take a boat ride to the islands to see the turtles nesting and hatching, and even release baby turtles back into the sea. It’s a truly magical experience that shouldn’t be missed.

Maliau Basin Conservation Area

If you’re up for an adventure, head to the Maliau Basin Conservation Area. This pristine rainforest is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, and offers visitors the chance to see a wide variety of wildlife, including orangutans and pygmy elephants. The area is also home to a number of waterfalls and hot springs, making it an ideal destination for a day trip.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or an adrenaline-pumping adventure, Tawau has something to offer. From hiking to bird-watching to wildlife-spotting, there’s no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy.

Tawau’s Best Beaches and Islands

When it comes to Tawau activities, exploring the stunning beaches and islands in the region should be at the top of any traveler’s list. With crystal clear waters, pristine sandy beaches, and breathtaking views, Tawau’s beaches and islands are the perfect spot for relaxation and fun in the sun.

One of the best beaches in Tawau is Balung River Eco Resort. It’s a perfect resort to enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling. You can also explore the nearby Balung River and witness the breathtaking mangrove swamp.

Another popular destination for beach lovers is the Sipadan Island. This island offers some of the best diving experiences and is home to some of the most unique marine life in the world. You can also enjoy the stunning beaches here and witness the natural beauty of the island.

Discovering Tawau’s Islands

If you’re looking for a more secluded escape, Tawau’s islands are the perfect option. One of the must-visit islands in Tawau is the Mataking Island. Known for its stunning coral reefs and private beaches, this island offers a romantic escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

Another notable island to explore is the Bohey Dulang Island. It features a stunning view from its peak and is perfect for nature enthusiasts. You can also spend your day swimming and relaxing on the sandy white beach of the island.

Getting to Tawau’s Beaches and Islands

Most of Tawau’s beaches and islands are accessible only by boat. You can hire a speedboat or join an organized tour to get to the islands. It’s recommended to book the tours in advance to ensure availability. Several travel agencies and tour operators offer these services, and you can check out their websites for booking details.

These are some of the best beaches and islands in Tawau that we highly recommend you to explore during your visit. From stunning coral reefs to secluded private beaches, Tawau’s beaches and islands offer a memorable travel experience that you won’t forget!

Where to Stay in Tawau

When planning a trip to Tawau, finding the right accommodation can make all the difference in your overall experience. Luckily, Tawau has a range of options to suit every budget and preference.

If you’re looking for luxury, there are several high-end hotels and resorts in the city. Some of the most popular options include the Shervinton Executive Boutique Hotel, the Prince Hotel & Residence, and the MB Hotel.

Hotel Name Price Range Features and Amenities
Shervinton Executive Boutique Hotel £45 – £100 per night Swimming pool, fitness centre, spa, restaurant, bar, free breakfast, free Wi-Fi
Prince Hotel & Residence £70 – £130 per night Swimming pool, fitness centre, restaurant, bar, free breakfast, free Wi-Fi
MB Hotel £30 – £50 per night Restaurant, bar, free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, airport shuttle service

If you’re on a budget, there are plenty of guesthouses and homestays that offer comfortable and affordable accommodation. Some popular options include the Shalom Backpackers Borneo Hostel, the K Garden Hotel Tawau, and the Tawau City Hotel.

Hotel Name Price Range Features and Amenities
Shalom Backpackers Borneo Hostel £7 – £15 per night Free breakfast, free Wi-Fi, shared kitchen, lounge area, bicycle rental
K Garden Hotel Tawau £15 – £25 per night Restaurant, bar, free breakfast, free Wi-Fi
Tawau City Hotel £20 – £30 per night Restaurant, bar, free Wi-Fi, airport shuttle service

For those who want a more authentic experience, there are also several homestays in Tawau that allow you to stay with local families and experience their way of life. Some popular homestay options include the Rungus Longhouse Homestay and the Bajau Laut Homestay.


Whether you’re looking for luxury, budget-friendly, or authentic accommodation, Tawau has something to offer. From high-end hotels to homestays, there are plenty of options to suit every traveler’s needs and preferences. Book your stay in Tawau today for an unforgettable Malaysian adventure!

Dining in Tawau – Best Places to Eat

When it comes to food, Tawau is one of the best places to experience the diverse culinary scene of Malaysia. From local eateries to fancy restaurants, there’s something for everyone’s taste buds. Here are some of the best places to eat in Tawau:

Restaurant Cuisine Price Range Location
Restaurant Sri Titingan Malay, Chinese, Seafood Budget Taman Millennium
Kedai Makanan Yee Fung Chinese Budget Jalan Chester
Restoran Hee Wan Chinese, Seafood Mid-Range Bandar Tawau
Batu Gong Seafood Restaurant Chinese, Seafood Mid-Range Fajar Complex
Gerai Makanan Terapung Pasar Tanjung Tawau Malay, Seafood Budget Tanjung Tawau
The Coffee House International, Cafe Mid-Range ParkCity Mall

If you’re looking for local street food, head to the Tawau Central Market or Pasar Tanjung Tawau. Here you’ll find a variety of dishes including nasi lemak, laksa, satay, and more. Don’t forget to try the famous Tawau mee, a noodle dish made with shrimp and pork.

For a unique dining experience, visit the floating seafood restaurants in Tanjung Tawau. These restaurants are built on stilts above the water, offering a picturesque view while you dine on fresh seafood.

In addition to restaurants and markets, Tawau also has a few cafes and bakeries that are worth a visit. The Coffee House at ParkCity Mall is a popular spot for coffee and light bites. For desserts, head to King’s Bakery for pastries and cakes.

Overall, Tawau’s food scene offers a rich and tasty experience that shouldn’t be missed. From budget-friendly eateries to upscale restaurants, there’s no shortage of options to explore.

Getting to Tawau

As a travel destination, Tawau is not the easiest place to reach, but it is well worth the effort. The easiest and most convenient way to get to Tawau is by air. The Tawau Airport (TWU) is the main gateway, with regular flights available from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, and other major cities in Malaysia. International flights are also available from cities such as Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei) and Tarakan (Indonesia).

If you’re travelling by land, Tawau is accessible by bus from other major cities in Sabah, such as Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, and Lahad Datu. However, the journey can be long and tiring, with travel times ranging from 7 to 10 hours depending on your starting point.

Once you arrive in Tawau, getting around the city is relatively easy. The town center is easily walkable, and there are also plenty of taxis available for those who prefer not to walk. For those who enjoy the freedom of exploring on their own, renting a car or hiring a motorbike is also an option.

Tawau Travel Guide: Practical Tips for Visiting

If you’re planning a trip to Tawau, Malaysia, there are a few practical tips that you should keep in mind to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. Here are some key points to consider:

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Tawau is between March and October, when the weather is generally dry and sunny. However, it’s worth noting that the city can get quite humid, so be prepared for warm temperatures year-round.

Local Customs and Etiquette

Tawau is a predominantly Muslim city, so it’s important to dress modestly and respectfully in public areas. Women should cover their shoulders and wear long skirts or trousers, while men should avoid wearing shorts. When visiting mosques or other religious sites, it’s important to remove your shoes and dress in more conservative clothing.

Currency and Money Matters

The currency in Tawau is the Malaysian ringgit (MYR). While there are ATMs in the city, it’s always a good idea to carry some cash with you, especially if you plan on visiting more rural areas. Credit cards are widely accepted in Tawau, but it’s worth checking with your bank before you travel to ensure that your card will work overseas.

Safety Precautions

Tawau is generally a safe city for visitors, but it’s always a good idea to exercise caution in crowded areas and to keep an eye on your belongings. Be wary of pickpockets and bag snatchers, particularly in busy markets and tourist areas.

Getting Around

Tawau is a relatively small city, and many of the main attractions are located within walking distance of each other. However, if you need to travel further afield, there are plenty of taxis and motorbike taxis available. It’s also possible to rent a car or motorbike, but be aware that driving in Tawau can be challenging, particularly if you’re not used to driving on the left-hand side of the road.


By following these practical tips, you’ll be well-prepared for your visit to Tawau. Remember to pack modest clothing, carry some cash, and stay aware of your surroundings, and you’ll be sure to have a memorable and enjoyable trip to this beautiful Malaysian city.


As we wrap up our Tawau travel guide, we hope that we have enticed you to explore this beautiful Malaysian city. With its enchanting beauty, cultural treasures, and wondrous wildlife, Tawau offers a unique and unforgettable travel experience.

From exploring the city’s fascinating museums and landmarks to admiring its natural wonders and pristine beaches, there is something for every type of traveler in Tawau. Whether you’re looking for adventure or relaxation, this city has it all.

We highly recommend adding Tawau to your travel itinerary when visiting Malaysia. With its diverse range of attractions and welcoming hospitality, Tawau is truly a must-visit destination for any travel enthusiast.

Thank you for reading our Tawau travel guide, and we hope to see you exploring this paradise in the near future!


Q: What are the top attractions in Tawau?

A: Tawau offers a range of attractions, including cultural treasures, natural wonders, and beautiful beaches. Some of the must-visit places include the Teck Guan Cocoa Village, Tawau Hills Park, and Balung River Eco Resort.

Q: How can I explore Tawau’s cultural treasures?

A: To explore Tawau’s cultural treasures, you can visit historical sites like Tawau Bell Tower and Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple. The Tawau Heritage Museum and Pasar Tanjung Market are also great places to experience the local culture.

Q: What outdoor activities can I do in Tawau?

A: There are plenty of outdoor activities in Tawau, such as hiking in Tawau Hills Park, exploring the Maliau Basin Conservation Area, and visiting the Agropolitan Project. You can also go birdwatching or take a boat tour to Sipadan Island.

Q: Which are the best beaches and islands near Tawau?

A: Some of the best beaches and islands near Tawau include Balung River Eco Resort, Batu Payung Beach, and Kalapuan Island. These places offer pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and opportunities for water sports activities.

Q: Where can I stay in Tawau?

A: Tawau offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. Some recommended places to stay include Prince Hotel, Promenade Hotel, and Shervinton Executive Boutique Hotel.

Q: Which are the best places to eat in Tawau?

A: Tawau is known for its diverse culinary scene. Some of the best places to eat include Tanjung Seafood Restaurant, Four Points Restaurant, and Tawau Food Street. Don’t miss the opportunity to try the famous Tawau charcoal roasted pork.

Q: How can I get to Tawau?

A: Tawau is easily accessible by flights, with Tawau Airport serving domestic and international flights. You can also reach Tawau by bus from other cities in Malaysia. Once in Tawau, taxis and rental cars are available for getting around.

Q: What are some practical tips for visiting Tawau?

A: When visiting Tawau, it is best to plan your trip during the dry season, which is from March to October. Respect the local customs and etiquette, and take necessary safety precautions. It is also recommended to exchange some Malaysian Ringgit for your trip.