Photo: Huge trees at Tawau Hills Park.

Tawau Hills Park (Taman Bukit Tawau)

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If the outstanding wilderness areas of Danum Valley or Maliau Basin are not on your agenda (or even if they are) and you want to get a bit of jungle in, Tawau Hills Park, 22 kilometres north of Tawau, may not be as untouched as the former two, but it’s still wild and palpable and is well worth the minimal effort.

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Easily doable as a day tip from Tawau, and a popular local picnic spot on weekends, it’s possible to stay overnight and explore more in depth. Previously renowned as the home of the world's tallest rainforest tree, that honour had now passed to a tree found in Sabah's Maliau Basin, nevertheless it’s still awesome. As well as the towering flora, a botanical gardens, hot springs, a pretty swimmable waterfall, three climbable peaks and numerable trails await. A canopy walk and bird breeding centre plus trails in the eastern side of the park were all closed when we visited, but that still leaves more than you can do in a day—there’s 27,972 hectares to explore.

Over you go. Photo taken in or around Tawau Hills Park (Taman Bukit Tawau), Tawau, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

Over you go. Photo: Sally Arnold

At the entrance to the park, Tawau Hills Park Nature Centre has a small exhibition with information on the flora and fauna found within, including some very unfortunate looking taxidermied animals and birds. It’s mildly interesting, but if you’re only in the park for a day, give it a miss and get on with the business of exploring the trails. A short walk leads to the most popular local area, a river with an inviting swimming hole crowded with families on weekends. You could easily join them and spend a day here splashing about. Inner tubes can be hired, and there are toilets and change rooms.

Suspension bridges take you over the river, and lead to hostels and chalets for an overnight stay. A small botanical garden is open 08:30-16:00, which requires a separate ticket—5 ringgit adults, 2.50 ringgit children. If you are into plants, venture in, but if not so, you’ll see just as much along ... Travelfish members only (Around 700 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
No public transport services Tawau Hills Park, but the 30-minute drive on sealed roads from Tawau is easy by taxi. Ask the driver to pick you up at an arranged time, or the park can organise your return transport. Expect to pay 30 ringgit each way.

Tawau Hills Park (Taman Bukit Tawau)
22km north of Tawau
Daily 08:00-16:30.
Admission: Adult 10 ringgit, child 6 ringgit

Location map for Tawau Hills Park (Taman Bukit Tawau)

Popular attractions in Tawau

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Tawau.

What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Tawau.
 Read up on where to eat on Tawau.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Tawau.
 Read up on how to get to Tawau.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Tawau? Please read this.
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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Tawau? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Malaysia.

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