Tawau? More like Ta-WOW!
by Stanley P, Carrybeans
At first glance, Tawau looked like it doesn’t have much to offer to visitors. The town itself seemed to be stuck in the 90’s and the nightlife was practically non-existent. But if you tried looking past the old buildings and laid-back lifestyle, you will be treated to its hidden gems, all waiting to be discovered.
We recently went to Tawau and we were pleasantly surprised by how much fun we had. So, in this first part of our two-part article, we will highlight the places that you should definitely visit if you’re ever in Tawau.
If you really want to escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, Balung Eco Resort is your answer. It is approximately 1.5 hours away from town and the drive is truly worth it. Looking to enjoy nature and to find some relaxation with not many people around? Then this is the place to go.
The place is like a ghost town except during holiday season. When we visited, it was void of human except for the staff. So, it’s the perfect spot to relax and enjoy the serenity of nature while listening to the burbling sound of the river.
Go here if you want to enjoy the serenity of nature. Located just before the airport, it requires a driving time of about one hour. Take note that the road is unpaved and smaller cars might not be suitable to drive in.
The Cocoa House in Teck Guan Cocoa Village is the best place to wind down and relax as you are serenaded by the birds’ singing and the gentle caress of the breeze. And if you’re lucky, you can see a hornbill or two flying by or perched on nearby trees. But if you’d like to do something a bit more physical, the nearby waterfall should satisfy your cravings. A guide will take you on a little jungle trekking in their Cocoa Culture Spring to see the waterfalls and the columnar basalt (both were stunning, btw). One bit of warning though: leeches are plentiful. So, vermiphobes out there might want to skip this one.
LA Hotel is one of the tallest building in Tawau so you can really see a good overview of the whole city. Located on the 10th floor of the hotel, the rooftop bar serves up nice foods and drinks, which you can enjoy while looking at Tawau’s beauty. On good days, you can see the beautiful sunset and the waterfront overlooking the Celebes Sea.
One of the things that Tawau is famous for is their cocoa, so it’s a no-brainer that someone made a museum especially for highlighting Tawau’s cocoa. Brought to you by the very same company that produces Hoko products, the tour itself is not that long. But by the end of it, you will be more enlightened on how chocolate and other cocoa-based products are made. You will also have the chance to taste foods made from Hoko products.
Do have a taste of their handmade chocolate and the onde-onde because those were so good!
If you want to experience the true colours of the people in Tawau, you should visit the Sunday Market. The market is located in Takada and similar to KK’s Gaya Street, the items sold here are very diverse. From foods to pets and random trinkets, the market has got all of your needs in one place. If you want to get an authentic Tawau experience, it couldn’t get better than the market.
If you’re ever in KK, try out the free guided walking tour and learn about KK’s history.