What to do at Tawau Hills Park, Sabah


  • Travel
  • Thursday, 18 Apr 2019

Nature photographers will enjoy spending some time at the Tawau Hills Park. Photos: Melody L. Goh/The Star

Whenever you find yourself in the east coast of Sabah, take a trip to the Tawau Hills Park and immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of the wonderful natural forest.

Why you should go 

If you’re keen to spend some time in nature but don’t really want to venture into the bigger conservation parks in Sabah (Maliau Basin, Danum Valley, Tabin Wildlife Reserve etc) then consider Tawau Hills Park.

Spend a day or two in the jungles learning about nature, wildlife and conservation. The park is home to the world’s tallest tropical tree – it’s 96.9m! – as well as the world’s second tallest (it was “dethroned” just last year).

The Tawau River flows through the middle of the park, therefore forming natural pools and waterfalls around it.

You can find a number of animals here too including the long-tailed macaque, civet cat and leopard cat, as well as birds like the hornbill and kingfisher. If you’re really lucky you might even catch a glimpse of the Borneo pygmy elephant.

Tired from your hike? Take a break at the benches in the main park.
A twisty flat vine we found while hiking up the hill.
There are many signs throughout the park to help guide guests.

What to do 

Hike to the three mountains – Magdalena (1,310m), Lucia (1,201m) and Maria (1,083m) – or just work your way to Bombalai Hill (530m) if you’re only visiting for a day.

Follow the trail to the Bukit Gelas Falls to cool off after your hike. There’s also a sulphur spring nearby. The guides and rangers are well informed and can take you on the trails for a fee. You can find out more about the giant trees that grow there, discover animal tracks and learn basic jungle survival skills too.

The tallest tree in the world can be found at Tawau Hills Park.

If you’re not up for any of this, then just have a picnic by the stream.

There are benches and tables in the main park that you can use. Trails are clearly marked for hikers so don’t worry about getting lost if you’re travelling alone.

Who will like it 

Nature lovers, hikers and adventure seekers would love this park. Young children are welcome here too, although you need to be aware that there are mosquitoes, as well as leeches, all around the place.

Accommodation includes a handful of chalets that are big enough for a family, and a hostel with shared bathroom.

There is also a canteen but it is probably best to bring some snacks along with you as it is not open 24 hours. Entrance to the park is RM1/RM3 for Malaysians, and RM6/RM10 for non-Malaysians.

Getting there

The park is about a half hour’s drive away from Tawau town or one hour from the Tawau Airport. You can get a taxi or Grab there. Otherwise, book your stay with a tour agency and they will sort out all necessary ground transportation for you. The park is open from 7am to 6pm.


Tawau Hills Park

Air Terjun, Gudang 4,

Bal Estate,91031, Tawau, Sabah

Tel: 089-768 719/ 089-925 719


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