Tawau Hills National Park by Herman (October 2006)

Short: The Tawau Hills National Park (THNP) is some 24 km / 1 hour from Tawau and was established in 1979. It covers an area of 279 km˛.


A Tranquil Oasis of Green...

The Tawau Hills National Park was established in 1979, primarily as a protection for the water catchment area of Tawau town. It is located some 24 kilometres from Tawau, and comprises 279.72 km˛ of lowland dipterocarp rainforest, surrounded by oil palm and cacao plantations.

The park is one of the least frequented by travellers to Sabah, but the locals flock there by the thousands over week-ends. Near the entrance there are picnic areas with river bathing facilities at the Table Waterfall with its natural swimming pool, changing/toilet facilities, camping sites, and chalets. Despite the enormous influx of local visitors the park is always kept spotlessly clean and foreign visitors like to explore the park’s rugged volcanic landscapes including a hot spring and spectacular waterfalls.

The highest point in the park is Gunung Magdalena (1310 meters), which is quite some trekking. Somewhat closer is Bombalai Hill (530 m, ca half an hour's trekking) and during good weather conditions one is rewarded with a panoramic view over cacao and palm oil plantations, Tawau Town and at the horizon the Sulawesi Sea! Even on week-ends those trails will not be frequented by local visitors...

Bombalai Hill is a relatively young volcanic cone and the remains of the central crater, which can still be seen on the summit. Vegetation to see are the lowland Dipterocarp forest. Flora and fauna, such as orchids are in abundance. Wildlife is common but luck and patience is needed, as animals are shy and are not easy to see. Occasional sightings of of Red Leaf Monkeys and long-tailed Macaques, and the less common but the beautiful Giant Tree Squirrel, and the Forest Tortoise.

How to Get to the Tawau Hills National Park & Accommodation

Chartered van, taxi, tour operator, ca 1 hour by road (24 km); the chalets in the park are nice and clean, with equipped kitchens and bbq pits for those who do not wish to make use of the canteen (which closes early). There are also designated camping areas with toilet/shower facilities. Not many people stay overnight and you can simply go there and book on the spot.


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Note: while every care has been taken in compiling the above information the Flying Dusun Sdn Bhd, its authors and associates cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracy, omission or alteration that may occur. Please contact us or the respective authors for further details and confirmation of facts and figures. © The Flying Dusun Sdn Bhd, 2005-2006; all rights reserved; reproduction in whole or in part without written permission strictly prohibited. 


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