Tawau, formerly known as Tawao, is a popular tourist destination popular for cocoa, prawn farming, and Sabah's best seafood. Located on the Semporna Peninsula on the southeast coast of the state, Tawau is the third-largest town in Sabah. Gateway to Tawau Hills Park and a coalescence of ethnicities and religions, Tawau has a rich history that is reflected in its various tourist attractions and architectural buildings of the town. It is also the only place where foreigners can get a visa to enter Indonesia and the starting point for long drives with the most scenic routes in Sabah.
The town of Tawau has two twin towns, Zhangping in China, and Pare-Pare in Indonesia, and is surrounded by hills and mountains for most of it. The harmonious mix of religions in Tawau is well-displayed in the establishments of religious places. The main attractions in Tawau are the Al-Kauthar Mosque which is also the largest mosque in Sabah, St. Patrick's which is an Anglican church, The Holy Trinity Church which is a catholic church, Pu Zhao Temple which happens to be a Buddhist lodge temple, Thirumurugan Temple which is a Hindu temple, and the Gurdwara Sahib, a place of worship for the Sikhs.
The historical attractions of the town include the Tawau Bell Tower which was established by the Japanese to memorialize the armistice treaty post World War 1, Tawau Japanese War Memorial (once a Japanese Cemetry), the Public Service Memorial, the Twin Town Memorial, and the Teck Guan Cocoa Museum. Other notable attractions dedicated to leisure include Tawau Hills National Park and Fat Hill, also called Bukit Gemok.
Tawau is also famous for its market, famously called The Tawau Tanjung Market, the largest indoor market in Malaysia, which has more than 6000 stalls selling dry produce and seafood. Other shopping centers in Tawau include the Eastern Plaza and the Sabindo Plaza. Tawau Handicraft Market, also called Pasar Gantung, is a popular place to shop for souvenirs.
The town of Tawau provides real insights into history and culture. The flora and fauna here are untouched, allowed to grow in their natural habitat, which is very rare to come by today. Interestingly, the world's tallest tropical tree can be found here in Tawau Hills Park! Tawau is a perfect blend of colloquial buildings, historical tales, and the hues of greens!