Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 August, 2018 04:34:12 PM



Three fascinating features of Tawau Hills Park :

1) Sulphur Spring
2) Bukit Gelas Waterfall
3) 2nd Tallest tropical tree in the world

The Hot Springs of Tawau Hills Park :

Spring #1The Fallen Tree  |  Fauna at Sulphurous Springs  | Hot Spring Trail  |  New life from a rotting trunk  | Chinese Version  |

Sulphurous Springs

2nd Tallest Tropical Tree
Sulphur Spring
Gelas Waterfall

Suspension bridge across Tawau River

Coming to this Sulpher Spring require hour of hiking. If you come at the dry season, this hot spring may looks like a dried up drain with pungent smell of rotten eggs

At 1.5Km of the trail, you will come to the junction of a hanging bridge over Tawau River at the right hand side. Cross this hanging bridge (Suspension bridge) and heading to the Sulpher Spring. But if you are going to the Gelas Water Fall, then do not cross the bridge, just ignore the bridge and continue walking at the West side of the river.

After crossing this hanging bridge over the river, the trail became smaller and muddier. Signs became less from here onward. Slops is deeper and vegetation is thicker. This mean more leeches here during wet days.

There are a couple of trail direction signboards the park entrance but with no sufficient details. The photocopy maps given by the park office is not professionally prepared.

For example it happen again and again that hikers turning round and round the bushes looking for the onward track to the water fall. Not knowing that it is necessary to cross a shallow stream to the opposite side of the stream inorder to continue to the  water fall.

Then some hiker arrive at the junction of the suspension bridge and mistakenly cross the bridge without sign board telling them that this bridge is for going to Sulphur Spring not to Waterfall.

Though this Sulphurous springs is becoming  popular destination for visitors after the new hanging bridge was completed in 2010, the water quality of the springs is detoraiting in temperature and in water flowing amount (this mean less and less spring water coming out now).  What is happening in geography condition no one explain this yet.

The 3 KM jungle trail to the spring is flat for the first half and hilly for the second half. The hilly part is exciting challenging for most adults but can be risky for elderly and children especially rainy days. During wet seasons, the trail is slippery. Old people and children can slip and lost balance at the muddy slops.  It could be a problem when a person fall and break a bone. Not only because the park has no emergency ambulance services, its also your mobile phone do not have signal in the jungle to make emergency call for outside help. So always go with a partner.

After an hour of walk when you smell sulpher odor like rotten eggs in the air you know you are approaching destination.

There are 11 springs along the same mountain stream area. The first sulphurous spring Spring #1 is the largest and the destination of visitors.

Sulphurous Spring#1 is a calm shallow pool beside a huge rock. The spring water is turquoise, with white sulphur substance deposited at the bottom. The water used to be warm  said to be 25-30°C but recent years visitors to the spring are disappointed the Hot Spring is not hot any longer.

While sulphur spring in other countries are fully artificually developed and reconstruct into pools with concreat and bricks, the sulphur springs in Tawau are completely in its natural original landform condition. No artificially constructed concrete pools or whatsoever.

In it natural form. the spring pool may not be conviniently for visitors soak a bit inside with the bottom of the pool and stream a bit muddy with a layer of white deposit. However the water from the spring is very clean and clear but pungent smell of rotton eggs.

While it is nothing interesting to have a bath or dip your body into the hot spring, you can feel satisfy by just dipping the hands and legs even the water is only likewarm. After all it such a long walk to arrive here.

Sulpheric spring water flows and meet with the mountain fresh water to form the main stream of Tawau River. And Tawau River is a main water source of drinking water of people of Tawau.  If the Sulpheric amount is too high, will it threaten the health of the town people who drink the water every day?

Sulphur coated boulders and stones into white . Making  the spring water stream a snow white stream. If you move up along the stream there are  sight of few more smaller hot springs but not as impressive as Spring #1.

More about Spring #1

Sulphurous Springs

  Eleven warm sulphurous springs (25-33.7oC) occur along the above 250 meters stretch of mountain stream.

Tawau Hills Park is a favorite picnic spot on weekends offering visitors the delights of nature -meandering streams, water falls, hot springs and jungle trails. Hostels are available at minimal charge. Visitors can also camp here.

Tawau Hills Park's HOT  SPRINGS

  Spring #1

The waters of Spring #1 emerge from among boulders of a huge rock.

There are natural hot springs - Mother Nature's very own spa, where you can ease your tired muscles and weary bones while luxuriating in the therapeutic warmth of the 'geo-thermal' pool.

BUT recent years the temperature of the spring water goes down and hot springs is no longer hot anymore.

The hot springs of Tawau Hills Park are not in any way developed, but left purely in their pristine state. This is why it attract nature lovers.

  Suspension Bridge to Hot Spring

This suspension bridge at 1.5 KM, half way to Hot Spring. After this bridge the trail is hilly

New life from half rotten trunk

  New life from rotten trunk

A tree trunk that has been here for might be a  hundred years. It will remain here for might be another couple decades.

After 1 hour non stop trekking from the park head office, you will arrive at this tree on the left hand side of the jungle trail. When you see this tree, you know you are almost reaching the Hot Spring area.  The Hot Spring is just another 200 meters to go. In front this tree trunk is a huge rock by the river side.

At this time you will notice strong hydrogen sulphide smell coming from the stream ahead of you. The sulphide smell comes from Spring No: 1.

Tawau Hills Park has some of the incredible trees that we have in this part of Malaysia. This tree trunk is artistic, as the new tree growing out of the old rotten trunk of the original tree. See how the roots wrapped around the trunk in curves, it is very graceful.

The boulders surrounding the springs are characteristically sulphur coated.

  The fallen tree near Hot Spring No: 1

Tawau Hills Park is a protected forest reserve. The above fallen tree is cause by natural.

The tropical rainforest is an immense ecosystem that is on a fast track to extinction. Once stretching across entire tropical land masses these primary forest ecosystem are now small patches of isolated forest left mostly on hills and mountain ranges. The primary rainforest ecosystem is all but extinct on the plains and less hilly land stretches.

List of attraction around Tawau
Balung River
Bukit Gemok
Maliau Basin (Sabah's Lost World)
Shan-Shui Golf & Country Club
Tawau Tanjung Market
Teck Guan Cocoa Museum

Similar Destination Type around Sabah
Batu Tulug, Sandakan
Kawang Forest Centre, Kinarut / Papar
Kota Kinabalu Wetlands, Kota Kinabalu (Capital City)
Madai - Baturong Forest Reserve Nature Centre, Lahad Datu
Maga Waterfall of Long Pasia, Sipitang
Mesilau, Kundasang
Rafflesia Information Centre, Tambunan
Rumbia Information Centre, Kuala Penyu
Sabah Agriculture Park, Tenom
Sandakan Crocodile Farm, Sandakan
Sorinsim Waterfall, Kota Marudu


Sanctuary of TALLEST trees in the world


Troides Brookiana
(Raja Brook’s Birdwing)

Tawau Hills Park's invertebrates include this Rajah Brooke's Birdwing butterfly .

Photo  : Rear species Raja Brook butterflies drining by the river bank.

More about Fauna at Sulphurous Springs

Troides Brookiana

Tawau Has Potential For Geothermal Power

TAWAU, July 17 (Bernama) --

Tawau has potential to generate electricity from geothermal sources following the discovery of a geothermal site in Apas, about 40km from here.

Deputy Natural Resources and Environment Minister Tan Sri Joseph Kurup said a study by the Mineral and Geoscience Department so far had found that there was potential to generate up to 67MW of electricity a day to meet the energy needs of Tawau.

The magnetotelluric study on the 50 sq km site started in 2007 found that it had potential to generate electricity.

The study also found a reservoir about 2,000 to 3,000m below the earth's surface with water at temperatures of 220 to 236 degrees Celsius which was more than enough heat to generate electricity, he said.

The land was under the Sabah's jurisdiction and was located within the Sabah Parks, a protected area.

Under the 9th Malaysia Plan the government had allocated RM1.5 million for research on the site and it was hoped that drilling could start under the 10th Malaysia Plan.

Power generation through geothermal means is regarded as not only cost-effective and relaible but also environment-friendly compared with generation from burning fuel.

Among the countries which generate electricity through geothermal sources are the United States, El Salvador, Kenya, the Philippines, Iceland and Costa Rica.


Sulphurous SpringsMountain stream

  Scenic view of mountain stream along the 1 hour walk on 3.2 kilometers jungle trail to the warm Sulphurous Springs

One of the attractions in Tawau Hills Park  is the 11 warm sulphurous springs situated 3.2 km from the Park Office. An hour walking along the jungle track will lead you to the first spring. Eleven warm sulphurous springs (25-33.7oC) occur along the 250 m stretch of the Upper Tawau River. The spring water got hotter to the south. The elevation of this site is approximately 370 m above sea level. The springs outlets are on the riverbed or by the bank just below the water level.

The spring waters are acidic (pH 3.68-4.10). A strong hydrogen sulphide smell can be detected at 150 m range before reaching the first spring. The waters of Spring #1 emerge from among boulders of rhyolitic rocks.

The boulders surrounding the springs are characteristically sulphur coated.

According to the local people, the spring water has its own medicinal properties for skin treatment. Bathing in these springs is popular here..

"Ubat Kulit" -  water that cure

Left is a sulphur coated stone (white)

Location Map


Hiking trails in Tawau

1 2 3 4

Lim Man Kui Quarry Hill Hiking Trial

Bukit Gemok Hiking Trial Tawau Hills Park Nature trails to waterfalls Tawau Hills Park Nature trails to hot springs

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