– Asia’s Cocoa Capital.
Tawau was once a small coastal fishing village under the Sultan of Sulu until it was ceded to the North Borneo Company in 1878. Now a bustling town for the cocoa and palm oil plantations industry, it is the industry leader in terms of research and development of cocoa. Visitors to Tawau must visit the cocoa estate at Quoin Hill to see a ‘chocolate’ tree and tour the factory to learn the fascinating story of cocoa. In fact, the crop is so important that every year, a Cocoa Festival is help, featuring colourful cultural dances.
Aside from its cocoa attractions, the town is also famous for its seafood, exported to Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and West Malaysia. The new Central Market on Jalan Dunlop near the harbour is renowned for prawns and fish. An interesting Street Market is held every Sunday morning on the corner of Jalan Apas and Jalan Kuhara. The open-air night stalls opposite the Sabindo Shopping Complex on Jalan Chen Fook is also another favourite.