Teck Guan Cocoa Village, Teck Guan Museum and Tawau town 3D2N tour (2015)

Arrived at the Tawau airport after 2 hour 40 minutes flight from Senai. Checking-out was fast  as there was only one arrival flight at that time.

Tawau Airport

Tawau Airport

Soon we were on our way to our hotel, MB Hotel which is located at the town centre. I am surprised to see there are so many hotels at the town centre.  According to the taxi driver, Tawau is the gateway for tourist visiting Sipadan Islands. There are tourists going to Sipadan Islands stop over here for a night or two.  The taxi fare costs RM 45.  After checking-in the hotel, we took a walk to the Tanjung Market which is about 12-15 minute walk from the hotel to look for sea cucumber. Tawau town is famous for sea food as a lot of sea food from West Malaysia comes from Tawau.

Tanjung wet market

Icon of Tawau town, an eagle predating on a fish

 

Looking for sea cucumber at the wet market

 

In the evening, we took a walk to Sabindo area to look for sea food. FYI, Sabindo is famous for sea food restaurants. It is like Top Spot in Kuching, Sarawak. However, the price here is higher than Top Spots, may be due to lack of tourists.

Sea food restaurants at Sabindo beach

Sea food restaurants at Sabindo beach

We had our dinner at this restaurant

We had our dinner at this restaurant

These simple 3 dishes cost us RM 188 for 4

These simple 3 dishes cost us RM 188 for 4

At night we didn’t do anywhere as there is no tourist spot for you to visit.

After breakfast, our tour guide-cum-driver was at the hotel lobby to fetch us to Teck Guan Cocoa Village. FYI, you need to pre-book the tour to the village as it is owned by private company.  The village is situated some 30 minute drive from town centre. After passing through some bumpy and undulating granite road, we finally arrived at the village to take a close look at cocoa trees and fruits.

At the entrance of Cocoa Village

At the entrance of Cocoa Village

Another post

Another post

Cocoa plant bearing fruit

Cocoa plant bearing fruit

 

Cocoa fruits stacked up at the reception house

Cocoa fruits stacked up at the reception house

Beside visiting the plantation, the guide also took us to the Cocoa Cultural Spring(Waterfall). You need to take a jungle trail about 1-2 km to reach the waterfall. Certain part of the trail is quite steep. However, steps are crafted and laid to make it easy for you to climb. There are even railings and ropes to help you too.  Well, it was a good exercise as we have to miss our morning qing-gong for 3 days. The air here is cool and fresh. However the waterfall is nothing to shout about as it is not very huge and magnificent. On the way, the guide also took us to see some volcano rocks. I didn’t know Malaysia also had volcano long time ago. He said this is what the geologist said, not his own story!

 

Volcano rocks at the waterfall.

Volcano rocks at the waterfall.

Tiny waterfall

Tiny waterfall

Our guide-cum-driver Mr Yap, a cheerful and pleasant guy, with lots of story to tell you!

Our guide-cum-driver Mr Yap, a cheerful and pleasant guy, with lots of story to tell you!

After taking a few pictures, we were back to the village again for lunch. Lunch provided was simple, with assorted local fruits, chicken curry, cocoa noodles which I am sure many have not tried before. It was quite nice to eat. I particularly like the pineapple  which is sweet and with little  fibers. All the fruits are organic, and grown at the village. There is this fruit called abiu which l have not seen in Peninsula Malaysia. It looks like a passion fruit but doesn’t taste like it. Anyway, I don’t quite like the taste. Over here, this is the first time I have tasted a cocoa fruit! The lunch costs RM 60 per pax. The transport costs RM 150 per car. The passenger car is a four wheel drive Toyota Vigo Double Cab. Over here in Peninsula Malaysia, it is known as Toyota Hilux.

 

Photos showing the visits of well-known figures and celebrities.

Photos showing the visits of well-known figures and celebrities.

Our transport to Cocoa Village

Our transport to Cocoa Village

Panoramic view of the valley from Cocoa Village

Panoramic view of the valley from Cocoa Village

You may relax on this hammock swing at the village..

You may relax on this hammock swing at the village..

Assorted organic fruits

Assorted organic fruits

Lunch at the village

Lunch at the village

Cocoa noodles

Cocoa noodles

Fresh cocoa fruits

Fresh cocoa fruits

Slice-opened cocoa fruit

Slice-opened cocoa fruit

Abiu fruits

Abiu fruits

Abiu fruit tree

Abiu fruit tree

After lunch, we were taken to the Cocoa Museum situated near the town to  see how cocoa powder is processed. Entry fee is RM 25 per pax. You need to pre-book either as it is not open to public where you can enter any time like any other museum in the world. The museum tour consists of 3 parts: part I is a video clip of about 16 minutes showing how cocoa fruits are harvested and processed, the goodness and health benefits of cocoa powder followed by a visit to the factory to see on hand how cocoa is processed. Too bad, on that day, the plant was closed for maintenance.  Part II is food tasting with some food products made from cocoa, and part III is of course the sale of cocoa products.

 

At the cocoa museum

At the cocoa museum

Cocoa products for you to taste

Cocoa products for you to taste

By 3.00 pm, we were already back at the hotel to take a rest.

At night we took a cab to Leong’s Place to try the famous fish porridge. It is situated opposite the prison. The taxi fare was RM 12 one way. I would say the porridge is not that spectacular. It will be better if they add ginger slice, fried onion and fresh onion leaves. I think it is too simple, just porridge and fish slice. Of course the fish is very fresh. FYI, taxi here don’t use meter for taxi fare. You need to enquire first before boarding the taxi.

View of Tawau town from the hotel room

View of Tawau town from the hotel room

The next morning we didn’t take the hotel breakfast as we wanted to try out the famous local marinated pork noodles (生肉面) at Hing Lee coffee shop. We walked to the coffee shop which is just five minute walk from the hotel. It was packed with people. I would say not bad. The meat is soft and succulent, taste great when you dip in their home-made chili sauce. Besides meat, you can add kidney, liver and so on. But we didn’t. One bowl of noodle without addition costs RM 5.50. Must try if you are in Tawau. In fact, according to the guide, you can find this pork noodle in many shops in Tawau. However, this is the most famous one.

Before checking out, we walked to the market again to get more sea cucumber. We also went to the frozen sea food outlet at Shervinton Hotel which is situated behind our hotel to get some frozen grouper. (七星斑).

 

Box with  frozen fish

Box with frozen fish before boarding

In a nutshell, I would say it was quite a nice and enjoyable short break! May come back again to visit Semporna and Sipadan Islands which is about 107 km from Tawau next time!

 

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About HP Lim

An experienced Form 5 chemistry teacher from Johor Bahru.