Day 6 Sabah Road Trip Semporna Tawau
Published: 05/04/2021
A typical road on Sabah
Day 6 we drive from Semporna to Tawau. This is a short drive and two scenic stops are planned along the way. Today we drive on wide two-lane roads with good asphalt. Along the route are a number of small villages and towns with small cafes where you can stop for something to eat or drink. Not all roads are well marked on the TomTom maps, so keep in mind that sometimes you cannot rely on your navigation system. You will be warned about this with information points.

The first stop is planned after a 15-minute drive at the Bukit Tengkorak Archaeological Heritage Site also called the Skull Hill in Semporna (RP3). Pay attention because TomTom does not know the way.

Skull Hill (Malay: Bukit Tengkorak) is an archaeological site located about 10 kilometers south of the city of Semporna. This is a great place for a short walk to the top of the hill. The walk takes about 15 minutes. The view from the top is beautiful. If you like photography this place is definitely recommended.

The mound is made of volcanic rock and the part of the volcano mouth is 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) in diameter. It is surrounded by numerous hills and mountains, most of which are extinct volcanoes, ranging from Pliocene (5.33 to 2.58 million years ago) to Quaternary (2.58 million years ago to the present) in age.

Between 1994 and 1995, joint archaeological research was conducted by the Center for Archaeological Research of Malaysia and the Sabah Museum team on the hill.
A wide variety of archaeological material was recovered during the excavations, including large quantities of potsherds, flint, stone tools made of agate and obsidian, polished stone ax, a barkcloth stone beater and some artifacts of shells and bones. An abundance of food debris has also been discovered, mainly the marine mollusks, fish bones and some terrestrial animal bones.

The slopes of the hills are strewn with numerous pottery shards with different patterns. An ethno-archaeological study shows that pottery making is still practiced by the Bajau community in Semporna to this day. This pottery site has links between local communities and merchants from all over the Andaman Sea. The hill is testimony to prehistoric sea trade and one of the world's longest human movements dating back to 3,000 years.

After about 1 hour and 30 minutes driving through the beautiful green nature of Sabah we arrive at a true gem; Tanjung Parapat or the Water Village (RP5). Note TomTom does not know this route.

Tanjung Parapat is actually a small Muslim village located on a coastline with very shallow sea, the inhabitants are all Bajau people. The seabed off the land at Tanjung Parapat is sandy and flat and you will not find any reef or corals, only sand and stones.
The fishermen from this village built a long wooden jetty so that they can moor their boats in deeper water, the jetty is about a hundred meters from land.

Most people come here on weekends with friends and family members to enjoy the beautiful view. There are no cafes or restaurants, hotel or other accommodations nearby, so few tourists come here. Most of the people who come here are locals.
The view is so enchanting and so refreshing, especially early in the morning and at night during sunset.

We drive back to the main route and at RP6 we stop for a drink and snack at the grocery store Kedai Runcit Rosmah. After a 10 minute drive we turn onto the SA51, this two lane road through the beautiful green nature, with many palm trees, from Sabah is easy to drive, but along the route there is not much interesting to stop, so drive and enjoy the beautiful nature.

After about 50 kilometers we stop for lunch at Restaurant Checkpoint (RP8), at a small roundabout where the SA51 turns into highway 13.
After lunch we take the four lane highway 13, unfortunately there is no other option. After about 20 kilometers we take the exit and continue on the beautiful winding Jalan Apas Wakuba and the Jalan Kampung Batu Payung along the coast. TomTom and HERE have some problems following the last road, but the road is open to motorized traffic in both directions.

Two more short stops are planned at RP11 to have a drink while enjoying the beautiful view at the Sea View Café and at RP13 to photograph the Guan Yin Temple.

After this last stop, it is a 40-minute drive to the center of Tawau, where you can spend the night in one of the many hotels.
Tawau is Sabah's third largest city after Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan. Located in the southeastern region of Sabah, across the border from Kalimantan, Indonesia and a 30-minute boat ride from the Philippines. Tawau is known for its seafood and cocoa plantation. There are attractions in Tawau making it a good place to stop for 1 or 2 nights before or after a trip to nearby attractions such as the Semporna Islands, Maliau Basin and Danum Valley.
RP3 Skull Hill in Semporna
RP5 Tanjung Parapat Water Village
Useful links:
Day 5 Sabah Road Trip Sandakan Kinabatangan Lahad Datu Kunak Semporna
Bukit Tengkorak Archaeological Heritage Site (Skull Hill in Semporna)
Tanjung Parapat Water Village
Things to do in Tawau
Day 7 Sabah Road Trip Tawau Kalabakan Maliau Basin

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Waypoint, used to construct the route
Sight, here you can see something
Viewpoint, a short stop for taking a picture
Stopping point, for hotel, lunch, etc
Attention, see the text in the waypoint for more information

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René Plücken (MRA-Senior)
The images and text displayed here originate from the Wikipedia article "Sabah", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.
About this region
Sabah (Malay pronunciation: [saˈbah]) is a state of Malaysia located on the northern portion of Borneo, in the region of East Malaysia. Sabah has land borders with the Malaysian state of Sarawak to the southwest and Indonesia's Kalimantan region to the south. The Federal Territory of Labuan is an island just off the Sabah coast. Sabah shares maritime borders with Vietnam to the west and the Philippines to the north and east. Kota Kinabalu is the state capital city, the economic centre of the state, and the seat of the Sabah state government. Other major towns in Sabah include Sandakan and Tawau. The 2015 census recorded a population of 3,543,500 in the state, and in 2019 it was estimated to have grown to over 3.9 million. Sabah has an equatorial climate with tropical rainforests and abundant animal and plant species. The state has long mountain ranges on the west side which forms part of the Crocker Range National Park. Kinabatangan River, the second longest river in Malaysia runs through Sabah, and Mount Kinabalu is the highest point of Sabah as well as of Malaysia. The earliest human settlement in Sabah can be traced back to 20,000–30,000 years ago along the Darvel Bay area at the Madai-Baturong caves. The state has had a trading relationship with China starting from the 14th century AD. Sabah came under the influence of the Bruneian Empire in the 14th and 15th centuries, while the eastern part of the territory was given to the Sultanate of Sulu because the Sultanate had helped the Bruneian empire in a battle and as such it was given to them as a gift between the 17th and 18th centuries. The state was subsequently acquired by the British-based North Borneo Chartered Company in the 19th century. During World War II, Sabah was occupied by the Japanese for three years. It became a British Crown Colony in 1946. On 31 August 1963, Sabah was granted Independent and self-government by the British. Following this, Sabah became one of the founding members of the Federation of Malaysia (established on 16 September 1963) alongside Sarawak, Singapore (expelled in 1965), and the Federation of Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia or West Malaysia). The federation was opposed by neighbouring Indonesia, which led to the Indonesia–Malaysia confrontation over three years along with the threats of annexation by the Philippines along with the Sultanate of Sulu, threats which continue to the present day.Sabah exhibits notable diversity in ethnicity, culture and language. The head of state is the Governor, also known as the Yang di-Pertua Negeri, while the head of government is the Chief Minister. The government system is closely modelled on the Westminster parliamentary system and has one of the earliest state legislature systems in Malaysia. Sabah is divided into five administrative divisions and 27 districts. Malay is the official language of the state; and Islam is the state religion, but other religions may be practised in peace and harmony in any part of the state. Sabah is known for its traditional musical instrument, the sompoton. Sabah has abundant natural resources, and its economy is strongly export-oriented. Its primary exports include oil, gas, timber and palm oil. The other major industries are agriculture and ecotourism.
Amount of visits (Sabah)
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Route collections
The route collections by MyRoute-app are collections of multiple routes that belong to each other and checked by MRA RouteXperts. All routes are identical for TomTom, Garmin and MyRoute-app Navigation.
View route collection The best Sabah Road Trip Borneo Malaysia
About this route collection
Based on the routes of “Rider Chris” from Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, this 11-day Motorcycle Tour in Sabah Borneo is a passionate motorcyclist and loves to share his travel adventures with the community through his website and social media. The link to his website can be found in the first route.

This route collection was created with his permission.

Seen as one of the most beautiful provinces in Malaysia, Sabah is known for its scenic landscape with spectacular mountains, beautiful beaches, surreal sunsets, rich culture, friendliest people, winding roads, tall waterfalls, national parks and much more!

The roads in Malaysia are generally in good condition, but beware; there are also parts where the asphalt is poor and there can be potholes in the road surface. This can be dangerous, so caution is advised. During the rainy season (September-December) the roads can be slippery. Traffic in Malaysia drives on the left side of the road.

You can rent a motorcycle in Malaysia, but these are usually lighter models and often scooters. You can spend the night in hotels, B & Bs or campsites, which can easily be booked via the website in the review or via