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District and Town
View of Tuaran town.
View of Tuaran town.
Location of Tuaran
Tuaran is located in Borneo Topography
Coordinates: 6°11′0″N 116°14′0″E / 6.18333°N 116.23333°E / 6.18333; 116.23333
Country  Malaysia
State  Sabah
Division West Coast
 • Type District council
 • Body Tuaran District Council
 • District Officer Madiyem Layapan
 • Secretary of District Sadan Hussein
 • Total 1,166 km2 (450 sq mi)
Population (2010)
 • Total 102,411
 • Density 88/km2 (230/sq mi)
Postcode 892XX
Website www.sabah.gov.my/pd.trn

Tuaran is a town as well as a district located in West Coast Division, in the northwest of Sabah, East Malaysia on the island of Borneo. Tuaran district has an area of 1,166 square kilometres and an estimated population of 102,411 in 2010.[1] About half the population consists of ethnic Dusun and a third are of ethnic Bajau descent. The remainder are mostly of the Chinese community, particularly from the Hakka subgroup . It has a distinctive nine-story Chinese pagoda as a prominent landmark.

Nearby tourist attractions are the Mengkabong Water Village and the Penimbawan Water Village, with stilt houses built by the Bajaus over the shore. There are three big resorts in Tuaran District: the Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort, the Mimpian Jadi Resort, and the Sabandar Resort. In addition, there are several small 'resorts' offering accommodation, food, and water activities.

The town has the great advantage for being a stopover town for travellers from the north towns (Kudat, Kota Marudu, Kota Belud, and Tenghilan) to the state capital, Kota Kinabalu which is 34 km to the south of Tuaran. The town has been expanding fast and but is now limited by the Tuaran river which borders the town on three sides, almost circling it.

Every Sunday morning, Tuaran holds a big natives' open market known as Tamu by the Sabahans. Harvests of produce from nearby villages and valleys are brought to the market, such as fruits, vegetables, handicrafts, fish, homemade traditional cakes, traditional homegrown tobacco, and so on. The tamu supplies many great photo opportunities for tourists. The variety of goods to be seen is very impressive for the visitor. The Tuaran tamu is second only to the one in Kota Belud in terms of size and exotica.


The existence of Tuaran in colonial records can be traced as far back as 1813, in official letters by Sir Stamford Raffles, who at the time was the British Governor of Java, for permission to enter North Borneo by the invitation of the Bruneian Sultanate to deal with piracy issues at 'Jawaran'.

Jawaran is a corruption of the word 'Tawaran', which in turn evolved into the name 'Tuaran' as we know it today. The word tawaran has two meanings; the first meaning (in context of this township) is 'fresh water', referring to the area's importance as a source of freshwater for the locality.

Another meaning for Tawaran is 'to bargain', which refers to the trade activities that occurred in this locale even before the arrival of the British, who only managed to take control over Tuaran in 1884.[2]

Local drink[edit]

Tuaran is the home of the Lotud who is famous for their unique traditional liquor, called bahar (toddy made from coconut sap mixed with a special kind of tree bark known locally as rosok which makes the sap coloured red). This drink has been confirmed by chemists to have a high content of anti-oxidants. It is unfortunate, however, that this drink would taste very pungent and unpleasant to the uninitiated, and it goes bad very fast, becoming sour within a day.

Local cuisines[edit]

Tuaran mee, a traditional noodle dish from Tuaran.

Tuaran mee, literally known as 'noodle of Tuaran', is a famous hawker dish of Sabah. The noodles is specially made from batter of egg yolk and flour, which gives the aroma of egg when fried. Frying usually takes about 5-10 minutes in high heat that leaves a texture of golden crust at the bottom of the noodles. Local vegetables such as sawi are added in during frying. Before serving, the dish is usually garnished with slices of charseow, i.e. the Chinese sweetened roast pork, and fried egg rolls.


  1. ^ "Total population by ethnic group, administrative district and state, Malaysia, 2010" (PDF). Department of Statistics, Malaysia. 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2014. 
  2. ^ "Colonial Townships in Sabah: West Coast, 2012: Sabah", PAM Sabah Chapter, City Top Enterprise Sdn Bhd & Colourcoil Industries Sdn Bhd.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 6°11′N 116°14′E / 6.183°N 116.233°E / 6.183; 116.233