Kunak, Sabah


Kunak is a small town located in Tawau Division, east coast of Sabah. It was formerly a sub-district administered under the Lahad Datu District Office, but achieved its status as a full district on 1 June, 1981.

p4010142bPart view of Kunak town

grand-mosque-kunakGrand Mosque of Kunak

Its population was estimated at 48,571 in 2000. The population is mainly Bajau and Bugis.


There is also a sizeable Chinese population, involved in the running of most shops in the town. Many are also landowners who cultivate oil palms.

kunak-road-leading-jettyRoad leading to Kunak Fishing jetty

A jetty is situated about 2 km from the town, in an area named Pengkalan Kunak. A single road lined by wooden shophouses leads to the jetty and wet market.

kunak-fishing-jettyKunak Jetty where most of fishing boats moors

kunak-fishing-jetty2Another view at Kunak Jetty

kunak-fishing-boatsFishing boats at jetty

kunak-fishing-boat2A fishing boat approaching the jetty

kunak-sea-viewA sea view at Kunak.  Indonesian islands at the background 

kunak-community-hallKunak Community Hall 

kunak-hospitalHospital Kunak

In 2002, a 76-bed government hospital was built in the town. At around the same time, a new highway linking Kunak to the town of Semporna was also open.

Danum Valley Conservation Area and Madai Caves are the other popular tourist places that worth to visit beside Mataking Island.



  1. Cikgu Paul Tiskus,

    I’m one of your ex-student (science), and I can’t forget you especially your famous quote, ” Ada Otak, Ada Mata, Ada Buku Teks….. MEMBACA”….. ha..ha…ha…


  2. Hi Mazlan.
    How are you? You can fly direct to Tawau en route to Kunak with Malaysian Airline or Air Asia. There is none hotel worth to stay (* rated) but there are many of its in Tawau
    Thank you


  3. I intend to travel to Kunak late this year. Can someone recommend me how to get there. Where shall I disembark if I were to fly from Kota Kinabalu, is it nearer to Lahad Datu of Tawau? Is there any hotel in Kunak worth staying?
    Thank you.



  4. Dear Paul.

    That was my first visit to Kunak. Its seems that development takes place slowly but surely at Kunak. The lifestyle has not change too much with the physical development. A good place to live, abundant of nature and natural items.

    Would you like to come again to visit Kunak? Visit to the beautiful Sipadan and Mataking islands?
    Thank you


  5. Hello: I was an American Peace Corps Volunteer in Kunak from 1980 to 1982 teaching at SMK Kunak. Now, almost 30 years ago, I still have many fond memories of the places and people of Kunak. Thank you for the pictures and the memories – Kunak has changed a lot since then!


  6. Dear Jack

    How are you? Good to know that you were from Kunak. Kunak is a good place to live after a busy life in the big city.
    Thanks for your remarks.


  7. Dear Mat Salo.

    How are you? Hope you doing well. I was in Kunak on 1st April 2009. Not long ago.
    Very true, the scenery identical. Anyway, Kunak is in Kalimantan too.



  8. Assalamu’alaikum Pak Fathersez

    I also just curious to know what the urbanites think and experiemce the life in Kunak.

    To me its so good, laidback, quiet, peace etc.

    Thanks for your visit and thought


  9. Salam, Pak,

    Great pictures! Actually some of them could have been taken in Kudat, the similarities are so striking.

    I have been to Tawau, many years ago, but that was before the blogging fever…hehe.

    I wonder how a KLite would feel after 5 days in a place like Kunak.



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