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 94,100 in 2006. About half the population consists of ethnic Dusun, a third ethnic Bajau, and some Chinese. 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 34km 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 town 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 name Tuaran is believed to have come from the Malay word tawaran which means 'bargaining' or 'sale'. This presumably reflects on the town's earlier role as a market where natives from the hillside villages brought their produce for trading with the coastal Chinese and other indigenous peoples.
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 colored 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.
External link: Authentic Tuaran Noodles - Hinching