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The serene Lawas River against the mountains of Sarawak's interior.

Lawas is a small frontier town in the northeastern corner of Sarawak state in Malaysian Borneo. The town is located in a strip of Sarawak territory sandwiched between the Temburong district of Brunei and Malaysia's Sabah state. It is cut off from the rest of Sarawak and is more easily accessed from Sabah.

The town does not have many attractions to interest the traveller but you may find yourself here if you are travelling overland between Sabah and Sarawak. Quiet and peaceful, Lawas is quite pleasant if you have to stop for a day or two.

Lawas is also the starting point for the logging road to Ba Kelalan in the Sarawak Highlands.

Get in

By air

Lawas has an airport (code LWY)(Tel: +60-85-211200) which is served by the rural air service provided by MASWings [1] which took over from FlyAsian Xpress (FAX) on October 1, 2007. Twin Otter planes link Lawas with Ba Kelalan, Kota Kinabalu, Limbang and Miri.

  • To/from Ba Kelalan: Flights on Mondays and Saturdays. One way fare is RM46 before fuel surcharge and other fees.
  • To/from Kota Kinabalu: Two flights a week. From Kota Kinabalu, flights depart on Tuesdays and Sundays while from Lawas, flights depart on Mondays and Sundays. Fare is RM54 one way before taxes and surcharges and journey time is 45 minutes.
  • To/from Limbang: Flights on Mondays and Wednesdays. One way fare is RM34 before fuel surcharge and other fees.
  • To/from Miri: At least four flights daily, with some flights going through Limbang. One way fare is RM60 before fuel surcharge and other fees.

By road

The road network in Lawas is directly linked to Sabah while access to the rest of Sarawak requires you to travel through Brunei. You will most likely find yourself in Lawas if you are travelling overland between Sabah and Sarawak. See Kota Kinabalu to Brunei in a day. Lawas is also the starting point for the ex-logging trail to Ba Kelalan.

  • To/from Sabah: Travel to/from Sabah is straight forward as there is a direct road from Lawas to the Sabah-Sarawak border at Merapok 35km away, where the road continues to Kota Kinabalu via Sipitang, Beaufort and Papar. Please note that non-Sarawak residents have to go through immigration procedures at Merapok and Sindumin on the Sabah side of the border.
  • To/from Temburong, Brunei: Temburong is connected by road to Lawas town via Trusan, where there is a ferry crossing. The Brunei-Sarawak border is at Labu but there is only a Brunei immigration checkpoint there. You will have to sort out your Sarawak immigration requirements, whether being stamped in or out of the state, at the immigration post at Trusan (officially known as the Mengkalap immigration post), 20km from Lawas and about 8km from the actual border. Previously, the checkpoint operates out of a corner shoplot in a row of shops just east of the ferry. Since the new customs and immigration checkpoint completed on 2011 all documentation could be completed at the new checkpoint. From Labu, its another 20km to Bangar, the administrative centre for Brunei's Temburong district. You should also head to Temburong if you want to go to Limbang, Miri and the rest of Sarawak.
  • To/from Ba Kelalan: The 125km road to Ba Kelalan is a former logging trail, and conditions can be pretty bad especially during the rainy season. The road is only suitable for four-wheel drives and the journey takes at least six hours. The road goes through at least 20 villages in the Long Sukang, Long Luping and Long Semadoh areas.

By bus

Minivans and local buses operated by the Lawas Bus Company Sdn Bhd link Lawas neighbouring towns like Trusan, Punang, Sundar and Merapok as well as Beaufort in Sabah. Most minivans leave in the morning. Air conditioned long-distance express buses connect Lawas with Kota Kinabalu and towns in between like Sipitang and Beaufort. Sipitang Express Bus Sdn Bhd [2] (Tel: +60-(0)16-8326722 in Lawas, +60-88-213722 in Kota Kinabalu) runs one daily bus to Kota Kinabalu, departing at 12:30. From Kota Kinabalu, buses depart at 07:30. Journey is about five hours (two hours to Beaufort) and the one way fare is RM20 or RM11 for Beaufort. The Lawas Bus Company runs a daily express bus service to and from Kota Kinabalu in Sabah leaving Lawas in the morning and returning from Kota Kinabalu at 1pm, arriving in Lawas at about 5pm. RM30 one way.

To get to Ba Kelalan, private four-wheel drives usually offer seats to passengers. They cost around RM40 one way. Check around where buses and taxis stop.

By boat

Boats connect Lawas with Brunei, Labuan and Limbang.

  • To/from Brunei: Boat (Seri Menanti) from Brunei departs from the Serasa Ferry Terminal in Muara daily at 9:30am. From Lawas, the boat departs from the Customs wharf at 12:00 noon. Fare from Brunei to Lawas is B$20. Fare from Lawas to Brunei is RM25.
  • To/from Labuan: Daily boats depart Lawas for Labuan at 08:00 and return from Labuan at 12:30.
  • To/from Limbang: One daily boat either direction. Boats leave Lawas early in the morning and return from Limbang in the afternoon.

Get around

Lawas town is small enough to get around on foot. There are local buses and minivans linking Lawas with neighbouring towns and villages like Trusan, Sundar, Awat Awat, Kuala Lawas, Long Tuma and Merapok on the Sabah-Sarawak border.


kuala lawas Punang Beach Awat-Awat


Pesta Lawas , Festival Chak Go Mei in Lawas Hock Teck Shi Temple


1. Famous for its highland iodine salt which is good for preventing thyroid disease.
2. The Bakalalan fine rice is also a delicacy, costing around MYR 20 per 'gantang'.
3. The local Lumbawang Nasi Bungus (rice wrapped in Leave) can be purchased at the Bus station stall, its handy to carry around and goes well with salted fish and tapioca leafs, popular food amongst the local native.
4. A small fish called Beritus found around the Punang, Kuala Lawas coast line is cheap and tasty. It is usually seasoned with salt and deep fried.
5. The famous rich and poor food, the Salai (also called Tahai) is made from the small Tamban fish. It is a smoked fish, can be preserved for long period, locals like to add it into a dish called "Masak Lemak", which is a curry containing onion, chilli and tamarind to make into hot spicy paste which is a perfect match with white rice or Nasi Bungkus.

There are several good Chinese restaurant and noodle stalls in Lawas. The Kolo mee is the most popular breakfast, and tea time dish for both the Chinese and the Lumbawang (local native) As for the restaurants, Lawas is famous for its Soon Hock fish, or locally known as Batutu by the Malays. It is a river fish found in the Lawas river and Trusan river, it costs more than MYR 100 per kg in Sabah. You can get it for less than MYR 100 in Lawas (ready cooked). Another famous fish from the Trusan river rapid is the "Ikan Sema", price and quality is on par with the Batutu. Other than these, Lawas also has the steam glutinous rice pack wrapped in leaves with meat or spicy dry prawn fillings.


As Lawas is a part of Sarawak, the famous local Sarawakian food, known as Kolo mee, is a must try. It is different from the Sabah and West malaysian Kolo Mee. Sarawak "Kolo mee" is made from a type of raw noodles that is boiled in hot water till cooked, then take out and drain the water, stir mixed with light soy sauce, fried onion, spring onion chips, and lard. The end product will be a dry stir mixed noodle with a small bowl of soup that cost only plus minus Rm 3.00. It has become so popular that,local Chinese and natives virtually cant resist this dish for their breakfast and afternoon tea break. this dish originated from Sibu among the Foochow.



There are plenty of hotels in Lawas, but no lodges around it. The hotels price range is around RM 50 as the cheapest, and the most expensive rate for a night is at RM 170.


Get out

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