A visit to Tabin Wildlife Reserve is highly recommended if wildlife is the focus of your Borneo trip. A nature and wildlife reserve created in 1984 to preserve Sabah’s disappearing wild animals and their habitat, the reserve occupies a large part of the peninsula forming the northern headland of Darvel Bay, located 48 kilometers east of Lahad Datu. Tabin is Sabah’s largest wildlife reserve, a sanctuary that covers 120 square kilometers, including 90 square kilometers of primary unlogged forest.
Tabin is truly a wildlife hotspot; all eight species of Borneo’s hornbills have been recorded here, and on any visit it is likely you will see at least three of them – the resident family of white crowned hornbill, rhinoceros hornbill and wrinkled hornbill. The Borneo pygmy elephant is often seen across the river from the resort, and gibbon calls wake you up in the morning.
Tabin Wildife Resort is the only available accommodation and was set up in 1999 along the shallow banks of the Lipad River. Some of Tabin’s most important features are its mud volcanoes that serve as mineral salt licks for a lot of the wildlife, and attract large mammals including elephants, wild cattle (Tembadau), and bearded pigs. During your visit, you will trek to one of the mud volcanoes, visit a waterfall, and go on night drives in search of nocturnal wildlife.
10 River Lodge & 10 Hill Lodge with private bathroom and shower (hot shower), air-conditioning and private balcony
Buffet style. Vegetarians and special diets catered for.
Eating lounge (set time for meals), electricity via generator 24/7, wifi at eating lounge (ebbs and flow)
You will be accompanied by in-house guides at the resort for walks and 4×4 safaris surrounding the property for wildlife and nature observation.
We can also accommodate private guide or specialist guide eg. Birding guide requests.
Meet at Lahad Datu airport at noon. Upon registration at Tabin’s office outside the arrival hall of the airport, transfer to a local restaurant in town for lunch. After lunch, embark on a 1.5 hours journey to Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Check in and wander around the surrounding areas – the Lipad river area is home to a surprising variety of birds, insects and small mammals. Discover the rich variety of jungle herbs, some endemic, used for generations by local folks for the treatment of various ailments.
In the afternoon, trekking from the Elephant trail to the active Lipad mud volcano which provides a mineral salt lick for wildlife, arrive at the elevated bare area of the mud volcano which is frequented by wildlife and birds. Try to identify the multitude of animal footprints here. The adventurous can try the effects of the volcanic mud, said to be responsible for a fine complexion. Trek from the mud volcano back to the main road.
After dinner, go on a night safari in search of wildlife.
Join the early morning bird walk to discover some of Tabin’s rich collection of almost 300 bird species. After breakfast, a drive to the core area for animal’s spotting and for photo session before trekking to the Lipad Waterfall through the lush green rainforest known for its rich diversity of plants and animals. Take a dip in the natural pool and enjoy a natural and refreshing shower under the waterfall. Alternatively explore the surrounding vegetation or just relax.
In the afternoon, try out the Tabin Rainforest Foot Soak made with a natural blend of herbs, to relax tired muscles after long jungle treks. In the evening, a dusk drive to look out for more nocturnal wildlife & birds coming out to look for food during this time of the day. After dinner, go for a night walk along the trail nearby the resort in search of sleeping birds, frogs and nocturnal wildlife.
After breakfast, free and easy until check out. You may opt to take up a dawn drive or jungle walk to look out for wildlife that is active at this time of the day. (Optional activity not included in package: Dawn Drive and Jungle Walk). Transfer out is at 1:30 PM after lunch. You will be back in Lahad Datu by 3:00 PM – 3:30 PM for your onward journey.
Accommodation, meals, coffee, tea & drinking water, conservation fees, return transfers from Lahad Datu airport, guide and activities.
Travel to Lahad Datu, additional activities upon request.
Head lamp, mosquito repellent, sunscreen, hat, sunglasses, binocular, dry bag, money (no ATM), water bottle, toiletries, basic first aid kit, leech socks, swimming attire.
Daily based on a minimum booking of 2pax per departure.
Couples, families, and other travellers keen on wildlife. We consider Tabin Wildlife Resort a comfortable jungle lodge with an exclusive destination that is a must for travelers keen on spotting wildlife without too much hiking (some hiking but all safaris are on 4×4 drives). The areas surrounding the lodge is also very popular for birders.
Be aware that you will be in a reserve area and a sensitive environment. Consider your actions:
• Cut out plastic – remove and recycle plastic packaging before coming into the area
• Bring rechargeable batteries as disposable batteries leach toxic chemicals as they degrade in landfill, and recycling facilities are scarce in areas like the Malaysian Borneo
• Bring your own metal water bottle – you can fill up at the eating area instead of purchasing bottled water
• If you smoke, never throw your cigarette butts on the ground or in the forest – dispose of them in ashtrays or bins.
• During outdoor and nature activities, take your cues from the expert local guides. Follow their instructions when observing wildlife. Be aware that you may need to take extra care in these areas to respect the natural environment.