Tabin Wildlife Reserve
Tabin Wildlife Reserve
4
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Duration: More than 3 hours
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Address
KM 49, Jalan Tungku, Lahad Datu 91100 Malaysia
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Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

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4.0
4.0 of 5 bubbles151 reviews
Excellent
70
Very good
52
Average
24
Poor
4
Terrible
1

whiteknight
Bournemouth, UK109 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2019 • Couples
This resort is set on a river in Malaysia’s largest wildlife reserve. Accommodation is in simple but comfortable lodges - either along the river or on the hillside all with private balcony overlooking the river. Beware the hillside lodges if you are not good with steps as there are quite a few steep steps up to these lodges.
Lodges are linked by a boardwalk to the main lodge & dining area. Food is served as a buffet & there is also a bar.
Activities include walking tours through the forest & jeep safaris. Given its location, it rained a lot whilst we were there so come prepared with waterproofs & leach socks are a must if you are out walking.
The trail through the forest to the mineral rich mud volcano was quite hard going in the pouring rain & we saw very little wildlife. Luckily by the time we reached the volcano it had stopped raining & the sun had come out & we were able to see wildlife from the observation tower.
We had just a 400m walk to the jungle waterfall from the road side where a jeep had dropped us off. It had started to rain by the time we reached the water, in order to see the waterfall you either had to get into the water & swim round or wade through the water with your wellies on to the other side & walk around on the path. Neither option appealed to me, so I opted out.
The jeep safaris were by far my favourite activity with plenty of wildlife on show. Even from the balcony of our lodge you could see the forest full of birds etc.
Written 22 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

petersjsim
Tawau, Malaysia2,186 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2022 • Friends
The setting of lodging units is simply unexpectedly picturesque and comfortable beyond you can imagine right in the middle of the jungle. Both lodging units, along the riverbank and along the terrain of the hill, are on a beautiful setting with a balcony in each unit. The river bank units is more suitable for the seniors and the hillside lodges are good for those energetic young lads.
The food catered in the restaurant is a five stars standard, it is better than many resorts in the wild and on certain islands in the state. The staffs are very friendly and the rangers are knowledgeable and helpful. On this promotion rate, it is really a value for your dollar!
Written 10 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

robyn r
Melbourne, Australia272 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2022
This resort is an absolute delight. Set in the forest, food and lodgings are basic and more like a boarding house. But it has a charm of its own.
There are two kinds of lodges. River Lodges where number 1 is closest to the main building extending to room 10. Then there are Hill Lodges. One and two are close to the main building and for all others you need to be a mountain goat.
We were lucky enough to see a pangolin, a colugo, a mouse deer and a tarsier. The longer you are there, the more you will see. One of their guides, Paul, is the best there is. If you are lucky enough to get him, count it as a special bonus.
One small caution. Their internet can be very iffy. It wasn’t working when we tried to pay our bill on leaving and the finance person was very pushy trying to get us to transfer money from our own bank account to theirs. If you have this problem, it’s easier and quicker to settle your account at their Lahad Datu office on your way to your next destination.
Written 10 July 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Wingeliba
Oslo, Norway47 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2020 • Couples
Tabin Wildlife Resort is worth a visit. We had the 3 days 2 nights package and super happy with our visit. Knowledgeable guides, airy accommodation and the rest of the facility. Food basic, but tasty and plentiful. Plus for a nice supply of fresh fruits.
Written 4 March 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Hobbitsoft
Worthing, UK157 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Couples
We stayed for a couple of nights and can really recommend this place.
The accommodation was top notch along with the food but above all the people made it.
We did a few safaris and saw a lot of wildlife including elephants, loads of monkeys, gibbons, hornbills and monitors. Also lucky enough to see several leopard cats.
Stand out people worthy of reward by the resort are:
Rafael- our guide
Izan - his trainee
Gerry our driver
In the restaurant we had Chi and Zeus.
Written 26 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Linds M
Brisbane, Australia10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2013 • Couples
Tabin was AWESOME. Our guide, Izrail (do yourself a favour and request him), was so incredibly knowledgable about the rain forests, birds, mammals and reptiles of Tabin he made our whole Tabin experience truly memorable and went out of his way to show us everything he could. It was a lovely 3D 2N package that opened our eyes to the biodiversity and beauty of Borneo and the staff, food and accommodation was most pleasant. I would have loved to stay longer. Foot soak was wonderful! Great Gibbon and Pygmy Elephant sightings as well as many beautiful birds and other smaller mammals. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Written 1 February 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Søren Smed
Siem Reap, Cambodia45 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2012 • Couples
NOTE: This is *NOT* a Zoo, so don't expect to stand next animals all the time. This is a wonderful natural environment where you might spot animals, might not, and even if, maybe only for a second of two. Go here if you want to experience animals in the jungle - with all that entails.

This is an amazing trip to take. We stayed 3 night at the resort and experienced at plethora of things. From watching a pack of elephants graze for a hour just before nightfall, to close to a hundred long-tail and pig-tailed maccaques cross a dirt road. Gibbons, snakes, monitor lizards, leopard cats, flying squirrels and a flying mouse, mouse deers and many other animals we spotted. It was truly amazing to see animals in their natural habitat in the middle of the jungle.

The most amazing non-animal thing we did was go to a waterfall in the middle of the jungle which was W-O-W!! Like the blue lagoon (only the water wasn't blue - but still clean and lovely), where we swam for an hour - we had it all to ourselves.

This is a hidden gem of Borneo!
Written 21 August 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

beuna
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia51 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2010
Stayed 3 days 2 nights at Tabin. Wrong timing I guess because 1st day I arrived it was heavy rain half way to the Sambar Deer Trail. I love night Safary, must try!!!! A little bit disappointed because unable to see the waterfall. Mud volcano fantastic but long way to go. Food was great. Staff all excellent and very helpful.
Written 27 January 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Roger-Sydney
Sydney202 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Tabin Wildlife Reserve
Getting there -They will pick you up at whatever your arrival location is at Lahad Datu be it bus station or airport. You must then proceed to their local office and make your initial payment before proceeding to Tabin. You then travel out of town then onto a rough gravel Road thru Palm Oil Plantations for several hours. Make sure they provide a 4 wheel drive otherwise the journey in a van will be hell. This is a private plantation road and has 4 security checkpoints to pass through. Each of these 4 segments is individually owned by private plantation oil companies.
On Arrival-Fast Eddie the manager will give you his colourful speel.
Accommodation - Individual Chalets either on the river or a little higher up down towards the rock pool. Chalets have air conditioners and ceiling fans. Its nice along the river as you can see the water and watch it rise in a downpour.
Privacy and ambience-this place can accommodate 60 or so at any one time. I personally would hate this experience as it would loose its quiet appeal. The saving grace while I was there was that only 4 people were there. On departure day very large groups started to arrive.
Food - mixture of western foods, hot chips, junk food etc. Drinks at the bar.
Jungle - Primary Rainforest in the conservation area. 150 metres down from the Chalets on the entrance road are palm trees to one side of the road. The other side is jungle.
Activities - You can take one of the many Jungle Treks although it may be prudent to take a guide as you may get lost as they are not well signposted or obvious. Volcanic Mud Pool is around 2.5 ks away and best viewed either very early 0530 am or late in the arvo (sun will be behind your back). Night Safari-on the back of a safari vehicle with the guide up front flashing the spotlight around furiously trying to catch animals eyes-not very experienced at correctly using a spotlight and he will shine it in your eyes. They just follow the entrance road out for a while then turn around. Better road would be into the conservation area but their vehicle not up to the wet conditions of the road.
Rock Pool-great for just sitting in during the heat of the day and cooling down. Watch out if you cross the rock pool to walk upstream as the stream will be impassable if there is heavy rain upstream while you walk. I watched it rise by over a metre after a heavy downpour. Use blockout if swimming in direct sunshine as you may not notice the intensity.
Animals-Went hiking by myself and tracked down two elephants in the Palm trees around 250 metres away from the Chalets, got within 20 metres and got some great pics. Monkeys were to be seen crossing the power wires 300 metres away when standing on the bridge as you head into the conservation area. Pigs and other small creatures were seen on the night trip.
Guides -seemed to have experienced too much of the good life. All of them are from KK and are shipped over to work their. Sabah Air has a long term occupation lease on Tabin. Sabah Air is government owned. For me the guides were hard to motivate to get out of the camp. All are very well fed.
Gripes-Overall experience leaves a lot to be desired. Guides poor. The connecting timber walkways have steel chicken wire on top to assist with slippery times. This is torn/damaged and sticking up in many places and will leave you with wire in your sandles or feet. The gum boots they provide for the mud volcanoe trek only go up to around a western size 10. I did the trek in running shoes and was just careful with the bog holes we encountered. The mud volcanoe is not all its cracked up to be but great if you want to apply mud to your face/body.The night nature spotlight trip poor quality. Their information/management centre 100 metres from the chalets is a dead loss and not very informative.
If you buy additional things while there on your return to Lahad Datu they take you back to the local office where you must settle your account again. They are keen to get you to Lahad Datu airport early but this is not essential as you do not need much time at this regional airport to check in. 1 Hour before is plenty. If you arrive heaps early check in then walk around town. Your bags will be x-rayed so as you walk in the airport door just head over to the right and place your bags through. Otherwise they will chase you to do so anyway. Meals and drinks are available in the waiting room.
Value for money-Poor
Would I recommend Tabin to my friends-No.
Written 31 May 2007
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Norman S
East Anglia116 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2012 • Couples
Our chalet was about 50 feet above the river with air con (in the jungle!!). To sit on the balcony with a G&T in one hand and binoculars in the other looking at the wildlife like hornbills and kingfishers - Can life get any better?
To reach the resort is a rocky ride from Lahad Datu which takes about 90 minutes. You will lose fillings if you aren't careful! The road runs between the palm oil plantations to the left and the jungle on the right. Keep your eyes peeled because there is much wildlife and birds to be seen and you have not even arrived.
Like other jungle lodges we stayed in (see notes for Danum and Abai) I assume that you are coming for the wildlife. Again the role of guide and driver is crucial to what you will see. The guides at this resort led by Esrael were the best we encountered. They are all very experienced and about 4 or 5 have been headhunted from Danum. (I couldn't resist the head hunting bit). Because the jungle is "secondary" forest, the animals are more easily seen. I can't remember how many species we saw in a couple of hours walk around the lodge - simply loads. One of the main highlights for me were the flying squirrels - one red and one black. Spectacular video op if you have a camera with low light capabilities because they "fly" at dusk. Unlike Danum the afternoon/evening drive is fantastic. Something special is almost guaranteed.
Food and drink are fairly basic but good . The chalets are more than basic but not fantastic. We spent 2 nights here before moving on to Danum.
If you have to choose only one jungle lodge then this would be the best of the 3 we stayed in. it is truly ideal for anyone who wants to see jungle and animals in relaxed surroundings.
Written 30 April 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Tabin Wildlife Reserve - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

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