Highlights and main attractions of Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Situated to the east of Lahad Datu, the Tabin Wildlife Reserve is a vast dipterocarp rainforest landscape covering 122,500 hectares, making it Malaysia’s largest wildlife reserve. This expansive reserve is surrounded by oil palm plantations and was established as a national reserve in order to protect the abundant flora and fauna found within the forests, some of which is endangered.  It offers a true experience of rainforest adventure and some of the region’s wildlife highlights, in an eco-conscious environment where people and nature co-exist with minimal impact on natural resources. A highly recommended stop on any Borneo holiday.

Established in 1984, the park is located 50 kilometres from Lahad Datu which takes approximately 1-1.5 hours by car. It contains mud volcanoes which act as a salt-lick resource to the wildlife and birdlife of the area, who gain essential minerals and nutrients from the mud and water springs. Some visitors also decide to make use of the minerals found in the mud on their skin, as they are said to rejuvenate and replenish.

The local mud volcanoes offer the visitor the chance to get face-to-face with some of the rainforest’s most treasured animals, almost like filming a wildlife documentary.


Where is Tabin Wildlife Reserve?

Location and Activities

Sabah’s three largest mammals are resident in Tabin; the Sumatran rhino, banteng or tembadu (wild cattle) and Borneo pygmy elephant. Add to this seven of the eight primates, the largest predator –clouded leopard – and many smaller carnivorous animals and you have a good concentration of wildlife, although orangutan and proboscis monkey sightings can be rare. Some of Tabin’s tropical plants are also said to have medicinal qualities for those with an interest in healing plants. Many consider Tabin also to be a birder’s paradise, as there are over 250 recorded species including colourful and exotic wild birds such as sunbirds, pitta and all eight of Sabah’s hornbills.


The Lipad Waterfall can be hiked to and its waters provide a cooling and refreshing antidote after a busy day exploring the forest. The best place to stay during your time exploring Tabin is the comfortable Tabin Lodge overlooking the free flowing Lipad River.

As well as day treks and hikes on the trails throughout the reserve, night drives allow the visitor to see some of the more elusive and nocturnal characters.


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