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“Short stay” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Tabin Wildlife Resort

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Tabin Wildlife Resort
3.0 of 5 Cabin/Campground   |   KM 49, Jalan Tungku, Lahad Datu 88300, Malaysia   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Kuala Lumpur
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“Short stay”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed May 20, 2013

I was there for work, stayed two nights at the Hill Rooms.

Overall, it was an impressive location for a resort, what with a river running right through it. You're in the forest, so the sounds and the sights are pretty. Service was commendable, with very friendly and helpful staff. Having chatted with the resort staff, I would definitely go back for at least 4-5 days stay and do all the tours as this is apparently THE place to see wildlife!

Note: Journey from the main road into the resort can get very bumpy. So if you are worried about getting car sick, do take the front seat and tell the driver to take it easy!

Room Tip: The rooms by the river are a good size and have a balcony overlooking the river. The hill rooms are...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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92 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    3
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (20)
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Te Awamutu
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 26, 2013

Wow! We loved the place. Yes it is a bumpy road trip of an hour or so. But it is worth it when you arrive. Such a beautiful setting. Great food even though it was rice 3 times a day. However staff are very obliging and when I asked for a cucumber and tomato sandwich one day for lunch instead of a hot meal,it was no trouble at all. We had a great guide called Donny, who was very knowledgeable. There is no guarantee of what you will see because you are dealing with wildlife, but we were more than happy with our sightings. All staff are friendly and the rooms are clean and comfortable. A well run outfit. Thoroughly recommended.

Room Tip: River cabins, unless you don't mind steps leading up to the hillside ones.
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Northern Ireland
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2013

Starting with the 1hr bumpy drive to and from the resort - For myself this was painful on the neck as there were no head supports in the mini vans which take visitors to and from Lahad Datu. Once arrived the rooms were quite spacious and well furnished but they could get quite stuffy during the day despite having air conditioining units. The resort was in the process of renovating some of the roomes whilst we were there. The riverside lodges had views with balcony overlooking the river - very pleasent. Our tour guide, Maldin was excellent and very knowledgeable. The highlights of our trip included a 2.8KM trek (~2.5hrs) to a beatiful waterfall where we got to swim and a night drive where were lucky enough to spot a Western Tarsier along with many wild Leopard Cats and Civets. Leech socks were very effective and our guide from Borneo Eco Tours purchased these on our behalf in Sandakan for 20RM but they are available at Tabin for 25RM. For each walk we were provided with wellies (but this could have been due to low occupency rate at the time we stayed) and some treks took us almost waist deep through rivers which was refreshing. We were told by the guide to wear trousers without zip off bottoms to reduce the chance of leeches getting in and no bright colours. We enjoyed the food at the restaurant - rice / noodles for nearly every meal. Whilst at Tabin we felt safe and appart from passing through a checkpoint when leaving Lahad datu there was no evidence of the conflict which occured earlier in the year.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
17 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 23, 2013

We had a very good time in Tabin. Our guide, Mohammed, was a great wildlife spotter, and we saw many species on our walks and drives. As it's secondary rather than primary rainforest, they prefer you to go on trucks rather than walk as the terrain is very muddy. We did walk to a volcano, slogging for 600 metres through nearly knee-deep mud in wellington boots. It was fun but hard work so I understand why there is an emphasis on trucks. On the drives, we saw a lot of interesting and unusual wildlife including the striped civet (a rare species), a colugo (a huge thrill as they are even rarer than the striped civet), palm civets, mouse and sambar deer, wild boar, long-tailed macaques and some amazingly beautiful birds. We also caught a glimpse of wild cattle which had not been seen round Tabin before so Mohammed was really excited about these. Round the lodge itself we saw gibbons, two hornbill species and other gorgeous birds, and a flying lizard who was cool. The food was good, the room comfy, the staff very friendly. Thoroughly recommend it.

Room Tip: We had a room by the river and hornbills and gibbons hung out in the trees on its banks
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  • Stayed April 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Perth, Australia
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 4, 2013

We had a great experience in Tabin. Our guide, Mohammed was very knowledgeable about the local wildlife and took us on several guided tours including a dusk tour where we saw, among other things, a flying squirrel, several species of hornbill and a couple of bee eaters. He also took us on a night-time walk to look for snakes. He found a viper for us - lurking above our heads in a tree (in my opinion, looking ready to pounce!). Mohammed informed us that a bite from this little guy would kill within an hour (the nearest hospital being probably 2-3 hours away!). We also saw some HUGE ants, a giant bee and a really scary-looking stick insect. This is definitely not a tour for the squeamish!

We also went on a day trip to a mud volcano and for a swim in a nearby waterfall. We were disappointed not to see any pygmy elephants or orang-utans (as is the unpredictable nature of wild animals!) but we did see plenty of other wildlife and got some great photos.

The accommodation was actually better than imagined - our room had air-conditioning and the bed was really comfortable. It was lovely falling asleep listening to the sounds of the rainforest. My husband said he had the "best nap of his life" here, with the sound of the heavy rain falling against the roof!

The food we were given seemed like "proper" Malaysian cuisine (as in, what the locals would eat!) and there was free, filtered water on offer. Neither of which gave us any problems in the gastrointestinal department. You can also purchase soft drinks, wine and beer from the bar.

A word of advice would be to definitely bring LOTS of mosquito repellent and some waterproof clothing. The resort had umbrellas and Wellington boots that we could borrow. I also wish we'd thought to pack a pair of binoculars as a lot of the birds and other wildlife spotted from the vehicle was a long way off.

Overall a great rainforest experience!

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kuala Lumpur
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 5, 2012

I would like to give it 3.5 but tripadvisor doesn't allow this so i gave a 4.
I agree with one of the earlier reviewers regarding the ease of treks and the need to clean up the hill lodges. It is definitely a place for people with mobility issues (except for the hill lodges which seem much more challenging than the walks we had. It is difficult to maintain lodges in good condition in the tropics but as reviewed earlier, for the price, the administration should invest more in staff training and maintenance materials. However, the staff did mention they will be doing maintenance when low season comes.
Our guide, Palin, was friendly, attentive and quite knowledgeable on birds. He warned us of the danger of elephants and what we should do if we were unfortunate to meet a bull elephant. We didnt see any elephants sadly as there wasn't any spotted on the kinabatangan as well.
The river lodges were nice. Everything worked. Water heater could be hotter but this can be fixed if you reduced the water pressure. Food is average. Staff service adequate.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 26, 2012

We have just returned from 3 night, 2 day, a stay at Tabin. It is probably the best place to see wild orang-utans, gibbons, elephant (all of which we saw) in Borneo because it is situated between primary and secondary forest, so not too dense. Another highlight was the waterfall walk/swim.

Once we explained to our guide that we were interested in the plant life and not just primates, about which he was very interesting, and once we asked for shorter drives (2+ hr drives in search of orang-utans in uncomfortable vehicles is too much, and unnecessary), and once we cancelled the night drives, we enjoyed the stay.

However travellers should be aware that the accommodation is below basic standard and in need of renovation. It was superficially clean only and not particularly comfortable. And the food was no better than good, with limited choice --if you don't like noodles for breakfast you are left with toast with cheap sliced (and on one day mouldy) white bread. We felt for the price it should have been better. Its remote location is no excuse when you consider the far superior food and accommodation at e.g. Lankayan island. Take supplies and go prepared, but there is no denying the wildlife here ....

Room Tip: Close to the lodge - some have lots of steps
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Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Tabin Wildlife Resort

Address: KM 49, Jalan Tungku, Lahad Datu 88300, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Lahad Datu
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Specialty Lodging in Lahad Datu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Tabin Wildlife Resort 3*
Number of rooms: 20
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Tabin Was declared a wildlife reserve because of the large numbers of animal species inhabiting its forest, including several which are highly endangered. With a protected forest area of 120,500 hectares, Tabin plays an important role as a dedicated ground for the breeding of endangered wildlife and protected mammals in Sabah. Tabin Wildlife Resort offers visitor facilities and accommodation within the wildlife reserve to provide a comfortable stay whilst experiencing the spectacular Borneo flora and fauna. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tabin Wildlife Hotel Lahad Datu

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