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Tabin Wildlife Resort
Reviewed December 4, 2013

After a bumpy road, arrived at the TWR. What a place! We were secretly hoping for a river lodge, but we got hill lodge n. 6, that meant 143 stairs up. The view from the room is exquisite, at this point the river lodge was forgotten. Rooms are clean, shower is basic, but it works.
Food was not superb, but we were never hungry.
The walks, trips with the jeep were much fun, and we saw quite some animals. This was definitely a stay to remember. It was like our own little paradise in the jungle.
The white crowned hornbills were a treat, sitting so close to our room.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Inge_Steffen
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed November 27, 2013 via mobile

I did the 3 day 2 night trip to Tabin, i had a nice time but it's very over priced for what you get. The lodge set up is lovely, nice location, and my room was really nice set up in the jungle with great views. The trip is expensive and therefore I'd expect them to fill my time when there. I arrived by 10am but my first activity wasn't until 3pm despite advertising that if you check in before 11am there is a guided activity! Whilst it's lovely to hang around the lodge I'd prefer a guided event, especially when paying that much money. On the first day we walked to the mud volcano and it was really disappointing, we hardly saw anything, I appreciate it's not a zoo and you can't guarantee what we do see but it was disappointing. That night my night drive was cancelled due to the rain, that I accept but there was no offer to take me out the following night instead, so I missed out on one activity. The following day was more active and successful but again there was a time when after a drive I was given the option to take myself off for a small walk but the guide didn't accompany me so I didn't spot anything. I found the people really friendly and nice food and service but they do need to lower their prices and improve the itinerary. A the current price and itinerary I personally feel there are better options out there.

  • Stayed: November 2013
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3  Thank Riss2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 15, 2013

We stayed at the tabin wildlife reosrt for 3 nights in a riverside cabin. The cabin is very nice, with ac and a fan. The bathroom is a little bit old, but oke, if you consider the jungle experience this is oke.
We had a guide named Esrael, he is very good, if not say almost fanatic (in a good way) in spotting animals. We do recommend him highly.
We saw on our stay a lot off pygmy elephants and a lot off birds, flying squirrels and leopard cats.
If you stay here you have to go to the mudvolcano and do the night safari! The night safari is great for the cats.
The food is oke, but do not expect a lot off choice. If you go to Borneo, this place is not to be missed especially for the wildlife!

Room Tip: Ask for a riverside cabin, you have a nice view off the river.
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  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Wim v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 9, 2013

What stupid comments some people write!
My husband and I have just returned from a fortnight's birding in Sabah. We stayed for 2 nights at Tabin and had a tailor-made itinerary with just the two of us, our guide (Ck Leong) and a guide from the resort (Wongtong). We loved our cabin - the beds were comfy and the room spacious. We had a verandah furnished with 2 chairs and a table overlooking the river. It was lovely and peaceful sitting there.
The bathroom was fine and I cannot understand why anyone would complain about the lack of towels! How many do you need for heaven's sake??? And exactly what toiletries did you need? There is bio-degradable body and hairwash provided in every bathroom.

The food was plentiful and delicious with unlimited free juice, water, tea and coffee. There are five meals a day: little breakfast, big breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner. Both breakfasts offered a full selection of hot and cold items the only difference being the time at which they were served. Lunch and dinner were three courses with plenty of choice. We found everywhere to be clean and there were citronella candles burning near the buffet and on all the dining tables to keep the flies and mosquitoes away. What do people expect when they are staying somewhere equatorial in a forest and near to water? Don't they think before they book?

During our stay we followed some trails, birded by the road-side and walked into the forest not following any paths. None of us got leeches but we did see some wonderful birds! If it is wet and muddy, all you have to do is borrow some wellies for free. Hardly difficult.

We stayed out late (i.e. after dark) but didn't see much which was disappointing but that's how it is when you are looking for wildlife. Sometimes you drop lucky, sometimes you don't.

I enjoyed the foot soak but be warned! it is a DIY experience!

It was a bit frustrating not to be able to walk about more on our own but to be fair, there are dangerous animals around. Trying to get close to a wild animal can result in a mauling or even death. These are NOT pets, something which many people fail to appreciate. There are, however, opportunities for visitors to sit and watch the wild-life by the river or in the main complex or on the swings under the banyan tree near the pond.

We found everyone at the resort to be polite and helpful.

There's nothing wrong with Tabin - some of the people who go there just have the wrong attitude.

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank seedyromPreston
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 6, 2013

We visited the resort in October 2013 on the 3D2N tour. 1750 Ringit per person.

Price: Absolutely ridiculously overpriced. And worst of all they charge you for everything they can. Arriving early/late or want to leave early or late? Pay 100/person (even if another car is driving anyway they will still charge you for no reason whatsoever) . Need a power adapter? Pay. Coke, Soda, WATER : pay It is annoying and does not match the price. Their prices for everything are reasonable but it is just a joke to have to pay for every little thing ...

Hotel: The rooms are ok. Nothing fancy but compfy beds and AC + Fan.
NO TV, NO www, not a lot of towels or anything at all. Very basic. but ok for us. The Sheds are build out of wood with a metal shell so that it is very very loud when it rains (which it does on a lot of nights) so BRING EAR PLUGS
The walkways are falling apart and need maintenance.
The couches in the public sitting area where covered in black fungus and dirty
Dinning hall was clean a lot of flies.. but there is not much you can do I guess..

Setting: The reservoir is in the middle of a lot of plantations but it quite big - the roads to and from the resort are also the main roads for the tours so that you usually have the jungle on one side and the plantations on the other. Really beautiful jungle. But be sure you bring tons of insect repellant and also anti-leeches clothing. Quite a lot of those blood suckers got to me...

The tours: They drive you in pick ups with benches on the back along the main road and are on the look out for birds, monkeys and elephants. The elephants take the same route most days so that I think it is almost certain that your guide can show you the herd. Very nice to see a herd of about 20-25 animals or so... Other than that the trekking was more like 1-2 hour als with not much to see besides the jungle and birds. If you are a nature LOVER and Birdwatcher you will LOVE this place. If you are a normal tourist looking for a fun experience this is NOT the place to go to.
The waterfall is quite nice. a short walk from the truck (400 meters to be exact) you'll get to a small river that leads to a nice little waterfall where you can swim. If you've been around Asia a bit it is not too special but anyway a nice swim.

Food; Rice + vegetables + chicken or fish. Everything meaty is fried usually .... the food overall i really ok but absolutely does not fit the pricing or deserves any great reviews. You can eat it but it is not good or great.

Staff: Friendly and helpful.
Management: unfriendly. We were greeted by the manager with "What do you want near my office" when we visited the little store (which is in his office) and his mood did not improve much in the following days.


Overall it really depends what you are looking for. We were disappointed even though the nature is beautiful. but we felt the Hotel part of the deal was a huge disappointiment ....
As an example: NOT once was our group asked what we want to see but we were just taken on tours that the guides felt like doing. When we asked what else we could do besides the morning jungle trek the answer was: Only f you pay extra ...then we can go for a drive...

  • Stayed: October 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank TravelRaoul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2013

Tabin was a disappointment. The cabin was comfortable, the bed was the best we had in Sabah, and we saw some superb wildlife there. Unfortunately, the overall 'feel' of the place, for me, was unloved, and mean spirited. On our first night drive, the lamp didn't work, our guide had not charged the battery on the device he was to use, to encourage night birds to call so we could see them, and awful of awful, the other vehicle out that night, was allowing the guests to use full flash photography on nocturnal creatures! I have day vision and a flash hurts my eyes, so how would the poor nocturnal creatures feel? blinded maybe?
Whilst staying at our previous lodge, we had encountered a rather loud, disruptive individual who had talked loudly the whole time we were on a night drive. This same individual had turned up at Tabin too, and was on the next table to us. He was so loud and intrusive we could not have a normal conversation whilst eating. I explained to our guide about our previous encounter with him and asked to change tables to avoid him. Which was accommodated without fuss. We were due to have our night drive with the private guide we had paid for and booked, and I was informed this same loud individual would be joining us. What on earth were they thinking???? We were going to look for the shy and elusive frog mouths, had booked a private nightdrive, explained this person was loud and disruptive, and THEY HAD TOLD HIM HE COULD GO WITH US!!!!! I was furious. They did sort this out and told the chap he could not go with us. the atmosphere between this young man and us after this was strained to say the least, I feel they put all the blame onto me. Considering this situation should not have happened in the first place and it was their incompetence that caused it, and there was no apology forthcoming, I remain unhappy and aggrieved by their lack of consideration. The food was adequate, but I was a little surprised that the staff ate first. At all the other places we stayed, the paying quests were the priority. Others have had great experiences at Tabin, and I respect their views, unfortunately, I cannot say the same, and give a health warning on this place.......... you, as a guest, are not their priority at Tabin.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank DebraTaylorMBE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 21, 2013

We stayed at the Tabin Wildlife Resort during our trip to Borneo. i have to admit we originally picked it because Danum was simply too expensive. however, after the wonderful time we had there, I think this place should feature on everybody's itinerary in Sabah, as a highlight in its own right.

Our accomodation was great, luxurious even considering we were in the middle of the jungle. Food was decent (again, considering the practical difficulties). The staff were very helpful. But the highlight was of course the jungle, with all its animal spotting possibilities. Our guide was both very friendly and incredibly knowledgeable about wildlife and jungle trees and plants. Thanks to him and the great programme of activities, we managed to see so many things, from honey trees to wild cats, mouse deers, exotic birds, a flying lemur and even a group of wild Borneo pigmy elephants! The night walk was great, as was the dusk drive. we also enjoyed very much the various jungle walks, and the swim in the natural pool. The mud volcano was fun.

I definitely recommend that place!

Room Tip: If you do not feel like walking up and down the hill four to five times a day, ask for a river bunga...
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank arthemise21
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: Jalan Tunku, Lahad Datu 91125, Malaysia
Location: Malaysia > Sabah > Lahad Datu
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 6 Specialty Lodging in Lahad Datu
Price Range: $563 - $607 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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