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“An amazing option if you cannot get into Danum Valley”

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Tabin Wildlife Resort
Reviewed August 3, 2010

As the title indicates Danum was full, yet Tabin really came to my rescue and what a great rescue with a herd of elephants wandering around the camp, monkeys regularly running rampant through the cabins. The serenity and set up was second to none and staff fantastic. Whilst they have a little way to go to being truly worth their price point & target market they are new with a change over of staff that leaves me believing they'll be up and running in a matter of months.

  • Stayed: July 2010, traveled solo
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4  Thank ukjaninenz
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 29, 2010

My wife and I stayed here early May for 3 nights in one of the River Lodges (called so because these are situated next to the river, while the Hill Lodges were higher up the hill). Though it may be somewhat less popular than the more luxurious Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Danum Valley, this lodge too offers outstanding wildlife viewing. We stayed in both lodges and in general, we thought Tabin Wildlife Resort caters more for the individual, young and less well-heeled traveller. While the cabins didn’t look too fancy from the outside, the spacious room itself was more than adequate. It featured 24-hour electricity, air-conditioning, a ceiling fan, coffee/tea maker, a writing desk, 2 large beds, a large wardrobe, screened windows and a rather small veranda. Coffee, tea and water were readily available the whole day – but if you want your share of the food, you’d better be fast as they don’t serve an awful lot of it. Usually, lunch and dinner is a wok-fried buffet, consisting of 1 dish of meat or chicken, 1 dish with fish or prawns and 2 dishes of vegetables, after which you can have some fruits. It is all rather repetitive and perhaps not to everyone’s taste as it is a bit spicy. Though full breakfast wasn’t available at 5:30am, they managed to serve us tea, toast and jam and even an omelette with beans and sausages this early. But most people don’t come here for the sumptuous food, but for wildlife. And that’s where Tabin is best known for. Perhaps we were lucky, but we saw elephants, gibbons, leopard cat, Malay civet, orang-utan, bearded pig, pig-tailed macaque, silvered langur, Prevost’s squirrel, common and banded palm civet, lesser mouse deer and grey leaf monkey. We could even observe a family of 5 smooth otters hunting for fish in the rock pool next to the lodge for more than an hour. Regarding birds, the list would be too long, but I could manage to make full-frame pictures of rhinoceros hornbill, pied hornbill and white-crested hornbill, while we saw 3 different species of pitta within 1 hour on the trail to the Mud Volcano. In contrast with Danum Valley or Sukau, where activities are respectively based on walking tours or boat-based tours, most of the wildlife watching in Tabin is done by car, driving along the main road that runs along the edge of the rainforest and the relatively open terrain of the palm oil plantations. However, we found it very irritating to see the local guides trying to please the tourists by pestering the animals with their laser pens to make them do something. Even more irritating was that most of the tourists seemed to like this, instead of protesting against this irresponsible behaviour. Some education of both guides and tourists might help!...

  • Stayed: May 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank 20thCenturyCox
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 30, 2010

Tabin has a beautiful park with guaranteed wildlife-spotting. Jungle lodges with balcony on river side where macaques play in the afternoon. Certainly worth the visit. Not much choice in food, and staff is not familiar with vegetarian food.

  • Stayed: March 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank DutchManMonkey
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 14, 2010

Tabin is awesome. This was our first experience in Borneos rainforest and it was fabulous. For the cost per person (kids are free) it was reakky quite a bargain as the service was so personal. Another review mentioned the guide Mandin, who we also had the pleasure of being our guide. he was wonderful and patient and extremely knowledgeable.
the lodge itself is set in a small valley in the forest and it is quite lovely. Food good, service ok (a biy amateurish, but this was sort of appropriate). our only gripe would be time keeping.

we would highly recommend it.

  • Stayed: April 2010, traveled with family
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3  Thank haylesHerts
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 26, 2009

Tabin is an attractive forest reserve with plenty of birds and wildlife. We did not see the famous pygmy elephant but there were orang utan, gibbons, other primates, cats, pigs galore. Stephen was an excellent guide who knows the reserve like the back of his hand. The lodge is attractive and in pretty good condition, considering the rate at which buildings deteriorate in the tropical forest. Rooms are air conditioned but we didn't need it as the forest and the rain kept things cool; mosquito nets in the rooms were very effective. Food was remarkably good and varied compared with other similar places we have stayed. Staff seeemd particularly friendly and helpful. We made the mistake of leaving a tip in the box prominently placed in the bar, but someone told us later that this goes to the management and not to the staff - if you want to leave a tip, do it direct.

Comparing Tabin with the lodges at Sukau or the Borneo Rainforest Lodge at Danum Valley, we somehow found Tabin to be more comfortable and relaxing. Sukau of course has the unique advantage of a big river and wonderful boat rides.

All three places are miles better then Taman Negara in west Malaysia so for a real forest experience you are much better off going to Sabah if you have time (and, in the case of Tabin and Danum, cash - neither of these places are cheap).

  • Stayed: November 2009, traveled as a couple
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Thank Imier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 12, 2009

We had a great time at Tabin Wildlife. We were really lucky to see quite a few animals like elephants, wild leopard cats owls etc. If you are unlucky, you might end up seeing very little. So moderate your expectations. In general we loved our guides, we loved the surroundings, staying in the middle of the rainforests and among the macaques. It was a really wonderful experience.

There are a few things that a traveler should be warned about. I thought it was really expensive for us coming from Australia and the room was not that clean (considering the amount we paid for accommodation, we expected the bathroom to be immaculate!). We stayed for 3 nights. It was mostly our travel agent's fault. No one told us that they didnt really have a program for more than 3 days / 2nights. So if you choose to stay an extra day, you kinda get dropped and there is nothing to do. it was a bit strange and no one warned us at first. And finally the food there was the absolutely worst we had had in Malaysia. They seemed to serve breakfast leftovers for lunch, and lunch leftovers for dinner.

Despite all of that, we had a good time because of the wildlife, and the beautiful surroundings, and our really nice guides.

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank DorothyO
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 19, 2009

We stayed at Tabin Wildlife Resort for 2 nights in May and we loved it.

They picked us up from our hotel promptly and it was then a bumpy 1hour drive to the resort

Arrival
When we arrived we where greeted and taken into the center for a welcome juice, made with certain juices that are good for the body, and beautifully presented in a little individual teapot. They introduced us to our guide and explained was happens and when meals are served.
We where then taken to our room and shown where everything is and how the shower and aircon work. There is a torch in the room incase you forgot your own, an umbrella. They dont have tea making facilites in the room, but I beleive you can request it and they will provide you a kettle etc. But we enjoyed going up to the cafe to enjoy teas and coffees.

Rooms
The rooms are lovely, we had a river chalet. They are clean and well presented. The bathroom is very simple but did the job. We where very pleased with the room.

Guide and Walk
Our guide was called Maldin and he was excellent. He was eagle eyed and spotted many animals and birds for us. He took the time to explain things and showed us the birds and animals in his book. He was a very good guide.
The walks are quite tiring especially in the heat, but they are worth it. We didnt see a great deal of wildlife on our walks, but we saw quite a lot on the day and night drives so they are highly recommened. (This could be because the 'proper' rainforest area was closed off due to recent flooding)
We saw an orangatan in the wild which we where soo happy about. We also saw leopard cat, civet cat, wild boar, hornbills, eagles, so many different types of birds, monkeys to name but a few. (and leeches)

Food
The food was good, there wasnt an awful lot of variety but we enjoyed it. And if your only there for a few nights it is fine.
They offer afternoon tea as well, one day we had strange fried potatoes (we weren't overly keen on), but the second day we had eggy bread which was lovely!!
Breakfast was interesting, there was bread and cereal you could help yourself to. And then you think your done, and they bring out a huge plate of noodles each!! I recommend eating both as you will need your energy

Overall
Overall we loved Tabin we saw the most wildlife here, its good because the animals cross between the jungle and the plantation so makes them easy to spot.
The resort seem to have lots of little extra touches which we loved. They give you a foot soak at the end of the stay, they give you the welcome juice thoughtfully made on arrival, they provide wellys for your walks, and they provided us with a free book on Tabin so we could read up and learn more.
We where lucky as there was only about 7 of us staying there at the tme, but Im sure its great even when its busy. I highly recommend Tabin
We loved it!!!!

  • Stayed: May 2009, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank dazed_dizzy
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: $564 - $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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