Sabah Destination

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Tabin Wildlife Reserve covers an area of 122,500 hectares northeast of Lahad Datu in eastern Sabah. The rectangular shaped reserve is one of the largest protected areas in Sabah and is mostly covered with lowland dipterocarp forest. Whilst Tabin contains areas of undisturbed forest, much of the reserve consists of previously logged over forest.

Wildlife Watching

tabin wildlife reserve

Tabin was declared a protected area in 1984 primarily due to the existence of three of the largest mammals found in Sabah: the Borneo Pygmy Elephant, Sumatran Rhinoceros and Banteng (a species of wild cattle). Nine species of primate are found at Tabin, namely the orangutan, Bornean gibbon, red leaf monkey, silvered leaf monkey, grey leaf monkey, western tarsier, slow loris, long-tailed macaque and pig-tailed macaque. The largest predator found at Tabin is the clouded leopard. Whilst sightings of this fantastic cat are rare, it is quite common to see leopard cats and civet cats.

Tabin Wildlife Reserve is home to an astonishing variety of birds. To date over 300 species of birds have been recorded at Tabin, including eight species of hornbill and some rare and endemic species.

With its rich biodiversity it is not surprising that Tabin Wildlife Reserve has gained a reputation is an excellent place for nature-based activities, especially wildlife watching. The range of activities includes jungle trekking, 4WD night safaris, night walks, wildlife spotting and bird watching.

Treks & Trails

There are 9 trekking trails and a number of reserve roads used for four wheel drive night safaris at the main Tabin Wildlife Resort. The longest trail is the Gibbon Trail (2.8 km) which leads from the resort to Lipad Waterfall. The other trails are the Raleigh Trail (2.5 km), Elephant Trail ( 2.2 km), Rhino Trail (1.8 km), Otters Loop (1.2 km), Sambar Deer Trail (1.16 km), Mud Volcano Trail (0.7 km), Otters Trail (0.5 km) and Mouse Deer Trail (0.4 km). You are only allowed on the trails with a guide.

Map of Tabin Wildlife Reserve & Resort

Tabin Wildlife Reserve Map

Mud Volcanoes

tabin wildlife reserve mud volcano

A unique feature of this protected area is the existence of several active mud volcanoes. These are rich in minerals and serve as salt licks, attracting a range of wildlife. The mud volcanoes therefore offer good wildlife watching opportunities. There is an observation tower at the Lipad mud volcano and most tours visit the area to search for wildlife or look for animal footprints in the mud. Please note if you are staying at the new Tabin Rainforest Resort you won’t visit the mud volcanoe.


tabin wildlife resort river rooms

The main and long established accommodation is the Tabin Wildlife Resort which offers lodge-style chalets set in the rainforest. The Resort offers a total of 20 rooms comprising 10 river lodges and 10 hill lodges. Each room (twin or double) has an en-suite bathroom with hot shower, baloney and ceiling fan.

A new lodge called the Tabin Rainforest Lodge opened in 2024. It is situated in the Sungai Kapur Forest Reserve which is adjacent to Tabin. The Tabin Rainforest Lodge offers 12 air-conditioned rooms and has a swimming pool.

Getting to Tabin

Tabin Wildlife Reserve is located approximately 50 km north east of the town of Lahad Datu. MAS Wings operates daily flights from Kota Kinabalu to Lahad Datu.

The reserve is accessed via sealed and gravel roads. The main resort operates scheduled transfers from Lahad Datu to Tabin at 0800 hours and 1200 hours. The Tabin-Lahad Datu transfer departs the resort at 1330 hours with arrival in Lahad Datu town centre at 1500 hours. Unscheduled transfers incur additional charges. The drive from Lahad Datu to the Tabin Wildlife Lodge in the Sungai Kapur Forest Reserve takes around 75 minutes. The journey time from Lahad Datu to the new Tabin Rainforest Lodge takes 2.5 hours.

Lahad Datu is a 4 hour drive from Sandakan and a 2 hour drive from Sukau.


Borneo Adventure offers a range 3 and 4-day Tabin Wildlife Reserve tour packages plus a Danum Valley and Tabin 5 day tour. We also offer 3-day tours based at the new Tabin Rainforest Lodge.

View more destinations on our Borneo Destination Map.

  • Grey Leaf monkey at Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah, Malaysia
    Tabin Wildlife Reserve Tours

    Tabin Wildlife Reserve 3D2N

    Experience the Borneo rainforest and go in search of Sabah’s rich wildlife on this 3 days / 2 nights tour of Tabin Wildlife Reserve in eastern Sabah

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  • Hornbill at Tabin
    Tabin Wildlife Reserve Tours

    Tabin Wildlife Reserve 4D3N

    Experience the Borneo rainforest and Sabah’s rich wildlife on this 4 days / 3 nights tour of Tabin Wildlife Reserve

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  • Slow Loris, Tabin Wildlife Reserve
    Tabin Wildlife Reserve Tours

    Utan Rainforest Lodge 3D2N

    Stay at Utan Rainforest Lodge, experience the rainforest and search for wildlife on this 3 days / 2 nights tour

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  • Tabin Wildlife Reserve Tours

    Tabin and Danum Valley 5D4N

    Enjoy the Borneo rainforest and go in search of wildlife on this 5 days / 4 nights tour of Tabin Wildlife Reserve & Danum Valley in Sabah, Malaysia

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