RECREATION AND TOURISM AROUND TABIN
During the last few years several recreational facilities have been constructed in Lahad Datu District that cater to business travellers and to a growing flow of tourists. One of these recreational facilities is the Danum Valley Conservation Area located in Ulu Segama Forest Reserve about 8 km West of Lahad Datu. It has a rest house with 8 double rooms and a hostel that can accommodate about 30 persons. This centre was designed initially to serve researchers and organised groups of school children attending educational courses under the Sabah Nature Club Scheme of Sabah Foundation. By 1988 the Danum Valley Management Committee decided that ecotourism should be catered for at a separate location within the conservation area in a commercially operated lodge known as Borneo Rainforest Lodge. Tourists have now become a notable visitor category at the Danum Valley Forest Conservation Area.
The Tabin Wildlife Reserve has accommodation for Sabah Wildlife and Sabah Forestry staff and also has limited accommodation for visiting researchers. With the development of 20 chalets and camping facilities by Tabin Wildlife Sdn. Bhd there is now comfortable accommodation for visitors. A few small facilities mostly provided in schools and large-scale plantations, occasionally receive a limited number of visitors.
The FELDA Sahabat Plantation has a small resort hotel to accommodate visitors.. Local residents normally go fishing, hunting (either legally or illegally) and picnicking where places suitable for these activities exist. Among the favourite places for picnics are fine sandy beaches located west of Tunku, Sg. Makuao, Sg. Membatu as well as at Madai.
The Madai waterfall and cave complex is located about an hour's drive to the south-west from Lahad Datu. A few tourists sometimes stop at Madai to visit the bird nest cave while travelling by bus from Kota Kinabalu or Sandakan to Semporna and Tawau.
Bus services are available from Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Tawau, Semporna and Kunak to Lahad Datu. daily.
There are several hotels available in Lahad Datu rating from low to moderate quality. Among the best hotels are Mido Hotel and Jagokota Hotel. There is one dive operator in Lahad Datu and he gives PADI courses as well as guiding dive trips to islands near the town.