Access, Communications, Recreation & Tourism
around Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Tabin Wildlife S/B has installed first class facilities at Tabin including 20 chalets, camping facilities and a restaurant. Click the thumbnails left for larger images, read more or contact us for bookings.


Tabin Wildlife Resort is located about 48 km to the north-east of Lahad Datu and takes about 1 hour by road transport from the Lahad Datu airport. The Segama River and lower parts of Tunku River are navigable by motor launches used by local residents. Road transport provides the main form of transport around Tabin. Most of the roads linking Lahad Datu with Sandakan, Kunak, Tawau and Kota Kinabalu are paved. Several former logging roads have been reconstructed as permanent plantation roads such as the ones leading to Tabin. Work is in progress on a network of roads to link the main roads and the more remote plantation areas and also to improve the rest of the rural road system. Within Lahad Datu District, the total length of road is about 350 km of which about 150 km are paved and the rest are surfaced with gravel.

Currently there are three airports available near Tabin. Tomanggong Plantation and FELDA Sahabat Plantation receive occasional service from the Malaysian Airline System and there is scheduled service connecting Lahad Datu to Tawau, Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu. Sabah Air and MAS both also provide charter services. The service of Sabah Air includes helicopters.

Lahad Datu has a port facility with a capacity of 10,000 tonnes and an area of about 15 hectares. It manages the export and import of products domestically and internationally. Commonly imported commodities include fertilisers from Canada and the former USSR while the exported products are agricultural products and processed wood products.

The Lahad Datu district provides several public phone facilities in the town area and has installed about 1,500 telephones to individual households. It has one post office that provides a service to the public locally and internationally. Cellular telephone service is available from several providers but the hilly nature of Tabin is such that access to services is the exception rather than the rule. A land line is available for emergency service however.


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.