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Many animals in Tabin Wildlife Reserve are critically endangered, including Sabah’s three largest mammals: the Borneo pygmy elephant, Sumatran rhinocerous and banteng or tembadu.

Six of Sabah´s eight primates occur here, albeit only small numbers of orangutan, plus various ungulates including sambar, muntjac and mouse deer. The largest predator is the clouded leopard, but there are several smaller carnivores.

Careful thought has been given to developing Tabin as an ecotourism destination to achieve a harmonious balance between nature and humans. In 1998, the government privatised the reserve, and since then the number of visitors has increased. All activities – which include spotting wildlife, jungle trekking and bird watching – are designed to minimise environmental impact, and the facilities are all sustainable.

The rainforest nurtures a colossal number of tropical plants, some of which are of medicinal and therapeutic value. Naturally occurring, mineral-rich, mud volcanoes attract birds, including all eight of Sabah’s hornbills, and animals seeking salt – a bonus to visitors coming in search of wildlife.

Tabin can be reached via sealed and gravel roads from Lahad Datu in around 45 minutes, or from Sandakan in around three hours.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: clouded leopard, orangutan, proboscis monkey, pygmy elephant, Sumatran rhino
  • Where: Sabah State, Borneo

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

Borneo Rainforest Photography Workshop

Join acclaimed photographers Nick Garbutt and Alex Hyde to explore Borneo's fascinating habitats and photograph the incredible diversity that lives within them. The forests, rivers and caves of Sabah are home to a huge variety of wildlife that provides no end of photographic opportunities.

  • When to go: Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 18 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £9,595 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Sabah & Sarawak Adventure

Search for the wildlife of the interiors amongst the dense jungle and remote rivers of Sabah & Sarawak. Designed to introduce you to the area's top eco-destinations, highlights include a visit to a headhunter tribe, watching orangutans in Sepilok, and Tabin Reserve, home to some of Borneo’s unique species.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 15 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,195 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation is shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Tabin Wildlife Resort

Tabin Wildlife Resort is ideal for viewing rare and endemic birds, attracted to the abundance of food plants. Accommodation consists of 20 timber bungalows with private balcony, ten of which overlook the Lipad River, the others situated higher up the hillside, all linked by the central complex.