Pick up at Hotel Lobby and transfer to Airport BKI-LDU MH3010 0700/0755. Arrive at Lahad Datu transfer to Tabin Wildlife Reserve on gravel road for about one hour. Check into a charming timber lodge at Tabin Wildlife Resort, nestled within the rainforest. The lodge comes complete with private veranda and hot water shower, a most welcome luxury in the forest. Explore the vicinity of the resort and be pleasantly surprised by the abundance of bird life. The open-sided Sunbird Café is surrounded by greenery and flowering plants which attract a number of brightly coloured birds. As you sip your coffee, your eyes will be kept busy following active species such as the Black-backed Kingfisher, Yellow-rumped Flowerpecker, Red-throated Sunbird, Malaysian Blue Flycatcher and the Black and Yellow Broadbills. Be entertained by the melodious calls of Black Magpie nearby. A bird hide facing the flowing Lipad river provides a wonderful site for viewing birds. Huge boulders in the river are a favourite perch for the Oriental Darter, Stork-billed Kingfisher and Lesser Fish Eagle, especially after rain. A happy family of otters have been seen up and down this part of the river, to the delight of guests. Take a stroll along the road nearby the resort. White-bellied Munia can be commonly found in the bushes, and a family of large black and chestnut Lesser Coucal sometimes make an appearance here. The rare Storm’s Storks have made Tabin their home and can sometimes be seen. You will most likely be able to spot one or more of Borneo’s eight species of hornbill such as the Black, White-crowned, Rhinoceros, Wreathed, Oriental Pied and Wrinkled Hornbill either flying in groups across the sky, or in pairs perching on bare branches. Let the guide share with you the tales about the origins of the Helmeted Hornbill’s calls. After dinner, enjoy a slide presentation on Tabin’s natural wonders, followed by a trip to look out for nocturnal wildlife and birds. The Brown Wood-owl and Savanna Nightjar are some of the species that you may sight along the reserve road. The Leopard Cat, Civet cats, the nomadic Bearded Pig, the Red Giant Flying Squirrel and perhaps even to the Clouded Leopard and Slow Loris might be sighted. (L,D)
After a simple early breakfast depart for the active Lipad mud volcano with packed lunch. The soccer field-sized Lipad mud volcano serves as a mineral salt lick for wildlife and birds. The endemic Black and Crimson Pitta has been sighted along the trail leading to the mud volcano. After jungle- trekking for 20 minutes, arrive at the elevated bare area of the mud volcano where you can try to identify the multitude of animal footprints. The adventurous can try the effects of the volcanic mud, said to be responsible for a fine complexion. Climb the observation tower and admire the contrasting landscape of the bare area and its surrounding thick forest. Finsch's Bulbul, endemic Bornean and Black-throated Wren-babblers, White-crowned Forktail, Dark-throated Oriole, Malaysian Blue Fly-catcher are some of the species that can be seen around the area. A nearby fig-tree is a busy feasting place for hornbills and other birds and primates during the fruiting season. Across from the observation tower, bare branches of towering trees are favourite perching place for Green Imperial Pigeons and Jambu Fruit Dove with its wonderful coloured chest.
After dinner, go for a night walk to discover more nocturnal bird species. (B,L,D)
After an early breakfast, you will depart for birding along the road leading to the Core Area of Tabin Wildlife Reserve. The fully regenerated secondary forest with its relatively lower canopy and good natural light provides a delightful birding experience. You will be entertained by wild bird songs and the calls of Borneon Gibbons. On some bare tree trunks, busy Dollar birds can be found. The Rufous Woodpecker, Bronzed Drongo, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot, Speckled Piculet, Chestnut-capped Thrush, White-fronted Falconet, Long-tailed Parakeet, Temminck’s Sunbird, Purple-throated Sunbird and are some of the other species that can be seen . The abundance of wild ginger plant attracts a variety of colourful birds, including the Thick Bellied Flower pecker. Picnic lunch will be set up overlooking the river or the valley, a truly enjoyable experience. If time permits, you will trek along the Tomanggong Road where the Giant Pitta has been sighted. The White-fronted Falconet, Long-tailed Parakeet and Orange-backed Woodpecker as well as other good birds, the Little Spiderhunters, Yellow-rumped Flowerpeckers may also be sighted. You will most likely be able to observe Long-tailed Macaque and Orangutans along this road. (B,L,D)
After breakfast, either relax in Sunbird Café while enjoying more birds in the surrounding garden, or venture to the riverside bird hide to discover further species. Early lunch and then depart Tabin transfer to Airport LDU-BKI MH3023 1725/1820. Arrive at Kota Kinabalu and transfer back to hotel. (B, L)