Friday, 4 May 2012

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

It’s been a long week to Sandakan and Lahad Datu. I would say, it is a great adventure! Why, because we get to travel several places in almost a week and really thanks to our President of Sabah Tourist Association, who drove us all the way from Kota Kinabalu. I also want to thank all who have hosted us, the Sabah Young Tourism Ambassador.

Well, this is actually my second time to Sadakan and Lahad Datu. I’ve been to Sandakan when I’m really young, that’s why I have limited memories. As for Lahad Datu, I just visited this place in 2010 and I have visited the same destination or attraction that I’m about to share here.

Visiting to Tabin Wildlife Reserve is not my first time. I remembered the first time that I have visited Tabin Wildlife Reserve is when I’m still in my college studying my Diploma in Tourism Management. 

It is funny though when I’m preparing myself to this trip because I have been there and all the memories just flashed back and what I have been through during my days in Tabin back in 2010. This trip, I make sure I bring everything necessary, because what we need in Tabin Wildlife Reserve is unexpected. I brought along extra bags, football socks, etc. Let me tell you why before I start to talk about my experience in Tabin.

Why it’s funny?
You don’t wanna know. I replace Leech Socks with Football/ Soccer Socks. Have you thought about it? Well, at least the leech wouldn’t go in to the socks that it’s ok enough. I brought plastics when I’m trekking to the volcano mud because you just need to carry your stuffs after soaking in the Mud Volcano. You don’t want to touch your clothes after going into the mud right? Try to think now, how can you pack everything with mud cover your whole body? (Remember to share a plastic with your friends. We are looking at protecting the environment). Also, wet tissues. Why? Read through and you will know.

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Anyway, here’s the story.
As I mentioned, it is not my first time to visit Tabin Wildlife Reserve and I’m shocked to see Stephen, our Nature Guide, Tabin’s in-house guide. Although he can’t really remember me but when I mentioned my past experience with him, he remembers! Stephen is a great guide; he has passion in the wildlife and he’s an experienced wildlife guide.

First of all, driving to Tabin Wildlife Reserve is not just 20 minutes but almost 2 hours from town. Meeting muddy roads all the way, we have actually stuck-in-mud for several times because we are travelling by tour van, not 4WD. Lucky enough we have locals who works there, saw us and they helped us. Of course, all guys who are in our van, helped us push the van as to overcome the problem which was Mr. Martin, the Treasurer of Sabah Tourist Association and  James, one of us.

On the First Day:
Reaching Tabin Wildlife Reserve with an exciting mood but sadly, we are way beyond schedule due to the muddy road. So, we just have to postpone our plans to the next day in Tabin since we are staying there for 2 nights. Keeping ourselves cosy and clean, all of us shared 3 bedrooms because there are 6 of us. After settling ourselves, got to prepare for the first activity, which was Night Safari.

We were sitting at the back on a 4WD, searching for unique wildlife. To tell the truth, somehow I didn’t manage to get a real closed up pictures of the animals that we saw the other day but I manage to snap some pictures when we are in action. That’s much more important to see how things going on right?

Back to room after the Night Safari, James and I saw the Leaf Grasshopper. It was so beautiful and it’s my first time seeing one this close, I hope it’s James first time as well like I do. Normally they will just hop-away when people are near to them as their senses are strong. The whole situation when we took picture of the Leaf Grasshopper was like its dancing! Really funny and that’s for the night.

On the Second Day:
We were up early for Dawn Drive. Yes, it’s part of our activities. In fact, the first we saw was the Bucerotidae Hornbills and it’s everywhere! Then we came across the tall highlighted Mangaris Tree, is the tallest tree of the Bornean rainforest.

Now, the walk begins.
We started off with a simple jungle trek to the Mud Volcano. Trail to Lipad Mud Volcano is just 700 metres. Not easy, not hard, just ok. It was really muddy, I could say. Walking under giant trees, we saw different kind of plants.

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Now, the muddy mud volcano.
Climbing up the tower for 3 minutes to enjoy the view of Mud Volcano. You wouldn’t be surprised to see the wildlife around! Bear in mind that you must pack your stuffs in your bag before going in to the mud because you are going to get all muddy. And if you don’t, everything will be covered with mud... And for my advice, please prepare wet tissue and I did and I share to everyone because they didn’t expect it. On my first college trip to Tabin, I didn’t prepare anything and it was so pain to wear the boots, trekking back to the 4WD because your foot will be covers by mud and stones. I don’t want you to get hurt like I do last time, but you can try maybe, at least? If you don’t mind. :P But really, wet tissue helps a lot as you can clean your hands and carry your bags, if you bring any bags. Also clean your foot before wearing the boots. If not, poor guides need to help you all to carry all the way.

Facts: You only can find Mud Volcano at Tabin Wildlife Reserve other than the other destinations that you can explore in Lahad Datu.

Now, the Waterfall.
After soaking in the mud volcano, we visited the waterfall called Lipad Waterfall and it’s beautiful. Washed away the mud on our body and face, I saw... LEECH! I hope I have the pictures of the waterfall but too bad, my hands are wet. Anyway, after some light swim, we need to do some adventurous trekking back to the 4WD... Without any insect repellent! So, leeches are welcome ;)

Back to Restaurant.
It was raining once we reached the restaurant. So we took a rain bath! Well, when you are in the rainforest, you just need to try taking a rain bath. It was fun! We had some coffee and tea before head to our bedrooms to clean up.

Continue with Herbal Foot Soak and Dusk Drive.
After shower, took some rest and continue with Herbal Foot Soak before the Dusk Drive. Herbal Foot Soak was awesome and it’s so relaxing after a long jungle trek. For Dusk Drive, we saw lots of monkeys, the Pig- tailed Macaque, and they are stealing foods from the trees. Plus, we witness the flying squirrels swinging from tree to tree. I bet you will see it when you are there too!

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