Lahad Datu, Malaysia

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Lahad Datu, Malaysia

Region: Sabah

Geographic Coordinates: 5.030000, 118.340000
Temperature Range: 23.0°C to 32.0°C (73°F to 90°F)
Climate: Tropical climate with high humidity and rainfall throughout the year, with occasional typhoons and monsoon seasons.
Population: 199830
Language: Malay

Lahad Datu is a town in Sabah, Malaysia’s Tawau Division. It is located on the east coast of Sabah and has a population of around 200, 000 people. The town is surrounded by lush rainforests, Pristine beaches and stunning natural landscapes that attract tourists from all over the world. One of the most popular attractions in Lahad Datu is Danum Valley Conservation Area – a protected area that spans over 438 square kilometers. The conservation area boasts an incredible array of wildlife including orangutans, Gibbons, Pygmy elephants and over 300 species of birds.

Visitors can explore the forest on guided tours or take part in activities such as trekking and bird watching. Another popular attraction in Lahad Datu is Tabin Wildlife Reserve – spanning over 1200 square kilometers. The reserve features diverse habitats including rainforest, Mangrove forests and mud volcanoes which provide unique opportunities for visitors to observe wildlife such as Bornean pygmy elephants and sun bears. For those seeking adventure sports activities while visiting Lahad Datu can try white-water rafting or kayaking down Sungai Segama river with its rapids ranging from grade one to five.

There are also several beautiful beaches nearby like Tanjung Aru Beach where visitors can enjoy swimming or sunbathing. Lahad Datu also has a rich cultural heritage with many festivals taking place throughout the year such as Pesta Kaul – an annual festival celebrated by local communities to honour their ancestors through traditional dances and music performances. Visitors who want to experience local cuisine should not miss trying out some traditional dishes like Nasi Lemak (coconut rice served with various side dishes), Sambal Udang (spicy prawn dish) or Laksa Sabah (a spicy noodle soup).

Overall Lahad Datu offers visitors an opportunity to explore some of the most beautiful natural landscapes in Malaysia, Experience cultural diversity and indulge in local cuisine. It is truly a hidden gem that should not be missed by those looking for an authentic Malaysian experience.

Important Landmarks

  1. Danum Valley Conservation Area
  2. Tabin Wildlife Reserve
  3. Lahad Datu Airport
  4. Lahad Datu War Memorial
  5. Madai Caves
  6. Bukit Batur Observation Tower
  7. Sabah Agricultural Park (Taman Pertanian Sabah)
  8. Darvel Bay Mangrove Forest Reserve

Primary Industries

  1. Palm oil production – Lahad Datu is one of the major palm oil producing regions in Sabah.
  2. Timber industry – The town has a significant timber industry, with several sawmills and wood processing factories.
  3. Oil and gas exploration – There are several oil and gas exploration activities taking place in the waters off the coast of Lahad Datu.
  4. Agriculture – Apart from palm oil, other crops grown in the area include cocoa, rubber, and coconut.
  5. Fishing – The town has a thriving fishing industry due to its proximity to the sea.
  6. Tourism – With its pristine beaches, wildlife reserves, and cultural attractions such as Tabin Wildlife Reserve and Danum Valley Conservation Area, tourism is an emerging sector in Lahad Datu.
  7. Manufacturing – A few manufacturing companies have set up their operations here due to its strategic location near ports for easy import/export of goods such as textiles products or electronic devices.
  8. Construction – There have been many construction projects underway lately such as housing developments or commercial buildings which contribute significantly to local employment opportunities.

Noteable History

  1. The Battle of Lahad Datu: In 2013, armed militants from the Philippines invaded Lahad Datu to claim it as their territory. This resulted in a month-long standoff between Malaysian security forces and the militants, resulting in several casualties.
  2. Sultanate of Sulu: The Sultanate of Sulu was a Muslim state that controlled parts of Sabah, including Lahad Datu, during the 18th century.
  3. Haji Muhammad Salleh: Haji Muhammad Salleh played an important role during the British colonial era in Sabah and resisted British rule.
  4. Tun Sakaran Dandai: Tun Sakaran Dandai was a former Chief Minister of Sabah and served as Member of Parliament for Lahad Datu from 1999 to 2008.
  5. Abu Sayyaf Group: The Abu Sayyaf Group is an Islamic extremist group based in the southern Philippines that has carried out kidnappings and bombings in Malaysia, including one at a resort near Lahad Datu in 2000 that killed four people.
  6. Tabin Wildlife Reserve: Tabin Wildlife Reserve is located near Lahad Datu and is home to various endangered species such as orangutans, pygmy elephants, and sun bears.
  7. Mount Silam: Mount Silam is a popular hiking destination near Lahad Datu offering stunning views over surrounding rainforest areas.
  8. Danum Valley Conservation Area: Danum Valley Conservation Area is another popular nature reserve located near Lahat Data known for its diverse wildlife population including orangutans and clouded leopards among others.

Overall these are some notable historical events and people associated with Lahad Datu, Malaysia.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Lahad Datu Museum: This museum showcases the history and culture of the town and its surrounding areas.
  2. Tabin Wildlife Reserve: This reserve is home to a variety of wildlife, including orangutans, elephants, and various bird species.
  3. Danum Valley Conservation Area: Another popular nature reserve in the area that offers visitors a chance to explore the rainforest and spot wildlife.
  4. Lahad Datu Waterfront: A scenic waterfront area with views of the sea and nearby islands.
  5. Bukit Gemok Forest Reserve: A forested hill that offers hiking trails and panoramic views of Lahad Datu.
  6. Agop Batu Tulug Archaeological Site: An archaeological site featuring prehistoric rock art and artifacts from the past.
  7. Silam Coast Conservation Area: A coastal area with mangrove forests, beaches, and coral reefs for snorkeling or diving.
  8. Kali Waterfall: A picturesque waterfall located in a lush forested area near Lahad Datu.
  9. The War Memorial Park: Dedicated to those who lost their lives during World War II.
  10. Segama Wetlands – Home to hundreds of bird species including hornbills, kingfishers etc.

Sports Teams

  • Lahad Datu is a small town situated in Sabah, Malaysia’s eastern state.
  • The town boasts of its natural beauty and wildlife reserves with a population of roughly 200,000 people.
  • Football (soccer) appears to be the most popular sport in Lahad Datu, with several local amateur football clubs like the Lahad Datu Football Association (LDFA).
  • LDFA established itself in 1992 and participates in various local tournaments.
  • Besides football, there are recreational sports clubs that offer activities such as badminton and volleyball; however, they do not seem to have significant histories or followings.
  • In conclusion, while there may be some local sports teams operating within Lahad Datu’s community, they do not appear to have significant histories or achievements at this time.

  • Cultural Events

    1. Lahad Datu Regatta is an annual boat race that takes place in April or May. The event features traditional boats from Sabah and neighboring countries.
    2. Pesta Kalimaran is a cultural festival held in June to celebrate the culture of the indigenous people of Sabah. The festival features traditional dances, music, and food.
    3. Lahad Datu Festival is a week-long event held in September that showcases local arts and crafts, food stalls, cultural performances, and sports competitions.
    4. Tawau International Cultural Festival is a week-long event held in November to celebrate the diverse cultures of Sabah through dance performances, food fairs, and exhibitions.
    5. Bajau Horse Racing Festival is an annual event that takes place in December or January on the beach with riders from the Bajau community wearing traditional costumes.
    6. Tamu Besar Kota Belud is a weekly market day every Sunday where locals sell fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables along with handicrafts made by indigenous people like baskets or mats made from pandan leaves.
    7. Kaamatan Harvest Festival – The Kaamatan Harvest Festival marks the end of harvest season celebrated annually by indigenous communities across Sabah with traditional rituals such as buffalo racing competitions or bamboo pole climbing games called Magagung.


    1. Nasi Kerabu is a popular dish in Lahad Datu that features blue rice and can be served with either fish or chicken.
    2. Mee Sup is a noodle soup dish that is frequently found in local restaurants and street vendors.
    3. Roti Canai is a beloved Malaysian breakfast food consisting of flaky, layered flatbread served alongside curry sauce.
    4. Lahad Datu is well-known for its fresh seafood, particularly prawns and crabs, which can be enjoyed at various local restaurants.
    5. Kedai Kopi Kim Foh is a favored coffee shop that serves traditional Malaysian breakfast dishes like nasi lemak and roti canai.
    6. Restoran Sri Mutiara Timur offers delectable Chinese-style seafood dishes such as salted egg prawns and butter crab.
    7. Jom Tepuk Restaurant & Cafe is another popular seafood restaurant in Lahad Datu recognized for its grilled fish preparations.
    8. Warong Sate Padang Ibu Rina operates as a small street vendor selling satay (grilled meat skewers) marinated in traditional Indonesian spices.
    9. Restoran Selera Kampung provides traditional Malay cuisine options including nasi goreng kampung (fried rice), ayam masak merah (chicken cooked in spicy tomato sauce), and gulai ikan (fish curry).
    10. Borneo Paradise Eco Farm & Resort functions as an eco-resort offering organic farm-to-table dining experiences utilizing fresh produce grown on-site such as vegetables, fruits, herbs, eggs from free-range chickens, freshwater fish from the property’s ponds etc..

    Parks and Recreation

    1. Taman Tun Sakaran Marine Park
    2. Danum Valley Conservation Area
    3. Madai-Baturong Forest Reserve
    4. Lahad Datu Waterfront Park
    5. Bukit Gelap Recreation Park
    6. Tabin Wildlife Reserve
    7. Segama River Cruise
    8. Lahad Datu Golf and Country Club
    9. Maliau Basin Conservation Area
    10. The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (located nearby)


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