No trip to Malaysia is complete without an extended visit to Borneo. Apart from the wealth of activities this island has to offer, it is fascinating and heart-warming to discover the biodiversity conservation efforts they are making here.
Located within the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, the Borneo Rainforest Discovery Centre is one of Sabah’s most popular and most accessible environmental education centres. It is open daily from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm.
We made a special trip to the Discovery Center, since it was within easy walking distance of our lodging at the Sepilok Jungle Resort. It took us around 40 minutes to reach, walking along the main road (Jalan Sepilok) from the Orangutan Reserve, and taking a left just before Sepilok town.
The Borneo Rainforest Discovery Centre
The Borneo Rainforest Discovery Centre is a fund of information about the the rainforest, plants and animals and is well worth the visit. The entry cost for non-Malaysians is RM 15 for adults and RM 7 for children (5-17 years old).
There is a small museum and gift shop, but the main attractions are to be found out in the rainforest, where you can discover this beautiful area from both the ground and the treetops.
During our visit, there were very few tourists so we had much of the area to ourselves. This place is popular with bird watchers, and it is appreciated if you maintain a discrete presence.
This way there’s also a greater chance that you’ll encounter some of the Orangutans who have made the area their home.
Your first impression of the area is a large lake around which you can wander. After this there are a number of trails you can follow, either independently or with a guide.
One of the highlights (excuse the pun) is the walk along a 347 metre Canopy Walkway, which can be reached from the ground along a network of trails and paths. The Canopy Walkway has 2 towers (named Bristlehead and Trogon) and a single-column Sunbird Shelter.
The walkway is 2 meters wide and about 25 meters above the ground at its highest point. The Canopy Walkway provides excellent opportunities for bird-watching and photography.
Orangutans in the Trees
Early on in our trip, we stopped for a cool drink in a large elevated wooden bar area close to the start of the rainforest (food was also available here). From there we noticed movement in the trees, and before long we spotted the familiar red color of a lone orangutan making his leisurely way towards the pathway.
This was Milo: A shy young male on the lookout for fruit handouts.
With the offer of fruit, Milo became a lot bolder and swung in close, giving us some choice photo opportunities, as well as the chance to marvel at this amazing creature, his facial expressions and the intelligence in his eyes and movements.
This was even more engaging than the apes we’d encountered in the Orangutan Reserve the previous day.
With only 9 days available to us in Borneo, we had to be selective with our destinations. We were nevertheless very happy with what we were able to see, and hope to return again sometime in the future to discover more about this vast island (the third-largest island in the world).
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