Random Travel Snaps: The Orangutans of Borneo


Threatened by logging and captivity, their population dwindles through the years.  These so-called “men of the forest” are estimated to be as few as 10,000 still in the wild.

In 2007, I followed the path of a boardwalk that led me to a viewing gallery and a feeding platform.  There were a few orangutans on site but slowly, more emerged from the rainforest lured by milk and bananas.  Feeding time is twice a day – once in the morning and another in the afternoon.

No longer held in captivity (by various people and for various reasons), they are free to roam as they please around the 4,300 hectare Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve.  This is so they get used to their own natural habitat once more and this –in the meantime – is their sanctuary.

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre aims to return orphaned, injured and displaced orangutans back into the wild, back to the jungle of Borneo.  Orangutans are natives of Borneo and Sumatra in Indonesia.  The Borneo orangutans however, are only found in Borneo, and the centre affords a rare opportunity to see these endangered species up close.

The orangutans may be the star, but pig tailed and long-tailed macaques share a bit of the stage at the time of feeding.  They have learned that there is an easy meal available and show up too at feeding time.

A day trip to Sepilok is not possible from Kota Kinabalu but if you find yourself in Sandakan, a trip to Sepilok Sanctuary is a must.

Useful Info:

Getting There

If you are not on any tour, public buses and taxis are available from Sandakan town. The Labuk Road Bus Company vehicles leave from the front of the Sandakan Town Council (Majlis Perbandaran Sandakan or MPS) from 6.00 am onwards.

The Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan bus can also drop you at junction Jalan Sepilok, around 2.5km from the Center. Journey about 5 hours from KK.

You can hire a taxi for a return trip for about RM100.00 negotiable. The distance between town and the Centre is about 23km.

Opening Hours: 
Daily from 8.00am till 5.00pm

Exhibition Hall: Daily (except Fridays) from 9.00am till 4.30pm

Centre: Daily from 9.00am till 12.00pm and 2.00pm till 4.00pm Fridays 9.00am till 11.00am, 2.00pm till 4.00pm 

Batu 14, Jalan Labuk Sandakan Sabah,
WDT200, 9009 Sandakan Sabah

7 thoughts on “Random Travel Snaps: The Orangutans of Borneo

  1. Would love to be able to travel there, but your photos/text are the next best things! Thanks for sharing! I hope their world can continue — we would be losers as well.


  2. You have a real thing going on with that Orangutan! What a great connection! Seeing more animals in the wild is on my bucket list. Thanks for your visit to my blog, Jenn… it’s good to find another intrepid traveler. You write a wonderful blog and impart an admirable joie de vivre. (I really like the quote you have on your side bar, but it has been misattributed to Mark Twain: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/09/29/you-did/)


  3. Oh i thought you’re still in Batanes, haha! It looks like a lot of us are going to Borneo, as one of my friends is exploring a lot of places alone there, and he is fascinated by riding a lot of buses, boats, etc, etc. From Borneo he went to Saigon and will take a bus North, OMG, that I can’t take. And i smiled at Francisca above, she is a blogger friend for a long time now! She also checked us and my lawyer friends on that hoax in FB. Where is your next trip?


    1. Yes, Sabah has lots of interesting places to see and do.

      My next trip? Come back for Palaui and a series on Japan. 🙂


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