Royal Belum

The pristine Royal Belum is nestled within the protected Belum Valley in Gerik. New species of trees and insects have been discovered in this 117,500-hectare virgin rainforest, which is also one of the few places in Malaysia where you can see the rare Rafflesia. Comprising a complex ecosystem, this state park is situated in the northern part of Lake Temengor and is a haven for mammals like the seladang, Asian Elephant, Malaysian Tiger and the endangered Sumatran Rhinoceros as well as birds such as the hornbills.

Must do: Go for jungle trekking, bird watching and wildlife sightings

Semenggoh Nature Reserve

Situated in the Semenggoh Nature Reserve, this centre was established to rehabilitate orang utans that were injured, orphaned or kept illegally.

The Centre has been a resounding success, caring for almost 1,000 endangered mammals, birds and reptiles from dozens of different species. However it is the orang utan rehabilitation programme that has made the Centre famous. In one respect, Semenggoh has been too successful – so many orang utan have been successfully reintroduced into the surrounding forest reserve that the forest’s carrying capacity has been reached, and rehabilitation activities have been transferred to the Matang Wildlife Centre, part of Kubah National Park.

Semenggoh’s role has changed and it is nowadays a centre for the study of orang utan biology and behaviour, as well as a safe and natural haven for dozens of semi-wild orang utan, graduates of the rehabilitation programme. It is also home to numerous baby orang utan, born in the wild to rehabilitated mothers, a further testament to the success of the programme.

A visit to Semenggoh is a once in a lifetime experience – a chance to see semi-wild orang utan, ranging from tiny infants and boisterous adolescents to dignified mature adults, enjoying life in a secure natural habitat.

The best time to visit Semenggoh is during the morning and afternoon feeding sessions when there is a good chance of seeing semi-wild orang utan returning to the Centre for a free meal. Feeding takes place between 9.00-10.00am and between 3.00-3.30 pm.

As feeding time approaches, the semi-wild orang utan emerge from the rainforest, descending from the forest canopy to the lower branches of trees near feeding platform. They are highly entertaining creatures and offer a wealth of facial expressions to visitors.

Bako National Park

Bako National Park offers visitors an excellent introduction to the rainforest and coastline of Borneo with its rainforest, abundant wildlife, jungle streams, waterfalls, interesting plant life, secluded beaches, panoramic rocky shoreline, bizarre rock formations and extensive network of trekking trails. Bako may not have an instantly recognisable star attraction, but there can be very few places in the world that pack so much natural beauty into such a limited area. Its accessibility – and its sheer range of attractions and activities – have made Bako one of the most popular parks in Sarawak.

Gazetted in 1957, Bako is Sarawak’s oldest national park, covering an area of 2,727 hectares at the tip of the Muara Tebas peninsula. The well-maintained network of nature trails – from easy forest strolls to full-day jungle treks – allows visitors to get the most out of this unique environment.

Bako contains an incredible variety of plant species and vegetation types, and this is one of the park’s great attractions. At Bako it is possible to see almost every type of vegetation found in Borneo.

Bako is probably the best place in Sarawak for wildlife experiences. The park has been a protected area since 1957, so the animals are less wary of humans. Visitors who stay overnight will have countless opportunities to observe and photograph various types of wildlife.

The best times for seeing wildlife at Bako are just after dawn and just before dusk, when the animals are at their most active. You are more likely to see animals on the trails if you go in small groups, walk slowly, keep as quiet as possible, and listen out for sounds and movements in the forest. For example, you are likely to hear a strange grunting sound or the crash of leaves long before you actually see a proboscis monkey.

Gomantong Cave (bird’s nest)

There are two cave complexes – Simud Hitam (Black Cave) soaring up to 90 metres high and the more accessible of the two, and Simud Putih (White Cave), where the more valuable nests are found. Simud Hitam is a five-minute walk from the registration centre. A well-maintained boardwalk gives you easy access to explore or watch the skilled harvesters at work.

The resident creatures of the caves include swiftlets (from which the nests are collected) and bats among others. Outside, other birds such as serpent eagles, bat hawks and kingfishers can be seen. You might even spot an orangutan or two. You will need to make prior arrangements for exploring the more challenging Simud Putih which calls for more serious caving.

Danum Valley Conservation Area

Located deep in an untouched tropical forest, the Danum Valley Conservation Area is a thriving paradise of diverse tropical vegetation and wildlife. The forest is a sanctuary to animals such as the Asian elephant, clouded leopard, orang utan, proboscis monkey and Sumatran rhino. All tours must be pre-arranged with tour agents. Danum Valley is situated about 70km west of Lahad Datu.

Must do:

  • Enjoy a nature walk in the virgin rainforest
  • Watch birds from the 170m-long canopy walkway
  • Trek to the seven tiered Sungai Purut waterfalls
  • visit an ancient Kadazandusun burial site
  • Go on a night drive in an open jeep to catch sight of nocturnal animals

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Tabin Wildlife Reserve is the ideal getaway for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers. Situated in a dipterocarp forest that sprawls over 120,500ha, Tabin is home to three of Sabah’s largest mammals; the Borneo pygmy elephant, Sumatran rhino and Tembadau. Accommodation is available in the form of river lodges or hill lodges nestled amidst the wildnerness. It comes complete with modern amenities such as en suite bathroom and hot shower. Tabin is about 1 hour 15 minutes away from Lahad Datu. There are daily flights from Kota Kinabalu to Lahad Datu.

Must do:

  • Go jungle trekking or go on a night safari to spot the small animals
  • Trace the footprints of animals at themineral springs
  • Try a natural facial – put on the mineral-rich mud from the mud volcano!

Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary

The Kinabatangan river sustains one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems. Its lower basin has the largest forest-covered floodplain in Malaysia. Exotic wildlife such as orang utans, proboscismonkeys, Asian elephants and Sumatran rhinos roam free in the jungle. There are many tour agencies in Sukau that can arrange accommodation, transfers and tours. Sukau is 135km from Sandakan.

Must do:

  • Go on a river safari to spot the wildlife and birds
  • Join a night tour to view crocodiles and nocturnal birds
  • All eight species of hornbills found in Borneo reside here – try and spot them!
  • Join a homestay programme in the nearby villages

Turtle Island Park

Lying in the Sulu Sea, Turtle Islands Park is a cluster of three islands, Selingan, Bakungan and Gulisan Kecil.

Here, visitors have the opportunity to catch sight of rare and endangered turtles from the Green and Hawksbill species when they swimashore to lay eggs.

Only the largest island, Selingan, is open to visitors. Besides housing the Park Headquarters, it also offers accommodation and some basic facilities.

Before a visit, prior permission must be obtained from Sabah Parks Sdn. Bhd. Access is via Sabah Parks Jetty in Sandakan.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Sun bears are the smallest and least known  members of the bear species. Their populations are rapidly diminishing in Southeast Asia. Habitats are being destroyed by deforestation and sun bears are being brutally killed for commercial exploitation.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) in Sepilok, Sabah, Malaysia is to rescue these captured sun bears, promoting sun bear conservation in Borneo through animal welfare, conservation, rehabilitation, research and education – to put a stop to these cruel practices.

There are currently 33  rescued bears living at the BSBCC.  Sadly, many of them have already spent too many years locked up in cages and their distress and suffering is clear.  But, day by day, we strive to improve their lives and eventually introduce them to the forest once again.

Opening Hours

Open every day of the year, including holidays.

9:00 am to 3:30 pm.

Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre

Enjoy the rare and thrilling opportunity to see an orang utan up close. Situated in the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve which sprawls over 4,300ha, this sanctuary serves to rehabilitate orphaned orang utans as well as educate the public on the importance of wildlife conservation. The viewing gallery gives an opportunity to see the orang utans being fed by rangers.

Opening hours: 9.00am – 4.00pm daily
Feeding times: 10.00am and 3.00pm