One of the best desintations for animal lovers traveling around Borneo is Sepilok, situated in Sabah, Malaysia. Sepilok is home to the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sunbear Rehabilitation Centre, and the Rainforest Discovery Centre. A great spot for a more guaranteed animal sighting than trying your luck in the wild.
For orangutans there are two feeding times, which is your best bet to make sure you see these cool hairy creatures. At least half a dozen came to eat while I was there, and another dozen monkeys waiting in anticipation of left overs. Another options is to try your luck at the outdoor nursey, while there we saw a few more enjoying a picnic. On my way there I was fortunate enough to have another encounter with an orangutan, this one much more closer as it strolled along under the very watchful eye of centre staff.
In addition to the animals, the centre offers hiking trails in their jungle. A draw mainly for birdwatchers with observation towers along the way, it can also be enjoyed by the un-ornathologically-inclined.
The Sunbear Centre is new and while it has great potential it was a little disappointing. Only one area was open when I went and of the only five bears free to wander it only one did so. Perhaps when more sanctuaries open and/or more bears are roaming around will it be a bigger draw.
The Rainforest Discovery Centre has a beautiul garden to walk around and read the educational signs splattering the area.
Beyond are series of trails with suspension brudges, canopy walks, and – my favourite find of the trek – an ancient tree thought to be between 800 and 1000 years old (just think of all the history its lived through!).
There are a handful of accommodations, some nearer the orangutans, bed and breakfasts closer to the Rainforest Discovery Centre, and some a bit beyond. I stayed at the Sepilok Jungle Resort, which was good enough but very rundown, and at the Sepilok Forest Edge Resort, which was newer and better maintained but the restaurant was on the pricy side. If you want to splurge I’d check out the Sepilok Nature Resort. I had a very tasty meal there on my last night and wished I had seen it earlier. The grounds are gorgeous!