There’s only one mission on this day; to see Orang Utans in Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary. It was on my itinerary as Sandakan is pretty famous for it. Heck, it’s the only Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in the world… I think. It was also one of those days when I ventured out of Kota Kinabalu and off to Sandakan. There are two ways to go to Sandakan; by air and by land. The thought of going bus puts me off literally as I have to spend 5 to 6 hours on one way trip to Sandakan. In total, I have to spend about 10 – 11 hours on the road alone.
With cheap air fares, I purchased my Air Asia ticket (a return ticket) at about RM 108 and the flight took merely 1 hour or so to reach to Sandakan. Though the bus tickets might cost a little cheaper than the air tickets, I got to save a lot of time by traveling via air.
IIRC, I had to wake up at about 5am in order to board the 7am flight to Sandakan. Thanks to the accommodation staffs, they booked a taxi and reached at the doorstep by 5.45am. By 6am, I was at Terminal 2 (that’s where Low Cost Carriers are at) and it took me about 15 minutes to check in. One thing I was surprised of was that there were a lot of people even at 6am. Not sure where those people came from or where they were going to, it’s just madness.
The flight took off on time and by 8am, we arrived at Sandakan. The sight of Sandakan airport wasn’t something I expected it to be. It didn’t look like an airport to begin with. The taxi fare to Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary costs RM35 and the coupon can be purchased at the taxis counter itself. The journey to the said Centre took about 20 minutes or more as the roads weren’t that wide. It is wise to ask the same taxi driver to wait or return to the Centre to pick you up as there aren’t many public transports going into the Centre.
The Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre was set up in 1964 to rehabilitate orphaned baby orang utan. Set in the lush 4,300-hectare Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, the Centre under the administration of the Wildlife Department of Sabah attracts tourists and researchers alike, giving them the opportunity to watch the orang utan up close in their natural habitat. A boardwalk leads you to a viewing gallery and feeding platform where the apes are fed milk and bananas twice a day at 10.00am and 3.00pm by rangers. Feeding time also attracts long-tailed macaques to the area.
– plucked from here
Upon reaching, I was greeted with lushes of green tall trees and wooden buildings at the entrance.
But before entering into the forest, I had my breakfast at the cafeteria which was located beside the main entrance.
They had their very own breakfast menu; Sepilok Big Breakfast (I think), which consisted of fried egg, toasts and a sausage. I didn’t bother to finish up the sausage as it didn’t taste like one! Blerghh…
The Ice Milo was mediocre at best.
The entrance fee was rather cheap for Malaysian but I had to pay an additional fee for my camera (RM10!!).
Before the feeding time, there’ll be some videos shown in another room across the reception area and they are free of charge. Being the kiasu one, I didn’t watch the videos so I made my way into the forest the moment the gate was opened.
In there, there is a specific walkway for tourists. Surrounded by tall trees, one could breathe close-to-unpolluted air and enjoy the cooling environment with the chances of being stung by blood-sucking mosquitoes.
The walk to the feeding platform took about 5 – 10 minutes.
If you’re lucky enough, you will be able to spot some Orang Utans hanging around the trees before the feeding time too.
By 9.45am, the crowd started to build up on the viewing deck, which was opposite of the feeding platform. But there weren’t many would stand on the viewing deck as the sunlight was pretty strong on that day. It wasn’t any better as I was having mild sunburn from previous day.
By 10am, the folks from the Centre were at feeding platform with buckets of fruits (any maybe vegetables). With some calling (names, I guess), Orang Utans began to converge to that area for food. At the same time, all the shutter sounds began to fill the air too.
There were only two Orang Utans on that day. I was told that on other ‘luckier’ days, there will be 7 – 8 Orang Utans during feeding time. Bleehh…
Heck, the authorities even said that they do not guarantee there will be any Orang Utans. It was clearly stated on the entrance ticket itself.
After the Orang Utans were done, then came the wild monkeys.
They were feasting on the leftovers…
At about 10.30am, I left the viewing dock for the exit to get a drink. Thankfully, the taxi driver, whom sent me to the Centre, kept his promise and waited for me so he could send me back to the airport. No thanks to the flight delay, probably due to rain, which wasn’t heavy at all, I arrived at Kota Kinabalu at about 4.30pm.
to be continued…
Chronicles of Sabah Trip 2009 :-
- In Sabah – Day 6
- In Sabah – Day 5
- In Sabah – Day 4 (Part 2)
- In Sabah – Day 4 (Part 1)
- In Sabah – Day 3 (Part 2)
- In Sabah – Day 3 (Part 1)
- In Sabah – Day 2 (Part 3)
- In Sabah – Day 2 (Part 2)
- In Sabah – Day 2 (Part 1)
- In Sabah – Day 1
- In Sabah – Prelude