A visit to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre can be a full day trip from Kota Kinabalu, or visited as part of any one of our Wildlife Adventure Programs.
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Ex-Sandakan In 1962 Barbara Harrison, with the backing WWF, visited Sabah and reported that the orang utan was an endangered species and campaigned for their protection. The following year orang utans became officially protected under the Fauna Conservation Ordinance, which, among other things, prohibits hunting, trading or keeping them as pets. She then began to rescue young orang utans being kept locally as pets, and the idea grew of rehabilitating these animals to fend for themselves so that they might re-adapt to life in the wild. In 1964 43km² of jungle rainforest was set aside and the Sepilok Rehabilitation centre was established to rehabilitate orang utans for reintegration into the wild. Today around 80 orang utans are living free in the reserve and there are about 25 juveniles and babies living in the nurseries at the center’s buildings.
Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre
Meet upon arrival at the Sandakan airport and proceed on the 30 minute drive to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. This is where orphaned and injured orang utans are brought to be nurtured and prepared for their return to the jungle.
Witness the orang utans coming from the jungle to feed on a special platform filled with nutritional, but – from an orang utans point of view – bland food.
This concept is specifically designed to encourage them to find more interesting food in the surrounding jungle. You will also get to watch a documentary at the Sepilok Information building that highlights the plight of the orang utan and the rehabilitation process.
Rainforest Discovery Centre and Agnes Keith House for Lunch
Proceed to the Rainforest Discovery Centre where a myriad of plants, trees, birds and insects can been seen. Next it’s on to the English Tea House for lunch. A meticulously renovated colonial house situated within the grounds of the historic Agnes Keith House Museum.
With enveloping greenery and cool breezes, you can enjoy lunch with spectacular views of the town and Sandakan Bay from atop the hill where the English Tea House is located.
The half day program will end here with a drop off at the Sandakan airport around noon.
Excluding the Rainforest Discovery Centre, but includes a Sandakan Memorial Park visit.
Chinese Temple and War Memorial
The full day program continues with a drive up to Puh Jih Sih, a Chinese temple situated on another hilltop with commandng views of Sandakan Bay. Built in 1987, this ornate temple is emblazoned with red, gold, writhing dragons and a gold gilded Buddha. It is said that the temple protects and brings prosperity to the Sandakan community.
From Puh Jih Sih temple you then continue to Sandakan Memorial Park, which is located in the suburb of Taman Rimba.
This is the site of the notorious WWII prisoner-of-war camp and is about 11km outside Sandakan.
The park, which includes a small museum, is a memorial to the thousands of Australian, British and local soldiers and civilians who lost their lives during the Japanese occupation of North Borneo. The rusting remains of an excavator, a generator and a boiler lie in their original positions, near steps leading up to a small commemorative pavilion.
After the memorial park you will be taken downtown through Sandakan street towards the Centre Market. This is where the people of Sandakan sell their local goods such as veggies, fish, fruit and much more.
You will then drive to Sim Sim Water Village to witness a neighbourhood of still houses. Establish in 1897, but with much modernising since then, you can walk amongst the houses on stilts occupied by a variety of Sabah peoples.
- English speaking guide, transfers as stated, entry fees & lunch.
- Airfares, video / camera entrance fees, alcohol and carbonated drinks, other items not explicitly stated.
- Binoculars, insect repellent, raincoat or poncho, good walking shoes and a hat.