Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Orangutan spotting in Borneo: Shangri La Rasa Ria

If you read my previous article about The Sepilok sanctuary, you may have vague recollections about that centre being the home of the adolescent orangutans in Borneo. Most of the rescued babies, however, are taken to the rehabilitation centre at the Shangri La Rasa Ria in Kota Kinabalu.

For guests heading only to Kota Kinabalu, this is the place to see orangutans and if, like us, you are staying at the sister hotel, Shangri La Tanjung Aru, then there’s a simple shuttle bus to take you across.

Entry is charged and it is best to book this trip in advance but the nature reserve at the Shangri La offers many other activities including jungle and canopy walks, some of which can be combined with opportunities to see the orangutans.

It was fascinating to see the contrast that comes with maturity. The babies are much less confident, more easily scared and unfortunately, the macaques seem to exploit this vulnerability, something they weren’t able to do in Sepilok, where the older orangutans were unfazed by their hovering.

But the littl’uns are undeniably adorable and the longing to hold them (however wrong I know it is) is unquestionable. We were lucky that when we arrived, there was just a drizzle of rain, clearly insufficient to suppress their eager appetites but when the downpours gathered pace, the orangutans (rather like many of the tourists) made a dash for it.

Once you are at the Rasa Ria resort, you are free to wander the grounds or grab a snack. We ended up playing a round of croquet – not a traditional Sumatran pastime as far as I’m aware but a nice way to pass an hour and brought out the competitive side of our marriage! I lost (I usually do when I’m competing with Pumpkin) but it’s more about taking part isn’t it?

Continue reading (Incl. Pics) at: Orangutan spotting in Borneo: Shangri La Rasa Ria