Tuesday, November 03, 2015

Winterswallow: Orangutans, Proboscis Monkeys and Sun Bears

During the Eid holidays in July, LvH and I made a weekend trip to Sandakan. Our mission: To visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary and the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre.

From Kuala Lumpur, we flew to Sandakan in the state of Sarawak and stayed at Four Points by Sheraton because the company that LvH works for has a corporate rate there.

For a traveller, taking a taxi seems to be the most convenient way to move around in Sandakan.

I didn't even bother to find out how to get around by bus because it seems like buses were non existent or extremely infrequent in Sandakan. I think that's why almost every local has their own mode of transportation to get around.

There are taxis waiting outside the hotel and the drivers follow these fares religiously.

For convenience sake, we booked a taxi for the whole day to take us from the hotel to the 3 places, i.e. (in choronological order) Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary and The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (located beside the Sepilok Orang Utan Centre).

According to the driver, we need to visit those places during the feeding times because that's when we'll be able to see the animals.

So the best itinerary would be to head to Sepilok first thing in the morning to catch the 10.00am feeding time. After that drive to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary for the 11.30am feeding and then back to Sepilok to visit The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (no specific feeding time).

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

We reached the centre at approximately 9.30am just in time for the 10.00am feeding time.

Before entering the centre, all visitors must keep their bags in the lockers provided (maybe it's to prevent any crazy visitors from kidnapping any baby orangutans!).

Feeding times are at 10.00am and 3.00pm daily. It's important to take note because you'll need to arrange your visit according to the feeding times.

When the caretaker started dishing out the food on the feeding platform, it took some time for these shy primates to make their appearance. But soon the orangutans started emerging from the forest one by one. Some of them looked hesitant and unsure at first. But soon they started partaking in the spread of fruits, vegetables and milk.