Here’s a quick guide giving you all the info you need to have an amazing time in Sepilok
Getting to Sepilok from Sandakan airport
We used the free airport WiFi and grabbed a Grab. It cost us RM15 and picked us up outside Gloria Jeans Coffees just to the right of the arrivals exit, dropping us at Nature Lodge Sepilok.
What to do
Rainforest Discovery Centre – 7 mins walk from Nature Lodge Sepilok
Opening hours – 08.00 – 17.00
RM15 entry for non Malaysian adult
RM30 Evening Nature walk – paid to the guide
RM45 in total
The RDC (as it’s known locally) was fantastic and you could easily do a full day there. There’s an amazing canopy walkway that has two towers you can climb. Great for birdwatching or just getting an amazing view of the forest. There are a number of great trails – we did the Pitta trial, a 1.9km circular right into the forest. Really exciting, slightly nerve racking, we could hear some pretty big monkeys very close by!
Visitors centre is worth a wander around, if only for the air conditioning.
Ask for a map when you get to the ticket office. You can sign up for the evening nature walk – 18.00 to 20.00. It can fill up fast so sign up as soon as you arrive. It costs another RM30, paid to the guide when you do the walk. We signed up but didn’t do the walk as we were shattered after all the walking we did!
There was a cafe but was closed when we went (could of been the season) and we couldn’t find a water fountain so pack prepared!
Sepilok Orangutan Rehibilitation Centre – 15 minute walk from Nature Lodge Sepilok
09.00 – 11.00 (feeding time 09.30 in nursery, 10.00 on feeding platform)
14.00 – 15.30 (feeding time 14.30 in nursery, 15.00 on feeding platform)
RM30 entry for non Malaysian adult
An amazing day out. Amazing. Top tip – your ticket allows you to visit both the AM and PM session. Do it! It’s far quieter in the PM and we had very different experiences each time.
The centre takes in abandoned Orangutans, rehabilitating them before trying to reintroduce them into the wild. There are 43 animals in the centre, which is huge. You take a walkway to the feeding nursery where you take a seat and watch the young orangutans come to feed and play. Leave a few minutes early to get to the next section – the feeding platform. We were lucky enough to see a mother and her baby on the platform in the morning, and orangutans on the walkway in the afternoon.
Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre – across the road from the Sepilok Orangutan Rehibilitation Centre
09.00 – 15.30 (No feeding times, we asked)
RM31.80 for non Malaysian adult
We visited the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre straight after the morning session at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehibilitation Centre, before heading to Mama Wati’s for lunch. The bears are all rescued pets and live in a large enclosure with 2 viewing platforms and a walkway that connects the two. The bears are adorable! It’s luck of the draw if you see any and we saw enough to justify the cost – we weren’t sure at first. The staff are great and there was a telescope trained on one of the bears who was having a nap on a log.
The bears are pretty close and really don’t seem to mind people chatting away. If you didn’t see many bears it could feel expensive so it’s all down to the bears mood on the day.
Where to stay
Sepilok B&B – RM45 for a bed in a 4 bed dorm
Good WiFi near the rooms
Nice seating area outside the room
Good air con in the rooms
Rooms feel a little dated
Beds not the comfiest
Lots of mosquitos
Bathrooms not the best
Nature Lodge Sepilok – RM40.95 for a bed in a 8 bed dorm (Hostel World says same sex dorms but we’re mixed when we arrived)
Great air con and fans
Great breakfast which is included
No catering facilities even though it says they have them on Hostel World
Only WiFi is outside their office – a separate building a walk away from the rooms
No water refill except in the restaurant
Where to eat
Nature Lodge Sepilok has its own restaurant. The included breakfast is great – melon to start, then choice of eggs – scrambled, fried or omelette with hash brown frankfurter sausage, beans and salad. Refillable tea, coffee and juice.
We had lunch there one day when we got caught in the rain. Buffet with really good choice with tea, coffee and juice included. Not the cheapest – RM25
Sepilok B&B have a good menu that’s really well priced. Decent quality, you get what you pay for. Chicken and potato curry and vegetable curry – RM8 each drinks around RM2
White House Bistro is just across the road from Nature Lodge Sepilok. Nice local spot with a few tables outside. Decent menu, OK food. Again, you get what you pay for. Pepper chicken with rice, Lemon a chicken with rice – RM9 each drinks around RM2 – 4 Good juice
A good spot for lunch when visiting the rehabilitation centres is Mama Wati’s, it’s on the same road as the Sepilok Orangutan Rehibilitation Centre. A very simple, family run spot. Basic but simple and tasty. We went here for lunch during our sanctuary trip. Nasi Goreng Bawang (garlic – was delicious) and Nasi Goreng Kampung (vegetables) RM7 each drinks around RM2
Kafeteria Sepilok is a cafe/restaurant just outside the orangutan sanctuary. We nipped in for an ice cream, food seemed reasonably priced. Was quite busy. Main meal RM10, 2 ice creams RM 4.80
There are other day tours that take you further into the reservation but all of the above was easy access, from out hostel, without the need for a tour guide or transportation.
Overall a great few days outside of the cities and would around suggest to spend around two day, two nights here, going at an easy pace. Enjoy!
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