Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) Sepilok


Location: Sandakan, Sabah

Ratings *** If you are going to visit the orang utan centre, you should drop by here.

Lost Ratings *** RDC doesn’t get many visitors as most tours do not stop here, so you will only see the occasional lost traveler. Unless you happen to coincide with a school visit. The Rainforest Discovery Trail is a quiet place to contemplate and listen to the birds and cicadas.

Visitors to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in Sandakan should take the chance to visit this lovely forest park located nearby. Established in 1996 originally as an environmental education centre for students, the Rainforest Discovery Centre is, as its name suggests, a place to discover the rainforest. Since August 2006, it has also been opened to the public, and now visitors who want to extend their visit in Sepilok after seeing the orang utans can stop by at this place. With the RDC, travelers can now have the complete nature experience in Sandakan (wildlife and jungle).

Start your visit with the Exhibition Hall at the Visitor Building to learn more about the plants and wildlife of Sabah. There are more than 40 interpretative posters as well as real seeds and other parts of plants that can be touched. The exhibition hall provides a fun learning experience for kids and adults alike.

replica of Gomantong Cave

replica of Gomantong Cave

Next to the Visitor Building is the Plants Discovery Garden. Plants found in this botanical garden include native orchids (including slipper orchids), economic crops (coffee, cocoa, tea, pepper, oil palm and rubber), cacti, and plants that originate from tropical America. One of the more interesting plants is the infamous carnivorous plant, the Venus flytrap. Native to America, this plant is sure to attract curious Malaysian visitors as not many botanical gardens have this plant. The local counterparts of the Venus flytrap, the pitcher plants, can also be found here.

The best part of RDC though is the 800-metre Rainforest Discovery Trail. The trail winds through the beautiful forest and lets visitors see for themselves the trees that are found in a dipterocarp forest. The tall trees provide a natural shade and it is not as humid here as it is at the Orang Utan Centre. Wide trails have been cleared in the forest, so it is not real jungle-trekking. On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about leeches either. As the RDC shares the Sepilok-Kabili forest reserve with the Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, it is not unimaginable for a visitor to bump into an orang utan! A 147m long, 28m high canopy walkway and 3 canopy towers lets you see the rainforest the way an orang utan sees it – from above. For bird-watchers, there are more than 250 species of birds here, including the rare Bornean bristleheads.

Getting there:

The Rainforest Discovery Centre is only about 5 minutes drive from Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. If you are coming from Sandakan, after you turn into the junction to Sepilok, it is located on your right-hand side.

Opening hours:

Daily including public holidays: 8am – 5pm

Entrance fees:

Rainforest Discovery Centre

Foreigner (Adult and Children) – RM10

Malaysian (Adult) – RM5

Malaysian (Child 5-17) – RM2

There are separate entrance fees for the Plant Discovery Garden and canopy walkway. At the moment, Canopy Tower 3 is free as it is not connected to the canopy walkway yet.

Plant Discovery Garden:

Foreigner (Adult and Children) – RM5

Malaysian (Adult) – RM3

Malaysian (Child 5-17) – RM1

Contact information:

Website: www.forest.sabah.gov.my/rdc

Email: rdcsepilok@yahoo.com

Telephone: 089-533780/1

Also in Sepilok:






  1. ghislain said,

    August 8, 2009 at 8:31 AM

    Can you take a taxi to Sepilok from the airport and then to the center. tks

    • losttraveller said,

      August 8, 2009 at 10:10 PM

      You can take a taxi from the sandakan airport to sepilok. From there to RDC, you can try to negotiate with the taxi driver. (how long to wait, how much, etc). In any case, RDC is within walking distance of Sepilok.

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