Just as the kangaroo and koala are symbols of Australia, the orang utan is the symbol of Borneo, and inevitably, everyone wants to see this red ape. Unfortunately, you won’t see them crossing the street next to you in Kota Kinabalu anytime soon. There are only a few places where the orang utan can be seen. In Sabah, the following places are where you can catch a glimpse of this adorable animal.
1. Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre
The largest orang utan rehabilitation centre in the world, Sepilok is located about 30 minutes drive away from Sandakan and offers the visitor the best chance to see the orang utan in the wild. Feeding sessions are held twice a day, once in the morning at 10am, and once more in the evening at 2pm. Numbers vary from 20 to none at all, depending on whether the orang utan is able to find food on their own or whether it feels particularly lazy on that day and prefer a hand-out.
2. Danum Valley
If you prefer totally wild orang utans rather than semi-wild ones, Danum Valley is one place where sightings are possible. Whether you are able to see the orang utan or not really depends on luck. I would say there is a 50-50 chance.
3. Kinabatangan River
Another place where wild orang utans can be sighted. Don’t get your hopes up though.
4. Shangri-la Rasa Ria’s Nature Interpretation Centre
There are a couple of juvenile orang utans being taken care of by the staff in this resort, located about 45 minutes from Kota Kinabalu. Feedings are also held twice daily, and sightings are almost guaranteed. However, priority is given to in-house guests and during the peak season, it can be quite difficult to get a booking. Entrance is RM50 for in-house guests and RM65 for outside guests.
5. Lok Kawi Wildlife Park
“Orang utans in a zoo? We have that in our country too.”
I know, but if you really want to see the orang utan, this is one place where 100% sighting is guaranteed. They make an appearance at the animal show too, and despite the negative connotations of a zoo, Lok Kawi Wildlife Park is actually not that bad.
And last, but not least
6. Near Roundabout outside Wisma Tun Mustapha
Really, no orangutans at all? No worries, you can always pretend to be one.