This post is about visiting the Orangutans and Proboscis monkeys of Borneo including information regarding accomodations in Sandakan and Labuk Bay Sanctuary, transportation and activities.
Suddenly, the world seemed to be made out of stairs. A flight of stairs to reach our hotel reception, then two more flights to get to our room, then…collapse on bed.
Borneo Sandakan Backpackers is clean and lively. We had an air-conditioned room and clean shared bathrooms for MYR 60 (USD $18.50) per night for the two of us. Our hotel is located next to the pier and a mall at Harbor Square and we were able to do a quick walk around the block the next day.
We rested the day after we arrived and tried to gain back usage of our legs. We stopped by the supermarket inside the mall to get food supplies for our upcoming trip to Danum Valley Field Center.
We weren’t able to visit everything that Sandakan has to offer, our stop here was primarily to visit the primates of the island but we were able to enjoy a nice sunset on the pier. We tried one of the restaurants along the pier for dinner, though we shouldn’t have as there were a lot of cockroaches roaming around and the food was not an experience to remember.
From Sandakan to Sepilok:
Public Bus: Green minivan #14 to Sepilok (indicated in front of bus) MYR 5 (USD $1.50) 45mins-1hr ride, ask your hotel for the public bus station (5 mins away by foot from Borneo Sandakan Backpackers).
Taxi: MYR 50 (USD $15) 45mins ride
Information to plan your visit to Sepilok Orangutans Sanctuary
Orangutans feeding – 10am and 3 pm, all visitors are standing on a platform watching the orangutans feeding on bananas and dancing around the ropes. Very touristy. The tour lasts about 45mins
Entrance fee: MYR 35 (USD $11) per person (as of July 2013)
Camera fee: MYR 10 per camera (USD $3) and bags are left in lockers
Miscellaneous: Coffee shop outside the Sanctuary if need to purchase water, snacks etc.
From Sepilok to Labuk Bay:
Shuttle from Sepilok to Labuk Bay – leaves Sepilok at 10:30 am for MYR 15 per person (<USD $5)
Entrance Fee to Labuk Bay: MYR 60 (USD $18.50) per adult
Camera Fee: MYR 10 (USD $3)
We missed the van since the tour ended at 10:45am. A gentleman kindly let us borrow his phone so we could contact Labuk Bay, inform them we wanted to spend the night at Nipah Lodge so they could send a van for us. A private van for two people is more expensive but after negotiating we paid the original price of MYR 15 per person (currently MYR 20 –USD $6). The ride takes less than half an hour and you get to see the palm oil plantations along the way.
The cost for spending the night at Nipah Lodge, including a meal package was MYR 310 for the two of us (roughly USD $96) (July 2013).
We slept in empty dorms (sleeping 12), with shared bath. There was a slight horror movie feel to it as we were the only travelers here except for another young couple staying in another 12-bed dorm. Nipah Lodge also offers private rooms with private bathrooms.
We arrived right for lunchtime and headed to the feeding at 2:30pm (Platform A) and 4:30pm (Platform B). We hopped in vans with other tourists who booked the tour. It was truly an amazing and memorable experience. It’s not eveyday that you get to be so close the proboscis monkeys. We spend the whole afternoon observing the primates. Back to the lodge for dinner and our last activity was a promenade along the property to observe fireflies at night. Enjoyable, though we did not see many fireflies.
The next morning, we left for Danum Valley.
How was your visit to Sepilok and Labuk Bay? Share any questions or travel tips with us!