From toddling turtles, to orphaned Orang Utans and playful Pigmy Elephants – those who are not fans of climbing can still embark on an exotic wildlife journey that Sandakan has to offer.
So you’ve come to Kinabalu Park but vigorous physical activity and mountain climbing is not your cup of tea. What else is there to do at Mt. Kinabalu besides scaling the giant? Plenty, in fact.
Here are some suggestions to catch some flora and fauna in action at this diversity hotspot brimming with exotic species. Uncover some of the very best of Sabah’s scenery and wildlife at Sandakan, along the North-Eastern coast of Sabah.
A must-see at Sandakan is definitely Sellingan Island, known as ‘Turtle Island’, where you can release and observe newly hatched turtles plodding into the sea! Just a short flight from Kota Kinabalu and a boat ride away, Sellingan Island lies along the Sulu Sea, east of Sabah.
Spend your afternoon snorkelling leisurely along the unspoilt beaches. When dusk falls, with prompting from the park ranger, catch a chance to see 2 species of marine turtles – the Green Turtle and the Hawksbill Sea Turtle – come onshore to lay their eggs. Witness the collecting of eggs from the nesting site, planting them in the hatchery, and then see the baby turtles scrambling to the open sea upon being released on the shore. Such a touching experience and a rare treat for visitors is facilitated by the professionalism offered by the turtle nursery personnel.
Next up, be sure not to miss Sepilok, a boat ride away from Sandakan. Pay a very rewarding visit to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, situated in the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, a primary lowland forest. Learn about the rehabilitation of orphaned Orang Utan from the centre’s informative videos and displays, before taking a relaxing boardwalk through the refreshing rainforest to view the feeding of the reserve’s Orang Utans, which are being gradually reintroduced into the wild.
Finally, complete your Borneo wildlife experience with an enchanting river cruise around the Kinabatangan River in search of endemic Proboscis monkeys, other fauna, and Sabah’s incredible range of birdlife including Rhinoceros Hornbills. One may also catch a glimpse of a wild Orang Utan, leaf monkeys, gibbons, macaques or the newly discovered Borneo Pigmy Elephants. There is also an optional night safari, where you can spot nocturnal animals, crocodiles and birds.
Indeed, Borneo’s well-preserved national reserves and primary forests contain countless hidden treasures for one to find. So if you’re into nature but not scaling mountains, fret not – your trip there allows you to experience wildlife on a whole new personal and interactive level. Be awed by the sheer diversity and unique complexities of Mother Nature’s creatures; discover Sandakan.
If you prefer mountain climbing, check out this article: MT KINABALU: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!
Images from etawau.com, sabahtours.com, mycoolholidays.com, oasistravel.com, timlaman.com