Sepilok Jungle Resort makes a handy base in east Sabah

Unfortunately, because of time pressure, I only had 2 nights at the Sepilok Jungle Resort – a handy base for exploring the Sandakan area of  east Sabah I start talking to a woman at dinner and find she was one of the original owners! She and her husband started the lodge some 18 years ago and as well as increasing the number of rooms,  they planted all the magnificent plants and trees. ( it’s still a family business)

Entrance Sepilok Jungle Resort
Entrance Sepilok Jungle Resort

Their rooms range from dormitory to air-conditioned deluxe with balcony rooms and over the years the trees have grown and the Resort is set  in this magnificent landscape – it’s also the first place I saw the bird om my bucket list – the fascinating hornbills.

I also saw many birds, fruit bats and butterflies feeding on fruits and flowers as well as fish feeding in their lakes: it’s the perfect place to relax in tropical jungle surroundings.

This is a great base to visit other places including just a five minutes’ walk to the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary which is on everyone’s to-do list.

 

I also went to the Agnes Keith House from here, attended the Sandakan Memorial Day ceremony for the Death Marches,  and visited the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary as I’d been told it was the best place to see them up close – this was true but I loved seeing them in the wild albeit a little further away! These monkeys are only found on Borneo making them rarer than orangutans.

Thanks for the great accommodation!

The face of Visit Malaysia 2014
The face of Visit Malaysia 2014

 

Angus Keith House
Angus Keith House

 

 

Angus Keith House tearooms
Angus Keith House tearooms

 

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Orangutans need our protection

Sepilok staff, the orang-utan minders, remind us to keep noise to a minimum, to keep our belongings safe from the naughty, inquisitive macaques and, after wiping our feet on a disinfectant-drenched mat – to help reduce contamination of their space with our human bugs – we walk to the platform area.

watermarked-sepilok IMG_7362

This is where the orang-utans, often orphans,  who have graduated from the nursery (learning  essential skills they would usually learn from their mother) to this ‘outdoor nursery’ where these young ‘wild men of Borneo’ are now learning jungle skills and where they’re fed with supplements of  fruit and milk.  The aim of the centre is to help them become independent and integrated into the wild population.

I overhear a group talking. ‘I’d pay much more to come here’ which is fine for our western bank account but not for many locals. I believe it is great locals are coming as it’s these very families who will save the forests the animals need. They cannot be saved only by the western or tourist dollar – even though that is essential.  If tourists such as I heard talking are ‘happy to pay more’ I suggest they make a donation or ‘adopt’ one of the orphans not that the Sepilok increase the price. Open twice daily, this is one of the few places that admission prices are the same for Malays and non-Malay.

I stayed only a few minutes away from Sepilok at the wonderful Sepilok Jungle Resort  where I received some of the best, most efficient service of any accommodation places in the region.  They were hosting me, but I also noticed how solicitous they were with a girl who arrived with infected insect bites, arranging for a car to take her and a parent to the Dr.

A family run business, which started in 1991, they have planted all the trees in the beautiful landscaped gardens and it’s a peaceful place to stay – I also saw my first hornbills there.  With raised walkways connecting accommodation, pool, jacuzzi, reception, and café, it’s good for bird spotting.  Even better, it’s only five minutes from the popular Sepilok rehabilitation centre and I walk there to see the current inhabitants. More about the Jungle Reserve in another blog.

Nice welcome board
Nice welcome board