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Malaysia forum

Best place to see wild Orangutan in Borneo?

Posted by kiwigirlnz on 17/8/2011 at 11:20

Just wanting some help on where the best place to see wild Orangutan is in Borneo? I have seen posts on wildlife sanctuaries but are really wanting to see them in the wild. Cheers!

#1 kiwigirlnz has been a member since 17/8/2011. Posts: 15

Posted by cybervlad on 22/8/2011 at 13:01


I saw "forest people" (orang-utan in Bahasa) while visiting Uncle Tan's wildlife camp in 2007. Big family of these primates lives just next to camp.
Unfortunately they prefer to seat very hight, so i haven't any pictures :)

#2 cybervlad has been a member since 6/6/2007. Location: Thailand. Posts: 184

Posted by idreamofdurian on 22/8/2011 at 13:51 TF writer

Your best chance is on a river safari along the Kinabatangan near Sandakan. Uncle Tan's is one of the many operators of these tours. As the previous poster mentioned, they stay high in the treetops so you won't get a very clear view. I saw about 5 orang utans when I went (including a mother and baby), but the photos are nothing more than blurry reddish dots in the treetops.

For the best of both worlds, do the Kinabatangan river safari to see them in the wild then go to the sanctuary nearby at Sepilok to see them up close.

#3 idreamofdurian has been a member since 5/9/2008. Location: Singapore. Posts: 576

Posted by tyler on 22/8/2011 at 23:21

I agree with both posts. Another suggestion for accomodation in the Miso Walai homestay along the kinibatangan. It is a bit out of the way - but easily accessible by bus and car. Check out the sabahtourism.org for a link to the director or the homestay. there is also an ecolodge to stay at nearby with great night treks.
Have a great time.

#4 tyler has been a member since 7/12/2010. Location: Canada. Posts: 257

Posted by podus on 23/8/2011 at 14:53

We went to the orangutan wildlife sanctuary just outside of Kuching - it's a 3 ringgit bus ride (about 45mins?) to get there, and the entrance fee is only about 6 ringgit (or half that if you show them any student card). We saw a whole lot of orangutans (and very close), including a mother and baby, a HUGE male (who monopolised the bananas), and at least 10 other orangutans of varying ages. I'm glad we went there, as it was so incredibly cheap and also rewarding. The bus (just ask someone there whch one) departs the bus station near the main mosque in Kuching at 7.15 am (best to be there at 7am) every day, and the return bus leaves the park at maybe 11am - but rather than wait around we ended up getting a lift with a tour group heading back to Kuching, and paid maybe 10 ringgit each, but it saved us a long wait in the heat. I would recommend this park if you don't have much time, money or both :) Beware of organised tours there though, for around 40rm, since it's so cheap to get the bus yourself.

#5 podus has been a member since 23/8/2011. Posts: 4

Posted by stujess on 2/12/2011 at 12:32


I would recommend Uncle Tans too, we saw about 3 -5 Orang Utans there but that was in 2009. On the same trip we went on the Red Ape Trail which was 3 days total in hiking, we saw a few Orang Utan nests and eventually saw a mother her child and her baby! Red Ape Trail is fairly expensive though, if you're on a tight budget. And it is not guaranteed you see any Orang Utans. But some of the money goes towards the conservation of the apes and the Iban village that you stay near before and after trekking.

#6 stujess has been a member since 29/11/2011. Location: New Zealand. Posts: 6

Posted by kiwigirlnz on 2/12/2011 at 17:30

Thanks so much for all the replies! We are definetely going to go to the Kinabatangan River but will also look into doing a homestay as that sounds awesome too! Thanks!
Oh anyone do any snorkeling in Borneo and know if it is better than that at say Tioman and Redang Islands on the east coast of peninsula Malaysia? Seems more expensive.
We are also really wanting to climb mt Kinabalu although prices for this seem just insane!! ie. $800 nzd (around a thousand American dollars) for a tour and this seems to be the only way you can do it?
Thanks again!

#7 kiwigirlnz has been a member since 17/8/2011. Posts: 15

Posted by asia4life on 8/12/2011 at 02:14

Pleas avoid Kuching (posted by podus). yes it is cheap, but the rangers do not threat the Orangutan well, and the Rangers are terrified by the Orangutan everyday. The yelling to attract the Orangutan are not nice, and there is no logic behind the food/menu provided.

You asked for Borneo advice, but if you can re-schedule, Sumatra and Bukit Langwa is not so bad. At least the offical Rangers working at the visitor centre are "good guys" knowing what they are doing and also explaining why.

#8 asia4life has been a member since 30/11/2011. Location: Sweden. Posts: 19

Posted by tedbehr on 9/12/2011 at 16:17

Without a doubt the snorkeling is better in Borneo than in West Malaysia and worth the extra ringgit. A visit to Sapi Island should suffice if you only have a short time in Sabah and are based in KK. Otherwise head to Mabul island, off Semporna, for an incredible underwater experience.

You might save a bit by booking the Mt Kinabalu climb from a travel agent based in Kota Kinabalu. A 3D/2N tour should cost less than RM1000 (about 300USD) per person. The official tourism Malaysia website lists the licensed travel agents and various specials.

#9 tedbehr has been a member since 18/11/2011. Posts: 3

Posted by Sumpit on 25/8/2013 at 00:18

Hi asia4life, you are a lousy liar. Did somebody pay you to say all those lies. Do you have any visual proofs to show that the rangers abuse the orang utans and what's wrong with the food(fruits) given to them?

#10 Sumpit has been a member since 24/8/2013. Posts: 4

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