Rainforest Discovery Centre

Rainforest Discovery Centre

Plants, birds, and jungle walks

More on Sandakan

Most visitors to Sepilok come for the animal sanctuaries, and while both Sepilok Orangutang Rehabilitation Centre and Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre are excellent, it’s worth spending time exploring the trails at the Rainforest Discovery Centre too.

Travelfish says:

The highlight (quite literally) is the 25 metre-high sturdy steel canopy walk, which stretches 347 metres across the treetops over the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, connecting two observation towers. There’s a separate freestanding tower as well.

The canopy walk is really something. : Sally Arnold.
The canopy walk is really something. Photo: Sally Arnold

Besides the panoramic views, up here is where you’ll have the greatest opportunity to spot some of the 300 birds species or forest creatures that dwell in the canopy. The platform is two metres wide and strong, built to cater to crowds.

Down on the forest floor, a network of well-signposted trails could keep you exploring all day. Wear sturdy footwear and take plenty of water, and be warned some trails are a little steep.

Keep your eyes peeled at all times. : Sally Arnold.
Keep your eyes peeled at all times. Photo: Sally Arnold

Near the Sepilok Giant Bypass trail, a Yellow Seraya tree (Shorea acatissima), known as the Sepilok Giant, towers an impressive 65 metres, quietly observing the forest as it already has for hundreds of years.

An exhibition hall offers a lesson on the flora and fauna of Sabah and the Plant Discovery Garden displays more than 250 species of orchids as well as pitcher plants and other species. Paddle boats can be hired for 5 ringgit for a bit of fun on the lake. Lifejackets are available.

You can hire a paddle boat to splash across the lake, or just enjoy the serenity. : Sally Arnold.
You can hire a paddle boat to splash across the lake, or just enjoy the serenity. Photo: Sally Arnold

An informative night walk offers the best chance of seeing wildlife such as flying squirrels, mouse deer and civets, and if you are lucky, you may glimpse a slow loris (watch out they’re venomous) or tarsier. Night walks are offered Monday to Friday 18:00-20:00, 30 ringgit for adults, kids 15 ringgit, with a minimum of four, maximum of 10 per group. Register at the ticket office earlier in the day. Bring a torch and wet weather gear.

The Rainforest Discovery Centre’s cafe was not operational as of mid-2016, but you can buy cold drinks at the ticket office.

Another creature we spotted around the centre. : Sally Arnold.
Another creature we spotted around the centre. Photo: Sally Arnold

A quick breeze through the highlights will take about an hour and a half, but we’d recommend spending half a day or more. We think seeing the centre is a magnificent opportunity to fill your lungs with some pure fresh air; it suffers somewhat from being in the shadow of Sepilok's more popular attractions.

Contact details for Rainforest Discovery Centre

Address: Sepilok
T: (0895) 33780; (0895) 33781;  
Coordinates (for GPS): 117º56'39.35" E, 5º52'35.25" N
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: Adults/children 5-17: 15/7 ringgit; kids under 5 free.

Reviewed by

Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.

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These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.

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