In Malaysia

Malaysian Borneo, the world’s third-largest island, is a destination that offers a unique and unforgettable experience for nature and wildlife lovers. Home to the oldest rainforest on Earth, Borneo boasts a rich biodiversity and a stunning landscape of mountains, rivers, and caves. But perhaps the most compelling reason to visit Borneo is to see its most iconic and endangered inhabitant: the orangutan.

Orangutans, which means “person of the forest” in Malay, are the largest and most intelligent tree-dwelling mammals in the world. They share 97% of their DNA with humans and display remarkable behaviours such as tool use, problem-solving, and culture. Sadly, they are also critically endangered, due to habitat loss, poaching, and illegal trade. There are only two places in the world where you can see orangutans in their natural habitat: Borneo and Sumatra. In Borneo, you can find several places where you can observe and learn about these amazing creatures while supporting their conservation and rehabilitation.

Kinabatangan River

Kinabatangan River

One of the best places to see orangutans in Borneo is the Kinabatangan River, the longest river in Sabah and one of the most biodiverse regions in the world. Here, you can take a river cruise or a jungle trek, and spot wild orangutans swinging from the trees, along with other wildlife such as proboscis monkeys, crocodiles, hornbills, and pygmy elephants. You can also stay at one of the eco-lodges along the river, and enjoy the serene and scenic views of the rainforest.

Another option is to visit one of the rehabilitation centres, where orphaned and injured orangutans are cared for and prepared for their return to the wild. The most famous and oldest centre is the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah, which was founded in 1964 and covers 43 square kilometres of protected forest. Here, you can watch the orangutans during their feeding times, and learn more about their life and challenges at the visitor center and the nursery. You can also visit the nearby Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, which rescues and rehabilitates the smallest and cutest bears in the world.



In Sarawak, you can visit the Semenggoh Nature Reserve, which has been an active rehabilitation centre since 1975. Here, you can see semi-wild orangutans that roam freely in the reserve, and come to the feeding platforms twice a day. You can also walk along the trails and enjoy the flora and fauna of the reserve.

If you are looking for a more adventurous and immersive experience, you can join a volunteer program and get involved in the conservation and research of the orangutans. One of the most reputable and rewarding programs is the Orangutan Project, which offers various opportunities to work with the orangutans and the local communities in Sabah and Sarawak. You can help with feeding, cleaning, enrichment, and monitoring the orangutans, as well as planting trees, building facilities, and educating the public. You can also interact with the local people and learn about their culture and traditions.

Malaysian Borneo is a place that will inspire and touch you with its beauty, diversity, and charm. It is a place where you can witness the wonders of nature and the plight of the orangutans. It is a place where you can make a difference and contribute to a better future for these magnificent animals and their habitat. Malaysian Borneo is a place that you will never forget.

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