Wildlife Tour in Borneo
If you are visiting Borneo, you must be going for the amazing wildlife right?! We had an incredible 3 days 2 nights Wildlife Tour in Borneo through Amazing Borneo who offer flexible itineraries and private guides. They had been recommended by a friend and we found their communication leading up to, and during, the booking very good.
A 40% deposit is required for booking confirmation and the balance must be paid 45 days prior to tour commencement. We could not transfer the funds in Malaysian currency due to restrictions at our bank so had to pay by credit card (3% surcharge). The total cost was around £720 including the extra fees.
Day 1 of Wildlife Tour in Borneo
Day 1 was spent at Turtle Island, which was one of the most incredible experiences ever. ‘Turtle Time’ as they call it is split into three parts:
- 1: Watch a female turtle lay her eggs
- 2: Watch the Park Ranger bury the eggs in the hatchery
- 3: Watch the baby turtles being safely released into the ocean
It felt incredibly special being able to see the female turtle lay her eggs (ours laid 71!). A once in a lifetime experience. It was also amazing to see how much hard work and research goes into the preservation of the turtles.
You can read about our trip in detail here.
Day 2 of Wildlife Tour in Borneo
After breakfast at Turtle Island, we embarked back on the 40 minute boat trip back to the jetty. We started our 2 hour journey to the Bilit Rainforest by jeep via Gomatong Caves, which are home to millions of bats and swiftlets.
Make sure you wear long trousers, covered shoes and a hard hat as the cave is full of insects. In good news, the cave is high so there is absolutely no crawling! The inner chamber of the cave has a raised boardwalk which only takes around 10 minutes to walk around. The smell hits you first – it’s mainly bat poo and it takes up a lot of the cave! Within the cave are centipedes, cockroaches, beetles and more.
It’s an impressive cave but I would have happily missed it off the trip. However, it was on the way to the rainforest, broke up the journey and only took around one hour.
Another hour along a mainly bumpy dirt track through rustic countryside villages took us to the Bilit Jetty. Upon arrival at the jetty, we had a short boat ride to Bilit Rainforest Lodge located along the lower end of the Kinabatangan River at the Bilit Village.
The lodges are gorgeous with plenty of space and basic facilities. It was pretty cool to be staying in the middle of the rainforest! After check in we had a buffet lunch with delicious curry and stir fry dishes.
We were then taken on a two hour cruise along the Kinabatangan River with a seasoned guide who was brilliant at spotting the wildlife. There were only 6 tourists in the boat so felt very intimate and personal. We rented binoculars from our lodge which were £3 for the day – I felt like David Attenborough!
We saw Proboscis Monkeys (only found in Borneo), Macaques, the Borneo cat and many bright coloured bird species including a hornbill. It was so fascinating being so close to nature and the binoculars made everything so much better! Sadly our cameras just didn’t cut it for the photos but the memories will stay with us.
There was some down time in the lodge after the cruise we sat outside and read books in our hammocks. A buffet dinner followed which was just as delicious as lunch.
A night safari cruise followed at around 8pm and there were only 3 of us this time! It was unreal how much the captain of the boat could see in the dark. Absolutely boggled me the way he could spot the creatures just with his torch. We managed to get up and close to some beautiful sleeping birds in the trees, spied a crocodile (eek!) and more monkeys. A busy but fun filled day!
Day 3 of Wildlife Tour in Borneo
Up early again, we travelled back through the rainforest around 1 hour and 45 minutes to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. This was the part I was most excited about and it did not disappoint.
You can still visit if you are not part of a tour. The ticket counter opening times are 09:00 to 11:00 and 14:00 to 15:30 and are RM30 (around £5.5). There is an additional camera fee of RM10 (around £2) . The ticket is valid all day for all of the feedings and nursery experiences from 09:00 to 12:00 and 14.00 to 16.00. The centre is closed for lunch from 12:00 to 14:00, however the on-site cafeteria remains open.
Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre was founded in 1964, to rehabilitate orphaned orangutans. The site is 43 sq km of protected land at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve and around 60 to 80 orangutans are living free in the reserve.
In the nursery, visitors gather in a large room to watch the orangutans through a glass window. You get to see them swing from the trees, eat on the feeding platform and the larger orangutans help feed the younger ones. It is pretty adorable.
Next, you get to wander around the boardwalk to view the Orangutans on the main feeding platform. If you are lucky you get to see them in the trees above you (just hope they don’t pee!). We were super lucky that a pregnant orangutan chilled with us on the boardwalk. She wouldn’t move for almost five minutes and it was incredible seeing her up so close.
After spending around 1 hour 30 minutes with the orangutans, we walked a couple of minutes to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, a similar rehabilitation centre to the Orangutuns. Again, you can visit without a tour group between 9-3.30 for RN30.
The Sun Bear is the smallest bear in the world and is only found in South East Asia. They are around 120cm to 150cm tall and weigh between 27kg to 65kg. There are around 43 rescued sun bears in a facility including forest enclosures to provide a natural environment suited to the needs and welfare of the sun bears and facilitate their rehabilitation back into the wild.
The Wildlife Tour in Borneo with Amazing Borneo was fantastic. Our guide Darwis was lovely and the tour was well organised. It was incredible to be so near to the Borneo wildlife and an experience we will not forget.
East London Girl: Wildlife Tour in Borneo