Malaysia: Borneo – The Rain Forest Discovery Centre
Borneo Rain Forest Discovery Centre – Sepilok, Sabah. Don’t miss it!
It goes without saying that I love to travel, but I have discovered that the planning of our trips gives me almost as much pleasure and going on them. In fact, I am often planning way out beyond, working on the next several trips each time we leave on a journey.
I tend to spend my time planning and not becoming to anal as to what we’ll do when we get somewhere. I obviously have a basic idea on the outline of time in a place but I like to discover things after I arrive at a destination and just love surprises. I am convinced if I planned in too much detail I might not get those wonderful surprises and that would negatively impact my travel experiences.
Having said that knowledge is good. A good example of this is when we were lucky enough to visit the Rain Forest Discovery Centre (RDC) in Sepilok. The RDC is only a short distance from the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre but I am sure many tourists come to Sepilok and leave having just seen the orangutans. That is a shame because the RDC is a primer to the fauna and flora of Sabah and greater Borneo.
The first place we recommend visiting at RDC is a relatively small exhibition hall. This place is a mine of knowledge, explaining the Bornean ecosystem in some details and gives an excellent insight into the mind-boggling biodiversity of this amazing island. Beyond the mammals and birds, the array on insects is incredible from large, stunning butterflies to stick insects to huge beetles. There were drawers and drawers filled with samples of insects; fascinating but somewhat scary when you think about coming across these out in the jungle.
Beyond the exhibition hall, there are extensive grounds to walk around. This is a primary rain forest with a mind-boggling range of plants and tree species. To get a real experience of the rain forest there is a raised walkway that takes you high up into the canopy. The height of the tropical trees themselves is amazing, and here in Sabah, you will find the tallest tropical trees in the world. The tallest tree discovered to date, in the genus Shorea, is in the Sabah’s relatively untouched Danum Valley – it is a towering 94.1 metres (nearly 309-foot).
We were lucky enough to have on our visit a guide, Kenneth, who was an expert on the birds of Borneo and he had bought along a spotting scope. He was able to point out different species, from small songbirds to larger raptors (eagles and hawks). Some of these birds, such as the bee-eaters were stunning. Probably the most spectacular of the birds is the rhinoceros hornbill, which is easy to identify in flight (it helps they are huge) as they look prehistoric and by their call. We were also lucky to see these flying around the Sepilok Nature Resort.
If you do visit Sepilok please take the time to visit the RDC and spend a good couple of hours exploring!