SEPILOK needs no introduction. Everybody knows or at least has heard of this place. It is one of the biggest names in Malaysian tourism industry. Thousands of visitors come to Sepilok every year, making it one of the most visited places in the country.
So, why do they come here? Simple. Orang utans – our ancestors. Feeling to get back to them one day, I decided to pay them a visit.
Just like most tourist attractions in any other place in the country, some entrance fee applies. But I find the management of Sepilok is quite smart in generating money. They charge you RM 5 per entry (local) which is just half the RM10 charge to bring in a camera. All in all, it’d be RM15. They know NOBODY goes inside the sanctuary without a camera. Well, at least for first-timers. If you’re an international visitor, make sure you bring with you at least RM40. RM30 for the entrance fee, RM10 for a camera. Probably well justified this one. We, locals, are poor. Hehe.
For some reasons, a list of things is not allowed in.
But here’s the trick. Just bring with you a sling bag and put everything inside. Hold your head up and make your way in. As long as none of the gate keepers get to read this, you’ll be safe.
I gotta tell you, it is advisable to come to Sepilok at its feeding time which is 10am and 3pm. Otherwise, you might end up seeing NONE of them. But then, coming to Sepilok is not all about Orang Utans. In fact, the Kabili-Sepilok forest where the sanctuary is located in is a virgin forest with tropical trees aged hundreds of years I’m sure any logging company would drool over.
You can feel it is refreshingly less hotter once you set foot at Sepilok. The lush green surrounding seems to bring about a natural air-conditioning inside it.
Orang Utans in Sepilok are probably the most pictured creatures in the whole country they seem to really know how to pose in front of a camera.
In fact, they seem to enjoy attention from the visitors very much they’ll give you their best acrobatic poses.
Seriously, they are funny. They know how to make you laugh and make you day.
But just like most of my visits to other places, I eventually had to leave. Anybody shouldn’t visit Sandakan without paying their 'ancestors' a visit over in Sepilok. Believe me, once you meet them, you'll know how they deserve to live and be protected. After all, they are on the verge of extinction. If we don't do anything, they'll die, one by one.
That's why, we need protection centres like Sepilok.
Charles Darwin rocked the world by storm when he came up with his ridiculous theory of human evolution. But looking at them ‘in person’, you wouldn’t blame him. There really are like us in many ways.
Or rather, we do look like them.
Note: Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary is easily reachable by road about 15 KM from Sandakan Airport and about 23 KM from Sandakan town centre. A carefully followed signage will lead you to this roundabout of which your turning to the left will lead you right to Sepilok Orang Utan Sanctuary.