Sandakan @ Sabah, Malaysia: Our Travel Journal (Part 3) Rainforest Discovery Center, Sepilok

Written by @joehairie
(Photos by unless stated otherwise)
Special Mention: Borneo Sandakan Tours, Four Points by Sheraton Sandakan & BIG Air Asia, Official Website of RDC Sepilok


Our Travel Journal continues with one amazing feature in regard to Environmental Education (EE), right here in Sandakan, Sabah. Welcome to the Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC), Sepilok. RDC evolved from small, cozy environmental education center in 1996 into one of Sabah’s most popular EE centers. It is in within the famous Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, home of the orang utans at the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. The RDC is managed by the Sabah Forestry Department. Thanks to Gary of Borneo Sandakan Tours, we finally were able to visit this place after skipping it in our previous visits to Sandakan.

@Lan & Gary

Soon after arriving and exiting the arrival hall at Sandakan Airport, Gary from Borneo Sandakan Tours was seen with the placard and our names, written on it. Straight we went to him and within minutes we were in the transport that will bring us to certain must-visit attractions in Sandakan. The first destination, the RDC , Sepilok. As said earlier, we have never been here before though we know the existence of this place. Borneo Bird Festival was one of the event held here during our visit and soon after the Borneo Bird Run 2016.

The ticketing booth: Admission-free of charge during the Borneo Bird Festival September 15-17, 2016 

According to RDC official website, the main purpose of the RDC remains as an environmental education center for students and teachers. It has opened its doors to the public since August 2007. It is now opened daily from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm. Together with the nearby Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Center, it is hoped that the RDC will help boost the tourism industry in the Sandakan district.

Fun activity for the young visitors

All proceeds from ticket sales will be used to sustain the center so that it can continue to organize EE programs for students, teacher training courses and other environment-related activities. If you visit the RDC during weekends, you will most likely see school children being guided around the Exhibition Hall by the education staff…and elsewhere for that matter.

Canopy Walk

The most interesting part or activity at RDC is definitely the Canopy Walk. Let us present to you our experiences through some images taken during the walking on that amazing canopy!

There are many signage all over the place, you will not be lost here!
..and the walk begins…that’s Gary
More signage..
Canopy Walk…for the adventurous, there are some trails below for you..
Is this Menggaris Tree?
Further up @ the canopy walk
Bird Watcher!
Just look at the height!
Gary briefing the editor @joehairie
Trogon Tower..
Up and up to Trogon Tower
That’s me…Thanks @Lan!
View of the Canopy Walk
View from the tower…

Here are some videos taken from the Trogon Tower observation deck!

Rainforest Discovery Trails


Should you need to be more adventurous and being curious, above is the map of entire RDC including the trails. You get 3 things in one go, namely: wildlife, birds and plants. According to the RDC Official Website, The Rainforest Discovery Trails is a network of nature trails that provides easy access into the forest. Numerous interpretive panels along the trail describe the unique features of the natural forest and its inhabitants. Night walks along the trails also offer a chance to see wildlife, such as slow lorises, tarsiers, mouse deer and civet cats, and interesting insects such as stick insects.

Visitors building


The Visitor Building houses a multi-purpose hall (called the Rainforest Hall), a Muslim prayer room, offices, toilets, EE Activity Hall, toilets and Exhibition Hall. The exhibition focuses on the flora and fauna of Sabah. For plants, the posters cover a wide range of topics, from various plant groups, adaptations to forest types. The section on animals is mainly about the more iconic and well-known groups of mammals in Sabah, such as the Bornean pygmy elephant, squirrels, primates, wild cats and deer. There are also information on reptiles and the main groups of birds.

Side Events 

There were 2 side events during the Borneo Bird Festival from September 15-17, 2016. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time to fully participate in both side events. Here are some images related to the side events and for more information/for reference, do refer to the official pages:

Borneo Bird Festival 2016  (Click HERE)
Borneo Bird Fun Run 2016  (Click HERE and HERE)

Borneo Bird Festival

Registration booth for Borneo Bird Festival
Programs-Line up
Exhibition booth
Exhibition booth
Exhibition booth

Borneo Bird Run

Image from RDC Official Facebook Page


We strongly recommend the RDC to be included in your itinerary when you visit Sandakan. It is the best place to get intimate with nature through its Nature Experience programme which includes a guided walk to the Plant Discovery Garden, Rainforest Walk and indoor / outdoor activities. Birdwatchers will be fascinated by this place as it has one of the rarest birds in Sabah, The Borneon Bristlehead and another 250 species of other birds like the Hornbills, Broadbills, Pittas and Kingfishers. Up to this year 2016, RDC has become the official venue for the annual Borneo Bird Festival which attracts the participation of birding enthusiasts from all over the world. The program for 2017 must be an interesting one, not to be missed by nature and bird lovers!

Contact, Links & Information


EE Program Coordinator
Rainforest Discovery Center
PO Box 1407, 90715 Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia
Phone: + 60 89 533 780 / +60 89 533 781
Facebook: Click HERE
Website: Click HERE
Entrance Fees

Malaysian resident 
RM 7: Adults 
RM 3:Children 5-17 years old 
Free: Children below 5 years old 

Non-Malaysian residents
RM 15: Adults 
RM 7: Children 5-17 years old
Free: Children below 5 years old

Opening Hours
8am - 5pm daily ((including public holiday)
The Ticketing Counter, the Exhibition Hall and the Plant Discovery Garden will be closed at 5 pm. The trails and canopy walkway will be closed at 8 pm. Purchase your tickets at least 1 hour before the Ticketing Counter closes so that you will have enough time to visit the Exhibition Hall and the Plant Discovery Garden.

The tour to Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC) is made possible by:


Borneo Sandakan Tours
Block HS-05, Lot 54, 1st Floor
Sandakan Harbour Square
90000 Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia
Phone: + 60 89 215 754
Fax: + 60 89 232 754
24/7 Line: + 60 13 888 7623 (Jon) / + 60 14 654 2818 (Gary)
Twitter: @borneosandakan
Facebook: Borneo Sandakan Tours (Click HERE)
Website: (Click HERE)


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