Visiting the Borneo Orangutan Sanctuary has been a long time dream of Karen’s. That’s why I promised her that one day, I will take her to the sanctuary so we can see these fuzzy apes together. One of the biggest reasons Karen wants to see orangutans is because she loves King Louie from Jungle Book. You know… the crazy ape in the movie!
Anyways, during our backpacking adventure, we met a dutch couple who advised us the best way to see Orangutans was to visit the Borneo Orangutan Sanctuary. We were glad we followed their advice because it made our trip much more pleasant.
An Interesting Start to the Journey
Our journey began with a short taxi ride to the Kota Kinabalu bus terminal. The owner of our hostel had given us specific instructions on which bus company to look for to purchase our bus tickets, however, we were directed to a different company when we arrived.
Confused, we decided to just take their word for it. The ride itself was at least 6 hours long, with 1 food/bathroom break. It’s important to let the bus driver know where you want to be dropped off, because they make random stops depending on where passengers are headed.
A One Night Stay at Sepilok
We booked a one night stay at the Sepilok Jungle Resort (don’t worry, it was very affordable at $40 per night for two people!). Our bus ended up dropping us off on the side of the road when we were close to the resort. We had to take a taxi to take us the rest of the way.
Once we arrived and got the keys to our room, we immediately dropped our backpacks off and headed out to see the infamous orangutans. What I liked about the sanctuary is how well these friendly apes were treated. They were well fed, and their personality is well documents. They were not placed in an enclosed cell, but rather, they had free reign over the jungle. This allowed them to learn how to navigate around their natural habitat.
When our visit was over, Karen and myself purchased our bus tickets to Kota Kinabalu from the hotel. Our payment included a ride to the “bus stop”, which was really just the other side of the street where we were dropped off a few days ago. The buses are not punctual, so if you ever take the bus from Sepilok to Kota Kinabalu, don’t panic if your ride doesn’t show up. We were feeling increasingly anxious when our bus didn’t show up, but it eventually did. It was just 30 minutes late.
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The overall experience was fun and the Organgutan Sanctuary is a must see should you go to Kota Kinabalu in Malaysia.
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• The bus ticket from Kota Kinabalu to Sepilok cost 43 Ringit which is about $11-14 US
• The entrance fee to the Organgutan Sanctuary as of writing this article is 30 Ringit which is roughly $7-10 USD
• They have Uber in Kota Kinabalu and it’s significantly cheaper than taking a taxi. We only paid 12 Ringit or $4 to take us from our hostel to the airport.
• You may want to bring some snacks as the bus only makes one stop for food!
• Taking a flight with Air Asia from Kota Kinabalu to the nearby city of Sandakan can be as low as $12 one way. Flying is definitely an affordable option if you don’t feel like taking a 6-hour bus.