How Long To Spend At Sepilok Orangutan

How Long to Spend at Sepilok Orangutan

How Long to Spend at Sepilok Orangutan

Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, located in the Malaysian state of Sabah, is a renowned haven for orangutans that have been orphaned or rescued from captivity. It offers visitors a unique opportunity to witness the rehabilitation process and observe these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat. However, determining the ideal amount of time to spend at Sepilok can be a challenge. Factors such as the number of orangutans present, activities available, and personal preferences can all influence the duration of a visit.

Experts suggest spending a minimum of half a day at Sepilok to fully appreciate the experience. Arriving early in the morning allows visitors to catch the morning feeding session, where orangutans are provided with fresh fruit and milk on open platforms. This is an incredible sight as you witness these intelligent primates swinging through the trees while enjoying their breakfast.

For those looking to delve deeper into the orangutan rehabilitation process, spending a full day at Sepilok is recommended. In addition to the feeding sessions, a visit to the outdoor nursery provides insights into the care and development of young orangutans. It’s fascinating to see how they learn to climb, swing, and interact with one another under the supervision of dedicated staff.

Some visitors choose to extend their stay at Sepilok by spending the night at the Rainforest Discovery Centre, an eco-lodge located nearby. This allows for an immersive experience amidst the lush greenery of Borneo’s rainforest. In the early morning, visitors can take part in guided nature walks, bird watching, and even witness sunrise yoga sessions. This extended stay provides a more in-depth understanding of the local ecosystem and its inhabitants.

While a half or full-day visit can be highly rewarding, those with a keen interest in conservation and primatology may opt for a longer stay. Sepilok offers volunteering opportunities that allow individuals to actively contribute to the rehabilitation efforts. By assisting with tasks such as orangutan feeding, enrichment activities, and habitat maintenance, participants gain a comprehensive understanding of the challenges faced in ensuring the survival and well-being of these majestic creatures.

Visitors should also be mindful of the peak tourist seasons when planning their trip to Sepilok. From May to September, the center experiences higher visitor numbers, resulting in potentially crowded viewing platforms. Therefore, it may be wise to consider visiting during shoulder seasons, such as April or October, to have a more intimate and less crowded experience.

Ultimately, the decision of how long to spend at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre depends on individual interests, time constraints, and budget. Regardless of the duration, one thing is certain: observing these incredible creatures and witnessing their journey towards rehabilitation is a highly enlightening and unforgettable experience.

Exploring the Surrounding Area

Beyond the confines of the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre lies a plethora of other attractions worth exploring. Here are some notable sites within close proximity:

Sandakan Rainforest Discovery Center

Venture to the Sandakan Rainforest Discovery Center, located adjacent to Sepilok, to experience a diverse range of rainforest flora and fauna. Encounter unique bird species, take canopy walks, and immerse yourself in Sabah’s rich biodiversity.

Sun Bear Conservation Center

A short distance from Sepilok, the Sun Bear Conservation Center offers visitors the chance to witness Malaysia’s smallest bear species up close. Learn about their conservation efforts and observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat.

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary

Extend your wildlife adventure by paying a visit to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. Witness troops of proboscis monkeys in their natural habitat, known for their unique appearance and distinctive calls.

Explore the City of Sandakan

Sandakan, the neighboring city to Sepilok, boasts rich historical significance. Visit landmarks such as the Sandakan Memorial Park and the Agnes Keith House to learn about the region’s past. Enjoy local delicacies at the bustling Central Market and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and heritage of Sabah.

Getting There and Accommodations

Getting to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre is relatively straightforward. Sandakan Airport serves as the main gateway, with regular flights from major cities in Malaysia. Once you reach Sandakan, taxis or pre-arranged transfers can easily transport you to Sepilok, which is approximately 23 kilometers away.

A variety of accommodations are available near Sepilok to suit different budgets and preferences. Options range from budget guesthouses to more luxurious eco-lodges. By staying overnight at one of these accommodations, visitors can have the added convenience of exploring the center at different times of the day, including early morning and late afternoon when fewer tourists are present.

Conservation and Ecotourism

The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre operates with the underlying goal of conservation and ecotourism. By visiting the center, you contribute directly to the funding of rehabilitation programs and the orangutan’s long-term conservation. Your support aids efforts to protect these magnificent creatures from habitat destruction and illegal wildlife trade.

Beyond the financial contribution, responsible visitor behavior is crucial. Following guidelines such as refraining from touching the orangutans, maintaining a safe distance, and not littering helps ensure the well-being of the orangutans and the sustainability of the center.


A visit to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre offers a unique and enriching experience for both wildlife enthusiasts and those seeking to contribute to conservation efforts. The recommended duration of half a day to a full day provides ample opportunities to observe the orangutans and gain insights into their rehabilitation process. Exploring the surrounding area and extending your stay at Sepilok can enhance your understanding of the region’s biodiversity and cultural heritage. By supporting responsible tourism practices, you play an active role in ensuring the survival and well-being of these magnificent primates.

Dorothy Robinson

Dorothy D. Robinson is a passionate science writer and researcher. She has a Masters of Science in primatology, and has been studying and writing about primates for over 15 years. Dorothy is an advocate for primate conservation and works to raise awareness about the need to protect these amazing animals.

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