Visiting Orangutans in Borneo

Orangutans in Borneo
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If you love wildlife, then a trip to definitely consider would be visiting orangutans in Borneo. We were lucky enough to travel to Borneo back in 2014 and saw some beautiful orangutans in their natural habitat. They are captivating, shy creatures that you can simply observe for hours – how they live, eat and use their very agile limbs to climb and swing!

Orangutans in Borneo
Visiting Orangutans in Borneo is a special ‘pinch me’ moment

After a short stopover in Singapore, we flew to Kota Kinabalu which is in Malaysia’s Sabah state in northern Borneo. The airport itself was larger than I anticipated – shops, pharmacy and cafes. Positive luxury .

From the airport we had a private transfer to our hotel – the Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, which was about a 40 minute ride from the airport.

This beautiful hotel is set in lush, tropical grounds surrounded by vegetation and trees. The hotel lies stretched along a white-sand beach. We stayed in a Deluxe Garden View Room which had a balcony and comfy seating area which came in handy once the rain set in (more on that later). You could also watch the resident cockatoos, who were easy to spot to their bright coloured plumes.

The hotel has a number of bars and restaurants but one of the highlights is the Tepi Laut Makan Street. It’s a street food concept and if you visit, make sure you take your appetite as the choice and amount of food is amazing. There is a mix of buffet stations and live – cooking for noodles, fried rice, dumplings.

Tepi Laut Makan Street - restaurant at Rasa-Ri Shang-ri La Resort
Credit: Tepi Laut Makan Street – Shangri La Rasa Ria

When we travelled here, we were fortunate that there was an Orangutan Sanctuary situated within the grounds of the hotel. This sanctuary has since closed so you would need to head to somewhere like the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary to enjoy a similar experience. But we were lucky to see some gorgeous young orangutans who were being cared for at the sanctuary. They were all young, up to the age of 8 years. Most had been orphaned or found abandoned, sadly due to deforestation for palm oil.

When you’re visiting the Orangutans in Borneo, head out at night to see the fireflys too!

If you do head over to Borneo to visit the orangutans we’d also recommend that you head out on a trip to see fireflys. It’s a relaxing trip up-river in the pitch black and then, the fireflys come out and dance in the night sky. It’s a strange but fascinating trip to see how these small insects light so bright in the night sky. Obviously we don’t have any photos – as soon as they see your light, their ‘lights go out’.

We had a brilliant time and this is up there with being one of the most memorable trips that we’ve made. Perhaps, all the more memorable because of the weather. After 3 days of solid rain (we travelled in November) we had to leave the hotel early otherwise we wouldn’t have made it to the airport. So after a journey that usually takes 40 minutes, this time, due to the floods, high waters and washed away roads we finally made it to the airport after a couple of hours. Once at the airport all flights were cancelled … luckily with the exception of ours so we made it home on time.

We booked this trip with Kuoni.

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