orang-utan is not one word
Sandakan Travel Blog› entry 3 of 8 › view all entries
More early morning travels. Our KK-->Sandakan plane left at 730am and we arrived at 840am. Once again the tour company picked us up at the airport. This seems to be standard for hotels/guesthouses in Malaysia. And it's a good thing too because independant travel is really difficult.
After checking into the guesthouse we walked to the Sepliok Orang-utan center, 5 minute walk. It is one of only 4 such centers in the world. They take in orphaned babies (mothers die from loggers or other acciedents) and pets that have been abandoned. For some reason people don't seem to realize that orang-utans grow up to be large creatures, 1-3 meters tall with an arm span much larger than that.
The center is inside a nature preserve.
The center also has a small museum about the orang-utan and the other creatures in the forest. Borneo is home to many kinds of rare animals- Sumatran rhinos, pygmy elephants, Probiscus monkeys, sun bears...so much to see (if only you have the time and lots of good luck). Some of these animals live in the Sepilok nature reserve but most of them are in the wild and thier lives are seriously endangered due to the palm oil buisness that supports the Malaysian economy.
Orang-utan means "Man of the Jungle" in Malay. They are the only great apes located outside of Africa. They are beautiful and strange at the same time, especially when they stand upright on thier legs...it's so humbling to see how close they are to humans.
The center closes at noon, and we were very tired, so we went back to our room for a nap. Waking up around 3pm, we decided that today would be a good day to take a look around the town. The center is fairly far away from Sandakan city but we had nothing but time so we took the city bus. So worth it! Best way to see the sights and the people watch. Kids, elderly, babies, every religion...such a great hour of travel.
Sandakan city is rather small- just a working town on a harbor. Far off the coast are some beautiful islands where sea turtles come for hatchings. Trips are available, but we had no time. We walked around the town, looked at the shops, drank some local soft drinks (cucumber flavored soda pop?) and sat down for THE best fried rice I have ever eaten in my life. Light, spicy, fresh seafood, amazing chili/vinegar sauce...all washed down with more local soft drink- something tea flovored.
We took a cab back to the guesthouse because the buses only run till 5pm. We relaxed and played cards and talked...travelling is good.