Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center and an awsome hotel in Sandakan!
Sandakan Travel Blog› entry 19 of 69 › view all entries
By 7:30am we were on the bus to Sepilok which is where the Orang Utan Rehabilitation place is that so many people told us to see before we left Borneo. It was a 6 hour bus ride but the nice thing was that it was somewhat in the same direction as Sipidan which is where we planned to go to next for some more diving. When the bus dropped us off at the Sepilok junction we jumped in a cab to take us the 3 km down the rod to the Orang Utan rehab center. We got there a little early as you can’t enter till 2pm and we were there at 11:30am so we hung out in the restaurant and talked to a guy from Toronto and a girl from England that were traveling together. When 2pm finally rolled around we paid our admission and walked into the center to the feeding platforms where all the Orang Utans and monkey’s feed at 3pm. At first there weren’t many people at all but then when it got close to 3pm the place started to fill up and it felt a little too crowded for my liking. That and there were quite a few kids and they were being quite loud which scares the Orang Utans away since they are actually quite shy and won’t come around if they hear loud noises. Eventually the Orang Utans made an appearance and it was quite an experience to see so many of them up close and personal. Some of the Orang Utans and monkeys came right up to us so we were able to get some pretty good pictures. We met some people from France who were telling us that the Orang Utan rehab center in Kuching is better cus there was only like 3-4 people and you could hold the baby Orang Utans and play with some of the adults. I was happy though to just be nice and close to them and by 4pm the clouds were looking pretty dark so we decided to leave to avoid getting poured on.
Coming out of the rehab center we ran into the guy from Toronto and the girl from England and they offered to share a cab with us into Sandakan which is the city in which we have to catch the bus to Semporna(That’s where you go to dive Sipidan and Mabul islands). It started to rain just as we were getting in the cab so luckily we didn’t get soaked and within 15 minutes we were in the Sanadakan bus terminal. Unfortunately the main bus wasn’t leaving to Semporna till 7:30am the next day but they had a mini bus that was supposedly going to be leaving in 30 minutes so we decided to give that a try since we wanted to get to Semporna and start diving the next day. We waited for close to an hour before they finally came up and told us the bus was here and ready to start boarding. I couldn’t believe it when we walked up to the bus, it was the size of a minivan or so and they were trying to cram like 12 people into it. They want us to cram in there with our bags and have the kids sit on our laps so we just said forget it and decided to stay the night in Sandakan and catch the main bus in the morning since we’d be saving money as well as have an actual seat on an air conditioned bus. We read in the Lonely Planet book that Mayfair Hotel was a good place to stay so we jumped in a cab and got the driver to take us to the hotel since we didn’t have a map of Sandakan at all and didn’t feel like walking in random directions to try to find it.
From the outside Mayfair hotel looks not that nice but when we went in and got our room, we were very pleased. The rooms were clean, had a 32” LCD TV and a DVD player with an huge selection of DVD’s to choose from(which were free to watch!) Another added bonus was free WI-FI internet for those that have laptops so that was awesome because then I could finally upload some pictures while watching a movie or something to kill time. The best part is all of this could be had for just $15/night for the two of us! We got settled in and decided to walk around for a bit and grab a bite to eat before relaxing for the night. There was a pretty nice little restaurant located on the harbor just down the road from our hotel which was packed full of people so we figured it’d be a good place to eat. Unfortunately no-one really spoke much English and they screwed up our order twice which wouldn’t have been so bad but then we realized about ¾ way through eating our burgers that the meat wasn’t fully cooked and was still a little pink in the center. Jordan wouldn’t finish his burger but I had already eaten so much of the burger that I figured finishing it wouldn’t make much of a difference, if I was going to get sick, one or two more bites wouldn’t matter.
After dinner we stopped into what we thought was a mall but was really only a 5 story department store. We were trying to find an alarm clock and some other items but didn’t have much luck. It was funny though cus I don’t think the people here see many white people cus the girls would all smile really shy like and say hello and follow us around everywhere. It was around 8pm when we got back to the hotel and I spent the rest of the night watching movies and uploading pics on TravBuddy but I kept getting errors for some reason so I only managed to get like 100 pics uploaded. It was nice to just relax for a night and watch movies though, we hadn’t been able to do that at all on our trip till this point. I think I managed to fall asleep around 1am which was early cus I had wanted to spend all night uploading pics but with all the errors I kind of gave up and just decided to sleep instead, plus we had to be up at 6am to catch the bus anyway.