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Rainforest Discovery Centre (Borneo)

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Rainforest Discovery Centre: 23 kilometres from Sandakan in Borneo.

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      23.05.2012 10:16
      Very helpful



      Some interesting plants and a number of experiences like the suspension bridge and the canopy walk

      Rainforest Discovery Centre,
      Sepilok, Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia

      We spent three nights in the Sepilok Nature Resort which I have previously reviewed. This resort is right next to the Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre which again, i have already reviewed. Also very close to the Nature Resort is this Rainforest Discovery Centre and as we never like to miss anything we decided to walk down the road to visit.

      This was a bit further to walk than we had originally thought and as it was also raining we did wonder if we were totally mad but we had nothing else to do that afternoon and so armed with big umbrellas we headed onwards.

      The RDC (Rainforest Discovery Centre) promised not only a chance to see the rainforest trees and plants of interest but it had a large lake and a canopy walkway. You could possibly see pig tailed macaques and long tailed macaques as well as rainforest birds so we set off in the rain hoping to see something of interest.

      We paid for our tickets which were not very expensive about £5 to £8 each I think but I can't remember exactly. It was more than a pittance but not stupid money. We chose to go and explore the Plant Discovery garden first as it was right next to the Reception and Visitor Building.

      This was a good sized area with a big range of exotic plants. The first section was that with economic plants so coffee, tea, bananas,, peppers the crocus that they collect saffron from and that sort of plant. It was interesting to see plants like the saffron crocus and some of the other spices plants. We were pretty familiar with banana, mango, avocado and others but it was a well set out and still fun to try and find plants we hadn't seen before which provided us with spices or products we used regularly.
      The next section was all the ginger lilies which have varied flowers and are very pretty. We continued upwards to investigate the carnivorous pitcher plants and they are amazing. I have a morbid fascination with carnivorous plants but I am not sure why!

      Coming downwards to the more beautiful orchid display and these never fail to impress. I think orchids are my favourite tropical flower while roses are my English favourite. There were three separate orchid displays, the Borneo orchids, the hybrid orchids and finally lower down there was a display of giant orchids. Passing through the orchids with my camera clicking we then moved through to the ferns which were impressive but not as beautiful as the orchids in my view.

      Less interesting to us were the arid plants. I like to see plants local to where we are visiting and the rainforest of Borneo is hardly arid but still nice to see I suppose.

      Other areas displayed aquatic plants, figs, begonias and Tropical American plants .The final section that grabbed our interest was the medicinal plant area. It is amazing what local tribes know about curing illnesses and such a shame that we don't spend more time and money investigating what they know instead of spending all the money of chemical experiments in pharmaceutical companies.

      We left the garden area and walked passed the lake. There were pedalo boats on the side but there were so few people around and no-one was using the boats. The canopy walkway has a large swing gate to get onto it, I am not sure why as the macaques which cause most of the trouble stealing notices etc can get round a gate very easily so it must be to keep walking and crawling type animals off the walkway.
      This was a very long walkway with a high tower half way along it. We climbed to the top of the tower and you did get a pretty amazing view over the rainforest. The steps were metal and steep and because it was raining we held onto the banisters pretty hard as the steps were slippery, as was the walkway. I certainly didn't fancy falling at this stage in our holiday as we had plenty of rainforest walking still to do.
      Although notices apologised about the lack of information of labels because of the pig tailed macaques stealing them, we saw not one animal at all while we were here. We were hoping to see some birds at least and macaques would have been very exciting but we saw nothing except huge trees in all our walk along the canopy walkway and within the entire rainforest Discovery Centre.

      We walked both ways along the walkway and then left and made our way round the lake the other way to try and see the ginger collection and also walk across the suspension bridge. The ginger collection was distinctly underwhelming, we walked through it without noticing and went back to make sure. None of the ginger lilies were flowering so really all we saw were tall leaves.

      The suspension bridge was a hanging rope bridge and that was long and pretty bouncy. I couldn't cope with being on it at the same time as my husband as he made it bounce too much so he had to wait till I had crossed first.

      There is a huge tree called 'The Sepilok Giant' in the rainforest that was quite a walk away and through the rainforest. I think if it had been fine we would have gone to find it but we were getting wet and knew we had a pretty long walk back so we decided not to bother.

      There are miles of possible walks and trails to explore if you have the time, energy and inclination. But after a while the dark trails and lack of things to see got a bit samey.

      Although we spent around two hours here I can't say it was the most exciting thing we did on our holiday. We had an afternoon to fill and this was suggested. I think if it hadn't been raining it would have been nicer but after a while you have had enough of rain dripping down your back and slippery walkways.

      It is worth a look and was interesting but of limited interest if other more exciting things are being offered. The orang-utan sanctuary is much more interesting so if you can only visit one then choose that. We were advised that the Orang-utan rehabilitation centre charges for a day ticket. This meant that if you bought your ticket on an afternoon you would only get one feeding session from that ticket but if you bought your ticket in the morning you would get two feeding session visits so we chose to go there when we could visit twice, hence having this afternoon free to go to the Rainforest Discovery centre.

      Thanks for reading. Hope this has been of interest to you. This review may be posted on other sites under my same user name.


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