Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre Sepilok
We visited the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre during our stay at the Sepilok Jungle Resort. We knew very little about these animals before coming here but were intrigued to see “The World’s Smallest Bear”! We had plenty of time in Sepilok to visit both the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and the Sun Bear Conservation Centre. We ended up going to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre first on the afternoon we arrived in Sepilok.
Getting to Sepilok
To get to Sepilok we caught the minibus number 14 from the main bus stop in Sandakan. We paid 6MYR each and another 6MYR for our backpacks which we thought was reasonable (a taxi is around 40 MYR, maybe 30 if you’re a good haggler). We did have to wait about 40 minutes at the bus station as timetables are more of a guideline than set times in Sandakan. The journey took about 50 minutes and we got dropped off right at our resort.
The Sepilok Jungle Resort is a 5 minutes walk from The Sun Bear Conservation Centre . The resort was very good for the price. Our room was comfortable and spacious. It was lovely to walk around the grounds spotting wildlife and enjoying the jungle. We’d recommend Sepilok Jungle Resort if you’re planning to stay in Sepilok.
The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC)
The BSBCC is found directly opposite the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Just go through the entrance as if you were heading for the Orangutans and follow the road until you see the BSBCC entrance on your left. It’s a short walk to the reception area where you can purchase your entry ticket. The price for an adult is ??MYR. There is a hefty fee if you have a large professional camera lens so bear (haha!) this in mind if you have that sort of gear. We were fine with our standard DSLR’s and there was no camera fee to use them.
In the reception area there is a small shop and a video area which shows clips about the sun bears and the BSBCC. We decided to watch these on our way back as we were excited to see the bears but they are well worth watching. In particular there was a very good National Geographic documentary featuring the founder Siew Te Wong. This gives a great insight into Siew Te Wong’s passion and dedication to the conservation of the sun bears. It’s hard not to get swept up in his enthusiasm and volunteer on the spot! As if that wasn’t inspiring enough we actually got to meet Siew Te Wong during our visit.
The Sun Bears!
From reception it’s a short walk up some more steps to the viewing platform. On the way there are various posters about the bears, we enjoyed these since we didn’t know anything about sun bears before our visit.
Here are my top three sun bear facts:
- Their tongues are 20 – 25cm in length
- They are the world’s smallest bears
- They love honey and are also known as ‘Honey Bears’
There is just one viewing platform but it’s quite large and wasn’t crowded when were there. We had a really good view and there was always at least one volunteer on hand to help out and answer any questions. We were lucky enough to see Siew Te Wong, the founder of BSBCC here too and he was more than happy to answer any questions.
We stayed for over an hour taking pictures and speaking to the volunteers and the founder. There was also a telescope setup to get a close look at the bears. We were lucky enough to see them out and about, they were climbing trees, digging and playing with each other. We loved watching them and it was hard to leave.
The work done by the centre is vital in the study and conservation of these adorable animals. Sepilok is well known as the home of the orangutan sanctuary but hopefully in the future the sun bears will be equally as well known. Don’t forget to visit them during your visit to Sepilok!
Have you been to the Sun Bear Conservation Centre? Have you seen sun bears anywhere else? We’d love to hear your stories or comments!