Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC), Sandakan was setup in 1996
and managed by Sabah Forestry Department. Initially it was setup as an environmental education
center for students and teachers with the aim of increasing and enhancing their awareness and
appreciation of the importance of rainforest conservation. The center has been opened to the
public since August 2006 for them to see and learn of the many different species of rainforest
tree and wildlife in Sabah. Its main aim is to teach the public to appreciate the uniqueness
and importance of Borneo’s rainforests and how human can co-exist harmoniously with nature.
The various attractions here are:
- The Canopy Walkway which is the main attraction here is mega steel structure. It is
about two meter wide and 300 m long with a single-column shelter and was built to connect two
tower named Bristlehead Tower and Trogon Tower together. (Construction is currently underway
to extend the walkway). At its highest point, it is about 25 meter high from the ground level.
From this height, the scenery is breathtaking and will give tourist the chance to appreciate the
surrounding forest better. This is also a good place for bird watching and taking photos of
the rare and unique birds of Borneo such as the Borneo Bristlehead and hornbills.
Note: The best time for bird watching is at the early morning about 7.00 am.
The mega steel structure of the canopy walkway
- The Rainforest Discovery Trails. This is a network of nature trails that leads
trekkers deep into the rainforest to appreciate the unique flora and faunas that is endemic to
Sabah. There are numerous paths for trekkers to choose, varying from some very long and deep
trails into the rainforest to some other shorter paths. Many signs with descriptive information
have been put up along the trail to inform visitor on the type of tree species and wildlife
found here. You can also opt for a night walk to have the opportunities to see
the forest become active in the night time. Various wildlife such as mouse deer, civet cats,
tarsiers and many interesting and unique insects can be seen during the night walk.
- Visitor Building with an exhibition hall where the unique and endemic flora and fauna
of Sabah are displayed. Learn about the various plant group, animals and insects that make up
the rainforest community. Learn more about Borneo's unique animals such as the Bornean
pygmy elephant, the orangutan and various cats and deer that are found in the surrounding
rainforest and the different insect’s species such as beetles and stick insects.
- Relaxing by a lake. This beautiful and peaceful lake is the place for tourist to
take a rest after a long walk, exploration and learning. For those who still have some energy
to burn, there is a boat rides to try. For a small fee, visitor can rent the paddle boat which
is leg powered and seat two persons and go explore the lake.
- Plant Discovery Garden is the place for plant lovers. With hundreds of different
orchid species, pitcher plant, herb plants and many more, this is the place to see and learn
all about the endemic plants of Borneo. In this garden, there are many descriptive and
informational panels to describe the plants and educate the visitors.
Getting There: The Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC), Sandakan
is situated about 14 miles (23 km) from Sandakan Town and about 1.2 mi (2 km) from the Sepilok
Rehabilitation Center. Self driving or taking a taxi is the most convenient way to reach this
place. From Sandakan town, drive along Jalan Labuk until you reach a roundabout with a large
orangutan statue at Mile 14. Turn left here and continues to drive until you see the RDC sign.
Turn right here to go to the RDC car park which is about 500 meter from the junction. You can
also use the public bus to reach RDC during your Sabah vacation but bus only stops at the
junction of the main road, which means that you need to walk for another mile (1.6 km) to
reach the center in the hot humid weather.