10th Borneo Bird Festival 2018 –Expect
The 10th Borneo Bird Festival 2018 will be held in Sandakan, Sabah on 1st and 2nd December, and many are happy to know that the decade long birding event is now coming back to its home ground.
Since the conceptualization of this unique bird watching festival which started back in 2009, the Borneo Bird Festival has seen huge changes in the last 10 years, and is also known as the largest bird watching and nature festival in Malaysia.
|The very unique RDC steel canopy walk is one of the areas for the bird festival|
Borneo Bird Festival 2018 Highlights
While the regulars may know what happens during this bird festival in Sabah, it is also important to keep the awareness going, namely to the overall population.
The theme for this years Borneo Bird Festival 2018 is ‘Born To Be Wild’, where strong emphasis has been put on not caging the birds, and letting them be in their natural habitat.
|Bird watching at RDC, Sepilok|
Many birds have been trapped and hunted to be sold in the black markets, and some of these birds are poached and hunted for their natural beaks, like in the hornbills.
Bird and wildlife education is a never ending process, and the best that people can do is by constantly educating the public about this.
|The official banner for the 10th Borneo Bird Festival 2018|
Activities At The Borneo Bird Festival
Throughout the two days, there are a number of activities that go on during the festival, and they are broken into different areas.
Depending on what you or your family want to participate in, the list of events is below, and you can choose.
Sabah Bird Race – This is the most popular event where teams need to register and go on a bird watching race around the RDC.
Bird Photo Race – Similar to the bird race, but this event is done in a photography style race, where participants photograph the most number of birds during the race.
|A talk going on inside the air-conditioned hall at RDC|
Talks – Without fail, there will be a number of talks by local and international speakers in regards to bird watching, migrations, conservations and techniques. A number of NGOs will also give talks on conservation and ecotourism.
Workshops – These are specialized workshops dedicated to bird watching and conservation, done by professionals in the respective fields. Some include
|Some of the bird watching equipment on display at the festival|
Exhibitions – There are various exhibitions that take place around the event, which will suit all walks of life. Some exhibits display conservation efforts by the wildlife department, WWF and even MNS. Others will be on books, paintings and photography.
|At the start of the Borneo Bird Run|
Guided Nature Walks – Special timed nature walks by volunteer guides will take place on both days where it is free. Interested parties need to just sign up for the guided walks around the RDC.
Food and Drinks – There will be a section dedicated to food and drinks at the event where you will find local food like bites, burgers and snacks among cold drinks and juices.
|The scene at the Borneo Bird Festival at RDC, Sepilok|
Who Should Go To The Borneo Bird Festival?
This is a popular bird watching event in Sabah that attracts all walks of life. The main purpose of this event is to create awareness of the importance of birds and the environment.
|The open aired restaurant at the RDC in Sepilok|
Sandakan is also known as the nature city of Sabah Borneo, where there is abundance of nature to be discovered.
There is of course the world famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation, Labuk Bay and many other places for wildlife and nature watching.
|Bird watchers in full attire for the event|
What to Bring to the Borneo Bird Festival?
As this is an outdoors event at the RDC, you will be walking around most of the time. A majority of the events take place outdoors, hence you should be prepared for any weather changes.
In a rainforest, it can also get hot and humid, so here is a list of what you can bring to the RDC for the Borneo Bird Festival;
- Mosquito or insect repellent
- Poncho, raincoat or umbrella in case it rains as the walkways are not covered
- Bottled water and snacks
- A pair of binoculars are worth bringing if you want to see birds
- Proper trekking or sports shoes here as some of the walkways can be slippery
|The Bornean Bristlehead look out point at the RDC|
Tickets / Entrance Fees for the RDC
- RM 7.00 : Adults
- RM 3.00 : Children 5-17 years old
- Free: Children below 5 years old
- RM 15.00 : Adults
- RM 7.00 : Children 5-17 years old
- Free : Children below 5 years old
Opening Hours for the RDC:
- Daily 8.00 am to 5.00 pm (Daily)
- Birders start as early as 6.00 am at the car park area
Rainforest Discovery Centre Address and Contact;
PO Box 1407
Telephone: + 60 089 533780 / 781
Website: Rainforest Discovery Center Sepilok
|A list of birds of Borneo|
|A couple of Pied Hornbills spotted at the RDC|
How To Go To RDC In Sepilok?
Driving Directions To RDC
- Drive along Jalan Labuk from Sandakan Town
- Turn left at the Mile 14 roundabout (with a large Orangutan statue)
- Drive along until you see the large, pictorial RDC sign and turn right
- Drive for about 500m to the RDC car park
Taking A Bus From Sandakan To Sepilok – There is a public bus service from Labuk Bus Company that departs from the Sandakan Town Council, and the timings are not as frequent.
The bus stops at the junction of the main road of the Sepilok entrance and you then need to walk in about 1.5km. This is not recommended, unless you are doing a budget travel around this part of Sabah.
Flying To Sandakan – There are a few airlines that fly from Kuala Lumpur to Sandakan, where AirAsia has the most flights a day. Malaysia Airlines has two direct flights into Sandakan from KL.
AirAsia also connects from Kota Kinabalu and some other cities to Sandakan for those traveling locally.
Taxi or Grab Ride Hailing Service – Taxis and Grab is available, but you need to weigh the pros and cons of this, as you know Grab is the cheaper alternative.
10th Borneo Bird Festival in Sandakan Information
Date: 1st and 2nd December 2018 (Sat & Sun)
Venue: Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC), Sepilok, Sandakan
Time: 8.00 AM to 5.00 PM
|The Kabili-Sepilok rainforest has been recognized as an Important Bird Area or IBA|
|The Sandakan Borneo Bird Club (SBBC) home at RDC|
|The incredible team of organizers and bird marshall’s for the Borneo Bird Festival|
If you love birds and nature, this is one birding event you should consider attending. Even though it is located in Sandakan, Sabah, it is very well organized and truly an eye opener for many.
Never did I expect that a local organized bird festival could have been done in such international standards, attracting people from all over the region.
Therefore, I would easily state that the Borneo Bird Festival 2018 is something you may not want to miss if you have been planning to visit this part of Sabah.
*This article was originally posted at malaysia-asia blog