Borneo Bird Festival 2010 Review

Sabah Borneo Bird Festival
The Borneo Bird Festival 2010 will be the second time around and held at the Rainforest Discovery Center or RDC in Sepilok, Sandakan Sabah from the 15th to 17th October 2010.

This also marks the 2nd year for birders or bird watchers to gather at this amazing festival organized by Sabah Tourism Board in conjunction with promoting Bird Watching and Eco-Tourism in Sabah Borneo.

Borneo Bird Festival Review 2010

Bird Watchers or Birders should be excited as this time around, the Borneo Bird Festival 2010 will feature two new birding books launched personally by Ms. Susan Myers and Mr. Quentin Phillipps who are well-known birders.

This would definitely be a book to get and have it autographed by the authors while attending this Bird Festival here in Borneo.

Ruddy Kingfisher - Picture by Jason Azahari Reyes

The Borneo Bird Festival 2010 will also have a number of fantastic booths showcasing bird tours from local travel agents, birding equipment by Nikon and others, exhibits by NGOs and talks by professionals in the field.

The highlight of the event will be the Lectures and Workshops for the Borneo Bird Fest. Notable speakers from important organizations such as;

There are minimal fees to attend Lectures, Workshops, and Guided Tours. You are advised to register early to avoid disappointment as there is limited space for these events.

Sabah BBF PhotoTwo birders or bird watchers walking along a wooden walkway

Sabah Whitehead's TrogonWhitehead's Trogon - Picture by Jason Azahari Reyes

For the birding enthusiasts, there will also the following activities;

  • Photography competition
  • Borneo Bird Race
  • Nature Art Sketching
  • Daily guided birding tour
  • Children's’ activities

Bird Watching in SepilokBird Watchers in action at Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary

Sabah Scarlet-rumped TrogonScarlet-rumped Trogon - Picture by Jason Azahari Reyes

In Borneo, a total of 622 resident and migratory species of bird, with 32 endemic species have been recorded.

Four of these endemics are found on either Sabah’s hill slopes or in its montane forest. Mount Kinabalu is regarded as a distribution center for all except for one of Borneo’s montane birds.

Group of bird watchers in the rainforest of Sepilok, Sabah

Sabah White-crowned HornbillWhite-crowned Hornbill - Picture by Jason Azahari Reyes

In Sabah, the most sought after endemic species are the Whitehead’s Trogon and Whitehead’s Broadbill, the Blue-headed Pitta and the vividly colored Blue-banded Pitta.

There is also the large and distinctly colored Bornean Ground Cuckoo, the rare and ungainly Bornean Bristlehead, as well as the Golden-naped Barbet with its signature trilling call.

Yellow-vented Bulbul - Picture by Jason Azahari Reyes

Buffy Fish Owl - Picture by Jason Azahari Reyes

With this, I will let the pictures speak for themselves as the Borneo Bird Festival 2010 will be even more exciting than the previous year.

Sabah Susan MyersSusan Myers and Sabah Tourism Minister Datuk Masidi Manjun

Sabah Geoff DavidsonGeoff Davidson giving a talk at Borneo Bird Fest 2009

Borneo Bird Festival Nikon boothNikon booth at Borneo Bird Festival 2009

RDC Bird FestivalTrying out one of the amazing zoom lenses from Nikon

Sabah Andrew SianiAndrew Siani explains Bird Calling Techniques and Practices

Banded Kingfisher - Picture by Jason Azahari Reyes

*Please take note that all photo credits in this article go to Jason Azahari Reyes and you can visit his amazing website dedicated to Birds of Sabah Borneo.

Borneo Bird Festival 2010 Organiser: Sabah Tourism Board
Contact Person: Noredah Othman (Sabah Tourism Board)
Telephone : +6088 212121
Fax : +6088 212075
Email Contact:
For more information, visit the official Borneo Bird Festival website.

Getting to RDC Sepilok:
  • Located just out of Sandakan town, RDC Sepilok is about 23 kilometers from town. Getting to RDC Sepilok is fairly simple as it takes about 30-40 minutes by car or van. (Self-drive or tour company)
  • There is a public bus service from the Labuk Bus Company that departs from the Sandakan Town Council at RM2.10 (US$0.60) one way but the bus stops at the junction of the main road. You then need to walk in about 1.5km.
  • Taxi service from Sandakan is available with a return trip costing about RM100.00 (US$29). Do negotiate with your taxi about the prices.
  • Getting to Sepilok from Kota Kinabalu (KK) is also possible. A bus ride would take about 7-8 hours from KK to Sandakan and would cost around RM30-50 (US$9-$15) one way. Visit this site for Kota Kinabalu-Sandakan bus fares and tickets.
  • A better option is to fly to Sandakan as there are direct flights from Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu, and Kuching. AirAsia offers some cheap tickets if you book early. Malaysia Airlines also has some decent ticket prices if you want to compare it.
Getting to the RDC via car or bus:
  1. Drive along Jalan Labuk from Sandakan Town
  2. Turn left at the Mile 14 roundabout (with a large Orangutan statue)
  3. Drive along until you see the large, pictorial RDC sign and turn right
  4. Drive for about 500m to the RDC car park
  5. There is a public bus service from the Labuk Bus Company that departs from the Sandakan Town Council at RM2.10 (US$0.60) one way but the bus stops at the junction of the main road. You then need to walk in about 2km or thumb a ride.
Map to Rainforest Discovery Center, courtesy of RDC

Tickets/Entrance Fees for the RDC on normal days:
  • Adults: RM10 (US$3)
  • Children (5-17 yrs) RM5 (US$1.50)
  • Children (Under 5 yrs) Free
Opening Hours for the RDC:
  • Daily 9.00 am - 6.00 pm
  • Birders start as early as 7.00 am
What to bring on normal days;
  • Bring mosquito or insect repellent, a poncho or umbrella in case it rains as the walkways are not covered. 
  • Bring some snacks and bottled water as well. 
  • A pair of binoculars are worth bringing if you want to see birds. 
  • Wear proper shoes here as some of the walkways can be slippery. 
  • You may want to bring some snacks if you have kids as there is no food available there except for a kiosk that sells drinks and some local snacks.

* Remember to practice Responsible Tourism wherever you are.

Rainforest Discovery Centre Address and Contact;
PO Box 1407
90715 Sandakan
Sabah, Malaysia.
Telephone: + 60 089 533780 / 781
Website for the Rainforest Discovery Center in Sabah

Map to Rainforest Discovery Center RDC

View RDC Rainforest Discovery Center Sepilok in a larger map

Brochure for Borneo Bird Festival  Birds Watching in Sabah Booklet

Final Thoughts on the Borneo Bird Festival Review

You can also follow Malaysia Asia on Facebook for more information, pictures, and links about Malaysia and Southeast Asia.

If you are interested in learning about Bird watching or attending this event, you can get in touch with the relevant people mentioned above.

This is one of the excellent family activities that you can do in Sabah and a great way to expose your children to nature.

The next three-day event will take place from the 14th till the 16th of October 2011 and is the 3rd Borneo Bird Festival in Sabah.

    Malaysia Asia

    Blogging since 2007, but writing online since 1997. I belong to the 1st generation of worldwide bloggers, which is of course old-school. Since 2008, I created Malaysia Asia and this travel, flood, gadget and lifestyle blog has won numerous physical awards from tourism boards around Malaysia. (Not those online awards). After 12 years of blogging, I have semi-retired and now blog about things I like, do product reviews and enjoy life. My work has been featured in Lonely Planet, CNN Travel, Yahoo Travel, Wall Street Journal, and many other international publications. Find out more about me and thank you.


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