Bird Watching in Sabah Borneo

Sabah Bird Watching
Bird Watching in Sabah Borneo has been actively promoted since 2008 and due to the publicity over the years, the Borneo Bird Festival was created to cater to this nature hobby.

Over the years, there have been many locations around Sabah that are identified as bird watching sites and currently, there are more than 10 sites that specialize in bird watching.

With the growth of birding, there are many trained professional bird guides found all over Sabah too. At some of the bird watching destinations in Sabah, the resorts provide professional bird watching guides which make birding here easy for bird watchers.

Bird Watching Sites in Sabah;

1. Danum Valley
2. Tabin Wildlife Reserve
3. Maliau Basin
4. Kinabalu National Park
5. Crocker Range National Park
6. Kinabatangan River
7. Labuan Island
8. KK Wetlands
9. Imbak Canyon
10 Sepilok-Kabali Forest Reserve

Borneo Bird Festival

With the growth of birding, a Borneo Bird Festival was created by a local bird club in Sandakan, Sabah. This event was supported by the state government and tourism board in order to promote bird tourism here.

Blue-throated Bee Eater
The event is usually held at the Rainforest Discovery Center or simply known as the RDC in Sandakan, Sabah Borneo. This stunning birding event is also brought to you by Sabah Tourism Board in conjunction with promoting Eco-Tourism and Bird Watching in Borneo.

Among the activities lined up for this year's festival, there will be a Photography Contest offering up to US$1500 (RM4650) in total prize money, talks and workshops, exhibition booths, guided birdwatching walks, a bird race and more. Another highlight of this event is to spot the famous and rare Bornean Bristlehead Bird.

Considering that I am truly an amateur in this field, I did attempt some bird photography at the Kinabatangan River in 2009. Do take a peek and let me know what you think. It absolutely opened up my eyes to bird watching so I will be at the event to learn a lot more about this unique and fascinating hobby.

Photography Contest at Borneo Bird Festival 2010
Event list at the festival

Bird Race at the Borneo Bird Festival 2010

Little Spiderhunter

Oriental Darter, one of the much sought birds to be photographed

Nikon Fieldscope EDG85 with FSA-L2 Digital Photo Adapter connected on Nikon D300s and external microphone via C-Shaped Bracket (top photo) attached on the tripod mount. Some of the fancy equipment that you will be seeing at the Borneo Bird Festival this year.

Don't forget to check out the Nikon Booth at the event for the latest Nikon cameras and equipment. I hope they will feature the new Nikon D3100 there too.

Bird Watching Tuaran Paddy Fields
Birdwatchers at the Tuaran Paddy Fields

All the pictures are courtesy of Azahari Reyes @ Jason and for more interesting pictures and information on birding around Sabah, visit his amazing website on Birds of Sabah Borneo Island. Jason is also one of the very active Birders in Sabah Borneo and you will meet hims at the Borneo Bird Festival Event.

For those heading to this event, there are several other ways to get here.

Getting to Sepilok in Sabah:
  • 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 Labuk Bus Company that departs from the Sandakan Town Council at RM2.10 (US$0.50) 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$25). 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.
  • 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.
Map to Sepilok
Map to Sepilok, Sandakan

Getting to Sepilok 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 Labuk Bus Company that departs from the Sandakan Town Council at RM2.10 (US$0.50) 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.
Telephoto Lens Sabah
A telephoto lens on one of the bird watchers camera
I also have a previous article titled Borneo Bird Festival 2010 and below are some other related articles to Sepilok and RDC in Sandakan, Sabah.
You can also follow Malaysia Asia on Facebook or on Twitter for more information, pictures and links about Sabah Borneo. If you would like to find out a little more information or you can also contact the Sabah Tourism Board below.

Borneo Bird Festival 2010 Organiser : Sabah Tourism Board
Contact Person : Noredah Othman (Sabah Tourism Board)
Telephone : +6088 212121
Fax : +6088 212075
Email Contact :

If you have interest in this hobby, you are most welcome to join in the event here in Sandakan Borneo. There are travel agencies or professional Birders that can arrange for tours or packages if you want to do Bird Watching in Sabah Borneo.
Bird Watching in Sabah Borneo Bird Watching in Sabah Borneo Reviewed by Malaysia Asia on Thursday, October 07, 2010 Rating: 5


Anonymous said...

Lovely pics there, I'd love to do a bird watching holiday one day. You have such amazingly colourful birds there too.

David Jr said...

Thank you very much Jools, I hope that when you do, you make a trip to Sabah for some Birdwatching here.


Dina said...

Your Kinabatangan River Night Cruise article and photos are very informative, and reading this article it's obvious that you are a really good writer. The info is wonderful. I'm in Sabah but won't be able to attend the event, and I hope you will have a marvelous time there. Keep writing!

NZ Car Hire New Zealand said...

I like your post very much.
It is very interesting.I wish to visit Sabah Borneo to see various bird.

Thanks a lot sharing this information with us.

David Jr said...

Dina, thank you for your kind words. Which part of Sabah are you now?

Thanks also NZcarhire.


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