Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre Review

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre Sabah

A dream come true for one man, the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) was finally opened to the public in early 2014 when Wong Siew Te, the man behind this project and the founder - finally got around to making this a reality.

I met Wong in 2009 when I was involved in a filming project on behalf of Tourism Malaysia. We came here to film these cute and cuddly sun bears, the world's smallest protected species here in Sabah and around Borneo.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre Review

At that time, the sun bear conservation was just a small structure that housed the bears and another for the office where the centre started in 2008.

I remember Wong had already fenced up an entire area for these bears to be rehabilitated. After discussion, we agreed to build a viewing platform for us to film tourists observing the sun bears.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre
The main entrance to the centre.

Photo of Bornean Sun Bear
One of the Sun Bears 

Then one fine day in October 2014, I strolled in again to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre unannounced and received a shock of my life as Wong had finally made this dream come true.

He developed a proper conservation project that allows visitors to observe the sun bears in their natural habitat and, the best part, a fantastic viewing and observation deck! 

Sun Bear Photo Sepilok Sabah
Bet you didn't know how long a sun bear's tongue was.

When he finished his talk to the visitors, I approached Wong and reminded him of our project when he showed me the original platform we built - it was still there!

And he mentioned that they have been maintaining that platform for their own personal research and use. Hearing that put a massive smile on my face.

The story on why Wong set up this place and why he was so passionate about it is stated in this statement he once mentioned "In 2004, I received a grant to do a survey of captive sun bears in the country and I found most to be kept in a deplorable manner, with no proper monitoring and care. 
After seeing bears in such a bad state, I cannot turn a blind eye to them. I simply cannot. I saw a need to do for sun bears what the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in Sandakan was doing – housing rescued orang utans in a proper manner and rehabilitating them for future release back to the wild."


sun bear viewing deck Sabah
The original sun bear viewing deck, which we built in 2010.

Anyway, let me just share with you what this place is all about in this article.

For starters, Sun Bears from Borneo are brought and put here for rehabilitation due to injury, poaching, or being kept as pets or those cubs losing their mothers. This is also the only conservation in Sabah that specialises in these bears. 

When you reach the main entrance, you will need to walk about 600 meters to the main centre, where tickets are sold at the main conservation building.

From there, you need to walk in and head up a long flight of stairs to the main sun bear viewing deck. Note there is a lot of walking involved here, so please don't come in your high heels or platforms.

Wong Siew Ti Borneo Sun Bears
Wong Siew Ti and me.

At the Sun Bear viewing or observation deck, there will be BSBCC staff to ensure that people do not shout or call the bears.

They are in rehabilitation; in simple terms, would you be shouting or calling his name out loud if you visited a friend in the hospital? Same principle, people.

Overall, the conservation centre is one of the best I have seen throughout my travels here in Southeast Asia, and the place is highly recommended for just about anyone.

This is also especially for families with kids, as this can provide a great learning platform for the younger and current generations. If you ask me, I know it is never too late to learn about conservation.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre Sepilok
The main viewing deck for the sun bears

For nature and wildlife lovers, this is hands down the best place to watch and observe the sun bears in their almost-natural habitat. Photography is allowed in here too.

Just keep that volume down, which is required by the operators here. And don't call the sun bears with all kinds of whistles and sounds as you will be told not to do it.

Here are additional photos of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, which I took in October 2014 during my brief visit.

Sun Bear Conservation Centre Sabah
The main entrance to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre.

Map of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre
The map of the area.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre Walkway
The main walkway to the centre.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre Office
The main building is where the entrance, video room, and shop are located.

Borneo Sun Bear Centre
The video room where information is shared.

Entrance fees Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre
The entrance fees

For more information, you can visit the official website of the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre.

Otherwise, when you book your Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre visit, you can also enquire about visiting this place. You can spend a minimum of one hour here for those on a schedule.

The best time to visit this place is when the sun bears are most active, around 9.30 am till 3.00 pm. You will spend at least 3 to 4 hours here at both centres if you visit them.

BSBCC General Information

Opening Hours
  • 9:00 am to 3:30 pm.
  • Open every day of the year, including holidays.
  • Fcenter'sssion for children below 12 years old and Malaysian seniors above 55 years old.
  • Tickets are valid for 1 day only.

Phone: +6089-534491

How to go to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre?

Taking a Taxi
Take a taxi from town to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) is next to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre.

Taking a Bus
In Sandakan town, look for the bus marked 'Sepilok Batu 14' from the local bus stand next to the Milimewa Supermarket, which costs RM2.50 and a journey of 45 minutes. There are also local minivans who also make the 'rip every hour; check with the bus stand.

Regular buses, also marked 'Batu 14' or higher, can drop you at the turn-off to Jln S'pilok, 2.5km from the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. You need to walk in from there.

Bus Schedule
From Town to Sepilok:
9.00 am & 11.30 am
2.00 pm & 5.00 pm

From Sepilok to Town:
6.30 am & 10.30 am
12.30 pm & 4.00 pm
Bus Contact Num'er: 012'8067067 / 017-8632684


There are 35 sun Bears at the centre, and the number is growing over the months. There are plans to build a new bear enclosure, which is also in the works.

Again, this article highlights the conservation efforts of the local people here, which is not easy, even today.

Donations are accepted as part of the money donated goes directly to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre.

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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