Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Danum Valley

Danum Valley Conservation Area is a 438 square kilometres tract of relatively undisturbed lowland dipterocarp forest in Sabah, Malaysia. The area holds unique status in the sense that before it became a conservation area there were no human settlements within the area, meaning that hunting, logging and other human interference was non existent making the area almost unique. It is managed by Yayasan Sabah for conservation, research, education and physical training purposes. The nearest town, Lahad Datu is about 82 km away (about a 2 hours drive on mainly logging roads). Danum Valley Field Centre is a research establishment for scientists and education purposes, and there is one lodge, the Borneo Rainforest Lodge, for tourists to stay. From here visitors can do guided walks through lowland rainforest trails, and many people go there mainly for bird watching. Other activities include night walks and drives. The lowland rainforest is home to many birds and mammals. Orang utans, gibbons, and other primates, including the tarsier, as well as deer, wild cats and the rare Bornean Pygmy Elephant may be seen. Other notable species that inhabit the are the Sun Bear and Sumatran Rhino. (From Wikipedia)

You can check out the map on this page to get an idea of where Danum Valley is:

Danum Valley is managed by Yayasan Sabah (Sabah Foundation). You can find more information and contact numbers here. If you like Danum Valley, you will like Maliau Basin too.

We flew AirAsia from Kuala Lumpur to Tawau. You can also fly from Kota Kinabalu to Lahad Datu directly.

From Tawau, you can either charter a whole taxi (about RM150 one way) to travel to Lahad Datu. The journey will take about 2 hours. It's best to travel in a group of 4 or its multiples to save on transportation cost.

From Lahad Datu, you'll need to charter a 4WD (RM350 one day) to get to the DVFC (Danum Valley Field Center). The journey will take about another 2 hours. Unfortunately, I was told that the center is not open to the general public. You can call up DVFC or the Lahad Datu office to find out more.

The cost of staying at Danum Valley Field Centre (DVFC):
                                             Malaysian        Foreigner
Entry Permit:                            15/pax          30/pax

Rest House (Twin Sharing)         70/night           ?
Dorm bed                                20/night         66/night

Full board                                31/day           60/day

The only other place to stay in Danum Valley is the Borneo Rainforest Lodge. A 3D/2N package starts at close to RM2000 and above. 

Now something more interesting  from the trip to Danum Valley.

A boy fishing at the Lahad Datu jetty
boy fishing at Lahad Datu...IMG_9024 copy

Photo courtesy of Derrick (atderrick on Flickr)
Kurt and Derrick at Danum Valley Field Center...44211_159384720752953_100000442788027_399691_1802755_n

A female sambar deer, not very shy. I was able to shoot this with a 150mm.
danum valley female sambar deer..IMG_9601 copy

An Orang Utan
danum valley orang utan IMG_9758 copy

Tiger leech..:D
Tiger leech from Danum Valley...IMG_9278 copy

We saw red leaf monkeys too but they were too far away.

Overall, I find Danum Valley slightly better than Endau Rompin as I got to see more wildlife there. You can find out about my Endau Rompin trip here.

I'll share some bugs photos in my next post! Hint: a lantern bug not in my collection yet, and a gorgeous Theopropus elegans unlike all others I have seen before!

Edit: Danum Valley II is posted! Check it out here :)


  1. Makes my heart skips a beat. Sounds like great adventure to me. But since it is not open to the public, how did you manage to get in?

  2. teaser! teaser! can't wait to hear bout the entire adventure!!!

  3. Thanks, Nick and JW.

    Nick, still trying to find out more on that. I'll keep you posted :)

  4. What an amazing trip you had Kurt. I am in awe at the wonderful creatures you discovered and are sharing with us all. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Hi Mel, thanks for dropping by. Hey, you should make a photography trip to the rain-forest of Malaysia. We'll be going to Maliau Basin next year :).



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