Tag Archives: rainforest

Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

Kids playing with sand

When school holiday approaches, parents would think hard where to bring their children for some quality family time. Guess what, there were two places that I really hated my parents sent me to when I was a kid. First is tuition class. What The Fish, the children are deprived of break time they desire. It’s a child abuse!

Children running on the beach

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Let your children play.

The second place is relative’s house. Usually it ends up like the adults mingling and having a great time among themselves, but leaving me bored to death (unless my favorite cousin is around).

Tempurong Beach in the morning

Strolling on Tempurong Beach

Awesome parents will put some thoughts on making their children enjoy hanging out with them, which is important for bonding. Among some popular choices for family vacation are “Jalan-Jalan” (walk around) trip to Kundasang highland, islands off Kota Kinabalu City (KK) or staying in beach resort.

Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

There are a lot of options for a wonderful family trip in other locations. Just for sharing. If you want the trip packed with fun activities in nature, you may consider going south to Kuala Penyu.

Tempurong Golden Beach Resort in Kuala Penyu

Tempurong Golden Beach Resort in Kuala Penyu

Tempurong Golden Beach Resort is located at Tempurong Beach (or Pantai Tempurung) about 15 Kilometres away from Kuala Penyu town. It targets at family groups which want to unwind themselves with leisure stay and having some activities.

Seaside chalet of Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

Seaside chalet of Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

Besides accommodation, they offer outdoor activities package for family and company too.

Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

Big coconut shell statue at Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

Tempurung means Coconut Shell in Malay. About 200 years ago, the villagers found a coconut shell engraved with holy verses of the Al-Quran on the beach, so they renamed this village from Tanah Merah to Tempurung.

Watermelon near the chalet

Watermelon in front of the seaside chalet

Just look at the photos of Tempurong Golden Beach Resort I post here and you shall get a good idea what you can do there.

Double Bed Room of Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

Seaview Bedroom (2 queen size bed)

Family Room of Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

Riverside Bedroom (1 queen size, 1 double decker)

The resort has 15 basic rooms with air-conditioning and attached bathroom cum toilet. Their highlight is the nature-based activities such as fishing and island survivor program.

Beach of Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

Beach of Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

A study conducted by two PhDs found that exposing children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) to “green outdoor activities” reduces symptoms significantly.

Tempurong Beach is a few Kilometers long

Tempurong Beach is a few Kilometers long

The white sandy beach is just next to the resort. Tempurung Beach is not a touristy beach so it is not crowded, your family can have the whole beach most of the time.

Activity hall near the beach

Activity hall near the beach

The visitors can use the activity hall next to the beach for gathering and group activities.

Volley Ball field near the beach

Volley Ball field near the beach

Volley ball is one of the great past time activities.

Hammocks at the beach side

Hammocks at the beach side

Or you can choose to take a nap in hammock. The wind was quite strong at Tempurung Beach during my visit. I didn’t really feel warm.

Camp fire at Tempurong Beach

You can have camp fire at night here

Camp fire at the beach can bring back a lot of memories. This place is far away from city and free of pollution, so you can see starry sky at night. The resort can prepare BBQ or steamboat dinner for you upon request.

Tempurong Beach of Kuala Penyu

Tempurong Beach of Kuala Penyu

Your children will enjoy a stroll on the beach and run like wild horse. The resort can bring you out to the sea for snorkeling and fishing.

Seine Fishing at the shore

Seine Fishing at the shore

In the morning, you would find local fishermen catching fishes in the sea. They are very friendly and won’t mind you joining them or busybody with their caught.

Fishermen at Tempurong Beach

Fishermen at Tempurong Beach

Though Tempurung Beach is big, only a dozen houses are built along it. It’s a peaceful and underpopulated village.

We human are biological being, and our body system is linked to nature. Biophilia hypothesis says humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life. That’s why we are always happy when we are in the wild.

Strolling on Tempurong Beach

Human is part of Nature, and Nature is part of Human.

However, nowadays kids are isolated from nature because both parents and teachers think outdoor is full of hostile things for kids, like UV, bacteria, bees… Many shcools have strict policy of not allowing students to get near the water in school trips.

Tempurong Beach

Tempurong Beach. The dark things on the beach are seaweeds washed to the shore

Therefore, our society has cultivated “strawberry generations” which are overprotected and overly dependent on technology. If you put a kid in the wild, they won’t know how to get around and will cry for mommy very soon. It’s just not right if human is uncomfortable with nature.

Batu Luang Beach

Batu Luang Beach

The beautiful Batu Luang Beach is only 1 KM away from the resort. It has one of the best sunset view in Sabah.

Small river at Small bridge of Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

Small river at Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

There is a small river next to Tempurong Golden Beach Resort. It’s connected to the sea during high tide, and you can see lot of fishes.

Small bridge of Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

Small bridge of Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

Mangrove river near the resort

Mangrove river near the resort

The river is part of a mangrove teeming with fishes, shellfish and shrimps.

Fishing and rowing boat

Fishing and rowing boat

You can do fishing and rowing boat in this river. Kids love this because they never have a chance to do this in city. At first they would be a bit worry sitting in the wobbly boat, but soon they will enjoy the experience.

Hunting for mud lobster at night

Hunting for mud lobster at night

At night you can have a little adventure at the riverside to see what comes up in the dark. Have you ever seen a Mud Lobster before?

Trying out traditional food

Trying out traditional food

Don’t let your mom cook. The resort can prepare special meals such as traditional food and steamboat for your family.

Dining area of Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

Dining area of Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

I have tried some of their nice food during my stay, for example, tom yam steamboat, sago (Ambuyat), seafood buffet. They also have a small shop to sell cold soda drink and beer.

Island Survivor

We are getting smarter living in city but become stupider in the wild. It’s highly probable that people can die of hunger in the wild, even if there are plenty of edible things around them. You can take part in Island Survivor program of the resort. An instructor will bring your family for a taste of adventure in a wood area near the resort.

Learning about survival

Learning about survival

Some of the skills taught in the survival program includes using knife, setting trap, making shelter and starting a fire.

Outdoor survival course

Outdoor survival course

The course caters to the comfort level of your family and company. It’s designed to be relaxing, so everyone from kid to adult will find it comfortable and enjoyable.

Setting up trap

Setting up trap to catch bird and small animals

If you want it more stimulating or challenging, of course you can discuss with your instructor beforehand, to make the experience more thrilling. Company could organize team building and competition for their staffs too.

Starting a fire

Starting a fire

Some may think outdoor survival skill is unnecessary, until one day they find themselves a victim of earthquake and flood (touch wood!), and don’t know what to do. Like it or not, natural disaster does happen unexpectedly, so there is no harm to equip ourselves with some survival knowledge and that may save our lives one day.

Survival course in forest

Building a shelter in forest

During survival challenge, it’s the best time to observe the strength and personality of your mates. A big guy with six-pack abs in your office can turn into a wuss, and a clerk may show better leadership than her boss in pressing environment. For survival, mental strength is matter more than muscle.

Education tour at Rumbia Information Center

Education tour around Kuala Penyu

At the resort, you also can arrange education or group tour to nearby destinations such as Rumbia / Sago Information Center, Pulau Tiga Island and Kilas Wetland.

Download Brochure of Tempurong Golden Beach Resort

↓ Download the Brochure

The following is the contact of Tempurong Golden Beach Resort if you need more info:
E-mail: borneonaturetour@gmail.com
Tel: +60 16-831 3163
Facebook: TempurongGoldenBeachResort
GPS: 5.531031, 115.536236 (see Location Map or Street View)

Photos taken in Kuala Penyu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC), Sandakan

Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC)

The Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC) is one of the most accessible natural rainforest in Sabah. It sits by a lake at the edge of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve in Sandakan. RDC has been in operation since 1996 for environmental education purposes. Today, it is a 3-in-1 park (i.e. wildlife, bird and plant) for nature lovers and bird watchers where they can see the unique flora and fauna of Borneo. To students, it’s the best outdoor classroom to learn the rich biodiversity of rainforest ecosystem.

Lake of Rainforest Discovery Center

Lake of Rainforest Discovery Center. Boat is available for rent for RM5.00

Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC) is managed by the Sabah Forestry Department and one of the most popular Environmental Education (EE) centers in Sabah. A pristine lowland dipterocarp and Mangrove forest with astounding 300 species of birds are recorded in the area.

Entrance of Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC)

Entrance of Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC)

The 4,300-hectare Sepilok-Kabili Forest Reserve has gained birders recognition worldwide for its iconic Bornean Bristlehead, Black & Crimson Pitta, Blue-headed Pitta, Giant Pitta, Black Hornbill, Rhinoceros Hornbill and more.

Jungle Trails

Visitors can walk along the trails and become acquainted with green giants such as the mengaris tree, one of the tallest tree in Borneo. Besides soaking up the sight and getting a good workout, visitors can refer to the interpretive panels along the trail, which has descriptions about unique residents of the forest.

Giant red flying squirrel (left) and Prevost's Squirrel (right). Giant Squirrel, which is the largest tree squirrel and almost as big as a cat, is sighted sometimes.

Giant red flying squirrel (left) and Prevost’s Squirrel (right). Giant Squirrel, which is the largest tree squirrel and almost as big as a cat, is sighted sometimes.

Alert the little ones to keep an eye out for darting civets and flying squirrels (which can glide up to 100 Meters)! And lucky visitors have also spotted animals such as the elusive red leaf monkey, gibbon (the fastest moving primate in tree canopy), mouse deer, civet cat and many odd looking insects such as stick insect.

Trail map of Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC)

Layout map of Rainforest Discovery Center with extensive nature trail network

The tree that you must check out is Sepilok Giant, a Yellow Seraya tree (Shorea acatissima), which is about 65 Meters in height, with an estimated age of 800-1,000 years old.

Sepilok Giant, the oldest tree of Sabah

Sepilok Giant might be the oldest tree of Sabah

Another tree worths a good look is Belian Borneo Ironwood (Eusideroxylon zwageri), the 7th hardest wood in the world.

Plant Discovery Garden

RDC also has a Plant Discovery Garden, which covers about 3 acres of land. This garden will make any botanist smile with its collection of hybrid orchids, arid land plants, aquatic plants, pitcher-plants, economic crops and tropical American plants.

Orchid garden of RDC

Orchid garden of RDC

Carnivorous plant in the garden

Carnivorous plant (from America) in the garden

There are colourful outdoor interpretive panels with descriptions of all the plants, which makes learning not only easy but also fun.

Info signage with photograph and interesting facts of each plant

One of the Interpretive Panel with photographs and interesting facts of each plant

For serious learners, there are just too many local and exotic plants (flowers, herbs, spices, crops) to look at, just to name a few, peach palm, vanilla, tongkat ali, rubber, cassava, cinnamon, fig, and cycad (a living fossil and food of dinosaur).

Fruits in Plant Discovery Garden of RDC

Fruits in Plant Discovery Garden of RDC

Canopy Walkway

The main attraction of RDC however, is of course the Canopy Walkway. Visitors can climb to the top of the observation towers and take in the breathtaking view from the 347-meter long and 25-meter high steel walkway.

Observatory towers of RDC

There are two observation towers (named as Bristlehead and Trogon Tower)

The walkway is two meters wide, is very sturdy and can hold the weight of a large crowd. RDC has two towers that are named after the Bristlehead and Trogon and a single-column shelter called the Sunbird.

Canopy Walk of RDC in Sepilok rainforest

The 40-meter white tree is mengaris tree (Koompassia excelsa), it can grow up to 86 M.

The designers of the canopy walkway made sure that it was not only safe for adults, but also for young children who are at kindergarten-level.

Fruiting next to canopy walk

Fruiting next to canopy walk

To the team at RDC, the younger children exposed to the wonders of Mother Nature, the better appreciation they will have for our rainforest.

Steel tower and walkway of RDC

Steel tower and walkway

The top platform of towers is about 17 Meters (56.5 feet) above the ground. Many birds, wildlife, fruits and insects live high on the tree, so these towers provide a great viewing point for bird watching and wildlife sighting. I’ve seen mother orangutan with her baby there before (see video).

Orangutan feeding on a tall tree at RDC

Orangutan feeding on a tall tree at RDC

Bornean Bristlehead normally feeds up in the mid and upper layer of tree canopy, and best seen from Canopy Walkway. You have higher chance of seeing them near Bristlehead and Hornbill Towers in RDC.

Canopy Walk of Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC)

Canopy Walk of Rainforest Discovery Center.

I’m very confident to say RDC has one of the best setup for bird watching in the world.

Information board about the tall rainforest trees in RDC

Information board about the tall rainforest trees around this area

Many trees here are very old and over 50 Meters tall, most of these emergent trees are from the family Dipterocarpaceae, the main timber family of Sabah.

Macaque is commonly seen near to the canopy walk

Macaque is commonly seen near to the canopy walk

During fruiting season, you will see many birds and wildlife coming here for feeding.

Bird Watching

Due to the tourist-friendly canopy walkway and nearby virgin rainforest where over 300 lowland bird species reside, RDC is really a haven for nature photographers and birdwatchers. RDC is also the most promising spot to see Bornean Bristlehead, the trophy bird species of birders, but you still need some luck. I saw it only once after three visits.

Bird watching is a popular activity at RDC

Bird watching is the most popular activity at RDC. Bring a binocular so you won’t miss the fun.

Many endemic, rare and colorful birds are active around RDC, for example, Bornean Bristlehead, Hornbills, Pittas, Kingfisher (8 species), Trogons, Malkohas, Leafbirds, Minivets, Spiderhunters (6 species), Crested Jay, Red-bearded Bee-eater, Broadbills, Woodpeckers, and Bulbuls. For full list, you may see this Checklist of Birds in Sepilok.

Endemic birds of Borneo in Sepilok

Endemic birds of Borneo in Sepilok. The red-headed bird at left is Bornean Bristlehead

Therefore, for visitors who don’t want to travel far, RDC is the best alternative birding sites to Danum Valley and Tabin Wildlife Reserve, the world-class birding sites in Lahad Datu.

Trails in Rainforest Discovery Center

Trails in Rainforest Discovery Center

Some forest birds spend most of their time on canopy and best to be observed from RDC Canopy Walkway, while some prefers habitat in understorey and forest ground, so you need to explore the jungle trails for such birds. (Note: leeches might present during wet season)

Birding trails of RDC

Birding trails of RDC

According to birding community, the 1.9-KM Kingfisher Trail is very productive (many birds). There are many direction signages in the RDC trail network, so you should have no problem to get around. What I really like is – RDC also places many information panels in different spots to inform you what birds, trees and wildlife are (probable) nearby.

Info signage in Kingfisher Trail

Info signage in Kingfisher Trail

Inside the forest there are small ponds used by many birds as natural bird bath for bathing and drinking. Most birds only dip their wings to splash water on their backs. Parts of the bath is just about 2 inches deep, just enough for small birds. Keep an eye for Red-eyed Bulbul, Emerald Dove and Hairy-backed Bulbul there.

Brown Barbets taking bath in tree hole

Flock of Brown Barbet taking bath in water of tree hole

Garden birds such as sunbirds, spiderhunters and flowerpeckers are common too.

RDC is one of the race sites of Borneo Bird Race

RDC is one of the race sites of Borneo Bird Race

RDC is the most preferred venue for Borneo Bird Festival, which is usually held in Sep or Oct annually, the best visiting time for bird watchers who are looking forward for exciting activities such as bird race, talks, bird photography contest and exhibition.

Exhibition Hall

The main visitor building has an exhibition hall that features the unique flora found in Sabah, plus the various icons in our animal kingdom including the Bornean pygmy elephant, orang utan, proboscis monkey and many more.

Exhibition Hall of Rainforest Discovery Center

Exhibition Hall of Rainforest Discovery Center

Visitors can also find information on reptiles and the main groups of birds. The building also has a multi purpose hall, which is often used for talks, screenings and other activities.

Information about flora & fauna of Borneo (available in both English and Malay languages)

Information about flora & fauna of Borneo (available in both English and Malay languages)

Besides animals, visitors can browse good collections of plant, fruit, tree and insect specimens in the hall. The information is presented in gallery style, with a lot of beautiful photographs with minimal text, available in English and Malay languages.

Crocodile specimen in exhibition hall of RDC

Crocodile specimen in exhibition hall of RDC

This Exhibition Hall is air-conditioned, so I love to come here after a long walk under hot sun outside LOL (and for the toilet too).

Ghost Durian (Durian Hantu)

One of the display item: Ghost Durian (Durian Hantu) has no spikes and inedible, though it’s under the same family of Durian fruit

The Exhibition Hall of RDC is great for learning the biodiversity of Borneo

The Exhibition Hall of RDC is great for learning the biodiversity of Borneo

I must say the Exhibition Hall does a very good job in giving visitors an interesting overview of Borneo’s nature.

Other Facilities

The infrastructure of RDC is quite well-thought, this makes RDC an excellent attraction, as well as a great location to organize mid-scale events.

Keruing Cafe of RDC

Keruing Cafe of RDC is located at the starting point of Canopy Walk and it serves simple meals and drink. The food tastes so-so.

Exhibition about Borneo birds in Drongo House

Exhibition about Borneo birds in Drongo House

Kabili Mini Theatre of RDC

Kabili Mini Theatre

Entrance Fee

Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC) is open from 8am to 5pm every day, but the trails and canopy walkway close at 8pm, so some visitors can do night walk and evening birding. RDC is a park opens to public, any walk-in visitor can buy a ticket to enter (see ticket prices below).

Malaysian Foreigner
Adult (18 & above) RM7 RM15 (≈USD$4)
5-17 years old RM3 RM7 (≈USD$2)
Below 5 years old FREE FREE

For more information, call +60 89-533780 / 533781, e-mail rdcsepilok@yahoo.com or visit RDC’s official website and Facebook.

Mural outside Visitor Building

Mural outside Visitor Building

All proceeds from ticket sales are used to organize environmental education programmes for students, teacher training courses and other environment-related activities.

Night Walk

Most wildlife are nocturnal. You may not see a lot of wildlife during daytime in RDC, but a night walk there would probably give you some pleasant surprises. Depend on your luck, you would see civet, moonrat, Malay badger, sleeping birds, glow worm, owls, stick insect, firefly, frog, bearded pig, flying lemur, etc. You hit jackpot if you spot Bornean Tarsier or Slow Loris, the most mysterious primates of Sabah. Known as Ghost Monkey locally, Bornean Tarsier is the smallest primate of Borneo and has huge eyes bigger than its brain.

photo album of RDC
See more photos of RDC

Night Walk is available from Mon to Fri only (conducted between 6pm-8pm), you can register for the walk at ticketing counter (before they close at 5pm). The fee is RM30 (≈USD$8.50) per adult and RM15 (≈USD$4) per child (5-17 years old) for a minimum of 2 hours, RM15/person for each additional hour. A minumum of 4 visitors (but no more than 10) is required to form the night walking group, or you have to pay for the full amount RM120 (≈USD$34). Do bring torch-light (flashlight) and raincoat with you. You can take photos but no camera flash is allowed for small animals.

How to get there

The Rainforest Discovery Center is located at Sepilok, Sandakan, Sabah, about 25 KM to the west of Sandakan City (see Location Map). Public transport to Sepilok is available readily and the journey takes about 45 to 50 minutes one way. You can hire a taxi for a return trip for about RM100 per car (≈USD$28)(negotiable).

RDC Shuttle Service (within Sepilok Only)

I strongly recommend you to visit Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center and Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center, which are only 2 KM away from RDC.

RDC Shuttle Service (within Sepilok only) is available only when licensed taxi not around and depend on staff availability. It’s no guarantee but good to know this option anyway. The standard rate is RM10 (≈USD$2.50) per car. You can request for transport in following time:
9am-5pm: enquire for taxi or shuttle service at ticketing counter
5pm-8pm: enquire shuttle service at security hut

Rozella Mahjhrin

Author: Rozella Mahjhrin is a singer-songwriter from Sabah, Malaysian Borneo (check out her website at rozellamusic.com). She is also the founder of True Complexion, a photography project that challenges the concept of “normal” and “beautiful” in our societies. She also enjoys travelling and writing about it.


Photos taken in Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo

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