With an estimated age of 800 to 1,000 years, the Sepilok Giant, in Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC) of Sepilok, Sandakan, is the oldest tree of Sabah, well, unofficially. Our Borneo rainforest has existed for over 100 millions years, so I have no doubt there might be other older tree standing in an unexplored forest of Sabah.
Reaching this old tree requires no vigorous hiking. Just go to Rainforest Discovery Center (RDC), about 23 KM from Sandakan, and a few KM before the famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. You need to walk about 2 KM in nature trail under the dense trees.
The jungle trail is mainly used by visitors for bird watching. You will see signages and markers along the way. Though you will walk under the tree shades, the air is warm and humid, you better bring some water with you. During rainy season, a few small forest leeches would lurk under the leaves on your path, but don’t worry too much about them.
Pic: the junction to the Sepilok Giant, we are now only 670 M away from it.
Most tour guides know the shortcut and park near this junction. This will cut half of your walking distance.
RDC is inside the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, one of the most well-preserved rainforest of Sabah, so you will see other giant trees too.
Pic: Sepilok Giant? Not yet. But it’s a tall tree anyway.
Pic: Finally, a signage confirms that we find Sepilok Giant. Yes, it is a living tree.
Pic: we look so small under it. Sepilok Giant is 65 Meters in height, as tall as a 19-floor building!
Sepilok Giant is from the Dipterocarpaceae tree family. It is locally known as seraya runcing (Shorea acutissima) and traded under the name yellow seraya.
Other facts about Sepilok Giant:
Girth: 7 Meters
Diameter: 2.2 Meters
Total Height: 65 Meters
Height to Lowest Branch: 32 Meters
Saleable Volume: ±82 M³
Above Ground Carbon: ±28 Tonnes
Pic: another side of Sepilok Giant
By now you should know why it is known as giant.
FYI, the oldest (and largest) tree of Malaysia is a 1,300-year-old Chengal Tree in Pasir Raja Forest Reserve, Terengganu. The oldest living tree in the world is a 9,550 years old spruce in the Dalarna, Sweden.
Photos taken in Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo