Any travel that involves the prospect of animal encounters has me clutching at my passport and when the exotic animals can be seen in the wild I’m all in!

Sabrina Chakici

Sabrina Chakici

Last month I was lucky enough to interact with some of the most intelligent and charming creatures in the world, the amazing Orangutan.

I traveled to Malaysia to see the playful primates at the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah, Borneo. One of the world’s most famous locations to see a rescued and rehabilitated Orangutan in his or her own natural environment.

As an endangered animal the chances of seeing these human like mammals are incredibly rare so people, like myself, travel to Malaysia from all over the world to enjoy this truly unmatchable experience of a lifetime.

As we were staying in Borneo for a number of nights we opted to stay at the stunning Shangri-La Rasa Ria in Kota Kinabalu. This five star luxurious resort was also home to Orangutans until just last year when the resort completed a full circle rehabilitation project in the on-site nature reserve.

We flew from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan on the first morning flight and arrived early to the Sepilok centre full of anticipation and excitement to potentially come face to face with an Orangutan. The endangered primates live in the centre as part of a rehabilitation program and although the animals are aware of the feeding times and facilities they are under no obligation to stay within the grounds as they are fully wild after a certain age, therefore there is never a guarantee of seeing them in the wild. 

We were, however incredibly lucky because within half an hour we spotted a cheeky fellow hanging out in the trees for us all to marvel at. 

We actually saw 4 different orangutans throughout the morning, and cheerfully watched on as they climbed, swung and nibbled away for us all. Being so close to them was a truly magical experience that I doubt will ever be matched on the awe scale! I am always the biggest advocate of interacting and witnessing animals in the wild when travelling and this experience on it's own was enough to put Malaysia at the top of my recommendations for travel in 2017.

After taking close to a thousand pictures of the Orangutans the visiting hours were over and we headed back to our hotel, The Shangri La Rasa Ria.  The next morning the hotel’s nature reserve team treated us to a breakfast in the clouds in the very same spot as where some of their resident Orangutans that have now been released fully into the wild once ate.

Malaysia is a beautiful country, the beaches are stunning and the climate is deliciously appealing to us westerners but the dedication the country has to restoring and revitalizing their nature is truly remarkable, I hope to re-visit sometime very soon.

Written by Sabrina Chakici, TV Host & Travel Expert – Follow Sabrina’s travels on Instagram @sabrina_chakici