Several years ago (2012) we took a family holiday to Kota Kinabalu in Sabah staying at the Tanjung Aru Shangri-La. Sabah is a Malaysian state located on the island of Bornio which is famous for its orangutan population.
A day trip that was available at this hotel was to take a shuttle bus to their sister hotel Shangri-La Rasa Ria to see the orangutans in their Nature Reserve.
Whilst we have seen orangutans at the Perth Zoo perched on top of metal polls, there is nothing like seeing them swing through the natural jungle vegetation where they should be living.
The Sharngri-La Rasa Ria Nature Reserve
We slather ourselves in insect repellent, walk along the mud trail through the dark green forest to the wooden viewing platform.
At 10am fresh fruits and vegetables are laid out on the feeding platform.
We can hear the orangutans before we see them, calling to each. The trees start twitch and sway.
Then these beautiful orange animals come swinging high up through the trees
Making their way down to the feeding table.
With tummies full the orangutans swing back up into the towering trees to (almost) perform for us. Showcasing how effortlessly they make their way from one vine to the next.
Before the screeching monkeys appear to take the remnants of the food.
And play with one another.
All too soon the food is finished and the orangutans and monkeys swing back off into the distance.
We make our way back along the trail towards the resort and are fortunate enough to come across one of the baby orangutans with its handler.
Our shuttle bus back is not due to leave for another 2 hours. We change into bathers from our packed swimming bag and are able to utilise the resort pool to cool down during the wait.
And slip down the slide – A LOT.
We have a spot of lunch on the sun lounges overlooking the sea.
* Please Note: that as of March 2016 the orangutan program came to a successful conclusion. However the wildlife conservation program at the Nature Interpretation Center continues, contact Shangri-La Rasa Ria for details.