Things To Do in Danum Valley

Highlights of Danum Valley

If you are a nature traveler, you have probably heard of Danum Valley in Lahad Datu, Sabah, East Malaysia. This primary lowland dipterocarp forest is a protected area that spread across 438 square kilometres in east Sabah. It is one of the oldest rainforests, as well as the most biodiverse and ecologically essential forests in the world. Danum Valley is still kept pristine and looks just like it was during the creation time.

Whether you are a nature aficionado, adventure seeker, wildlife enthusiast or just looking for a private time alone, Danum Valley, with a 2.5-hour drive away from Lahad Datu Airport, is definitely your best pick for your next trip. We are going to uncover top things to do in Danum Valley. So make sure you add some or all of them in your bucket list.

What to Do

Explore the nature trails in the company of a guide

The guides at Danum Valley have decades of experience and are the best people to ask questions about the history of the forest. The trek involves long hiking trails through the dense forest, waterfalls, canopies, and to places with the best view in the valley.

Discover Borneo's wildlife and endemic species in the jungle

Rainforest in Danum Valley is a home to over 100 species of mammals, 300 types of birds and thousands of insects.

Spot on wild orangutans and primates swinging between tree branches while making loud howls. Discover a group of World's smallest elephants, Pygmy Elephants, wandering along the river streams. Watch sun bears dangle sluggishly in the canopies and variety of rare birds flying around in one of the oldest rainforests in the world. Don't forget to keep an eye on the ground as you might find thousands of insects traversing for food.

Spot rare bird species

This protected rainforest is also a home to hundreds of bird species, and scientists still regularly discover new varieties of birds. Without a doubt, this is a great opportunity for you to find exotic tropic birds.

The hornbills are easy to spot due to their attractive features and are usually flying overhead. For other types of birds, you will have to look keenly at the tree branches. And this is why you will need an experienced ranger who can help you spot these rare bird species and take you to their nests.

If you are not all about walking the forest, you can still watch birds flying around while you relax on the terrace.

Walk along the canopy walks

If you are an adrenaline junkie, this activity will suit you right. Here, the rope bridges are suspended high up in the canopies where you can enjoy the views of the jungle and its inhabitants, such as orangutans, pot bellied proboscis monkeys, red leaf monkeys and birds.

You will find a number of canopy walks in Danum Valley, which is accessed by climbing a 30 meter ladder attached to a tall tree. Could be very thrilling for the faint-hearted adventurers, but Canopy Walks are the only best ways to see wildlife here.

Go for a night jungle exploration

Once the sun goes down, one part of the jungle goes to sleep as another come to life. Joining a four-wheel night safari drive will reward you with a unique sight of nocturnal wildlife coming out in the dark, including civets, sambar deer and insects. Make sure not to miss this rare chance as it is definitely one of the top things to do in Danum Valley.

Insider Tips: Before beginning your exploration in Danum Valley, make sure to pack some leech socks to protect you against the blood-sucking threats.

Where to Stay

A wide range of accommodation are available for booking in Danum Valley, with a number of individual chalets dotted across the jungle.

Borneo Rainforest Lodge

Borneo Rainforest Lodge features a luxurious accommodation where each chalets are tastefully designed with personalised service, common areas, and superb food.

There are also well-trained guides to accompany you to the exploration of the forest, including nature trails, canopy walk and night walk.

All chalets are equipped with comfortable bed, ceiling fan, and 24-hour electricity. Some of these chalets even provide a private hot tub on the terrace overlooking the river or jungle, making it a perfect place for honeymoon and family vacation.

Borneo Rainforest Lodge has limited capacity and can only accommodate up to seventy guests, so make sure you book in advance.

▲ Borneo Rainforest Lodge Premium Chalets at night

Kawag Nature Lodge

Kawag Nature Lodge is a hidden gem situated in the midst of a 200-million year old rainforest which houses variety of endemic plant and animal species that can only be found in Sabah.

Staying in this lodge will give you a chance to spot exotic wildlife while relaxing on the veranda. You can also climb up to the observation tower in the morning to witness birds foraging for food and a 360 degree view of the surrounding nature.

Each rooms feature air conditioner / ceiling fan, cold and hot shower, 24-hour electricity and standard room amenities.

▲ Outdoor seating area overlooking the jungle at Kawag Nature Lodge

Danum Valley Field Centre

Suitable for backpackers and naturalists, Danum Valley Field Centre is a research centre with state-of-art-facilities. Inside the centre, you will find the Infapro Project Area, a nursery that focuses on propagation of trees and regeneration of the forest that have been logged.

The rooms offer basic accommodation that are comfortable and clean. Each of the rooms come with private / common bathroom, hot water, air conditioner / fan, and 24-hour electricity.

▲ Observation platform for birdwatching and wildlife sighting at Danum Valley Field Centre

Best Time to Visit Lahad Datu

Danum Valley, situated within the tropics, usually experiences high humidity and rain all year round.

The dry season begins from March to October, and you are likely to experience just a short showers of rain. Also, this is the peak time to watch the orangutans and many other wildlife roam-free around the jungle. 

Low peak season usually falls between December and February where there is a high chance of heavy rainfall. And this condition might not be favourable for wildlife as they usually hide when it rains.

Packages in Danum Valley and Lahad Datu

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