438 sq km Danum Forest or Danum Valley Conservation Area is one of the best remaining protected lowland forest areas in South East Asia. This primary forest has reach variety of flora and fauna. We saw orangutans, gibbons, various monkeys and variety of birds on tracks through the jungle.
What to see
The only option for tourist on a visit to Danum forest is to stay with Borneo Rainforest Lodge. They have 3 day and 4 day packages which include guided walks through the jungle with excellent guides – we did 4 day 3 night option. Given what a production it is to get there and variety of things to see 4 days is definitely worth it. The lodge is comfortable and well maintained. There are beautiful views over the jungle from chalet room verandas and from the restaurant area. We saw all kinds of exotic birds while enjoying a sun-downer at a restaurant deck. And we were told that a week before we arrived there were orangutans in the area and they would even walk up to the lodge. We were not so lucky – but deers did come very near.
The walks are along the well maintained tracks. When we were there in August 2013 it drizzled most of the time which made tracks a bit muddy but passable. You do need proper hiking shoes. Long pants are very much advisable as leeches are widespread. You can get basic cotton leech socks at the lodge.
The guides are excellent and are able to track and spot all kinds of creatures. We saw orangutans and it was definitely so much more exciting to see them in the wild than seeing them at a feeding platform at Sepilok.
We also saw gibbons, red monkeys and variety of other monkeys as well as variety of birds. Being wild creatures, they do not come very close. It is difficult to get good pictures and for any close-up serious optics would be needed.
Borneo Rainforest Lodge package in Danum forest includes airport transfer from Lahad Datu. We flew into Lahad Datu from Kota Kinabalu. After Danum forest we were going to Sipadan and arranged private transfer with the Lodge to Semporna.