Semenggoh Wildlife Centre

“The least I can do is speak out for those who cannot speak for themselves” – Jane Goodall, primatologist, ethologist, anthropologist, and UN Messenger of Peace.

I am no animal expert or hardly the Jane Goodall of Malaysia, but I do believe that we need to learn about the natural flora and fauna. After releasing baby turtles from a hatchery last year, endangered animals have a special place in my heart . Since I was in Kuching, Sarawak, last weekend, I took the opportunity to visit Semenggoh Wildlife Centre where they run an orang utan rehabilitation programme. The orang utan too, is an endangered species in Malaysia, mainly due to logging, destruction of their natural habitat, or illegally kept as pets.

IMG_5114Activewear is the best form of travel wear

The best time to visit them is during their feeding time (9am or 3pm). At this rehabilitation centre, they are free to roam yet they are not encouraged to come in close contact with humans. This is to ensure that the injured or orphaned orang utans are assimilated back into their natural habitat as soon as possible with minimized exposure to humans. Therefore they will only come out during their feeding time, and visitors can watch within a safe distance.  They are still unpredictable wild animals, so the consequences are unimaginable if they run amok.

At exactly 3pm, we head to the feeding station. On the day that we visited, there were not many orang utan that showed up, because according to the guide it is now fruiting season so food are plenty in the jungle and they might already be full. However, we were lucky enough to witness a mother with its baby and another young juvenile. They seem to know that the daily feeding schedule is at 9am or 3pm!



IMG_5086The feeding station. Mom with her baby, while a younger juvenile waits for his/her turn to take food to avoid confrontation.

Orang utan might look cute with their orange fuzzy hair, big eyes, and limbering movement yet do not be deceived by their childish appeal.  Orang utans are actually smart and strong creatures. Out of all the fruits that were presented by the guide, they chose coconuts. This is an interesting observation to me. Coconuts are not a part of their normal diet (coconut trees are not abundant in dense rainforest jungle). Without any tools, they figured out how to crack the coconuts open by smashing the shell against a hard surface like a tree trunk. This is also how the mother passed down skills required for its offspring to survive in the jungle.

I wonder will my children or grandchildren will ever be able to observe these interesting animals too in the future? If we do not continue to preserve the nature and treat it with respect, then the only animals that our future generation will be able to watch are kept behind bars in zoo or behind the screen in the television. I believe that with educational trips such as this, more people will learn to appreciate wild, endangered animals. In words of Jane Goodall,

“The greatest danger to our future is apathy”

Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.

For more info:

The Weekend Runner: Fairy Cave & Mount Singai, Sarawak.



Salam Eid Al Adha to everyone! Most Malaysians love travelling back to their ‘kampung’ (villages or hometown) to celebrate Eid with the extended family. So last Thursday, I packed my bags and flew back to my dad’s hometown in Bau, Sarawak to celebrate Eid with them. The district of Bau is situated about 22km from the capital city of Kuching on the Borneo Island. Bau used to be a thriving, bustling gold mining town until the 1970s. But these days it’s a small, simple ‘kampung’ rich in natural attractions, such as limestone formation, rivers, and jungles. First on the list is Fairy Cave.


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How to get there: the only way to get here from the city is by car. However, if you want to travel like the locals do, take the bus from Kuching city and walk a few kilometers from the Bau bus station.




To get to the cave entrance you have to climb about 4 storeys of stairs. Alternatively, you can take a ‘faster’ route if you are feeling adventerous (Harness, helmets, and other safety equipment not included!)



The cave entrance. Have Nashata top, will travel!

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The walk into the cave will be dark. But inside, the belly of the cave will be flooded with natural light.


IMG_0870According to the locals, this place is called Fairy Cave because there is a stone formation which resembles a divine deity.


Difficulty level: 1/10 – Very Easy. 

Duration: Less than 30 minutes.

Additional note: Bring your own torch light.


The next day, we decided to do something more adventurous; hiking up Mount Singai, located in Kampung Singai, Bau. Unlike Fairy Cave, this place is not very famous amongst tourists so we relied heavily on directions by the local villagers. Overall, the hike will take you about 4 hours in total (2 hours ascending and 2 hours descending) at a very leisurely pace. Take your time to appreciate the surroundings, and you will spot many plants species that are indigenous to Borneo only.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 4.48.30 PM How to get there: the only way to get here from the city is by car. This is the nearest landmark to get to the parking entrance. You will need a good ol’ map to Kampung Singai and a friendly face to ask for directions, no such thing as Waze or Google around here!


This mountain is also a holy site for the locals. So there are well-maintained stairways to get to the church. The church is also a halfway marker to the peak of Mount Singai.

IMG_0912After the church is where the real fun begins!


IMG_0916Chatting with the locals. The old man has been coming here for all his life.

IMG_8095IMG_0933More flora and fauna.


IMG_8098Sadly, the view at the top was blanketed by the haze. At least my Azeeza Zip Up is in a more cheerful shade of grey.


Difficulty level: 3/10 – Easy to Moderate (depending on your fitness level) 

Duration: 4 hours, approx. 1600 ft.

Additional note: Bring your own water and gloves. Sneakers/ any work out shoes


I did not realise that this sleepy kampung has so much to offer. With some proper planning and infrastructure development, Bau has high potential to become a eco-tourism spot in the future.

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Pristine, beautiful, and green – there is still so much more to explore and discover here.


Until next week,

The Weekend Runner.