One of the top attractions in Sandakan is Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok. Our itinerary was so tight that we couldn't visit it during the day time. Earlier we did Night safari in Mulu National Park and that experience was amazing. Hence, we decided to do it again in Sandakan. We called the centre and asked for their night safari. In Sepilok, you get options to do the night safari either at the Orang-Utan Rehabilitation centre or at Rainforest Discovery centre. Since we already visited Rehabilitation centre in daytime, we opted for latter one. 

Lake at Rainforest Discovery Centre
The staff at the Centre was very kind and supportive. As per their schedule, there was no night safari on that day, but they made an exception as we were 4 of us and after us there were many enquiries for the safari. 

View of lake from top of the Canopy Tower
The Night Safari started at 7 pm with our Guide introduces us to our route and taking us towards canopy in the sight of Flying Squirrel. Yes, you read it right, flying squirrel. It is one of the must see at centre and surprisingly squirrel has a particular time in which they fly from one tree to another. At the viewing point near the canopy, we patiently waited for squirrel to flying across the forest. We waited, we waited and nothing happened. We spotted the squirrel, and she or he was ready for the flight, but still was waiting for the signal. After almost 30-45 minute wait, we saw his first flight from the top of the tree to another one. The sight was amazing, I was so mesmerised by it that I forgot to shoot it with my camera. After the first squirrel, second one was ready to take his leap of faith. Immediately after 10 minutes of first flight, the second one also led its way. This time I was ready to shoot, but due to the low light and the speed of a squirrel, I didn't get anything. 

Flying Squirrel preparing for the flight
Red Squirrel post his flight from tree top
Our excitement level rose to top after seeing the beautiful sight (first time in my life). Moving on to our night safari, our guide warned us about the fire ant and instructed us to tuck our pant in our shoes to save us from bite (warning: wear full pant or something which cover your legs fully). He also shared with us the wildlife which we will try to find in the dense forest. The species whose sights are rare to find - Tarsiers (the smallest monkey) and Slow Loris. Apart from these, we will keep encountering snakes and other wild creatures. 

Bird catching food in the lake
Going ahead on our walk, our guide selected unmarked route which was literally in the forest with no proper road in the pitch dark night illuminated by thousands of stars. The unpaved road was home to many fire ants and we happened to cross path with a big one around 3 inches long. Along the path, we also saw black Scorpio. Since we were carrying torches with low light, clicking pictures of Scorpio and ant was not possible even with higher ISO. 

Various Insects in the forest.
The Night Safari at Rainforest Discovery Centre was turning out to be the best night safari with an opportunity to see wildlife I would have missed out on my tour. Also, this was our last activity of my adventurous trip to Borneo, the excitement level was rising with passing moment. We hoped to see each and every wildlife reside in the Rainforest Discovery Centre. Our prayers were actually answered as we encountered yet another snake, this time it was Viper Snake. My earlier encounter with a snake was during Night Safari in Mulu National Park. Before our safari gets over, we encountered second Viper snake, as deadly as first one.

Viper snake making his way
Focusing on his hunt
Moving along the path, we also saw a Tarantula sitting on the tree trunk. Moving ahead, we sae another huge spider climbing up on his web and speed of this creature was amazing. Within a minute he was on top of the tree 6-7 feet above the ground. 

Tarantula in Rainforest Discovery Centre
Spider climbing up on his web
The night was becoming more and more exhilarating. Our next encounter was something I have seen first time in life, Slow Loris. Initially our guide spotted him twice and both times he ran away into the tree, I kept wondering who calls him slow loris when he is so fast to hide away. Then a moment came where we saw the true nature of slow loris when he started walking on the tree branch slowly. It looked as if I am watching the video of walking Loris in slow motion. Step by step, slow loris was moving inside the forest. I thought with this speed of animal, I am sure to capture many clear pictures only later I found out that I barely managed to click 1-2 good picture as it was dark and I clicked all pictures handheld.

Slow Loris climbing the tree slowly
Even though Slow Loris was really slow, capturing him handheld in flash light was a task
Also on our walk we saw one of the Borneo's wildlife who's name I am still unable to remember. He was hanging to tree bark in such a way that it was difficult to understand his body structure. His hands and legs were on a tree with a face looking at the floor.  

Unknown wildlife of Borneo
Last thing on our Nigh Safari, Tarsiers, was still missing and we walked miles deeper in the forest to get a glimpse of him. Surprisingly, in our entire night safari, we didn't spot any other money. I wonder, they might be sleeping at night, tired and exhausted from days hanging and jumping. Walking with eyes squinting to spot something, even when a leaf move, our guide suddenly signalled for us to stop and look in the direction of sound. Listening to insect noise in pitch darkness, he directed his light towards a moving animal. In a split second, I spotted the Tarsier and suddenly he disappeared. Then another movement and flash light of our guide showed, Tarsier resting on the tree. He was barely 5 inch long. I had to be quick in my action as I didn't want to miss him like squirrels and I managed to get little blur image of the world's smallest monkey. 

Tarsier, second before he managed to jump and disappear
Even before Night Safari end, our desire to see wildlife was satisfied. Even after the hunt of the top 3 species was over, we kept walking and our guide directed for one more stop. This time it was for a bird. Our guide pointed his torch towards a tree and we all couldn't see a thing. Then he slowly stroked his hand on the tree for us to actually see what it was. There was a small hole in the tree were little bird was sleeping with his back to us. After small stroke, he turned around and we saw him clearly. The entire sight was so cute - bird was quiet, calm and also half sleepy. He was in his place, not bothered with all the tourist clicking his pictures. 

Little Bird opened his eyes after turning around
Along the path, there was another bird, kingfisher, sleeping between the leaves. Since it is nice walk, we saw only when they were sleeping as spotting them flying in dark night is nearly impossible.

Kingfisher sleeping
Another bird sleeping between the leaves
Since I have not gone night safari in Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, I can't tell you which one is better. However, Night Safari at Rainforest Discovery Centre was indeed amazing with a chance to see many species in a short span of time. Our end of the wonderful trip to Borneo was on the super happy and satisfactory note.
Ending our Borneo trip with an adventurous note!
Monsoon is the perfect season for trekking. Being adventure enthusiasts, I crave for such adventure. My past experience, some 5 years back of Sinhgad Fort was amazing. Hence, I wanted to relive the moment. From Mumbai, you have a pretty good option for trekking and from Pune, all those options are more closer. Trekking on the mountain is more difficult activity, especially during monsoon as you don't get much grip to move forward due to wet ground. But again, the best part of trekking is greenery and that you see in abundance during monsoon.

Entrance to Sinhgad Fort
View from the top
Sinhgad Fort is very simple and hardly people will count it as trekking. There is a base point till which you can take your car (a point which spoil the fun of the walk till the top of the mountain) and from there onwards, you can walk around the huge fort built by some two thousand years ago. Technically, there is hardly any trace of Sinhgad Fort as lot has been destroyed over the years. 

Fort wall, keeping attackers at bay
The whole fort is surrounded by such walls
The reason of enjoying the walk around the remaining of the fort is all because of the weather. The fort is at the height of approximately 4000 ft above sea level and during monsoon the feel of walking in the mountain range is as if you are walking on the clouds. The fog surrounds the mountain range and all you can see is greenery peaking from the  fog. If you are lucky, rain during such trek is refreshingly cold.  

Greenery hidden in the fog
Cow gazing 
Sinhgad Fort is closest to the city, Pune and also the difficulty level are for beginner, hence you see  many people visiting the fort. 5 years back when I went there in the morning, I hardly saw people coming to the fort. Unlike in today's time, I saw many people walking with the camera and the phone in their hand, ready to capture the beauty of mountain coupled with awesome weather.  

Due Drops on plants
Wind Point 
Another thing which adds magic to this experience is the joy of eating hot food. Inside Sinhgad fort, at the entrance and also at the base, you will find many street food stalls inviting you for enjoying piping hot Kanda Bhaji and Thalipeeth (traditional Marathi food). Apart from Kanda bhaji, they also have Aloo bhaji. All the calories you burnt by trekking will get double by eating this street food. The options of food at the fort is many. Whether one crave for hot corn on the cob or salty peanuts, or cold cut mangos or misal pav, you get it all!

Kanda Bhaji (Fried Marinated Onion)
Mangos
Those who don't enjoy trekking but would like to do something interesting (apart from walking around in a shopping mall), Sinhgad Fort is for you. Those who would like to explore the difficulty of trekking and height, there are many other forts to explore like Lohgad, Tikona and many more!

Location: Sinhgad Fort, Pune (25 km from Pune)

Time: 2-3 Hours to walk around the fort and eat food. 1 hour away from main Pune city centre (depending on traffic). 

Carry: Jacket (to protect from rain and also cold), walking shoes, water bottle (you can also get it from vendors) and camera (to click amazing pictures)

Important note: If possible, visit very early in the morning to get a less crowd and also to get good weather (without sun). Most important, go too early to avoid traffic.

More pictures:
The freshness of morning on tree
Walking trail
Surviving part of the Sinhgad Fort
Food stalls serving hot food
Corn on the cob
Peanuts
Attack of Fog
Beauty in nothingness 
I love due drop and clicking without micro lens is indeed a task
Neighbor to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre is the Bornean Sun Bear Conservatory. This conservatory is built to rescue, cure and free the Sun Bear, again a species which is under the threat of extinction. Borneo is an island of all those wonderful wildlife who gets back seat in developing and developed countries. The places like Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, Orang Utan Rehabilitation centre are for preserving them and restore the balance in the ecosystem.

Borneo Sun Bear looking for food
The Sun Bear Conservatory is in the premises of the Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and it has only one viewing deck. The second viewing deck is under construction and will be open by mid of 2016. Unlike Labuk Bay and Rehabilitation centre, Sun Bear Conservatory doesn't have feeding time. The bears are left in the area to find food like leaves, insect and once in a day, they provide food by volunteer (there is no fix time for that).

Big bear sleeping on tree
The Sun bear conservatory is managed and maintained by private authority who has dedicated his life in preserving the species. Sun Bear is the world's smallest bear. The team cures the rescued Sun bear. These sun bears have either found on the streets near forest or rescued during the illegal trading of animals. Once the animal is cured and recovered, they are released into the nearby forest. The owner is available at the conservatory and if you are lucky, you get a chance to interact with him and know more about the these sun bears. Apart from the owner, even each staff at the conservatory is friendly and helpful with lots of information to share.

Two kid bear walking around
There are 10 separate sections created for various bear (based on the age, size, gender and health). All areas are next to each other divided by the fences. The reason for creating separate area is because of the violent nature of bears. Bear are not violent in general, unless sometime they get offensive and attack the other bear. In the past, there have been cases where the old and young bear were kept together only to find an old bear has attacked the young bear and killed him. All sections have bear of different age and gender. In one section Young bears are kept together and in another section male and female bear kept together. Not more than 4 bears are kept in one section. From the viewing deck, you can see two sections where one has old bear and the second one had a young bear in it.

Who is watching me ???
All bear has a spot on their chest. Each species of bear have that spot, just like human fingerprints. Each spot of bear is different than one another and that's how you can distinguish between them. Bear most of the time is lazy animal. When we were there, the whole time one bear was sleeping whereas young one came all the way towards the viewing deck for his afternoon walk and also food. By the time we were leaving, two bears in old bear section started fighting. When asked staff about their violent nature and whether they interfere with it, they said they try to avoid most of the time as the bear can be powerful and dangerous during such fights.

I always found bear cute animal, not because of Winnie the Poo or all those soft toys of bear. They were happy, lazy and lost in their own world unless someone, another bear, disturb his peace, he gets violent. I am just assuming, I am sure they are calm animal with a short temper. 

Note: If you have more time to see things in Sabah, do pay a visit to Tabin Wildlife Reserve, there you will get a chance to see them in their natural habitats.

Sun Bear looking for some food
Curled up to find some food
Two Old Borneo Sun Bear together spending their time
When in Borneo, if you don't encounter Orang Utan, then your trip is not complete. In the entire region of Sabah, you have many places where you can meet them in their natural habitat. The best place will be the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. For people like me, who have limited days to travel, we have 'Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre'. The Centre is in Sepilok region, which is in the outskirts of Sandakan City. The rehabilitation centre is basically an area reserved by government to cure and save the endangered Orang Utan. The Orang Utan monkeys are treated and taken care off at this centre. The Orang Utan Rehabilitation centre is nothing like the Zoo. It is a forest area where Orang Utan are staying freely under the observation by the specialist and where visitors can just walk on the path designed by the centre to see the animals in their natural habitat.

Long tail macaque (monkey)
Just like Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre also have feeding time for Orang Utan twice in a day. The morning feeding and second one in the evening. We went for a morning feeding session as it is not guaranteed that Orang Utan will come to feeding platform. To increase our chances of sporting, we went first in the morning, Incase Orang Utan doesn't show up, we will have second feeding time to try again.

Baby monkey praying
As we went towards feeding time, which was already started, we saw many long-tail Macque playing around and eating food. Amongst small monkeys was, huge, ape in the dark brown fur - Orang Utan - quietly eating his food. There was only one Orang Utan and he had huge built, looked aged, holding rope in one hand and food in another. Beneath him, long tail macaques were making noise and jumping around, but Orang Utan was not affected by any of them. He silently ate his food and when it was over, we climbed on the rope and walked away.

Old Orang Utan eating his food
Such a clear difference you can see in these two species of monkey, one mischievous and the other matured. Coming from ape family, Orang Utan showed us the courtesy which sometime humans also don't have. Some of us are uneasy, like long tail macaque who can't sit in any one place.

Standing tall and 
We thought our sighting of Orang Utan was over when a park guide told us about the second feeding platform which serve food in the morning after the first platform. Hence, we started our walk towards the second feeding platform. As we were walking, we were hoping to see the Orang Utan in between and instead of them, we encountered a snake on the tree resting, rather sleeping. He was camouflaged with leaf that it was difficult for us to spot the snake.

Can you spot the snake ?
Moving to the feeding platform, this was completely different than what we saw earlier and also in Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. This had a seating area with a full glass wall in front from which you can see the platform and some ropes for Orang Utan to play around. Once the food was kept on the platform, we saw one after another Orang Utan comes to have a bite. These were small Orang Utan, few years old. They all were playing around and eating and walking slowly on the rope. As they were eating, the volunteers came one after another to take them for inspection of their vitals and also give medicine or vaccination.

Orang Utan eating his fruits
The baby Orang Utan were fun to watch as they behaved exactly like human babies, running around, eating quietly, only to again start walking and sit in another area or even playing with another Orang Utans. When volunteers were coming towards them, they were not scared or violent, they happily allow them to lead the way for vaccination. The entire scene was really exciting to watch as I tried to get each and every act of theirs in a frame.

Baby Orang Utan chilling
Once the entire platform was empty, we proceeded towards the walking trail. This trail is good for bird watching and you get the chance to encounter many species of birds including the famous Hornbill. Since we were not a bird watcher, we didn't observe anything in wild except an endless amount of forest, various trees and sound of a bird chirping.

Orang Utan sitting on tree
On our way we met another couple who shared with us that during their walk, they crossed path with Orang Utan who was heading towards another part of the forest. He showed us the video where Orang Utan was walking towards him, passed him and went towards the forest. The entire video felt as if another person was walking towards him, like he didn't care who the person is or he is different species then him. No doubt this shows that Orang Utan are long lost cousin of our ancestor, Ape. 

Cute baby blowing kisses !!!
While traveling to Borneo, a visit to this family member is must. It's our duty to understand their environment which is under great treat and Orang Utan themselves are on verge of extinction. This visit is not to see them before they disappear, this visit is to make sure that they don't disappear. 

Indeed they are cute monkey
Forests are for them and not for us. The growing palm tree might boost our economy, but what about wildlife and their home? It's us who can either destroy them or save them, the choice is ours! 


Climbing to the feeding platform for some food
Immersed himself in the fresh fruit
I am coming for you
Sorry, I am busy eating!