Sabah, the Malaysian state in northern Borneo, is considered one of the best destinations for adventure and ecotourism. Many visitors, for instance, venture to the islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park or attempt to conquer the summit of Mount Kinabalu.
Lok Kawi Wildlife Park, which covers about 113 hectares, has been open since 2007 and, as such, is a relatively new Sabah attraction. A mere 25 km from the capital of Sabah, the drive to the park can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes from hotels in Kota Kinabalu. Some hire a taxi for about 100 ringgit but a less expensive option is to join a tour group shuttle for just over half that, which includes entrance to the park. The one potential downside of the tour of course is that when the bus leaves, so do you.
The park is divided into two sections: the zoo and the botanical garden.
At the zoo, animals roam within enclosed spaces designed to mimic their natural habitats. The Childrenâ€™s Zoo is an especially popular area and features ponies, goats, rabbits, guinea pigs, and Borneo pygmy elephants.
One path from the Childrenâ€™s Zoo leads to an aviary.Â This enclosure houses black lories, lorikeets, parrots, pigeons, hornbills, cockatoos, parakeets, and mynahs, with a separate cage for the marvelous white-bellied sea eagle.
At the other side of the walkway is an enclosure for the gorgeous female clouded leopard.Â A male clouded leopard is currently not being shown to the public as it only has three legs as a result of a terrible accident with poachersâ€™ traps.
Another path from the Childrenâ€™s Zoo leads to the corral of the Sumatran Rhinoceros.Â In this same area, there are also groups of Samba Deer and Rusa Deer.Â There is another enclosure for Pygmy Elephants wherein some of the young are bred within Lok Kawi.
The area for reptiles is another crowd favourite. A number of animals can be seen here, such as iguanas, crocodiles, monitor lizards, turtles, pythons, and an assortment of other snakes.
Along the walking trail is a section with Sun Bears and a separate area for the Malayan Tigers.Â Another elevated spot is allotted for orangutans plus a separate zone for the otters and gibbons.Â A little farther down the trail is the enclosure for the Proboscis Monkeys.Â Those who only have a short time to spend in Sabah need not go all the way to Bako National Park to see these adorable monkeys.Â Of course, it is not the same as in the wild but visitors to Lok Kawi get a pretty authentic experience nonetheless.
The other smaller section of Lok Kawi Wildlife Park is the Botanical Garden.Â It encompasses over 100 hectares of land and holds abundant varieties of plants, herbs, colourful flowers, as well as towering jungle trees. This area also provides visitors the chance to try a bit of jungle trekking along a short 1.4-long trail.
Lok Kawi Wildlife Park provides visitors a rare opportunity to observe various endangered species in one location.Â A visit to the park will hopefully prompt people to support conservation efforts in Borneo and denounce destructive practices to the nonpareil island’s precious ecology.
After a fruitful visit to Kota Kinabalu, a lot of tourists move on to other key destinations and accommodations in Malaysia. Do make the most of your time in Sabah and Borneo, however, and explore the region’s spectacular natural beauty as much as possible.
Lok Kawi Wildlife Park:
Entrance Fees: Malaysian (Adult/Child) RM10/RM5; Non-Malaysian (Adult/Child) RM20/RM10; Student in Uniform FREE; Malaysian Senior Citizen (60 years and above) FREE; Disabled Persons FREE
Operating Hours: 9:30 a.m. â€“ 5:30 p.m. (last entry at 4:30 p.m.)