The facility on a 107-hectare site is run by the Sabah Forestry Department and aims to educate the public on the importance of conserving jungles and the need for sustainable use of forest resources.
The star attraction is the Plants Discovery Garden, which has a display of colourful orchids, gingers, pitcher plants, arid land plants, economic crops and aquatic plants. It has a collection of 250 species of native orchids and half the number of pitcher plants found in Sabah.
Panels have been placed at strategic points to interpret the names and importance of the different plants at the well-landscaped one-hectare garden.
Over the Forest Canopy
A 150m-long canopy walkway 25 metres above the ground in the Sepilok-Kabili forest reserve is extremely popular as it provides a fantastic view of the jungle.
The walkway is not fully completed but once all eight towers are built and connected, it will give visitors a chance to walk a distance of 950 metres through the forest canopy.
The two-metre wide canopy walkway can accommodate large crowds who enjoy viewing nature and watching birds including the rare Bornean bristlehead, pittas and kingfishers from the walkway.
Another important feature is its Rainforest Discovery Trail which can be enjoyed by any reasonably fit person. Towering dipterocarp trees and different foliage offer trekkers a chance to experience the rainforest in its true form and the staff is always ready to explain the ecosystem to willing listeners.
|Wild orchids thrive here.
Emeralds Of Sabah
For those who do not like walking in the forest, the Rainforest Exhibition at the main building is a must-see. With plenty of colourful photos and information panels, visitors get a chance to learn about biodiversity conservation issues.
The RDC also has, with the assistance of its partners, developed the Environmental Education Race (EERace), to create awareness among teachers on the importance of the environment and how they can bring this knowledge into their classrooms.
The EERace, based on popular reality show Amazing Race, has seen 700 teachers learning about nature conservation issues. The programme is gaining popularity not only in Sandakan, but statewide.
A total of 12,900 students have participated in the programmes since 1997. The centre was set up in 1996 after the Sabah Forestry Department was awarded a grant by the German government to establish a nature education facility.
Initially known as the Rainforest Interpretation Centre, it has grown from strength to strength and will, in a year's time, come under the scrutiny of the world when it hosts the inaugural Malaysian Rainforest Flora and Fauna Festival.
The Prime Minister's wife, Datuk Seri Jeanne Abdullah, who is chairman of the Malaysian Landscape Advisory Panel, described Sabah's rainforests as "emeralds" during her June 1 visit to the RDC to get a closer look at what the facility has to offer.
|A lake at the Rainforest Discovery Centre in Sandakan.
Entrance fees: Malaysian adults (RM5), children aged 5-17 years (RM2). Non-Malaysians - RM10 for all age groups. Website: www.forest.sabah.gov.my/rdc