Camping in an Ancient Rainforest at Danum Valley Field Centre

BY CASSEY ASHLEY SUA, 15 AUG 2019

The breeze of crisp morning air tickles your skin, the cool hues of the night make a gradient transition into warmer tones with the rising sun, and a harmonious ensemble of gibbon calls and chirping birds are what make camping in Danum Valley a truly magical experience.

Search up “Danum Valley” on Google and it’ll present you with an array of experiences ranging from a luxurious 5-star treatment at Borneo Rainforest Lodge to a humble dormitory setting, but if you’re really looking for a fully immersive approach to your Bornean adventures, camping at the Danum Valley Field Centre is guaranteed to give you the satisfaction of jungle-y solitude without feeling too isolated from civilization.

Camping in an Ancient Rainforest at Danum Valley
Camping in an Ancient Rainforest at Danum Valley

Sealed roads leading up to logging roads

Your journey begins in the charming town of Lahad Datu. Opt for either a domestic flight from Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Tawau or Kuching, or travel by land from one of these minivan terminals. Heading out of Lahad Datu will take you on a 2-hour drive to the field center’s main gate and another 30 to 40 minutes before catching the first glimpse of the campsite. Even before encountering one, the sight and whiff of elephant dung during the drive is enough to stir excitement with hopes of Borneo’s elusive Pygmy elephants being nearby.

Camping in an Ancient Rainforest at Danum Valley
Borneo Pygmy Elephant (Elephas maximus borneensis)
Camping in an Ancient Rainforest at Danum Valley
A misty morning at the campsite

At first glance, there’s no denying that the facilities at the campsite are indeed basic, but provides the comfort of toilet cubicles, electricity (from 7AM to 11PM), and common lounge areas to rest up after many hours of exploring. A row of sheltered, open-air stretcher hammocks serve as your sleeping quarters complete with blankets to keep you from battling nature’s air-conditioned weather at night and mosquito nets to prevent blood-suckers and other creepy crawlies from interrupting your slumber.

Camping in an Ancient Rainforest at Danum Valley

Open-air stretcher hammocks

Camping in an Ancient Rainforest at Danum Valley
Camping in an Ancient Rainforest at Danum Valley
Left: David Bowie Huntsman Spider (Heteropoda davidbowie) Right: Lantern Bug (Pyrop Whiteheadii)
Camping in an Ancient Rainforest at Danum Valley
Nothing tastes better than a home-cooked meal

While cooking your own meals over a campfire is considered quintessential to a camping experience, time is always of the essence in Danum Valley – you’ll never know when a Helmeted Hornbill or Orangutan is in the area. Our lovely in-house team takes the hassle of your hands by cooking up a storm in the kitchen three times a day to have delicious, home-cooked meals ready (with the flexibility to cater to your dietary preferences) so that you can have more time exploring the rainforest and its hidden gems.

Camping in an Ancient Rainforest at Danum Valley
Camping in an Ancient Rainforest at Danum Valley
Mouth-watering feasts

Although the campsite is considered a “budget” option, you will not fall short of the full Danum Valley experience. Spend your days on exciting jungle treks (request for longer trails to maximize your chances of wildlife encounters!), take a refreshing dip in the Ulu Segama River, opt for a night drive in a 4×4 or head up to Bukit Atur for an other-worldly view of the sunrise (additional activities at your own expense).

Camping in an Ancient Rainforest at Danum Valley
Towering tropical trees
Camping in an Ancient Rainforest at Danum Valley
Camping in an Ancient Rainforest at Danum Valley
Left: Oriental Bay Owl (Phodilus badius)  Right: Grey-tailed Racer Snake (Gonyosoma oxycephalum)
Camping in an Ancient Rainforest at Danum Valley
Camping in an Ancient Rainforest at Danum Valley
Left: Western Tarsier (Cephalopachus bancanus) Right: North Bornean Gibbons (Hylobates funereus)

Danum Valley is undoubtedly one of the most biodiverse wonderlands in Malaysian Borneo ideal for nature and wildlife enthusiasts guaranteed to spark inspiration at every corner. Get in touch with our team of Travel Consultants and begin crafting your very own meaningful adventures in Danum Valley today!

Visit www.DanumValley.net for more information on Danum Valley and its wonders.

Wildlife images contributed by our nature guides: Atteh, Dean, Mike, Sharon, and Mohammed.