Visiting Lok Kawi Wildlife park was a rather spontaneous decision. I had slept in and that eliminated the idea of visiting one of the islands near Kota Kinabalu. While we could have taken the later boat to one of the islands we considered it a waste since Shawn had his PADI course at 1:30 pm. With limited options we decided to explore the mainland.
RENTING A BIKE
There are different modes of transport that you can use to get to Lok Kawi Wildlife park. You can take a bus, a taxi or choose to rent a scooter or a car. Wanting a bit of fluidity in our plan we decided to choose a scooter. The owner of Masada Backpackers hostel where we were staying kindly offered to drop us off at the rental agency. He saved us the time we would have spent walking and finding the area.
Renting a bike on Kota Kinabalu follows a pattern. The amount you pay depends on where you want to go which in turn determines the bike you will rent. Here are the types that we were offered.
TYPE 1: Non geared scooter to used within the city. Cost: 45 MYR for one day.
TYPE 2: Geared without clutch and can be used outside the city. Cost: 45 MYR per day.
TYPE 3: Geared with clutch. This bike can be used on mountains and hills. Cost: 60-85 MYR per day.
LOK KAWI WILDLIFE PARK
The interesting gibbon.
The ride to Lok Kawi Wildlife Park was approximately 20 kilometers. It took us a little over 20 minutes to get there. The roads were amazing. Then again when you compare any road to the roads we have in Bangalore they are nothing short of awesome.
As usual there are different slabs for the entrance fee. The differentiation is made on whether you are Malaysian or not and on the basis of your age. Malaysian adults pay 10 MYR, children pay 5 MYR and foreigners pay 20 MYR. Lok Kawi National park is broadly divided into 2 parts. One part houses the animals and the other part is the botanical garden.
We spent around 2 hours wandering around and looking at the different animals. Every animal has a separate feeding time. So if you are at Lok Kawi National Park bright and early then you can schedule your walk so that you can catch them eating. We got there just in time to see the elephants eating. I got a chance to see orangutans for the first time. Other animals that live in the park include the civet cat, monkeys, ostriches and deer.
The orangutan sure knew how to relax.
To be truthful it made me a bit sad to see them that way. The animals looked healthy though I’m no expert to say it with certainty. The enclosures were clean and yet they were enclosures all the same. These beasts were meant to wander in the forests and here they were forced to spend their life in a small space. We can always say that the enclosures are bigger or cleaner than other parks and zoos. It makes us feel better for putting them there. If we had to compare the enclosures to the jungles and forests that the animals came from we wouldn’t be so happy about it.
I’m human and my wanderlust takes me across the world. The animals however had their wildness taken away from them. I wonder how I would have responded had I to be tied down to single cramped location like that.
THE BIRDS IN LOK KAWI WILDLIFE PARK
Such vibrant colors on a hornbill!
Most of the birds had big cages. There was even an aviary that you could walk through. During our walk through the bird sector of Lok Kawi Wildlife Park we found a little guy who amused us no end. The little guy was a mynah who was alone in his cage. I think everyone who passed by kept repeating the same words to him and he kept calling out to us and saying ‘Hi’ and ‘Bye’.
The scary ostrich!
Another bird that quite literally made a mark was the curious ostrich. To be fair the mark was mostly my fault. I had never seen an ostrich up close before. Not only was the ostrich tall but he/she quite literally looked down at me. I was busy clicking a photograph of the sneer that he/she gave me when I forgot that I had the zoom of the DSLR on full. The ostrich moved towards us and I jumped straight into the cement bench nearby. That left a big black bruise on my thigh. I can be such a scaredy cat sometimes.
LOW KAWI WILDLIFE PARK’S REPTILES
Ultra cute turtles.
There really wasn’t much to see in the reptile section. 2 cobras, a couple of pythons, a few gators and some komodo dragons completed the whole section. While the reptiles lazed in the sun oblivious to our presence, the visitors were certainly aware of their existence.
THE BOTANICAL GARDENS
When Shawn sees a butterfly he has to try and get a perfect photograph of it.
The Botanical gardens are situated at far end of the Lok Kawi National Park. A big warning alerts visitors about the need for caution. There were a few points that caught my eye.
- Children need to be accompanied by adults.
- The ground is slippery so trod carefully.
- Do not enter the botanical gardens when it rains.
Beauty is hidden till you open your eyes.
We were lucky. It was a bright sunny day. Walking through the botanical gardens was like an easy trek through the rainforest. It’s humid and slippery but it definitely is fun. We wore crocs and we did quite well. I would suggest carrying a bottle of water because I did get thirsty midway but it wasn’t all that bad.
The paved path takes you through the botanical garden. You cross a number of tiny wooden bridges too. Look down when you walk. I spotted a few rotting boards along the way. There is even a small lookout point in the middle of the botanical garden and I found it really cool. I wanted to head along the Rafflesia trial but was pretty bummed out because it was closed. Oh well! I hope that I will get a chance to see it elsewhere.
On our way…
Lok Kawi Wildlife Park was the break I needed to feel human again. While I don’t agree with enclosed spaces for any animal, I learned to appreciate my freedom a bit more. Heck! I’m just an upright monkey wandering the world right now. Oh yes! And I have a passport!