Rainforest Skywalk at RDC Sandakan

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RDC Canopy Walk Sandaan

For birdwatchers and bird photographers planning to visit Sandakan in Sabah, here is some great news: after almost 20 years of on-and-off construction and extension, the Rainforest Skywalk at RDC Sandakan is finally completed.

Also known as the RDC Canopy Walk, this is one of Sandakan district’s most iconic landmarks located very near the world-famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.

Rainforest Skywalk at RDC Sandakan

Since I started birdwatching back in 2007, I have visited the RDC canopy walk almost yearly when attending the Borneo Bird Festival. I have also seen this structure grow little by little yearly. And my last trip here was when I participated at the Borneo Bird Festival 2019, just before Covid19 hit the world.

In 2019, the total length of the canopy walkway was only 350 meters, and I clearly remember walking to one end of it during my birding here. After the recent completion, the total length is 620m long, with sections as high as 25 metres above the ground.

Canopy Walk RDC Sandakan
The three towers after fully completed.

The massive steel canopy walk is a safe and perfect amenity for visitors and researchers, as well as bird watchers at the RDC or Rainforest Discovery Center in Sepilok, Sabah.

The Rainforest Skywalk at RDC has also gained a lot of positive reviews since it opened. One of the main factors was that the Borneo Bird Festival had attracted much media attention over the years.

Many were curious about this massive steel sky walkway, and many local Sabahans made their way here over the years to experience walking above the forest canopy with their family, loved ones and friends.

Since Covid19 crippled tourism and almost everything related to the outdoors, the Borneo Bird Festival took a two-year hiatus due to the border lockdowns and travel restrictions.

Therefore, this year, the Borneo Bird Festival 2022 will be back, and with the full completion of the Rainforest Skywalk at the RDC, it will be something for many visitors to experience.

Completion of the Rainforest Skywalk at RDC Sabah
Presentation of Certificate of Practical Completion to Buildtech Enterprise, by the Chief Conservator of Forests, Datuk Frederick Kugan (2nd left), accompanied by Dr Robert Ong (right), Deputy Chief Conservator (R&D) and other Forestry officers, with the Hornbill Tower at the background. (Image/text – The Star)

How Much Does the RDC Canopy Walk Cost? 

While some may be curious about the cost of this entire project, the total amount spent was RM13 Million, where the final 250 metres of the canopy walk at RDC was funded by the Sabah state government at RM4 million.

The start of this ambitious and successful project was back in 2003 and under the 8th Malaysia Plan, where they erected two main lookout towers. Eventually, the project was completed in five phases over the years.

Birdwatching Tower RDC Sandakan
One of the birdwatching towers at RDC just before sunset hour.

All photos here are from Cede Prudente with permission.

Conclusion

The Rainforest Skywalk at RDC is one of the best locations for birders due to the unique structure above ground and the well-maintained network of forest trails, facilities, and convenience from Sandakan in Sabah.

Apart from birds sighted here and many flora, visitors can also experience seeing the occasional orangutan during the fruiting season, flying squirrels, primates, insects, and bugs. I cannot wait to go and check out the completed skywalk and attend the Borneo Bird Festival 2022.

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