The world’s smallest bear is so cute, and you can see them frolicking about in Sandakan, Sabah.

The Bornean sun bear, also known as the honey bear, is a sub-species and is half the size of the ones found in Peninsular Malaysia. The bears have a patch on their chest that’s said to resemble the sun.

Sun bears are an endangered species and continue to face many threats including deforestation, which results in them losing their natural habitats. Illegal poachers are also known to hunt these beautiful creatures for parts and to sell bear cubs in the black market.

Why you should go

The conservation centre started in 2008 with only eight sun bears. Today, there are more than 30 bears living there, many of which were seized (and saved!) by the Sabah Wildlife Department from zoos, resorts and private collections.

bornean sun bear

‘Oh hi, humans!’

The place aims to raise awareness on the plight of sun bears, particularly the Bornean sun bear. Find out how you can help to spread the word on these endangered animals and of course, to see for yourself just how cute they are in real life.

What to do

There’s an observation platform and a boardwalk for visitors to view the sun bears. The centre does not have feeding times for the bears so visitors are welcome at any time it is open. The bears are more active from 9.30am to 3pm, though, so that would be a great time to catch them playing or just going about their daily business.

The place also has a visitor centre for you to learn more about the species.

Who will like it

Wildlife and nature lovers will enjoy a visit here, as well as inquisitive children. Admission fees are between RM2.10 and RM31.80.

Getting there

The centre is about 20km from the town centre so you can either rent a car and drive there yourself, take the bus (the Labuk Road Bus Company has vehicles that depart from the Sandakan Town Council daily) or perhaps even join a day tour. You can also hire a taxi or private car for a return trip but it will probably cost quite a bit.

Apart from that, there are also Grab and MyCar services available in town.

The centre is right next to the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, which is also a great place to visit.

The conservation centre opened its doors to the public in mid-January 2014.

Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre
PPM 219, Elopura, 90000, Sandakan, Sabah
Tel: 089-5340491
Opening hours: 9am to 3.30pm