Nature Photography Workshop

Lower Kinabatangan Floodplain, Malaysian Borneo

Explore Borneo's wildlife haven through nature photography

4 Days

Featuring Kinabatangan - Rasig Project, a community-based conservation project to preserve wildlife corridor and natural heritage in the Lower Kinabatangan floodplain (Malaysian Borneo). Proceeds from this workshop goes to the local communities, whom we engaged for accommodation, transportation and nature guiding.  

This workshop is specially designed for anyone who wants to explore Borneo's wildlife haven through nature photography, and how their photography can make an impact to inspire the need to preserve the amazing biodiversity in the floodplain.


Highlights:

  • Learn to photograph nature in its natural space 
  • Search for endangered and endemic species such as Proboscis Monkeys, Orang Utans, Bornean Gibbons and Borneon Elephants in their natural habitat along Sabah's longest river, the Kinabatangan and its floodplain
  • Acquire insight of the Kinabatangan - Rasig project, join the project staff on their typical day on site
  • Trek with the project team on the Borneo Pygmy Elephants' migration path to understand the behaviour of these large mammals
  • Be it for work, school project or take home message, you get to learn how to tell a story through photography that gives an impact to the importance of nature conservation

Workshop Dates:

Please email us to check on availability based on your preferred dates.


Best time to visit Kinabatangan:

April to October

Cost: 

SGD 580.00 per person based on twin sharing.

(SGD = Singapore Dollar)


Minimum & Maximum group size: 

4 to go, maximum 8 participants.

Starts / Ends: 

Sandakan, Sabah

What's Included:

Private transportation from Sandakan airport to the village of Sukau, 3 nights at bed and breakfast (air conditioned room with attached bathroom) run by local communities, meals as stated, all entrance and conservation fees to sites indicated in the itinerary, private boat, RASIG project English speaking naturalist and lead conservation photographer.

Whats Excluded:

Airfare, airport tax, camera and video fees, beverages at mealtime, laundry, tips to guide and drivers, personal travel insurance and anything else that is not mentioned on cost inclusions. 


Itinerary - 4 Days


Day 1: Arrive Sandakan - Sepilok Orang UtanRehabilitation Centre - Borneo SunBear Conservation Centre (BSBCC) - Gomantong Cave - Sukau (L, D)

  • Meet on arrival at the Sandakan airport
  • Briefing of the overall programme. Run through checklist on everyone's camera equipments.
  • Drive for 45 minutes to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. The centre is an initiative of the Sabah Wildlife Department to rehabilitate and train young Orang Utans to survive again in the wild. 
  • Observe the behaviour of the rehabilitated Orang Utans and to compare with the wild ones in the lower Kinabatangan.
  • Visit BSBCC, Asia’s first centre for rescued sun bears to learn more of the world’s smallest and endangered bear.  A briefing by researcher at the Sunbear centre.
  • Lunch
  • Drive for about 2 hours to the village of Sukau, your overnight base. Enroute, stop at the Gomantong Cave to explore cave fauna. 
  • Continue to Sukau. Check in to your accommodation. 
  • Dinner.
  • Slide presentation on the biodiversity of Kinabatangan floodplain and Rasig project; Nature conservation in the floodplain; Understanding nature photography and techniques; ideas on creating a photo essay of this journey; what to expect during the orientation cruise, followed by questions and answer.
  • Adjourn for the night.

Note: 

Please book on the first flight to Sandakan from Kota Kinabalu. Arriving Sandakan before 8.30 am. 


About The Project:

Day 2: Morning cruise, Kinabatangan-Rasig project site, afternoon and night cruises (B, L, D)

  • Set out on an early morning orientation cruise of the Kinabatangan floodplain and to photograph the first light of the day.  Search for wildlife and observe their behaviour in their natural habitat. During this cruise, all photography will be done onboard the river boat. 
  • Return to base for breakfast. 
  • Continue to Rasig project site. Go on land to trek on the Borneo Pygmy Elephant migration path with our project team. Trek through freshwater swamp forest, which constitute a large amount of the vegetation in the floodplain. Identify interesting flora and fauna along the trail. Learn about our conservation work on site and how tourism can enhance long term support for conservation.
  • Learn to photograph forest landscape and document important flora and fauna along the trail.
  • Break for lunch. 
  • Review and discuss this morning's photo shoot. Presentation on animal behaviours - the Orangutan and the Borneo Pygmy elephant.
  • Late afternoon cruise to explore one of the many tributaries of the Kinabatangan river to continue with wildlife exploration and photography. 
  • Dinner. Review of afternoon cruise's photo shoot and tips for night cruise. 
  • Night cruise to look for nocturnal animals of the Kinabatangan.
  • Briefing for the next day's programme. 

Notes: 

  • Trekking is not allowed if elephants are within or near the vicinity of Kinabatangan-Rasig site. 
  • Wildlife sighting is not guaranteed. This is their natural habitat and not a zoo. They roam freely in the wild.

Photo Gallery:

Day 3: Sukau - Abai - Sukau (B, L, D)

  • Set out early morning to cruise downriver to the estuary. See vegetation transition from lowland swamp forest to mangrove and nipah. Mangroves protect the coastlines and serve as the habitat and breeding ground for fish and prawns. Nipah forest in the area is mixed with mangrove in brackish waters. Local communities uses Nipah palm leaves for roofing and the sap is used for fuel. Abai is part of the five villages along the Kinabatangan river and the only way to get there is by boat via the river. 
  • Along the way, continue with wildlife and landscape photography. 
  • At Abai, explore the village to discover local lifestyle. Photograph people in their environment. 
  • Lunch at one of the homestays.
  • Late afternoon, cruise back to Sukau. 
  • Arrive Sukau. Rest. You will have some downtime to practice photography on your own for our closing discussion in the evening.
  • Dinner. 
  • Gather to review and discuss our day's photo shoot.  Each participants will present their work for discussion, be it for use in their work or simply to make a photo essay of their trip. 

Day 4: Sukau - Departure. (B, L)

  • Wake up early to photograph the sunrise from the river bank.  
  • Breakfast. Check out from Sukau in the morning. Drive for two hours to Sandakan. 
  • Visit the downtown Sandakan which is also known as "Little Hong Kong". An opportunity for street photography.
  • Then proceed to the observation tower to have a glimpse of Sandakan town and harbour.  
  • Lunch at one of Sandakan's best local restaurants. Sandakan is known for its fresh and variety of seafood. 
  • In the afternoon, transfer to the airport for your onward flight. 

Note: 

Please book on any flight that leaves Sandakan after 2 pm. 


Pre-Trip Notes Before You Book

  • This is a unique opportunity to travel and learn photography at the same time. People from all walks of life and photographers of all levels join our nature photography workshop. Wildlife is active in the early morning, late afternoon and the nocturnal ones in the later night.  Our priority is to take advantage of all photographic opportunities especially when the weather and light permit. This means, at times, we may have to wake up early, do with packed meals or have late meals in order to be out there to capture impromptu activities or to capture the subject of interest at the best light of the day. There will be ample opportunities to work side by side for instruction, advice and sharing of knowledge as well as to discuss all aspects of photography throughout the workshop.
  • Sometime schedules may changed due to the weather which affects wildlife movements. Please allow flexibility in re-adjustment so we can show you the best.
  • However, we cannot guarantee sighting of Orang Utans, Borneo Pygmy Elephants and other wildlife in the area. They are wild and move freely in their natural habitat. 
  • The project site allows a maximum of 8 persons per visit.
  • Trekking is not allowed if elephants are within or near the vicinity of Kinabatangan-Rasig site. This is for your safety.
  • Participants requires to be in good physical health as it involved some easy trekking in the rainforest, which sometimes can be on muddy ground.
  • For accommodation - We use basic but clean and comfortable bed and breakfast with attached bathroom, air-conditioned and fan, operated by the local communities.
  • To book a spot - Email us or contact us through the following form. Deposit of SGD$200.00 per person is required. Final payment is due 60 days prior to the date of travel.
  • Cancellation policy - Deposited bookings cancelled more than 60 days prior to travel - 50% of your deposit will be forfeited. Fully paid bookings cancelled within 60 days to travel date - No refund. Any unused portions of a trip including leaving the trip for any reason - No refund. 
  • Mode of Payment - We accept cheque issued under any local banks in Singapore only and telegraphic transfer for our overseas clients. Bank details will be provided in the invoice. Credit card payment via Pay Pal has a  surcharge of 3.5%. 

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