Sun Bears are gorgeous!
I have visited the Sun bear Sanctuary several times and it is fantastic! You need to be there at feeding times to see the bears, who are shy and like to adventure deep in the forest where they can not be seen for most of the day. Be there at 9am or 3pm to see them climb, play and feed.
There is a large under cover education center with great information about all kinds of bears, including sun bears and it has great interactive displayed perfect for children.
While you are there you can see a traditional Dayak (the native people of Borneo) 'Long House' which is the traditional, communal living space of the Dayak People. It is a massive open wooden structure with beautiful carvings.
There is also a domesticated animal section which is dedicated to educating local people about looking after appropriate domestic animals such as dogs and cats.
The staff there are volunteers who are interested in environmental education and they are kind and helpful, though not all speak English.
Hot tip - take some loo paper, there are toilets there, but it is always a good idea to bring some loo paper while traveling in Indonesia ;) [more]
Enclosure Beruang Madu (Sun Bears Nature Reservation)
Around KM. 23 or KM. 24 of Jalan Soekarno-Hatta, Balikpapan, there is an area for nature education of Beruang Madu (Honey Bear or most known as Sun Bear), called Enclosure Beruang Madu. We actually went there due to a wrong information ha-ha. We thought at this place we would at least see Orang Utan, monkey, birds of Borneo, wild orchids, etc but turns out, the place is only for sun bear.
When we arrived we were greeted by an Australian agent speaking in Indonesian. She was friendly but a slightly annoying or perhaps just being too-too friendly. We were disappointed though because we did not plan to see bear; we told her if we wanted to see a bear, we wouldn’t have flown all the way to Indonesia as there are plenty bears in Canada ha-ha; but of course we don’t have sun bear here in Canada so after being suggested (too suggested actually), we went to see the sun bear area.
There is this trail made of wood almost like a bridge where there is a sign for us to be quiet, don’t make too many noises as we would intimidate the sun bear to not show up whatsoever. Apparently, sun bears are known as a bunch of shy yet smart bears. We did not see any bears though no matter how quiet we were. We only heard their growl and such and my brother in law said it was just a trick of radio because we waited in silence for almost an hour but nothing; yet every time we said it was just for fooling us, then we would hear the growl, but still no appearance ha-ha.
We walked all the way until the end of the trail and we saw a place where it seems it was the classroom or school for the bears. At this Enclosure Beruang Madu place, there are quite a few dogs and cats and funnily they are like standing in the public washroom provided there so we couldn’t really use it. There is a big empty house, well more to a hall it seems, and I don’t know what the place is for. We went home feeling sad and more sadder as the rain started to fall, it was really an unlucky day for us; but if you wish to try your luck out, perhaps the sun bears will show their face for you ;-)
Note: KM. 23 or KM. 24 of Jalan Soekarno-Hatta is more addressed as Kilo 23 or Kilo 24 instead saying the whole address of KM. 23 or KM. 24 of Jalan Soekarno-Hatta. [more]
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