Danum Valley Field Centre

The Danum Valley Field Centre was established in 1986 as a facility for conducting research and supporting scientists in rainforest studies. Today, it’s one of the leading field centers in Southeast Asia, fully equipped with laboratories, a conference room, researcher living quarters, dorms, camp grounds, and a cafeteria. As a research center first and foremost, it was not originally designed with tourists in mind, but over the years, the privilege of staying there has been extended to keen naturalists and independent travelers. Danum Valley Field Centre also employ full time guides, best in the buisness, their expertise on the area is second to none. Their ability to find and spot wildlife is exceptional, and their knowledge of the age-old rain-forest is top-notch. They’re also just really fun to hang out with!
Fluent English
4.6 / 5
40 reviews

What Others are saying

What others are saying

4.6 out of 40 helpful reviews
We had a slightly different visit as it was during the RMCO and we were only one of two groups there. The field center itself is nice, accommodation and food are fine. The wildlife and jungle are PHENOMENAL. Can't recommend it enough if you are lucky enough to have the opportunity.
Shane Koch
16 Aug 2020
Danum Valley- plan a trip independently To book the below trip through a company would have cost us: 4110rm, and we did it for 2100rm total including all transfers to and from Lahad Datu. After spending 3 Days and 2 Nights at Kinabatangan River as part of a guided tour, we took a transfer to Lahad Datu and self-navigated further into the rainforest of Danum Valley. The reason for self-navigating is that we brought our 4-year old with us and didn't want to slow down a tour group/ scare away the wildlife if she was being noisy. We werent sure that she would manage hiking for up to 6 hours each day so going independently meant that we could go at a pace suitable for her. We also calculated that it was so much cheaper and not a lot more effort to plan and book it ourselves in advance. If you want to go to Danum Valley independently, you must book your visit in advance by contacting Suzan at the Danum Vally Field Centre Office via whatsapp or email. Her number is +6013 884 6968 and email Suzan was extremely efficient at responding to my whatsapps, giving itemized quotes and sending us PDF of our booking so that we could bring this to the office on our arrival day. She sorted everything from transfers to accommodation to meals (see below). We paid in advance by bank transfer and also brought a screenshot of the transfer with us to show her. The only thing we needed to pay in cash for was our private transfer, the guided ranger walks and the night drives- which totalled about 1300rm. There are ATMs in Lahad Datu so this was easy to withdraw just before we set off to Danum Valley. Here is a breakdown of how much it cost us to visit in February 2020: Prices in Malaysian ringgit for February 2020 were: Compulsory conservation fee per stay: 50 per adult Private twin chalet with ensuite bathroom: 286 per night per room Breakfast: 36 per adult Lunch: 44 per adult Dinner: 57 per adult DLSR camera fee: 100 per camera Non-DSLR camera fee (eg. phone): 10 per camera/phone Transfer from Lahad Datu to Danum Valley Field Centre: 85 per person (This only departs on Monday, Wednesday, Friday- if you want to arrive at or depart from the Field Centre on another day, the transfer fee is 350 per vehicle- we had to suck up this cost one way as we departed on a Saturday) We paid all of the above by bank transfer in advance to save us from carrying lots of cash into the jungle. Our 4-year-old went for free- no cost for her meals or accommodation, guided walks, night drives etc The base cost for 2 adults to visit the centre of 2 nights, 3 days was 1760RM. That covered conservation fee, accommodation, transfers, camera fees and food. In addition to that, we paid for the extras below which took our entire visit to a total cost of 2100rm for 3days and 2nights. A guide/ranger (compulsory) costs 30 per hour. No matter what your group size, this is a fixed cost at 30 per hour which is split between adults. A 60-minute night drive costs 180 per vehicle and can accommodate up to 8 adults. The 180 price is split between however many adults there are in the vehicle that night. Canned drinks if you want them (3rm per soft drink, 20rm per beer!!) There is nothing else available to purchase Additional information: You NEED rubber shoes/crocs/boots. We did not want to carry these around Borneo with us just for this part of our trip, so upon arrival in Danum Valley we took a 10-minute Grab (taxi) from the field centre office in Lahad Datu to a shop called Mr DIY, in a very non-touristy part of town and purchased rubber shoes for 5rm per pair- absolute bargain and absolutely necessary as there was so much mud on the jungle treks. We ended up 'gifting' these shoes to the field centre on departure (leaving them there!) The center is extremely remote. Once you depart Lahad Datu there are no shops or settlements in Danum Valley and nothing can be bought there apart from canned drinks. Lahad Datu has a pharmacy (Watsons), newsagents (7-eleven) and Shell garage to stock up on whatever you need in advance. All within a 2-minute walk of the Field office centre We took a Grab to a bigger supermarket to stock up on beers and snacks in advance in Lahad Datu as we did not want to pay 20rm per can of beer at the Field Centre when it is usually about 5rm! There is a good restaurant in Lahad Datu called 'The Red Rose'- they serve roti, rice, roti tissue (see photo!) and all sorts of local food. The airport is a 5-7minute walk from the Danum Valley Field Centre Office. We were at the airport at 4.10pm for a 5.25pm flight and that was ample time. It is a very small airport with one departure gate! After our trip to Danum Valley we took a flight to Kota Kinabalu and spent 2 days island hopping and relaxing after our amazing but very hot and humid tropical rainforest trip. There is a 2019 TV show on ITV called 'Judi Dench's Wild Borneo Adventure' which will give you a great insight into what to expect in Danum Valley.
28 Mar 2020
I visited independently with the help from an agency, only by booking directly with the DVFC. I booked about 3 weeks in advance and communication is a bit of a challenge since they take a long time to reply to your emails and sometimes you have to write them several times. Be sure to receive a confirmation from your payment and reservation and take the related documents. I was able to book using this email address <> but when I got to the field centre's office in Lahad Datu they couldn't find my confirmation, so they called the office in KK and gladly they found it. If posible don't stay in Lahad Datu, just go there from Sandakan or KK and wait at the office (or take a grab to downtown to eat something and then comeback to the office to wait for your transportation). It is much cheaper (but still expensive) to do it independently, but if you would rather do it with an agency, River Junkies had good prices and is very well rated. I stayed in the dorm with shared bathroom which is pretty basic but it's ok. Food is good. Be aware that they only have a few spots available for the night drives and walks and you cannot schedule that in advance. Also, these will get cancelled if it rains. Our guide for a long trek never showed up, wo we had to wait for about 1 hour for a substitute guide. The walk can get tough because of the heat and we didn't see any animals, However, after lunch, while walking from the dining hall back to the room we were lucky to spot a group of gibbons. Don't forget to take a flashlight and rainjacket. You can purchase your leech socks at the Centre and do buy them!
Lica R
23 Dec 2019
After a two hours drive from the DVFC office in Lahad Datu, on our way learning a lot of our host, the general manager of the Field Center, we reached this incredible place. Seldom seen such impressive jungle with trees up to 70 m high! The views, the sounds in the evening and early morning (gibbons!), the treks into the forest, the nightdrives, it was all an unforgottable experience (though the nightdrive did not deliver very much, but stars). The rooms in the resthouse are basic and our room (nr 7) was close to the kitchen and restaurant area, which made it noisy in the early morning. The food is okay, Asian for all meals, enough for veggies, toast for the breakfasts, hot water for coffee (better bring your own...) and tea available all day, boiled cold water to refill your water bottle, and a well managed waste system. Also beer avallable.... From the canteendeck you can start exploring the adjacent wood for birds and mammals.Bring your own guide, because the rangers know the treks in the forest but are not trained in education. Or ask the management for the best ranger in the center. WiFi is mostly available at the office or Danum Valley Education Gallery unless no electricity, which is anyway the case from 11 pm to 7 am. Bring along adequate walking boots and leechie socks, we had to harvest many of these creatures from our bodies in this wet season...... We saw an orang oetan with baby, a glimpse of two gibbons, many maquaces, a huge monitoring lizard, wild boars, proboscis monkeys, many birds, amongst which pied hornbills and enjoyed the flora in all its splendour and diversity. A must for nature lovers to see how rich a forest can be, if a man's hand stays out of these original Borneon primary forests!! Highly recommended and thanks for the management for our grand receival!
Klaas S
18 Dec 2019
I can say this is the most perfect place you must explore and learning more about nature. To enter this majestic incredible forest we still need someone to guides us to assist explained more information because they are familiar to spotting wildlife that can be difficult to see in the rainforest. One of the best activity that i will recommend is the sunrise tour, the morning sunrise view which is quite beautiful from the observation tower. I can't describe more about this place..Go and experience it by yourself.
11 Dec 2019