The mighty Kinabatangan river is 560 kilometer long and is home to a few endangered animals like the pygmy elephant, orangutans and proboscis monkeys. When you drive up to the river, you start to understand why these animals are endangered. There are (palm) plantations everywhere. This does make us said, because this used to be the habitat of these wild animals. A visit to the river helps to safe the still remaining forest because it makes the locals realize they can earn money thanks to visiting tourists. And a trip up and downstream the river is really worth your time!
We got picked up at 11.30 am from our guesthouse in Sandakan to go to the rainforest of Malaysia at the Kinabatangan river. After picking up the rest of our group at Sepilok, we drove for 150 kilometers and arrived in our resort, which is 10 km before Sakau, at 3 pm.
We stayed at the Borneo Natural Sakau Bilit Resort and were impressed by what you get for the money you pay. We payed 400 Ringgit p.p. for a 3 day-2 night tour. And this includes a really good bungalow with great hot shower, delicious food and snacks, water, coffee and tea, 2 morning (1-1,5 hour) and 2 evening (2 hours) boat tours. They also organize a village walk, a forest walk and evening walk.
You can also choose to do a 1 or 2 day tour but we were glad that we choose the 3 day tour. More chance to spot the animals and the program is less busy this way.
** You can find them on booking.com
Just step in the boat and keep your eyes open. There are hornbills everywhere, big groups of proboscis monkeys and long tail macaques, crocodiles, orangutans, pigmy elephants, kingfisher's and lot’s of other birds and insects. We saw all of these, except the orangutans, unfortunately. But especially seeing the elephants was incredible. During the first evening boat tour we saw a really big group (about 22 elephants) next to the river washing themselves, eating and playing. There were even some baby’s. Incredible animals and so much fun to watch them. We were already satisfied with this. But during the second evening boat tour we saw 2 large elephants swimming across the river. At some point you don’t see the elephants anymore except their trunks sticking out.
The morning tours were less spectacular but we saw the monkeys waking up and doing there morning yoga and jumping around the trees. Really fun to see. Especially the proboscis monkeys are really cool and these apes can only be found on Borneo. They have strange noses and a nickname that isn’t really a compliment to us Dutchies. They call them Monyet Belanda a.k.a. Dutch Monkeys. Is it because of the nose..?
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