Kinabatangan is a place in the middle of the jungle, only 2 hours by bus from Sepilok. People also travel directly from Sandakan and that will take you approximately 3 to 4 hours by bus. A lot of travellers know Kinabatangan because of the famous river cruises that you can do over there. There are a lot of resorts, lodges and other places tot stay along the Singai Kinabatangan River. I experienced the Borneo Natural Sukau Bilt Resort. I booked a 2 days one night tour. Let me tell my story.
First day of the Kinabatangan tour
After traveling to Kinabatangan you’ll arrive at the resort And after the check-in and a cup of coffee you’re good to go on the river. Most of the boats can take around 10 people. The crew is amazing in spotting the wildlife. From even 100 meters away they can spot all kind of monkeys, crocodiles, birds and of you are really lucky even elephants. The Macaque monkeys you will see all over the riverbanks. Jumping from tree top tree chasing each other. Or walking around the trees looking for food. Another monkey specie you’ll find on the riverbanks of Singai Kinabatangan is the Proboscis monkey. These monkeys you’d may know by the name ‘nosemonkey’. These fellows are a little bit more shy but not that hard to spot. Who are harder to spot are the Oerangutans. A lot of travellers that came to Kinabatangan have seen the Oerangutans in the rehabilitation center in Sepilok but in Kinabatangan you actually can see these monkeys in the wild. A great experience! You have to get a little bit lucky to see them but if you do, it will make the river cruise worthwhile immediately I can tell! I saw a mother Oerangutan with her child! The Sangai Kinabatangan river is also the home of a lot of crocodiles. On our trip we were lucky enough to not only spot the Oerangutan but also see a small crocodile on the riverbank!
Nightwalk in the jungle
Once you’re back from the first river cruise you’ll be provided with quite a good buffet dinner and after a small break they offer a small walk through the jungle. They rent you rubber boots if you want to, but believe me you do want them! The path in the jungle can be very muddy and you don’t want to lose your own shoes somewhere in the soil of the jungle. Because the part of the jungle is quite close to roads and houses the bigger animals don’t tend to show themselves a lot. Again, spotting is also about having a little bit of luck and about having a skilled guide of course. We’d saw some pretty cool things tough. The Kinabatangan jungle gives home to the so called sleeping birds.
These birds are a bit nightblind so they don’t like to fly at night and that’s why you can get really close. Of course don’t touch them or bother them but just enjoy the fact of seeing wild birds that close. Beside the birds you can see a lot of insects like the stick insect, scorpions, caterpillars, dragonflies and the beloved leeches. To protect yourself from the leeches just wear long pants and long sleeves. You can buy leechsocks if you want to but I think you’ll be fine and good protected with just long clothing. When you’re back from this walk just enjoy a drink and the fact that you’re sitting (and later on sleeping) in the jungle.
Second day of the Kinabatangan river cruise
Again it’s all about birds but this time about early birds. The morning cruise departs at 6 am. Wearing long sleeves is quite nice because on the boat it can be a little bit chilly in the morning. In my experience the species that you’ll look out for in the morning are the same as in the afternoon the day before. It’s just another chance to see these amazing creatures in the wild again. On our second day we’ve spotted an Oerangutan again!!! and small crocodile as the highlight of this morning. We went back after an hour and a half to get breakfast and after that it was time to check-out again.
The Kinabatangan jungle and the Singai Kinabatangan river got a lot to offer and if you get the chance, don’t miss out on it. When do you even get the chance to see those beautiful animals in the wild?