Surreal Wildlife Kinabatangan River Cruise

Experience endless amazing discoveries in one of the most biodiverse forest and river system on Earth. Kinabatangan river cruise is possibly the most rewarding nature expedition one should not miss. Take the opportunity to explore the mystical Kinabatangan river by boat and be ready to be amazed with Borneo’s natural beauty and rare wildlife. Geographically, Kinabatangan river is known as the longest river in Sabah and the second longest river in Malaysia. This unique river emerges high from the Crocker Range and travels 560km down to its mangrove swamp estuary, and finally into the Sulu Sea on the East coast of Sabah.

In fact, Kinabatangan river’s rich ecosystem has given a remarkable impact towards the concentration of Borneo wildlife in the lower reaches of the river. According to experts, Kinabatangan river is renowned for the most diverse and easily accessible wildlife in Southeast Asia. Therefore, when Sir David Attenborough first visited the Kinabatangan in 1972 and he was so impressed that he wrote, “Life on Earth is not evenly spread around our planet. Borneo – the world’s third largest island – is one of its richest treasure houses, full of immense variety of wild animals and plants, all living in a magnificent tropical forest. ”

It must be noted that, Kinabatangan river is also one of earth’s most fragile and threatened ecological sites. Today, Sukau is frequently visited by travelers and naturalists from across the globe. Whilst many visit Sukau with the intentions to experience wildlife river safari, many are unaware of the fact that Sukau once faced with deforestation at an alarming rate.

In effort to preserve the rainforest, the government started initiatives for replanting activities. Fruit and flower trees were planted to provide food source and shelters for the wild animals. As a result, the fruit and flower trees are the residence of the secondary forest that welcomes the wildlife back to its natural habitat. Only the area immediately alongside the river is protected; as animals have lost their habitats when the surrounding areas was converted into palm-oil plantations. While most of the wildlife survived, they are largely restricted to narrow strips of forest along the Kinabatangan rivers. This is one of the reasons why during the river cruises, one tends to chance upon more wildlife comparing to if they were to trek the thick primary forests of Danum Valley, Sungai Kapur or Tabin for example.

For that reason, cruising along the Kinabatangan River would be one of the best way to spot different species of wildlife in their current natural habitat. A perfect location for those who are active on social medias to upload and share pictures of scenic Borneo landscapes, wildlife and birds. Those who have been here, definitely have a travel story/experience to share with the rest.

On a regular day, you may be able to spot many species of birds and endemic primates such as kingfishers, hornbills, proboscis Monkey, Macaques, Maroon Langur and Bornean Gibbon,. You may also spot many insects, reptiles and amphibians including snakes, frogs and stick insects. On a hot day you may chance upon Mr Crocodile by the riverbank as he takes his afternoon siesta cum sunbath. But be mindful, remember not to stick your hand out when you see something that looks like a log floating! It might be a crocodile! And if you are very lucky you may catch a glimpse of the adorable pygmy elephants bathing or wild orangutan’ peeping at you from its nest at the edge of Kinabatangan River.

To experience the very best of this part of Kinabatangan River, Bike and Tours offers several options along this river. Depending on your preference, you can choose either to do the tour in Sukau or Abai. Most of the boat trips starts early in the morning, late afternoon and night river cruises to observe the different types of wildlife.