Photo: The spectacular Kinabatangan River.

Kinabatangan River

Our rating:

For the most accessible wildlife adventure in Sabah, the Kinabatangan River, Sabah’s longest, offers easy packaged experiences. Known for its remarkable wildlife, you are almost guaranteed to see one or several of Borneo’s endemic species in the wild here.





You may even need more than all of your fingers to count them: 10 species of primates live here, including orangutans and big-nosed proboscis monkeys plus more than 200 species of birds with eight spectacular types of hornbills. If you’re lucky, you may even see the endangered Borneo pygmy elephant, which are small for elephants but still stand up to three metres tall and weigh a few tonnes, or the world’s smallest (and cutest) bear, the Malay sun bear. You could hit the jackpot with a clouded leopard and you’ll possibly catch crocodiles sunning themselves on the riverbanks, and the list continues.

The Kinabatangan River is Sabah’s longest and offers great exploration potential. Photo taken in or around Kinabatangan River , Sandakan, Malaysia by Sally Arnold.

The Kinabatangan River is Sabah’s longest and offers great exploration potential. Photo: Sally Arnold

The sad irony and the reason there is so much wildlife is that the mangrove forests and flood plains along the 560 kilometre-long river offer a narrow corridor of refuge from encroaching palm oil plantations—they’re stuck with nowhere else to go. As much as we despise this destruction of habitat, it’s not a new thing; for centuries the forests edging this dirty brown swirl have attracted commerce and traders in search of highly prized rare timbers, rhinoceros horns, elephant and hornbill ivory, rattan, resin and edible bird’s nests found in the nearby Gomantong Caves. In 2005, 26,000 hectares of forest were gazetted as the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, and although it’s still not a fully protected national park, ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


Don’t miss the boat!

Please subscribe to Travelfish.org to read the rest of this article, or log in here.


Subscribing to Travelfish costs A$35 per year and it gets you access to more than 200 downloadable guides to specific destinations, fabulous discount coupons and 50% off our personalised travel planning service. Sign up here.


By .





Kinabatangan River
130 km from Sandakan

Location map for Kinabatangan River

Start planning your holiday today

Sent every Monday, our newsletter is full of travel advice, news & special deals. Read past issues.

   

Popular attractions in Sandakan

A selection of some of our favourite sights and activities around Sandakan.



Best places to stay in Sandakan

A selection of some of our favourite places to stay in Sandakan.


What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Sandakan.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Sandakan.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Sandakan.
 Read up on how to get to Sandakan.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Sandakan? Please read this.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.





See below for more sights and activities in Sandakan that are listed on Travelfish.org.


Top of page


Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Sandakan? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Malaysia.


Top of page