With a total length of 560 kilometers the Sungai Kinabatangan river in Sabah is the second longest river in Malaysia, and flows from the mountains of southwest Sabah the Sulu Sea, east of Sandakan. While the upstream part of the river has been heavily logged, the dual threats of piracy and flooding have kept its lower reaches largely free of development and as a consequence the lower Kinabatangan river area is full of wildlife. It is the largest forested plain in Malaysia and was designated as a wildlife sanctuary in 1999. The area where wildlife is most easily viewed is close to the village of Sukau, 134 km from Sandakan.
The Kinabatangan River is one of the most biodiverse areas in the world and is home to a remarkable variety of wildlife, including proboscis monkeys, orangutans, pygmy elephants, crocodiles, and a vast array of bird species. The river and surrounding forests are part of a protected area known as the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, which was established in 2007 to conserve the area's unique ecosystem.
How to get to the Kinabatangan river
The small city of Sukau can be easily reached by car from Sandakan. The closest airport is the one in Sandakan.
In Sukau there are a number of guesthouses, lodges and homestays, some bookable via the international booking portals.
01 Guesthouse jetty 02 Boats in the river 03 Riverbank with dense jungle 04 Kinabatangan river in Sukau
05 Kinabatangan river in Sukau 06 Jackfruit tree 07 River and jungle at the Temonggoh limestone rock formation 08 River and jungle at the Temonggoh limestone rock formation
09 Jungle treetops 10 River and jungle at the Temonggoh limestone rock formation 11 Riverbank with dense jungle
12 Riverbank with dense jungle 13 Water hyacinth 14 Riverbank with dense jungle 15 Riverbank with dense jungle 16 Village mosque
17 Old Ben lodge 18 Jetty of Sukau rainforest lodge 19 Boat with tourists 01 Houses
02 House and telecommunications tower 03 Houses on main street 04 Harbour and jetty 05 School building
06 Main square 01 Orangutan mother with baby 02 Black fly 03 Borneo pygmy elephant
04 Borneo pygmy elephant 05 Borneo pygmy elephant 06 Borneo pygmy elephant grazing 07 Borneo pygmy elephants feeding 08 Borneo pygmy elephants
09 Borneo pygmy elephants 10 Borneo pygmy elephant 11 Borneo pygmy elephant 12 Borneo pygmy elephant 13 Borneo pygmy elephant
14 Proboscis monkey colony 15 Female proboscis monkey 16 Proboscis monkey colony 17 Male proboscis monkey 18 Male proboscis monkey
19 Male proboscis monkey 20 Male proboscis monkey 21 Macaque monkeys cleaning each other 22 Macaque monkey 23 Monitor lizard resting on tree
01 Kinabatangan river 02 Boats on Kinabatangan river 03 Macaque monkey 04 Macaque monkey
05 Macaque monkey 06 Macaque monkey 07 Monitor lizard 08 White heron 09 Macaque monkey
10 Macaque monkey 11 Macaque monkey 12 Macaque monkey 13 Macaque monkey 14 Macaque monkey
15 Boat with tourists 16 Macaque monkey 17 Jerdon baza hawk 18 Oriental dollarbird
19 Kinabatangan river 20 Rhinoceros hornbill 21 Rhinoceros hornbill 22 Rhinoceros hornbill
23 Rhinoceros hornbill 24 Rhinoceros hornbill 25 Rhinoceros hornbill 26 Rhinoceros hornbill 27 Female proboscis monkey
28 Crocodile 29 Crocodile 30 Crocodile 31 Crocodile
32 Crocodile 33 Female proboscis monkey 34 Azure kingfisher 35 Azure kingfisher
36 Azure kingfisher 37 Azure kingfisher 38 Black swiftlet birds 39 Black swiftlet birds
40 Black swiftlet birds 41 Civet 42 Civet 43 Tawny fish owl 44 Tawny fish owl
45 Tawny fish owl 46 Black and red broadbill birds
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