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Kinabatangan River

With an extraordinary profusion of wildlife to be found along its forested banks, the Kinabatangan River easily ranks amongst the finest wildlife-watching destinations in Southeast Asia.

Originating in the mountains of southwest Sabah, Malaysia’s second longest river twists and turns through a diverse array of habitats on its journey towards the Sulu Sea. Connecting a mosaic of mangrove swamps, serene oxbow lakes and lush riverine rainforest, the Kinabatangan naturally plays host to impressive numbers of rare and exotic plants, birds and wildlife. 

Staying at a riverside jungle lodge, you’ll set out in small, open-top boats with a practised guide who will help you to spot some of Borneo’s most iconic animals. Proboscis monkeys - troops of which come down to the riverbank to feed in the evenings - are present here in large numbers, but you should also keep an eye out for saltwater crocodiles, monitor lizards, macaques, Irrawaddy dolphins, pygmy elephants and wild orangutans. If you’re lucky enough, you may even catch a glimpse of the Malayan sun bear, the clouded leopard or other nocturnal predators on a night-time boat ride. 

Likewise, the Kinabatangan is a magnet for dedicated birdwatchers with hundreds of colourful species to be identified in and amongst the trees. Eight types of hornbill, the oriental darter and the blue-banded kingfisher can all be seen on your guided boat trips. Or from the comfort of your lodge’s river-facing veranda. 

For more inspiration, or to include the Kinabatangan on your tailor-made holiday, get in touch with one of our Borneo experts today. 


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Enclosed by tropical rainforest on the banks of the famous Kinabatangan River, Sukau Rainforest Lodge provides a gateway into this pristine and enchanting wilderness. A wilderness home to pygmy elephants, wild orangutans, proboscis monkeys and …

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