Kinabatangan River in Sabah Borneo

Wildlife Spotting on the Kinabatangan River, Borneo

Home to an impressive array of wildlife, the Kinabatangan River is Sabah’s longest river stretching an impressive 560km. I had heard tales of visitors spotting pygmy elephants and finding an abundance of orang-utans. Of course, I saw neither of these during my 2 night stay at Myne Resort but I did see an endless number of monkeys and birds plus a few lizards and crocodiles.

Kinabatangan River Borneo

Long Tailed Macaques

These cheeky little chappies were EVERYWHERE and I do mean everywhere. I saw so many during my river cruises and had hours of fun watching them monkeying around in the trees along the banks of the river. But beware, if you do not lock your door properly then they will be in your room, stealing your food and having a whale of a time destroying everything they see. They are particularly fond of pulling the toilet roll so that there is a trail of paper around your room.

Kinabatangan River Borneo

Kinabatangan River Borneo

Pig Tailed Macaque

Harder to spot than their long tailed cousins and very different in appearance.

Monitor Lizard

I had already seen a monitor lizard in Kota Kinabalu as it had somehow wandered onto the parade of restaurants and bars called the Waterfront and then frantically ran around looking for an escape route while everyone clambered onto a chair for safety. The banks of the Kinabatangan River was a much more appropriate habitat.


We spotted a couple of crocodiles whilst out on the river. Our guide said that he doesn’t often see them so he was quite excited. ¬†I was slightly less excited and would have much preferred to have seen an orang-utan.

Proboscis Monkey

It’s easy to recognise these chaps with their enormous noses. Again they are more illusive than the macaques so it’s exciting when you do spot them.

Kinabatangan River Borneo

Night Safari

We had the opportunity to go on a night safari. I had very little hope in the fact that we would spot anything but thought it would be a fun ride. I was sat in the front row next to the spotter. This sounds like a great position but it was actually the worst. His bright light used to spot the creatures hiding in the jungle attracted every moth within a 5 mile radius, most of which flew at my face and hair. Never fear, I had my bug protection cloak aka my scarf.

Kinabatangan River Borneo

After hours of driving and spotting nothing more than a tiny bird about 20 meters high in the tree (it looked like a lime) disaster struck as the jeep got stuck in the mud. This was quite possibly the highlight of the trip as the driver frantically revved back and forward to no avail. A sense of impending doom grew amongst the men on the jeep as they predicted their fate and minutes later they were told to disembark to lighten the load. The men were all suitably unimpressed as they stood ankle deep in squelching mud but all the ladies laughed hysterically in support. The trick worked and we got moving again. By way of rewarding the men for their valiant bravery the safari gods gave us a Slow Loris.

Kinabatangan River Borneo

Myne Resort

I enjoyed my 2 night stay at Myne Resort. There was a big communal dining area with some sun loungers facing the river and private wooden chalets dotted along the river bank.

Myne Resort Kinabatangan River Borneo

We stayed in one of the chalets facing the river. The rooms were spacious with a gorgeous little balcony over looking the river. The decor wasn’t the most modern but the chalet had a rustic charm to it.

The river cruises were 3 hours long and we went out 3 times. The boat did start to get a little uncomfortable on the bottom after a while though, even with all my natural padding.

My favourite part of the day was being on the river as the sun was setting. It was breathtaking.

Kinabatangan River Borneo

During my trip to Sabah Borneo I visited Kota Kinabalu, Mount Kinabalu and Sabah Tea Plantation, Kinabatangan River, Sadakan, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and Manukan Island.

Kinabatangan River Borneo
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7 thoughts on “Wildlife Spotting on the Kinabatangan River, Borneo

  1. I love wildlife but haven’t travelled in Borneo so this was interesting. Africa is my thing and I can’t help wanting everyone to have at least one safari there. I agree that sunset river cruises are fabulous, especially on the Chobe River in Botswana.

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