Sabah » Sabah Tours


Kinabatangan Safari

Tour Code: SUK2

Duration - 3 days/2 nights - begins about 08.00 hrs from Sandakan Airport or your Sandakan hotel

Take a few minutes to read this fabulous article written by Anthony Dennis for the Travel section in Australia's Fairfax Media and published on 21 August 2015 - Kinabatangan River Safari, Sabah: In search of Borneo's smallest creatures (opens in a new window)

Day 1

Orang-utans on the feeding platform
orang-utans on the feeding platform

On arrival at Sandakan Airport around 08.00 hrs, you will be met and transferred to Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre for an audio visual presentation in the theatrette (note that if you are already staying in Sandakan, we will arrange to pick you up from your accommodation). Walk ten minutes through the rainforest on timber boardwalks to witness the feeding of the orang-utans which takes place at 10.00hrs. You will have plenty of time to watch the orang-utans until they disappear back into the jungle. You can then visit the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre to learn about conservation of the world's smallest bear, and second rarest species of bear, after the giant panda.

Male Proboscis Monkey
Male Proboscis Monkey
Return to Sandakan for lunch, and then head to the jetty for a 2 1/2 hr boat trip to Sukau Rainforest Lodge, travelling along Sabah's longest river, the Kinabatangan River, with opportunity to view birds and wildlife in virgin mangrove, wetland and rainforest habitats. Check into the Lodge on arrival.

In the late afternoon, take a river cruise using boats powered by electric motors, in search of some of the 10 primate species, including Proboscis monkeys, as they settle down on treetops for the night along the Kinabatangan River. The Sukau area is home to Borneo pygmy elephants, orang utans, proboscis monkeys and all eight species of hornbill found in Borneo.

Return to the lodge for solar heated hot shower, candle light dinner overlooking the bank of the river, and slide show conducted by naturalist guide. After dinner an optional night safari cruise (at a surcharge) spotting nocturnal animals, crocodiles and birds.

Overnight at Sukau Rainforest Lodge. [Lunch and Dinner included]

Please note that Sukau Rainforest Lodge underwent extensive renovations to upgrade all its facilities in 2010.

The lodge is currently in the midst of some extension works (December 2016). The works include the construction of a new restaurant/jetty adjacent to our existing restaurant/jetty and also the expansion of the kitchen. The lodge continues to operate normally as the existing restaurant and kitchen are not affected by the work.

Any noise and visual disruption to guests will be kept to a bare minimum wherever possible. It is hoped that the works will be completed by the end of March 2017.

The new Sukau Rainforest Lodge offers guests added facilities to enhance their jungle experience.

New Accommodation at Sukau Rainforest Lodge - day room
New Accommodation at Sukau Rainforest Lodge - day room
New Accommodation at Sukau Rainforest Lodge
New Accommodation at Sukau Rainforest Lodge

Day 2

Elephants on the river bank near Sukau
Elephants on the river bank near Sukau

Rhinoceros Hornbill
Rhinoceros Hornbill

Wake up to the calls of gibbons and hornbills. Depart the lodge at 06.00 hrs on a morning river cruise up the Kinabatangan River to view more birds and wildlife. Proceed to the Kelenanap ox-bow lake. If time and weather permit, you may be able to participate in a short jungle walk. The area around the lake is known for its herd of Asian elephants which you might be lucky enough to see while in the area. Experience the wilderness of Borneo.

Return to the lodge for a late breakfast, then take an educational tour on the Hornbill Boardwalk which is located behind the lodge, with the in-house naturalist.

If you are itching for more activity, there are many optional activities on offer such as a pampering Foot Spa treatment, Batik Painting for the family, and various other leisure activities. There is also a different free activities everyday so be sure to ask.

After afternoon tea, head out onto the river once again in search of more wildlife. Wild Orang-utan are often encountered on this cruise. Breathe in the rainforest and capture the moments as you return at sunset from your final river cruise

After dinner, an optional night safari cruise (a surcharge applies) spotting nocturnal animals, crocodiles and birds.

Overnight at Sukau Rainforest Lodge. [Includes Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner]

Day 3

POW Camp at Sandakan
POW Camp at Sandkan

After breakfast, return to Sandakan by boat. You will have lunch at Sabah Hotel.

After lunch (around 13.00 hrs) you will transfer to the Rainforest Discovery Centre (about 30 minutes from Sandakan). Proceed to the canopy walk for a spot of bird watching - you may catch sight of the Hornbill. You will also be taken on a short walk along a constructed trail through the jungle - about 45 minutes; and then on to the botanical garden.

From the Rainforest Discovery Centre, you will be transferred to the Australian war memorial at the World War II Japanese Prisoner of War camp. You will be able to visit the information gallery and also walk the loop trail.

Transfer to the airport for your evening flight to Kota Kinabalu, or alternatively, to your accommodation in Sandakan. [Breakfast and Lunch included]

Sukau Rainforest Lodge

Sukau Rainforest Lodge
Courtyard at Sukau Rainforest Lodge

The 20 rooms, multi international award winners, is managed by Borneo Eco Tours. It was originally built in 1995 in traditional Malaysian architecture using several Borneo hardwood species. It was rebuilt in 2010, offering upgraded facilities. It is built on stilts with a lounge, gift shop, education centre, Hornbill Boardwalk with two elephant passes, three open deck for wildlife viewing, an enclosed garden, a riverside Melapi restaurant, open sun-deck, river jetty. Electricity is supplied by acoustic generator, and hot water by solar heaters. All rooms are twin bedded, with ceiling fan, mosquito netting, attached bathroom, hot shower and toilets. River tours are conducted by boats powered by electric motors and four stoke outboard engines. The lodge was named by National Geographic Adventure Magazine in 2009 as one of the top 50 jungle lodges in the World.

Melapi Jetty at Sukau Rainforest Lodge
Melapi Jetty at Sukau Rainforest Lodge

Birdlife is especially rich here including eight species of hornbills, kingfishers, egrets, darters, owls, kites, eagles, broadbills, doves, storm storks, herons, hawks, ospreys, falcon, pheasants, parakeets, bee eaters, woodpeckers, pittas, bulbuls, forktails, babblers, warblers, flycatchers, orioles, flowerpeckers, spiderhunters, among others.

Please bring along swim wear, sun screen, hat, personal toiletries, insect repellent, drinking water bottle, walking shoes, binoculars, camera, light raincoat and flashlight (torch).

Tour CodeDestinationDurationInclusions1 Person2 People3 People
SUK2Sukau/Kinabatangan3d/2nFull Board and boat transfer
Superior room
$1,165 $586 $586
SUK2Sukau/Kinabatangan3d/2nFull Board and boat transfer
Deluxe room
$1,350 $675 $675
Prices per person in Australian Dollars and valid 01 April 2017 to 31 March 2018 (E.O.E.) Refer to General Booking Conditions
Peak season surcharge applies 01 July to 31 August - $49 per person (twin share)

Includes tours, entrance fees (excludes camera fees), accommodation and meals as indicated, and English speaking guide.

Photograph courtesy of Penny Favilla, Albert Teo (Borneo Eco Tours), Sukau Rainforest Lodge, Katie Clews and Phil Youdale