Borneo Kinabatangan River Cruise

While it is fantastic to see the wildlife at the sanctuaries in Borneo nothing beats seeing these amazing creatures in the wild.  A popular activity in Sabah is to do a Kinabatangan River Cruise.  There are a number of lodges on the river where you can stay for 1 or 2 nights and do a variety of evening and dawn river cruises.

We booked with The Last Frontier Resort before our trip.  Unfortunately just 2 days before our booked stay, while we were in Sepilok, we received an email from the owners of the resort. Their generator was broken which meant no water supply at the resort and they were reluctantly cancelling our booking.  This was so disappointing, but outside their control, their remote location meant it would take several days to get a new generator.  We considered a last minute booking at another lodge but in the end extended our stay at the Sepilok Forest Edge Resort – more about our stay there soon – and opted to do a day trip to the river instead.

There are various tour companies offering these trips – we booked through our accommodation with Asia Green Travel. We were picked up around 12.30pm by a comfortable bus for the 2 hour drive to the lodge.  It was an interesting drive through a number of small towns and villages.  The condition of the roads was very precarious at times, at the end of the wet season they can be quite damaged by flooding.  In between towns and villages the view was Palm Oil plantations as far as you could see.  Clearly this crop is vital to the Malaysian economy, it provides income and employment for many families.  But at what cost to the environment and the many endangered species that are losing their habitat to this crop?

Palm Oil Plantations
Palm Oil Plantations, Sabah, Borneo

We arrived at the Borneo Natural Sukau Bilit Resort.  Most people on the bus were doing  an overnight stay.  There was an afternoon tea and the boat trip started around 4pm.

Kinabatangan River
Kinabatangan River

The river is very beautiful with forest right up to the river bank.  We hired binoculars to help with the wildlife spotting.

Wildlife spotting on Kinabatangan River
Wildlife spotting on Kinabatangan River


It didn’t take long to start spotting wildlife and for the next 2 1/2 hours we saw: Proboscis Monkeys, Borneo Bearded Pigs, Kingfisher, a baby Crocodile, Long Tailed Macaque Monkeys.  We had been hopeful to see Pygmy Elephants and Orangutans but the chances of this are quite slim.

Moneky on Branch


Baby Monkey
Baby Long Tailed Macaque
Borneo Bearded Pig
Borneo Bearded Pig

The highlight of our day was watching this little Kingfisher flit around.  And finally getting close enough to get this shot.

Kingfisher on the Kinabatangan River

The sun was setting as we cruised back to the lodge for a simple dinner before the 2 hour return drive.

Sunset on Kinabatangan River

You can read more about our time in Borneo here.



Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.