“wildest” dreams fulfilled: Part 1

Written by Evon Foo
(Photos by Evon Foo)


The original post can be read in Evon Foo’s blog (LINK)

Going to Sukau along the Kinabatangan River in the east coast of Sabah, North Borneo was one of my two main back-to-the-nature domestic trips for last year.  The first one to Tabin Wildlife Nature Reserve in Lahad Datu materialised in early May 2016 and it was an amazing trip to remember (you can read it here).  However, the trip to Sukau that was initially planned for October had not been so smooth-going.

Due to the clash of dates with a supposed business trip overseas, my trip to meet with the renowned wildlife in Sukau had to be postponed not just once but twice, from October to February this year and later to June.  In the end, the overseas business trip kept being postponed with no definite date while I at long last, got the chance to pack my bags and head for Sukau for the long-awaited 3 days/2 nights short trip.



we did not get to see any orangutans at the feeding platform as it seemed that they were deterred from going there by these mischievous macaques who appeared early for the food!

I arrived a day early in Sandakan from Kota Kinabalu and was picked up early from the hotel the following day.  The first stop was the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre.



Though we did not spot any orangutans (人猿/紅毛猩猩) at the feeding platform, we were very fortunate to have encountered this big guy instead at the sun bear observation boardwalk right next to the orangutan centre…


..he moved very fast and jumped onto the roof of the building from the tree, and left very quickly without saying goodbye!

After a short introduction on the Bornean sun bear/honey bear (馬來熊), we walked along the boardwalk to the observation area and we spotted this little guy enjoying his lazy day among a few others that have been rescued and placed at the centre for rehabilitation.


the journey commenced…
After lunch and with excitement, we headed to the jetty in town for a 2.5 hours boat ride on a speed boat with covered top and open sides to the resort along the Kinabatangan River.  Our group was comprised of a young Irish couple whom I got on very well with, a young Indian couple from Mumbai, a Swedish family of 3 and myself.

After just a short ride of about 20 minutes across the open sea, we reached the outlet of Kinabatangan River, the longest river in Sabah and the second in Malaysia, and started cruising upstream.  The sight that first greeted us was the salty mangrove swamp that went for miles before the freshwater swamp forest took over as we travelled further.


Unfortunately, the weather also started to turn…


..oh no, the dark clouds were looming overhead…

Good thing was we were told in advance by our experienced nature guide Hamit to bring along our rain jackets as the rest of our luggage were travelling by land to the resort.  It rained for the rest of the journey and when we eventually arrived at the resort, we wasted no time to get out of the boat and were hurried along by the welcoming party to a nice big wooden building, the Gomantong Hall for shelter.


..cold tower and a refreshing calamansi drink (with bamboo straw) were served after we settled down

sukau-rainforest-resort-2 (1)

..demo on how to wear a sarong… we were encouraged to follow the local custom and wear our sarong to dinner (no problem, it’s easy peacy for me the Sabahan girl!)

wildlife expedition
After we checked in to our respective accommodation, freshened up and had simple afternoon tea at the Gecko Lounge, we were ready for our first late afternoon excursion.  The rain had stopped by the time we got on the boat.  The rain-washed air was fresh and the temperature had cooled down considerably after the downpour.

Bornean wildlife and birds, here we come!


..open-top speed boat for the “expedition”


..riding along the Kinabatangan River, serenity at 6:30am


..exploring a small river in search of wildlife


…we went round a lake during our early morning ride


…we spotted birds


…we also spotted primate!

I almost screamed in sheer delights when we spotted the long-nosed and big-bellied proboscis monkeys (長鼻猴)!  I had wanted to see them in their natural habitat for so long and it was a little hard to contain my excitement!


…we also spotted primate!

The proboscis monkeys are endemic to the island of Borneo and they are normally found in coastal areas and along the river banks.  They are never far away from a river source and favour river and mangrove forests.  Hence, they are common in this area along the Kinabatangan River.


…can you see the pronounced nose and port belly?


…mum with her baby


…looked like she was coaxing and teaching her offspring to climb further without holding on to her

spot the monkeys…


…how many did you see?


…(this was the time I wished I had a more sophisticated camera with zoom lens…)


…the whole harem — there is always a big dominant male in the group with a few females and their offspring


To be continued in Part 2 

A Teaser ..part 2 that you don’t want to miss reading… 


dreams fulfilled!
To me personally, I had been longing to see two iconic and protected animals in the area and was hoping desperately that I had come at the right time and this was the right season for me to encounter them.  After the sighting of the proboscis monkeys, I managed to tick one of the boxes.

The Writer: Ms. Evon Foo


Born and raised in the state of Sabah, the Land Below the Wind, in the beautiful country of Malaysia, Ms Evon Foo is an amazing friend of us. A hotelier by profession, she has a great interest in discovering all things beautiful and finding little extraordinary delights in a mundane life. She shares all her thoughts in her awesome blog colourfulthhreads.co. Apart from that, she is also a contributor for www.mytrendingstories.com, an online portal based in New York,USA.  Check out her awesome thoughts in both platforms.


Thank you so much Ms Evon Foo for allowing us to share your adventure at Sukau, Kinabatangan. This entry/share of yours will definitely help future travelers planning to do their own adventure at this awesome protected Wildlife Reserve. We are inviting all of you who have been to beautiful places in Sabah, to share your experience in http://www.curiostraveller.com ..sharing is caring!