Written by Evon Foo
(Photos by Evon Foo)
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. Now, how about the second one? Amazingly, things turned out absolutely wonderful for us as we spotted them further down the river bank — the Borneo pygmy elephants (婆羅州小矮象)!!! Wow!
The shy herbivorous Borneo pygmy elephants are mainly found here on the island of Borneo, in my home state of Sabah. They have big ears, long tail and a round face that give them their appealing baby face appearance.
They are small in size and in fact, they are the smallest in Asia with the male elephants grow to a height of less than 2.5 meters/8 foot while other Asian elephants grow to 3 meters/about 10 foot.
Our guide Hamit told us that they love to eat durian. Really, the thorny durian?
aww, that is so sweet!
We stayed quietly on the boat and watched them for some time before we were willing to say goodbye as it was getting dark. We continued to cruise along the river and when we just went round a bend we came face to face with another group of elephants happily munching away by the river bank. I managed to capture a young mother with her baby who were really close to the edge of the river…
Note: Due to technical reason, we failed to upload 2 videos by Evon Foo but readers may go to this link to see that videos. We will try to upload those videos as soon as possible.
Just one afternoon I had both of my long-standing dreams fulfilled —
Proboscis monkeys, spotted!
Borneo pygmy elephants, spotted!
I was happy and contended as I managed to achieve what I had come to Sukau for, and was not expecting anything anymore. However, unbeknownst to us there was one huge surprise in store for us the next day — This little family of 3 with a mummy elephant and her two young offspring who were having an outing decided to say hi to us. The close encounter was really more than what we could have asked for. I wondered how we managed to keep still and watch in silent the little delightful scene taking place before our eyes.
The second morning after our early morning cruise, Hamit took us on the boardwalk just behind the resort for a short tour.
a comfortable stroll along the boardwalk in search of small animals, birds, insects and creepy crawlies
..apart from spotting birds, millipedes, lizards, chameleons and pygmy squirrels etc during the walk, nature guide Hamit also gave us a lesson on vines and strangling fig
…as usual I was intrigued by the vegetation
…wowed by the natural awesomeness
…and enthralled by the beauty of our very own rainforest!
Sukau Rainforest Lodge
The resort I stayed with was the multiple award-winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge. It was built on the river bank of the Kinabatangan River and is also one of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World.
“Sukau Rainforest Lodge has developed into an integral part of the Kinabatangan River community, promoting sustainability initiatives to preserve the forest and sustain its people” — National Geographic
…view from a distance
…boardwalk leading to the resort
…exterior of the main building, Gecko Lounge
…just beyond the Gecko Lounge are two rows of lodges with a small garden nestled in between
…dusk at Sukau, looking out from the cafe by the bank of the Kinabatangan River
icing on the cake
It has been an incredible journey for me with the sighting of the wildlife but my experience of the whole trip was elevated when I had the privilege to have my room upgraded to the newly launched villas of the resort.
….beautiful boardwalk leading to my villa
…exterior of the villa I stayed in, one of the two adjoining villas
entrance to the two villas, one on each side
a small landing greeted me upon entering through the main door
delight to the senses — the wooden furniture, play of natural light, aesthetic and topical design…
spacious – to me it is spacious as with the various activities arranged for the guests, majority of them will spend most of their time outdoors!
another view of the room
good size of a bathroom
huge shower cubicle with solar-powered hot shower
I like the finishing touches too…
I love that they use local products
Who would have thought that there is such luxury in the rainforest?!
after bidding farewell…
On the return journey I decided to go by land, along with the luggage in the van instead of getting on the boat to Sandakan the same way we came. I wanted a change of scenery, I said. Though I knew it would just be miles and miles of oil palm plantations lining both sides of the road and I risked getting myself upset seeing how our beautiful nature has been destroyed and exploited for commercial gain, and the natural habitat of our precious wildlife being threatened and is gradually lost.
My intention was purely to see how much the rural landscape of Sandakan has changed over the years but what I did not expect was my decision to change the itinerary turned out to be a blessing. Just a few minutes after we started the journey, the rain came pouring down! How nice it was to be sitting comfortably in the van and staying dry!
dark clouds, the rain is coming!
the rain did come, and came bucketing down!
When my trip was being postponed again and again, and with the trouble I had to go through to get my air tickets sorted (first with the airline help desk messing up one of the dates after my first two postponed trips and later the flight was “retimed” etc), I had doubt if I should make the trip at all. Only later that I realised it was all blessings in disguise as with the change of dates, I was able to see the proboscis monkeys in large quantities and especially the pygmy elephants who usually migrate after a certain period of time, and my luxurious accommodation. Truly a blessed trip!
last but not least…
My sincere thanks to Mr. Albert Teo, the founder of Sukau Rainforest Lodge and Managing Director of Borneo Eco Tours and Mr. Timothy Teo, Director of Borneo Eco Tours (http://www.sukau.com, https://www.borneoecotours.com) for their kind gesture in upgrading my room to the impressive new villa where I had a very comfortable stay. I was well looked after and a big thank you to your efficient, friendly and courteous team.
This trip is, and will be one of my most treasured moments to behold.
pleasing flowers at the resort
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.
Evon Foo previously contributed an article titled as “Into The Wild @ Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Lahad Datu”. To read this article, click HERE
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!