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If you are in Sabah, you really must journey to Sandakan.  In case you’ve missed my earlier posts, I’ve shared about Labuk Bay Proboscis... Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary

Lower Kinabatangan

If you are in Sabah, you really must journey to Sandakan.  In case you’ve missed my earlier posts, I’ve shared about Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary; and Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Borneon Sun Bear Conservation Centre, Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sandakan Orchid House, the Crocodile Farm and the mysterious Agop Batu Tulug Museum, and believe me, there are still more to see in Sandakan.

You are sure to shed more than a few kilos if you thoroughly explore Sandakan! 😀

Selingan Turtle Island

Pic credit: www.sabahparks.org.my & www.sabahtourism.com

Selingan Turtle Islands

Aside from all those places or after visiting all those places, why not venture to the Selingan Turtle Islands? There, you can witness turtles laying their eggs. It covers an area of 1,740 hectares which includes the surrounding reefs and seas. The islands are also ideal for swimming, snorkelling and scuba diving, though the number of daily visitors is strictly limited.

I would go there just to see the turtles and feel the sand on my feet and enjoy the beautiful beaches.

Gomantong Caves, Sandakan

Another attraction in Sandakan is the Gomantong Caves, situated 32km south of Sandakan.  It is home to hundreds of thousands of swifts which build their nests high on the cave walls and roofs. Other than swifts, the caves are also inhabited by millions of bats and creepy crawly creatures such as cockroaches, centipedes, etc.

I believe the visit requires strong hearts. Imagine stepping on living things all the way!

Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary

The Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is one of the most wondrous places in the world as it where various species of wildlife may be seen.

proboscis monkeys

Among the wildlife populating the area are:

  • leaf monkeys, macaques, gibbons
  • exquisite insects
  • birds (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,etc)
  • slow loris, snakes, crocodiles, monitor lizards
  • the proboscis monkeys (which is only found in Borneo).

One may also catch a glimpse of a wild orangutan and the Borneo Pygmy Elephants.

Aren’t the naturalist in you tempted…?

Pygmy Elephants

Pygmy Elephants are the smallest known sub-specie of elephants in the world. In some areas in Kinabatangan, the pygmy elephants are part of the people’s everyday life. For example, if the dear creatures should decide to lounge on a jetty, it would be impossible for the kids to get into the boats for their ride to school. Therefore, it is not unusual for children to miss class due to the pygmy elephants. Isn’t that just an adorable story? It’s the honest truth!

Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary


The Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary covers a massive area of 26,800 hectares. Declared by the State Government as Sabah’s ‘Gift to the Earth’ in 1999, it was gazetted in 2005 as the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary under the state’s Wildlife Conservation Enactment of 1997. That was thanks to the conservation efforts of WWF-Malaysia and various stakeholders.

The Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary has a remarkably diverse ecosystem ranging from limestone caves at Goamntung hills, coastal mangrove swamps, to riparian, freshwater swamps and dipterocarp forests, riverine forest and oxbow lakes. These becomes habitats for numerous wildlife such as:

  • ten species of primates including orang utans, proboscis monkeys, to Borneo pygmy elephants,
  • 50 species of mammals,
  • 20 species of reptiles, and
  • over 1,026 species of plants.

If you would like to see pictures of some of the wildlife living there, see this ‘Wildlife of Sabah’ brochure.

wildlife in sabah

Pic credit: www.sukau.com

So, as you can see, Sandakan offers an amazing experience which you definitely can’t find in the cities. As such, I believe even a whole week would not be sufficient if you want to see them all! 😀

Zurainny Ismail

Previously an IR consultant focusing on industrial harmony, she now serves as a Legal Manager. She still loves exchanging ideas and thoughts with others on many subjects. An occasional knitter and an aspiring crooner.

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