Get in touch

The Kinabatangan River

The sheer variety of primates, birds and reptiles that can be found along the banks of the Kinabatangan River make it an absolute must for wildlife enthusiasts; a corridor of life which has, sadly, been crammed into a small, yet protected, space. Exploring by boat or staying along the riverbank are the best ways to experience the region. Rainforest lodges work with the local community to ensure guests become part of the conservation initiative. Properties range from jungle camps to eco-lodges, with unrivalled access to some of the best spots on the water to watch wildlife.

Three things to do on the Kinabatangan River

Obviously there's a lot more, this is just to get you started...

Boat safaris

From fireflies flitting through the foliage to a never-ending frog chorus, there's always something rather magical about taking a boat out in Borneo after dark. Daylight boat safaris, meanwhile, are the best way to spot proboscis monkeys high in the treetops, and kingfishers, storks and crocs along the river's banks. Wooden feeding stations have been established along the water’s edge, ensuring the animals have the opportunity to eat when drawn to the river to drink. Although there are no guarantees that you'll see an orangutan or pygmy elephant, the slightest prospect of a sighting always creates an added air of excitement. Float off the main river and along the narrow tributaries, going deeper into the mangrove swamps, for an even wilder experience.

Kinabatangan boat

Wildlife viewing

There's a unique buzz along the banks of the Kinabatangan. You'll notice it at first before it becomes background noise; a constant hum, which then stops suddenly. That silence is what makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. It's probably your presence that's unintentionally caused the hiatus, but still, there's nothing to say that it wasn't something larger. Look up into the rainforest canopy and you might see a macaque monkey cradled above. Down on the forest floor all manner of critters are scurrying or slithering around. This is where you'll see monitor lizards, coiled snakes or flashes of colour from toucans, hornbills and brightly painted parrots. Wildlife watching safaris by day are always exciting, by night, they're something else entirely. 

Elephants by the Kinabatangan river

Rainforest lodges & Community-Based Tourism

Stay at one of the lodges along the banks of the Kinabatangan River and you'll stand a greater chance of seeing wildlife. Just opening the doors to your veranda allows the sounds of the forest to welcome you to the day. From lodged deep in the jungle lodges such as those at the Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort, to waterfront options, including the Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge, wherever you stay, you're bound to find an idyllic spot to sit, stare and take it all in. Getting involved with the region’s community-based tourism initiatives gets you even closer the the heart of the rainforest. Experience local home-stays, conservation projects, and locally-run social initiatives. There's a real community feel to every project, and the chance to connect with, and even stay in, local villages.

Birdseye view of a boat on a river through the rainforest.

We think you may like this journey…

proboscis monkey

Rainforest & Beach

Explore an untamed habitat concealing endangered animals, rare birds and plants with mysterious medicinal properties; all before steeling away for a remote island retreat.

Price from: £2,890 US$3,590
Ideal length 10 Days
Take me there
Borneo Journey Wildlife Beach

Looking for inspiration?