Kinabatangan River

The Kinabatangan river is one of the best places in Asia to see wildlife and one of the easiest to get to. On this part of the Kinabatangan river, there are more animals than anywhere else. We suggest that you go on a Kinabatangan river trip that lasts 3 days and 2 nights. This will give you the best chance of seeing as much wildlife as possible.

During the three days, you will be surrounded by nature, go on river cruises at sunrise and sunset, trek through the jungle, and go on night walks to see the jungle at night. Nature guides with keen eyes will be with you the whole time to help you spot animals you might miss otherwise. With a range of trip options and places to stay, from dorms to private rooms with air conditioning to private villas, our Kinabatangan river trips can fit almost any budget and level of comfort.

It is also home to some of the most diverse wildlife in all Southeast Asia. This makes it a popular destination for ecotourism and nature lovers alike. The Kinabatangan River is truly a natural wonder that should be seen and enjoyed by all.

What is The Kinabatangan River?

The Kinabatangan River is a river that runs through the Sabah. It is renowned for its rich biodiversity, including some of the world’s most endangered species such as the Orangutan and Proboscis Monkey. The Kinabatangan has been an important lifeline for local communities for centuries, providing a reliable source of food, water, and transportation. In recent years, conservation efforts have been put in place to protect and preserve this remarkable natural resource.

How to Get to the Kinabatangan River?

The Kinabatangan River is a 560 km-long river that runs through the Sabah state in Malaysian Borneo. It is one of the longest rivers in Malaysia and is known for its lush rainforest and diverse wildlife. The river is home to a variety of birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals including orangutans, probosci’s monkeys, and pygmy elephants.

The Kinabatangan River is an important source of sustenance for the local communities who depend on it for fishing, farming, and drinking water. The river is also a popular tourist destination as its rich wildlife provides visitors with the opportunity to experience the beauty of its natural habitats.

Why You Should Visit the Kinabatangan River? 

This is the part of Borneo with the most animals. It means that this is your best chance to see animals in the wild in Malaysia. You can also see some of Malaysia’s rarest animals, which we did. In the area around the Kinabatangan River, you can see. orangutans, probosci’s monkeys, pygmy elephants, gibbons, and much more.

The area around the Kinabatangan River has unique ecosystems and plants from the tropical lowland rainforest. People go there to see animals. Do you want to see this lush, green area on your trip to Borneo? A Kinabatangan river cruise is something you can only do once in your life.

Best Time to Visit the Kinabatangan River

Rain will come down more often, especially in January and December. So, there will be floods, but don’t worry! Because all of Kinabatangan’s resorts are set up well for the river levels. Depending on the weather, the river level goes up and down throughout the day.

The best time to see wildlife is usually between February and November, which are the drier months. This is because this is when most flowers and fruits are blooming. So, get a good pair of binoculars so you can see wild animals on the move.

Overall, Kinabatangan is a place that can be visited at any time of year. But because of the northeast monsoon, it will be more likely to rain in the afternoons toward the end of the year.

What to Pack for a Trip to the Kinabatangan River?

When you go on a trip to the Kinabatangan River, you’ll need some of the following: –

  1.  Sunscreen
  2.  Hat
  3.  Insect Repellent
  4.  Binoculars
  5.  Camera and Extra Batteries 
  6. Sunglasses 
  7. Lightweight Raincoat 
  8.  Flashlight/Headlamp 
  9.  Comfortable Walking Shoes/Sandals 
  10. Water Bottle

Things to Do in Kinabatangan River

  • Plan for a 3-day, 2-night trip down the Kinabatangan River.
  • Sunrise River Cruise in the morning.
  • Day Trek in the Jungle.
  • Afternoon Sunset River Cruise.
  • Night Walk in the Jungle.

Tips on How to Make your Trip More Interesting 

There is so much to see and do in the Kinabatangan River that it’s hard to know where to start. Here are some tips on how to make the most of your trip: 

  • Visit the Kinabatangan National Park, which protects part of the river’s ecosystem. 
  • Watch a sunset over the river from one of the many beautiful beaches along its banks. 
  • Kayak or canoe down the river to explore its many coves and pools.
  • Stay in one of the many welcoming guesthouses or homestays that dot the river’s banks.
  • Visit the villages that line the riverbanks, where you’ll be able to see how the local community lives and works.

Camping is a fun way to experience this natural wonder. You can find great spots along the banks of the Kinabatangan River or in nearby national parks.

What are Some of the Things you Should not do while Traveling to the Kinabatangan River?

  • Do not attempt to swim in the river without a guide.
  • Do not litter or throw garbage into the river.
  • Avoid going off-trail and disturbing wildlife habitats.
  • Do not feed any of the animals in the area.
  • Refrain from loud noises that may startle animals in the area.
  • Respect the local culture and customs when visiting villages near the river.
  • Refrain from using any motorized vehicles or boats in the area to minimize noise pollution and disturbance to wildlife.

Be respectful of the local communities who depend on the river for their livelihoods.

The Wildlife and the Kinabatangan River

Over the water, there is a low-lying mist. As a family of long-tailed macaque monkeys explores the lower tree branches along the riverbanks, the sun peeks out from behind the trees. Adults sit and watch the kids jump from branch to branch before stopping to choose a young, tender leaf to chew. On the floodplain of the Lower Kinabatangan River, it’s time for breakfast. A probosci’s monkey yawns with its mouth wide open, showing its long incisors under its even longer nose, as the rising sun casts a golden light over the forest.

Deeper in the Borneo jungle, orangutans lounge in the treetops, eating leaves and fruits and letting their wet fur from the morning dew dry in the sun. Breakfast is ready for us at the Sukau Rainforest Lodge’s restaurant by the river, but we’re not in a hurry. One of the best parts of a trip to Sabah on the island of Borneo is a boat ride along the Kinabatangan River early in the morning.

Explore the Riverine Forest

Kinabatangan National Park, and nearby beaches to find the perfect spot to kayak or canoe. Kinabatangan National Park and its nearby beaches are the perfect spots to explore by kayak or canoe. The park is home to a wide variety of wildlife including the endangered Borneo pygmy elephants, proboscis monkeys, and Orang Utans.

An abundance of birdlife can also be seen along the riverbanks. The calm waters, mangrove swamps, and verdant rainforest provide a tranquil setting for travelers looking for an outdoor adventure. With multiple entry points and plenty of guided tours available, Kinabatangan National Park is the ideal spot to experience nature from a different perspective.


If you’re looking for a unique experience while traveling in Borneo, consider visiting the Kinabatangan River. You’ll see amazing wildlife, explore remote villages, and learn about the region’s culture and history.

There are two different parts of the Kinabatangan where you can stay at riverside ecolodges and sleep in cabins right on the water, surrounded by trees and connected by boardwalks. We like to make sure of everything and stay at both, connecting them with a two-hour river cruise.