Proboscis Monkey is endemic to the Borneo Island and they are not found anywhere else on earth. It is also educational to known that Nasalis Larvatus is the scientific name of the proboscis monkey. Their habitats are mostly swampy mangrove wetland as well as the river floodplain. In Sabah the proboscis monkey is found in quite a few places, which include the Klias Peninsular and Usukan area on the west coast, and in the east coast they are mostly sighted around the Kinabatangan river and the Labuk Bay area.
While most proboscis monkey discovery trips involved cruising the rivers of Sabah, where guests could see them hiding or sitting on the branches from a distance, whereas in Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, guests will have a totally different and unique experience altogether. Here visitors can observe them in harem, see the day to day rivalry among the siblings, and also able to experience seeing two or three of these proboscis monkeys up close and personal. This five hundred acre sanctuary was the brain child of Mr. Lee, an oil palm plantation owner.
The best time for viewing these Proboscis Monkeys is to co-ordinate with the feeding times at the Sanctuary. Four feedings occur daily, two feedings are scheduled in the morning while another two are scheduled in the afternoon. And the feeding times are divided equally between Platform A and Platform B. The two platforms are about ten minutes apart by car. The first morning feeding is at Platform A at 9:30 am. The food provided by the ranger is pancake without sugar and cucumber.
At the last count there were about sixty Proboscis monkeys in three groupings at Platform A. Readers would like to know that a Proboscis monkey harem normally consists of a leading male with about ten or more females and their young ones. So in Platform A, there are three harems with a leading male, and the fourth one is an all males group.
This is also the platform where a male figure Proboscis Monkey called Jonathan often seen munching his food at the platform in close proximity of humans. Do bear in mind that these proboscis monkeys are still wild and the food provided by the sanctuary only means as a supplement, as these monkeys still have to search most of their food in the forest. The leading males of these harems are Naruto, Sasuki, Jonathan and Putut, who is the leader of the bachelor group. For a history account of the lifestyle of these proboscis monkeys in platform A, readers can check out “The Next Generation”.
The next feeding time is 11:30am at Platform B, which has better facilities compared with Platform A. While Platform A is a simple big square covered hut. Platform B has facilities like video room, a sitting area, a small souvenior shop and also a big clean toilet. A video programme on the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkeys starring Allister & Bill is shown daily at 10:15am & 3:15pm. Visitors can watch this 51 minute programme while waiting for the feeding time to commence. In the meantime Platform B has three harems which consist of about seventy proboscis monkeys.
At the time of writing the bachelor group is in the process of splitting into two as there are a few females spotted among them. The leader of the male group is working hard on expelling the other males from the group. So the next time a visitor to Platform B may be seeing four harems instead of three. The Platform B leading male names sound more like a football team than monkey groups. They are Revaldo, Ronaldo, and Leomessi, the leader of the bachelor group.
Platform B is also the venue where Silver Leaf Monkeys occasionally visit. They would often come unannounced. They might come three to four times a week during the feeding time. So visitors will have to keep their finger cross if they want to meet this cute little silver colour monkey. Their small infant sports a different colour altogether in the colourful orange to gold hue. Platform B is also often visited by a pair of Oriental Pie Hornbills. So visitors not only get to see Proboscis Monkeys, they also have a good chance to encounter with the Silver Leaf Monkey and Oriental Pie Hornbills. No wonder most foreign visitors who have visited the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, gave the place a big thumb up.
In the afternoon Platform A feeding time is at 2:30pm and for Platform B the afternoon feeding time is 4pm. While waiting for the feeding time to commence in the afternoon, visitors can spend sometime at the Nipah Cafe for drinks as well as meals like noodle, rice, and popular Chinese dishes. The view around the Nipah Cafe is a pristine wetland that is surrounded by tall nipah trees. There is also a big TV room with air-conditioning for visitors to relax in.
While at Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary, visitors can also choose to stay at the Nipah Lodge, instead of rushing back to Sandakan town for the night. The Nipah Lodge, a short distance from the Nipah Cafe, offers high quality bedding for a comfortable stay in the chalets or the family houses. For the budget conscious travellers there are two long-house-style dormitories that can accommodate up to a hundred persons. The two dormitories are linked by a big washroom in the middle.
For the adventurous travellers the Nipah Lodge also provides a great opportunity for visitors to experience the swampy nipah forests. Here visitors can absorb the beautiful surroundings of the wetland and its vegetation, where the Proboscis monkeys called their home.
How to go there? From Sandakan town travel on the North road and eventually North road will link up to Labuk Bay Road. At KM 31 turn into Jalan Sps 3, which is on oil palm plantation road. From here look out for the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary Signboard. If you are on a tight schedule taxi from Sandakan town can be arranged for a round trip at about RM 200. Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary aslo provides coach to Labuk Bay from Sandakan Hotel daily at 9:30am, RM 15 one way.
Platform A: 9:30 am & 2:30 pm
Platform B: 11:30 am & 4:30 pm
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
Child* RM 30
MY Card Holder:
Adult RM 15
Child* RM 5
*(6 – 12 years old)
For transport to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary:
Sepilok & Labuk Bay Bus Schedule
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
KM 31, Jalan Sps 3, Kg Sungai Tiram, Labuk Road, Sandakan.
tel: +6089 672 177 / +6089 674 133