River Cruising @ Kinabatangan River, Sabah

As promised, here is my write up about the activity that we did at Myne Resort during Back to Nature FAM trip. Last year during my first visit to Sabah, I was taken to Le Cruise De Kota Belud which cruise along Tempasuk river with the sighting of bouncy proboscis monkey at the riverside. Compared both experiences, I would say Kinabatangan river has more to offer to visitors! 

About Kinabatangan river:
  • It is the second longest river in Malaysia (longest river in Sabah), with a length of 560 kilometres from its headwaters in the mountains of southwest Sabah, to its outlet at the Sulu Sea, east of Sandakan (source from here).
  • The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) states that the Kinabatangan River in Sabah, Borneo, Malaysia is one of only two known places on Earth where 10 primate species can be found. This includes the Bornean Orang Utan, the Proboscis Monkey, Macaques, Maroon Langur and Bornean Gibbon, most of which are endemic to Borneo (source from here). .

Suited up with life jacket, we were ready for depart. The jetty is just in front the Myne Resort.

There is an interesting myth about the river as told by the tour guide. The story was about the agreement between the crocodile named Turonggari and Sungai (Sungai= river) tribe living at the river bank.
"Once upon a time, there was a big crocodile lived at Kinabatangan river. It controlled from Segama River until the lower Kinabatangan. The crocodile was known as Turonggari, meaning that it can transformed to crocodile or human. The crocodile slowly fell in love with a  beautiful lady who always wash clothes at the river bank. He turned into a man, went to the land and met the lady's parents to propose. Both parents rejected his proposal. They asked the man: "We don't know you?? Where you come from? Where is your parent?" The crocodile can't even answer a question. He continued to propose for a week but he got the same answer from the parents. He was disappointed. One day, he decided to pounce (not to kill) the lady at river bank to bring her to other place. Unfortunately, his plan was not work. Her brother threw the "bujak" (wood with knife- one of the weapon many years ago that the people used for hunting in jungle) to the crocodile. So the bujak filled with poisonous herbs hit the stomach of the crocodile. The lady was then rescued by her brother. The crocodile went back to river as he was injured and felt painful. He asked all other crocodiles to find some one in the land to help him to pull out the bujak and removed poison out from the body. They found one old granny named Sibulik-bulik but the crocodiles failed to make a deal with that old granny.They tried again for second time. This time, the old granny asked: "How could I help you? I live in the land and you live in the water. We come from different world." The crocodile said:"Don't worry. Just stand at the back and close your eyes for 5 seconds. You will be at our place." The old granny followed what was told and by the time she opened her eyes, she was in the water at the crocodile's kingdom. In front of her was the sick crocodile (Turonggari). Sibulik-bulik examined his stomach and was worried her safety after giving treatment to the crocodile. Thus, the old granny made an agreement with Turonggari. Sibulik-bulik said:"If I help you, please do not kill my people. When they are in the river, please protect them." Turonggari agreed with a special request. He said: "Before your people go to the river, they must eat or drink something." During that time, the people living at the river bank mostly worked as fishermen. Both came to an agreement eventually. Sibulik-bulik helped to pull out the bujak and treated him with some herbs from jungle. Until today, the local folks still believe of the story. There is no record on the killing of crocodile to the Sungai tribe." (Thanks to Dido who writing this out for me)

Thus, when the local folks invite you for a cup of coffee, you should receive with thanks :D

There were total 3 boats. And there was no crocodile seen throughout our river cruising :P

At my back is Myne Resort where I spent a night during my stay. 

Jonathan, the tour guide was busy explaining and finding the animals hiding behind the trees. He able to tell us correctly the scientific names of the animals that we seen. He is such a knowledgeable nature guide.

proboscis monkey wild life

proboscis monkey wild life

proboscis monkey wild life

Aren't they lovely? Hugging each other just like human being LOL

proboscis monkey wild life

A family of pot-bellied Proboscis Monkeys stretched, scratched and yawned on the bare branches of a ghostly Mengaris tree.
proboscis monkey wild life

proboscis monkey wild life 
proboscis monkey wild life 
It was a fruitful journey. We spotted macaques, pig tailed monkey and proboscis monkey. I did not get a clear image of the pig tailed monkey as the boat was wobbly at the river.

The white crane at the river bank was hunting for its food.

Not only Pulau Pangkor, we saw hornbills here too. 

I guessed the guide has a pair of sharp eyes. He spotted the kingfisher at the branch which was about 50m distance from our boat.


This was my first time seeing kingfisher in real. It is so tiny. I don't believe that the petty kingfisher is agile and able to catch a fish in front of us in a blink of eyes. I hope I had recorded it down to share with you guys.

Jonathan explained that the two ropes tied at the trees at both sides were to help the wild Orang Utan to cross the river as they don't know how to swim.

Part of the gas oil plantation

The baby macaque

We thought it is petai or being known as bitter bean. But it is actually not. Jonathan said it was under Entada genus in the pea family.

I was surprised to see our guest of the day - lesser fish eagle when the sky began to dark :D

We were unable to have any sighting of pygmy elephants which I was excited to see it. But I was glad with the overall experience of the tour.

It was about 2 hours cruising at the river. By the time we back to the resort, the sky already dark. It was time for dinner.

If you are a nature lover, how could you miss out this melting pot of biodiversity? A stay at the Kinabatangan River should come on top of your list when visiting Sabah, Borneo. So what are you waiting for? Book your Kinabatangan River and wildlife safari, Sabah, Malaysia with any of the 6 agents listed below:

1. Borneo Sandakan Tours Sdn Bhd
2. Green Holiday Sdn Bhd
3. Home Away From Home Sdn Bhd

4. Myne Travel Sdn Bhd
5. Sensational Holidays (Borneo) Sdn Bhd
6. Totally Borneo Holidays Sdn Bhd


  1. I seldom read blog post to the end but I did with this, Hmmm, Nice photos,

  2. that is (blue eared kingfisher) emily =)

  3. Interesting story about the crocodile.

  4. Looks like you had so much fun
    Great pictures too

  5. Oh dear, the water is so muddy. So different from my river cruise in Europe. Hahaha! Guess it's another kind of adventure. xoxo

  6. What a nice story, Emily! I loved that bit about the crocodile. This is one cruise I hope to experience in future.

  7. lovely adventure. Wah the petai so long. Yummy leh. if can cook

  8. This experience looks amazing ! I really love your photos. Kisses Emily :)

  9. A cruise is all about taking a relaxed vacation and doing things at your own pace.

  10. Your write-ups are far more than wow! the wood bridge is looks very beautiful.Full Report

  11. Amazing pics... . Here you uploaded some pictures of boys who are trying to learn hunting. I think it will help us a lot. Can get this types of photos? I like this types of hunting photos.

  12. nice post thank you so much for sharing this information
    best trail camera for hunting


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