The Longest River in Sabah Malaysia, Borneo

The Kinabatangan River is home to some of the most varied and easily accessible wildlife in all of South East Asia. Kinabatangan River is Sabah’s longest river and the second longest in the whole of Malaysia. Rising from the eastern Witta Range of Sabah, the Kinabatangan River begins 350 mile (563km) north-easterly course towards the Sulu Sea. About 20 oxbow lakes form part of the lower regions of the river. Created over time and separated from the main river as erosion and deposits of soil changed the river’s course, oxbow lakes are paradise for bird watchers.

River People, or Orang Sungei, live in small settlements spread out along the river. It’s fascinating to see their self sufficient, peaceful homes fully operational, making a living through fishing the lakes and rivers and farming vegetables on its banks. They use the forests of the Kinabatangan as a source of building material, firewood food and medicine.

Kinabatangan River

10 Different Primates in 1 Location (11 including you)

WWF (formerly known as World Wildlife Fund and one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organizations) states that this area is one of only two known places on earth where 10 primate species can be found. Some of these include orang utan, proboscis monkey, macaques, maroon langur and Bornean gibbon, most of which are endemic to Borneo.

Bird lovers will find the bird watching incredible. All 8 of Borneo’s hornbill species are seen regularly. Occasionally, 2 species of the gorgeous pitas can be spotted, as well as the Storm stork and the bizarre Oriental darter or Snake Bird. Of the 200 other species of birds recorded in the area, 8 of these are on Malaysia’s Threatened Bird Species list.

The Lower Kinabatangan is also home to Bornean pygmy elephants, which are a recently discovered species and endemic to this region.

Planning a Visit to Kinabatangan River?

Most of the wildlife lodges are concentrated around the Sukau area, which is very accessible and offers a wide range of facilities. We prefer to travel slightly off the beaten track and found some wonderful lodges located in Kampung Bilit, a tiny village with about 150 inhabitants. We use 4 different lodges depending on our travellers required comfort and budget from basic to boutique. The lodges offer very comfortable and clean accommodation, its quiet with very little disturbance made to the surrounding forest and unlike Sukau you don’t have lodge after lodge along the river-bank. The staff at the lodges are mostly from Kampung Bilit and the guides are extremely knowledgeable about the local wildlife, plants and medicine, always ensuring that you are well informed on the diverse ecosystem that surrounds you.

Kinabatangan River

Wildlife Adventure Programs

A recommended length of stay is 3 Days / 2 Nights. During this time you’re offered various riverboat trips all of about 2 hours duration, jungle night walks or night riverboat trips. Also offered within the package is a 3 hour hike, to one of the Oxbow Lakes. Our Wildlife Adventure Programs can also be combined with trips to Turtle Island, Gomantong Caves, Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary and Labuk Bay.

On previous trips some of wildlife-spotted list includes Silvered Langur (adults and juveniles), Long Tail and Pig Tail Macaques, Proboscis monkeys (adults and juveniles), saltwater crocodiles, bearded pigs, wrinkled and Asian black hornbills, giant moths, lantern bugs, leaf insects, frogs, scorpions, field millipedes and last but not least the Bornean Pygmy Elephants. On our birds-spotted list we’ve noted Scarlet Rumped Trogon, Garnet Pitta, White Rumped Shama, Dollorbird, Stork Billed and Blue Eared Kingfisher, Storm Stork, Jerdon’s Baza, Crested Serpent Eagle, Oriental Darter, Woodpeckers, Purple Heron and Egrets.

Our Programs at Kinabatangan River

Kinabatangan River Expedition Lodge

3D2N Kinabatangan River Expedition Lodge

Explore Kinabatangan River while experiencing stays at an Expedition Lodge.

Book Now
proboscis monkey fireflies tour

3D2N Kinabatangan River Safari

Our 3D2N Kinabatangan River Safari stay offers visitors the opportunity to experience Sabah’s longest river and the second longest in the whole of Malaysia.

Book Now

3D2N Kinabatangan Wetland Resort

This 3D2N tour brings together the wetland wilderness and everything in its propinquity in an experience like no other.

Book Now
Kinabatangan Premium River Lodge

3D2N Sukau Rainforest Lodge

Venture into the rare, pristine wilderness of Sabah’s longest river, with our 3D2N Sukau Rainforest Lodge package as one of the world’s leading ecolodges.

Book Now
Turtle Sabah

4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River

This program include one night stay on Turtle Island, two nights stay along the Kinabatangan River enjoying river safaris and jungle walks.

Book Now
Proboscis Monkey Fireflies Tour

Expedition Borneo

1-month epic adventure in Sabah Malaysia Borneo that includes activities in Kinabatangan.

Book Now

Our Commitment to Conservation!

Dive Sites & Scuba Diving in TARP
RESPONSIBLE TOURISM project_aware_logo

During the past 15 years the company has established itself as a leading conservation and education provider locally and on the international platform. At Downbelow we are committed to responsible tourism. We design experiences and provide courses that foster appreciation, awareness and conservation of our environment and development of local people. In the course of this labour of love, our effort has been acknowledged by various publications and awards. To date, Ghost Net Removals, Underwater and Beach Clean Ups, Coral for Life, Tree for Life & Project Aware remain a large focus of our day to day life Downbelow!

What Makes Downbelow Different ?

  • Customised Itineraries To Save Money & Maximise Time
  • Genuine Focus On Conservation & Outreach Community Programs
  • TWO Full Service Island Based PADI 5 Star IDC Centres – Tunku Abdul Rahman Park
  • Own and Operate Our Adventure Lodge Accommodation – KK Times Square
  • Fully Comprehensive Quality Control Standards and Procedures
  • TWO Resident PADI Course Directors – In House and Full Time
  • Gained International Awards for Excellence, Education and Experience
  • Awarded the PADI Green Star Award for Environmental Practices to Reduce our Environmental Footprint
  • Hassle FREE – airport to airport service all under one company
  • Dedicated experienced travel consultant for planning your trip, during your trip and post trip support
  • Approved British Ministry of Defence Commercial Dive Centre
  • Company Profits Support Welfare & Marine Conservation