The Primates of Borneo

Back in 2009 when I was still trying to visit every country in the world and in fact every territory in the world, I went boppin around Borneo for a few days. That seems like a lifetime ago and earlier today when I landed at Sandakan onboard the Azamara Quest in the Malaysian state of Sabah, I was excited to be back! I was excited to do the primates of Borneo tour that I had signed up for. I love monkeys, of which there are several kinds in Borneo, they’re always awesome to watch!
Sandakan, Borneo, Malaysia, Proboscis Monkeys
When you arrive in Sandakan port, you are surrounded by industry and right next to all the mills, etc. is a really cool stilt village that reminded me of the famous one in Benin, West Africa. Also from the port you can see a pretty cool view of the city of Sandakan in the distance (bottom of page). Sandakan is Sabah’s second city after Kota Kinabalu.
Sandakan, Borneo, Malaysia, Stilt Village
We took a tour bus to a place called the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. It was a really nice place deep in the jungle surrounded by some of the coolest and tallest trees I’ve ever seen. In typical Borneo style the weather was hot, humid and overcast. In the jungle the lighting was bad for photos but I managed to get a few good ones!
Sandakan, Borneo, Malaysia, Orangutans, Sepilok
They have an orangutan feeding each morning at 10am and they have a platform on which they are fed. The orangutans themselves are fascinating to watch in person. They literally act like people. In fact, humans share 90% of the same DNA with orangutans.
Sandakan, Borneo, Malaysia, Orangutans, Sepilok
The feedings are fun to watch but the set-up itself to watch them is poor. You watch from a viewing platform that makes it tough for photography especially when there’s many people crowding the smallish platform. The orangutans are about 100 feet from the platform in the middle of the jungle.
Sandakan, Borneo, Malaysia, Proboscis Monkeys
After the orangutans, we headed out to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. This was easily the highlight of the excursion and just fantastic in general if you’re into monkeys.
Sandakan, Borneo, Malaysia, Proboscis Monkeys
The proboscis monkeys literally jump all over the place and are fed in front of you and come into the crowds of people. It is really exciting when they jump into the crowds and people did freak out a little bit but it was always fun and funny!
Sandakan, Borneo, Malaysia, Proboscis Monkeys
I could literally sit there for hours watching them play with each other and watch how their hierarchy works within the group. It is fascinating. The primates of Borneo aside, perhaps the coolest thing I saw was this Oriental Pied Hornbill. It is perhaps the oddest bird I’ve ever seen and it was kind enough to come right up to us for a photo opp!
Sandakan, Borneo, Malaysia, Oriental Pied Hornbill, toucan
We did a brief tour of Sandakan itself on the way back to the ship and there really isn’t much to keep your interest in town. You go to Sandakan to see monkeys at the reserves but if you did find yourself there I did see a Four Points by Sheraton to stay-it’s the tallest building in town.
Sandakan, Borneo, Malaysia

Sharing is caring!

Speak Your Mind