Holidays to Kinabatangan River, Borneo

In the southwest of Sabah lies the awe-inspiring Kinabatangan River. Stretching an impressive 560 kilometres, Kinabatangan is the second longest river in Malaysia and snakes its way through the mountains of Sandakan, providing a home to so much of the incredible wildlife that Borneo is rightly famous for.

Eventually merging with the Sulu Sea, this spectacular haven has a rich ecosystem that must be seen to be believed. Take a boat cruise along the river to watch the Orangutans or Proboscis Monkeys swing from the Mango trees, marvel at the Asian Pygmy Elephants and with over 250 species of birds to be seen, you might want to pack your binoculars.

With sunrise and night-time cruises available you're guaranteed a wondrous spectacle. A night time cruise is not only a stargazer's dream, but also the ideal opportunity to catch a glimpse of the inhabitant crocodiles. Sunrise trips offer the rare opportunity to take breakfast in the jungle where you can be sure to make memories that last a lifetime.

Whilst exploring the river itself is phenomenal, it's also the ideal location to visit the nearby magnificent Gomantong Caves - a must see for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Nestled inside Gomantong Hill, the largest limestone outcrop in the Lower Kinabatangan area, this unique spectacle is not to be missed. Although rather pungent due to the resident bats, swiftlets and wide array of insects that inhabit the caves, this is an experience like no other and not for the faint hearted.

Although a year-round destination, like most places some seasons can be better to visit than others. The main flowering season between April to October is generally pretty dry and you're likely to see the local flora as well as lots of wildlife in this period. While there are often heavy afternoon showers during the Northeast Monsoon season from November to March, it’s still possible to negotiate many of the river channels that lead into the oxbow lakes where you'll find an even greater abundance of wildlife.

Eline
Travel Designer
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I have lived in Vietnam and travelled extensively in Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines.

Kinabatangan River trip ideas

Here are some trip ideas in Kinabatangan River. All of our trip ideas shown below are examples, and we’ll amend, adapt or start from scratch, until we’ve created the perfect trip for you. See one you like, or have a trip in mind? Call us now to book: 01483 319 333

Places to stay on Kinabatangan River

Map of Kinabatangan River

When to go to the Kinabatangan River

The Kinabatangan River can be visited all year round, with chances to spot different wildlife species. Visiting during rainy season between November to March means you can venture deeper into the oxbow lakes, but some channels can flood during December and January making the river inaccessible. Bird lovers will be in their element from April to October during the flowering season.

January

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In January, the winds can bring occasional stormy weather across Sabah, with high rainfall expected. If you fancy climbing Mount Kinabalu you should wait until later in the year when the paths will be drier.  

February

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February sees less rainfall, with the beaches enjoying the best weather.  

March

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The rain eases off throughout March with sunnier, drier days. It's a great time to visit forests and jungles without the crowds.  

April

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April is a great time of year to visit with warm, dry days and minimal rainfall.  

May

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May is another great month to visit, with ideal weather conditions for relaxing on the beaches or trekking in the jungle.  

June

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The great weather continues with hot and dry conditions.  

July

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July is typically one of the driest months with blue skies and sunshine, meaning hotels get booked up quickly so it's best to plan your trip well in advance.  

August

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Early booking is highly recommended in August as the favourable weather continues.  

September

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The dry season continues into September, although increased rainfall is expected towards the end of the month.  

October

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Rainfall increases but there are still plenty of dry days to enjoy.  

November

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Rainy season hits in November with a strong chance of thunderstorms and grey days. It's a great time to visit the lush jungles when the wildlife is thriving.  

December

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December is one of the wettest months with regular rainfall and thunderstorms, making trekking and wildlife spotting difficult.