The Kinabatangan River, located in the heart of Borneo in Sabah, Malaysia, is renowned for its rich biodiversity and stunning natural landscapes. It is considered one of the best places in the world for wildlife spotting, especially for orangutans, proboscis monkeys, and various species of birds.

Stretching approximately 560 kilometers, the Kinabatangan River is the longest river in Sabah and flows through the vast rainforests, swamps, and mangroves of the region. The river serves as a vital lifeline for the local communities and is home to numerous wildlife species.

Visiting the Kinabatangan River offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and witness the incredible diversity of flora and fauna. Whether you are a wildlife enthusiast, nature photographer, or simply seeking an unforgettable adventure, a trip to the Kinabatangan River is a must.

But before you embark on this extraordinary journey, there are a few things you need to know. In this article, we will guide you on how to get to the Kinabatangan River and provide recommendations for where to stay during your visit.


Getting to Kinabatangan River

Reaching the Kinabatangan River can be an adventure in itself, but with proper planning, it is a relatively straightforward process. Here are several options for getting to this natural paradise:

  1. By Air: The nearest major airport to the Kinabatangan River is Sandakan Airport. Several airlines operate daily flights from Kuala Lumpur and Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan. Once you arrive at Sandakan Airport, you can easily arrange for a taxi or transfer to the Kinabatangan River. The journey takes approximately 2-3 hours.
  2. By Road: If you prefer a scenic road trip, you can drive from Sandakan to Sukau, the main village on the Kinabatangan River. The drive takes around 2-3 hours, and you can enjoy breathtaking views of the countryside along the way. It is recommended to rent a car or hire a driver for convenience.
  3. By Boat: For a more adventurous approach, you can also reach the Kinabatangan River by boat. From Sandakan, you can take a boat ride from the Sandakan Yacht Club or the jetty near the Sandakan Central Market. The boat journey takes approximately 2-3 hours, depending on the water conditions, and offers a unique perspective of the river and its surroundings.

It is essential to plan your transportation in advance and consider the duration, cost, and convenience of each option. It is advisable to check the latest schedules and availability, particularly during peak tourist seasons.

Furthermore, it is highly recommended to book your accommodations and activities in advance to ensure a seamless and enjoyable trip to the Kinabatangan River.


Where to Stay in Kinabatangan River

When it comes to choosing accommodation in the Kinabatangan River area, there are several options that cater to different preferences and budgets. Here are some of the top choices:

  1. Lodges and Resorts: There are various lodges and resorts located along the Kinabatangan River that offer a unique experience in the heart of nature. These accommodations range from rustic eco-lodges to luxury resorts, all designed to provide comfort while immersing guests in the surrounding wilderness. Some popular options include the Borneo Nature Lodge, Sukau Rainforest Lodge, and Abai Jungle Lodge.
  2. Homestays: For an authentic cultural experience, consider staying in a local homestay. This allows you to interact with the friendly villagers, learn about their way of life, and support the local community. Homestays typically provide basic accommodations in traditional houses and offer home-cooked meals prepared using local ingredients.
  3. Camping: If you are an adventurous traveler who enjoys sleeping under the stars, there are camping options available along the Kinabatangan River. Some lodges and resorts offer camping facilities where you can pitch your own tent or rent one on-site. Camping allows you to fully immerse yourself in the natural environment and wake up to the sounds of the jungle.

It is important to note that the availability of accommodations may vary, especially during peak seasons. It is advisable to make reservations in advance to secure your preferred choice.

Additionally, when choosing where to stay, consider the proximity to wildlife viewing areas and the activities offered by the accommodations. Many lodges and resorts organize river cruises, jungle treks, and night safaris, providing opportunities to encounter the incredible wildlife of the Kinabatangan River.

Before you make your final decision, take the time to research and read reviews to ensure that the accommodation aligns with your preferences and expectations.

No matter where you choose to stay, immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the Kinabatangan River is an experience that will leave lasting memories.