Last week I had a wedding assignment in Sandakan, Sabah. The client booked me over a year ago and has been waiting ever since. My last trip to Sabah was in August 2013 as you can see in the blog entry below, and this month marks my 3rd time in ‘the land below the wind’. Most of you probably know Sandakan as one of the cities that were bombed the hardest during the Japanese Occupation and it almost ruined the city altogether, and probably some of you know it was the home of one Agnes Keith and her family, the author of the famous book ‘The Land Below the Wind’, which the nickname of this state were officially known today.
The last day of my stay with my wife in Sandakan, we decided to take a trip to the Kinabatangan River Cruise, since it is one of the main attraction near to Sandakan and also because not many locals went there. If you Google about it you’ll probably find a lot of packages by travel agents and it can be quite expensive too, so we decided to do our own trip with minimal cost and freedom of movement.
In the morning, we took a taxi from Sandakan town to the airport (RM25), and rent a Perodua Kancil at one of the agent (RM70 p/day). After that we drove straight to Kampung Sukau, Kinabatangan that took around 2 hours 30 minutes (140-150km). Be sure to fill in the petrol tanks around RM30 for a return trip because petrol station is hard to find along the way, we only spotted one station in Bandar Checkpoint just before Kota Kinabatangan if you’re driving from Sandakan.
Enjoy the rest of the photos of our trip there.
Point of departure in blue, destination in red. We arrived in this village around 2pm.
Sukau Greenview Bed & Breakfast (click on the link) Generator use for powering the chalets, but electricity in this village is more than adequate
Many accommodations can be found here, either by advance booking or walk- in
Awesome view Village kids Kg. Sukau Kg. Sukau, Kinabatangan. Although the village is around 1 hour drive to the main road, this village is very well equipped with basic facilities such as electricity, water supply, government clinic (Klinik Kesihatan), and even internet / wifi facility! The cruise departs at 4pm so we spend the available time having a quick lunch in one of the cafe. It’s very delicious to be honest. This is Chicken Noodle Soup and Nasi Kuning (Yellow rice with chicken) at the back. Proper school building and infrastructure Our boat ready to depart any time soon The fee is RM35 p/pax for locals.
The rest of the passenger including the tour guide wearing glasses. Notice the lack of locals (Malaysians) here.
Our only encounter with the endangered Proboscis Monkey along the river. They were very shy though
Cruising slowly in one of the smaller river channel with other boats This was the closest I got with a 135mm lens A group of enthusiast This is as real as it gets, my closest encounter with a 100% wild elephant was enriching.
A view you will cherish forever Our tour guide and the skipper Another encounter with an elephant One of my best sunset photo, taken while standing on the boat in the middle of the river.
We finished the tour at around 7pm, more than 1 hour than the stipulated time (it was supposed to end at 6pm) because the tour guide wanted to show us more of the wildlife. For them, our satisfaction is at the utmost priority. We thank them for that. After we docked safely at the jetty, you can either stay for dinner for additional RM20 p/pax, or you can drive straight home like we did.
It was a nice, budget day road trip overall, and if you are in Sandakan and don’t know where to go I strongly suggest trying this Kinabatangan River Cruise, it will definitely be worth your while.
Photography & text by Ridhuan Abu Bakar. I can be contacted at diwant[at]detikindah.com or facebook for any inquiries!