Kinabatangan Wetland Resort (Kinabatangan,Sabah)
We were fortunate enough to partner up with KK car Leisure who helped us get around the most isolated areas of Borneo and experience Sabah on a whole new level. However, our 4×4 Hilux could only take as far as land reached. We arrived at Sandakan yacht club to hop on a ferry that would add another two hours onto our five-hour road trip from Kudat.
The traveling was so worth what lay ahead of us…
The boat trip started for open ocean but slowly narrowed into a meandering river with mangroves and palms hanging over the banks. The Kinabatangan River is the longest in Sabah, We were in the heart of it when we finally reached Kinabatangan Wetland Resort (KWR). A stilted resort 2 hours away from civilization.
We were greeted in true safari style with cool face towels and assistance to the reception as if we were David Attenborough returning to wild jungle to continue our research. It sure felt like it.
We settled into one of 10 enormous forest villas accessible by sky deck over the marshland. The villa was luxury to say the least but the luxury did not take away the feel of nature. A wide glass window opened the room up to the forest in front of us and an outdoor shower gave it that extra natural touch.
That evening we were welcomed with incredibly prepared Malaysian dishes and prompted on the activities for the following day.
The next morning we woke at 5 a.m with coffee and banana fritters. It had been on our bucket list to see the orangutan in the wild before we had planned the trip to Borneo. The excitement of possibly seeing one was bubbling. Back on the open boat, we went. Watching the jungle wake up in the early hours of the morning is truly magical!
Each day was scheduled with a morning boat cruise, evening boat cruise and late night jungle walk with the purpose of seeing different species for each trip. We got incredibly lucky spotting an orangutan on our first trip along with the rare (and hilarious looking) proboscis monkey, flying lemurs and an abundance of smaller animals that amazed us. Some that we never knew even existed.
The KWR is one of the few remaining places, and for some animals the last remaining place to see in their natural habitat which is so extreme and fascinating to experience. We also had the privilege of visiting the Abai village and met the river people who make the wetland their home.
We left KWR feeling inspired to explore more of the globes extreme places, learn about their environments and how we can do our bit to conserve what is left of it.