Borneo Island is the home of multiple rare species of flora and fauna lead by the proboscis monkey.
You can easily spot a proboscis monkey from a distance thanks to their bright colors. Its fur is grey and orange, and it has a large nose and long tail. You can easily differentiate the female and male proboscis monkey by simply observing their nose size.
The bigger the nose, the more power – meaning the big-nosed monkeys are the male. Also, the latter is bigger.
If you want to break from your normal routine to freshen up, Sandakan, Sabah, is the place to be in the whole world. It would help to wait for school holidays and make it a family vacation to let the kids enjoy the treat too.
Why you should go to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
The proboscis monkey is an endangered species that needs protection. In 1994, a palm oil estate owner realized that the farm he had bought for commercial plantation was becoming home of the monkeys.
Well, many people would have scared them off or killed them to secure their plantation. However, his was a noble act, he decided to terminate the development of the land and let it become their habitat for protection. Over the years, the food began to reduce significantly, so efforts were made to ensure they were well fed every day.
In the present day, more than 60 monkeys visit the feeding platforms regularly for water and food. This is a perfect way of the sanctuary to track the survival of the proboscis monkey. The monkeys are shy, especially those who have lost their homes to human beings. They feel endangered in the presence of human beings and hide when they see them.
At the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, things are different. The proboscis monkeys know they are protected and they feel safe. Therefore, they stay calm even when they see large crowds of people.
The monkeys are happy at the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary because, besides the protection and provision of clean water and food, there are no fences limiting their mobility; they can move as freely as they wish.
What to do in the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
There are two viewing platforms on which you can observe the monkeys. The best time to visit the shelter is feeding time when the monkeys are around.
Note that observers and visitors are not allowed to touch or get very close to the monkeys. Well, you may see this as cruel but they are very strong animals, and nothing will stop them from protecting themselves if they feel like their safety is being compromised. It is, therefore, in your best interest to keep a safe distance.
The rule applies to the caretakers too; they are not allowed to touch the proboscis monkeys unless they require help during emergencies.
If you are patient enough to stay longer on the platform, you may even see them hop from one tree to another. See that you have your camera set to capture the moment.
Many people usually stay in Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary for a few hours, but if you decide to spend the night, there are several classy accommodations. You can spend the night here and prolong your observation.
Bonus of the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
Besides a chance to see the proboscis monkeys in the shelter, you also get a bonus of seeing the silver leaf monkey. One of the interesting facts about silver leaf monkey is that their nickname is ‘Beckham’ after David Beckham’s Mohican haircut from years ago when he became the talk of the town. In the Malay language, the monkey goes by the name “lutung” or “lotong.”
The silver leaf monkeys are adorable, and they feed on leaves, wide fruits, and trees shots. Unlike the proboscis monkey, the silver leaf monkey is not afraid of people. They walk comfortably and stay near human beings. Despite their friendly nature – visitors are still advised to keep a safe distance and avoid touching them.
Who will like the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary Adventures?
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is a place for many individuals and all ages. It will especially trigger the fantasies of nature lovers and photographers. The latter will enjoy and capture every move of the monkeys. Another group of people you are likely to come across in the place is artists happily sketching the animals. Visiting the sanctuary is a good way to learn about the importance of animal conservation.
How to Get to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
Labuk Bay is one hour’s drive from Sandakan airport; if you are in the Sandakan town, you will need to top up the time with at least half an hour. The best and easy way is to hire a tour guide operator. If you still insist on doing things on yourself, you need to take a taxi from the airport to town.
There is also the option of driving yourself but note that you will encounter gravel roads and come across a few kampungs before you get to the sanctuary.
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary Fee
The entrance fee to the sanctuary is RM5 (Malaysian child) and RM15 (Malaysian adult). The fee slightly differs when it comes to non-residence. The latter will pay RM60 for adults and RM30 for kids.
If you are only interested in capturing photos using an iPhone, there are no charges. However, if you want to take videos using handy-cams or pictures using proper cameras; you will have to pay a “camera fee” of RM10 per day.
Don’t Miss the Fun
It’s not every day you get a chance/place to see beautiful proboscis monkeys jumping from one tree to another tree right in front of your eyes. Plan a visit to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary and enjoy the scene. It is through these experiences that beautiful family memories are captured. It is also a chance to teach our young generation on the importance of protecting the animals from any dangers to see that the chain continues.