Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary run a daily excursion from Sandakan, taking in Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre on the way. The bus departs the Sandakan Hotel at 9.30AM, and arrives back in Sandakan late afternoon. Lunch was not included, but you could eat at their restaurant in between viewings. We got to watch the animals eat – they didn’t get to see us eat, however.
We were told there was no need to book, and if the bus were full, they will simply quickly supply more buses. We arrived at the hotel a little early, and apart from us there was only another family, so one mini-bus was sufficient. You don’t need to pay for the excursion until you actually arrive at Labuk Bay.
My first concern on boarding the bus was that the seat belts for our seat did not function. I think the others did, however. Fortunately the driver was good, as were the roads, and mostly, the weather.
We headed off a little early. Many roundabouts have a big statue in the middle, which I enjoyed seeing.
About 10AM we arrived in Sepilok. This is a different business to Labuk Bay, so we had to pay the entrance fee, and camera fee of RM10. As for the entrance fee, we showed our Malaysian residency, but the woman still charged us the full non-Malaysian fee of RM30, instead of the RM5 fee for Malaysians. And she was not very friendly about turning us down for the lower fee as residents, either. So, a total of RM70 for us two.
The driver only allowed us 30 minutes here, so it was a bit of a rush. After paying one must wash one’s hands with a gell which doesn’t require rinsing off, and leave any bag you are carrying in a locker. The feeding time being 10AM, we were already a few minutes late, and were about the last people to arrive. There were quite a lot of people, but it was still easy enough to see.
As we were departing at 10.30 we left before everyone else, too. The nature trails were closed, I noticed. Had we had more time, I would have like to walk them, but as they were closed, it was not an issue. The toilet facilities there were very clean, by the way.
Another 25 minutes drive further and we arrived at the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary ticket counter, around 11AM, where we finally paid for our day’s excursion.
RM30 return for the bus per person
RM10 camera fee – not sure if per camera or per family – but doesn’t seem to be an issue
RM15 entrance fee for Malaysian residents – which is what we paid
RM60 entrance fee for non-residents
So, for us two, RM100.
Then it was a few more minutes drive through the estate to Platform B, where the feeding of the proboscis monkeys was to start at 11.30. This platform has the facilities – toilets, souvenir shop, drink machine… – the other one which we visited later only has a basic toilet.
There was still 20 minutes remaining before feeding time, but quite a lot of monkeys were hanging around, some even climbing on the tourists, and with most tourists happily photographing them.
It was not so crowded with tourists that once feeding time had commenced that you couldn’t easily get a good view, or good photos. So feeding time lasted about 30 minutes…
and soon we walked back to the bus for the few minutes drive to the Nipah Resort
where we could lunch at their restaurant.
Mrs Tropical Expat had Mee Hoon, which she said tasted very plain, I had fish and chips, which was good, and we both had coconuts, for a total bill of RM31.
After lunch we were all shown a video of the life of proboscis monkeys, which was quite interesting, if a little long. While there I also asked to have a quick look at one of their chalets at the resort. If you want to stay in amongst nature, it seems like a nice spot.
Then it was off by bus to Platform A for the 2.30PM feeding. As I mentioned, this platform is quite basic, but perfectly adequate for the viewing. There were fewer tourists this time, and it was very easy to get a good view.
A bit after 3PM we were back in the bus, and as all of the passengers turned out to be staying at the same hotel, the Sheraton, the bus driver kindly dropped us there, a little after 4PM. I headed of to floor 13 for a swim.