Sabah Soujourn 2013 – Part 7 – Sandakan nature excursion

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.

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Sandakan Hotel

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.

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mini bus

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.

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the mosque

We headed off a little early.  Many roundabouts have a big statue in the middle, which I enjoyed seeing.

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I like this crocodile

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local roads


arriving at Sepilok

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feeding times

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.

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walking through the jungle to where the orang utans live

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.

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one of the orang utans

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we saw about seven – and about 100 tourists

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litter bin

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.

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back on the road

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nice scenery

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.

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ticket counter

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.

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the layout

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.

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it is on a palm oil plantation

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the walk to the platform

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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.

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Platform B

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the first one coming for lunch

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…

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male in the middle

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and soon we walked back to the bus for the few minutes drive to the Nipah Resort

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restaurant at Nipah Resort

where we could lunch at their restaurant.

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part of menu

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part of menu

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.

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Nipah Resort

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fish and chips

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.

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Nipah Resort

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Nipah Resort

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Nipah Resort

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a chalet at the Nipah Resort

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.

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heading for Platform A

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2.30 feeding time

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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.


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