Friday, October 05, 2012

Visiting my favorite monkeys at the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary

A few months before I left for my trip, I was reading Lonely Planet Borneo and came across a paragraph about what to do in Sepilok.

It told me that if you had a couple days to spend in the area, you could visit a proboscis monkey sanctuary in addition to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center.

I was intrigued: what were proboscis monkeys?  I did a quick Google search to see what they looked like, and was met by photos of these mangnificient creatures.

Naturally, I immediately saved a photo of a proboscis monkey to my phone and delighted in sending a picture text of the animal to my friends and family with no explanation.

These texts made me giggle like a six year old and were sent to quite a few people.  I couldn’t wait until the day I got to see these beauties in person.

And that day finally came in late August, where I signed up for a visit to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary.  As the sanctuary is located several kilometers outside of Sandakan, where most tourists stay, they run a shuttle service to and from Sandakan for a few extra ringgit.

Although I thought the shuttle was essentially just a way to get from point A to point B, it actually serves as more of a full day tour where you’re taken to several feedings, lunch, and a documentary screening.

I’d recommend it regardless if you’re based in Sandakan or Sepilok, as the sanctuary is located out of the way and a taxi might be expensive even from the Orangutan Center.

As soon as the first feeding began and the monkeys began to show, I was grinning from ear to ear.  However, I was surprised that not all of the monkeys have the distinctive nose that makes them famous–only one monkey per pack, the alpha male, has such a large nose.  The female monkeys look more like “Whos” from Dr. Suess.