Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Gone On A Wander - Sandakan, Sepilok and the Kinabatangan River…


After our short adventure exploring the jungle trails in Kinabalu National Park we boarded a 5 and a half hour bus over to Sandakan.

Sandakan is a quiet city, which has been a popular destination for backpackers and holiday-ers for many years.

It acts as a gateway for those looking to get up close and personal with Borneo’s most famous resident, the king of the swingers – the orang-utan, which can be found roaming the wilderness of the Kinabatangan Rainforest, usually high up in the trees that line the ‘life-giving’ Kinabatangan River.

So, our plan was to head to the Kinabatangan region, about 2 hours south from Sandakan and search out these mysterious ginger-haired tree swingers.

In Sandakan there are more jungle tour operators than you can shake the proverbial stick at, each with there own structured, all-inclusive tour including accommodation, meals, river cruises and jungle treks for an overly inflated price.

Not my bag thanks (the price, that is!), so Soph and I boarded a public bus and headed towards the town of Sukau, located right on the Kinabatangan River and on the fringes of the rainforest, where we set out finding our own accommodation, river cruises, etc. – as it turns out at almost half the price of the prices offered in Sandakan – result!

We arrived in Sukau by taking a taxi and two buses from Sandakan, and were finally deposited in the centre of the village, so off we went to find somewhere to house us for a night.

Walking along the only road in the village (which makes things pretty simple – the rest are just tracks to the various luxury lodges), the first place we found, RB Backpacker Lodge, was offering a package including a chalet room, dinner, breakfast, an afternoon (sunset) river cruise, a night cruise (by torchlight), and a morning (sunrise) cruise all for 180 Ringgit (about £30) each.

Well, the search hadn’t taken long and we snapped up the offer, as it was 200 Ringgit each cheaper than a similar tour from Sandakan. The gamble had paid off already.

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