Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is an excellent place to get close to the proboscis monkeys.
This sanctuary is located near Sandakan, roughly 25 km from the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sepilok.
It was established in the middle of the 1990s when an oil palm plantation decided to retain part of the natural habitat as the sanctuary when developing this place. Today, this sanctuary is a home of about 150 free-ranging proboscis monkeys.
The mangrove forest is in great peril since its destruction is the biggest threat to the proboscis monkeys. Therefore, the mission is to provide sanctuary for proboscis monkeys and educate people on sustainable ways to coexist with nature and its inhabitants.
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is open daily from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM.
Since it is a privately-owned sanctuary, we had to purchase RM15 tickets as Malaysian residents. The ticket is RM60 for international visitors.
Camera fees are RM10 per person.
The sanctuary offers the opportunity to view Borneo’s indigenous proboscis monkeys, which come in twice a day from the surrounding swamps for feeding near a comfortable viewpoint.
There are two viewing platforms at the sanctuary. At platform A, the feeding time is 9:30 am and 2.30 pm, whereas at platform B, it is 11:30 am, and the second feeding is 4.30 pm.
We arrived at the sanctuary around 11.00 am, just about the feeding time. So we went to platform B.
Don’t miss the video shot at the sanctuary. It is at the end of this article. 👇👇
2. At the viewing platform
We were asked to dress appropriately and apply insecticides, especially since some of us are sensitive to mosquitoes bite.
It is also a rule to stay on the public walkways and observe the monkeys only on the platform.
We could take videos and photos, but a flashlight was not allowed.
3. Feeding sessions at Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
Once the ranger placed the food on the wooden platform, groups of proboscis monkeys descended from the nearby trees and the mangrove forests and headed towards the wooden platform for the meal.
The feeding platform provides excellent opportunities for visitors to take awesome photos at a safe yet closed distance.
The monkeys usually come in male groups and harem groups (female group). Sometimes they also come as a family.
The proboscis monkeys at the sanctuary enjoy their favorite food, pancakes and cucumbers, alongside the natural diet.
Labuk Bay is not only home for the proboscis monkeys. Silver leaf monkeys, otters, slow lorises, and hornbills can also be found on a day at the sanctuary.
4. The proboscis is not an ordinary monkey
The proboscis monkey is not your average day monkey. Instead, the monkey has a very distinct appearance. They have big dangling noses, pot bellies, and webbed toes (They are excellent swimmers).
Male proboscis monkeys can reach about 50 pounds, but the female monkey is only half the size.
The male proboscis monkey has reddish flat-top hairstyles and a huge pendulous nose when they are sexually mature, with the biggest nose of all taking the role of the alpha male.
Adult proboscis monkeys have very distinctly light brown fur around their heads and shoulders. And the color is gray around the arms and legs. The fur around the pubic region and the tail is white. From afar, it looks like a well-dressed man.
My wife says these monkeys are the most handsome monkeys of all.
5. Proboscis is an endangered spesis
Found only in the coastal forest of Borneo, these monkeys are listed as endangered or on the Red List of threatened species and are also a protected species in Sabah.
Proboscis monkeys generally live in groups of one alpha male (the dominant male), several adult females, and offspring.
When the male offspring matured about 1 1/2 years to leave their family and join the all-male group (our guide called it ‘the Boys Club’ for protection and companionship.
The females also leave their nature groups to avoid inbreeding and reduce competition for food.
6. Other animals and birds
Besides proboscis monkeys, we saw long-tailed macaque, purple herons, and others.
We spot an interesting mud crab eating in action- enjoying a meal 🙂
Our next destination – Kinabatangan River
Now we are watching the proboscis monkey at the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, but we also had the opportunity to encounter the wild proboscis monkeys along the Kinabatangan River.
We will show you more videos and photos in the following video, taken during our river cruise at Kinabatangan river.
Watch our proboscis monkey video shot during our trip. 👇👇
If you have read this blog post this far, don’t miss out on the video shot at the sanctuary. Click the image below to watch on YouTube (shot in high definition!).
Other places we visited in Sabah, Malaysia
If you like this article, you may also want to read about other articles we wrote during our visit to Sabah, Malaysia.
- (EP1 Sabah) Sandakan food guide: Ten best restaurants in Sandakan
- (EP2 Sabah) Sandakan Heritage Trail & Memorial Park guide- Best places to visit in Sandakan
- (EP3 Sabah) Sepilok Jungle Resort review- Our true experience (with amazing hospitality)
- (EP4 Sabah) Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary- feeding session (amazing photos)