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Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge | 2 Day | Sabah, Borneo

(6 customer reviews)


Join a two-day wildlife adventure with our 2D1N Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge Trip. During this trip, you’ll maximise your wildlife encounter opportunities with a visit to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, the Rainforest Discovery Centre, two river cruises along the Kinabatangan River and a night trek in the secondary rainforest. All this was done while being guided by an experienced licensed nature guide and staying in a comfortable lodge along the banks of the Kinabatangan River.

Note – The above price is for one person based upon two people staying in the same chalet. There is also a Peak Season charge calculated for any stay between 1st July to 30th September. This booking is for 1 chalet. If you require more, then simply add the product to your cart again.

Prices are valid until 31st March 2025 (NLK01).

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1/2 Day Sandakan City Tour

Visit some of the famous sites in Sandakan including the water village, St. Michael's church, World War 2 Memorial and Puh Jih Tshih temple. This add on activity happens during the afternoon of the last day of the trip.

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary

Visit a feeding session at Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary for the chance to watch these very special monkey's close up. The visit to the Sanctuary happens during the afternoon on the last day of the trip.

Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Add on a visit to the Borean Sun Bear Conservation Centre as part of your trip. You will visit the Sun Bear Centre after the visit to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.


Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge – Join a 2 Day Trip (Kinabatangan Nature Lodge), Sabah, Borneo

The 2D1N Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge Trip is a great choice for seeing wildlife if you only have limited time available and seeing an amazing array of wildlife is on your ‘to-do’ list during your holiday in Sabah, Borneo. During this Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge trip, you will stay overnight at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge located in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. The Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge is located on the banks of the Kinabatangan River, close to Bilit Village, a perfect location for starting your river cruises.

During your 2D1N Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge Trip, you will join two river cruises (one in the afternoon, one in the early morning), one night trek in the rainforest in search of nocturnal wildlife, a visit to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and a visit to the Rainforest Discovery Centre. Phew! At Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, you will watch the morning feeding session, where rehabilitating Orangutans visit to collect their morning snack. After lunch, on your first day, you will then be transferred to your Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge located along the Kinabatangan River, Kinabatangan Nature Lodge. From the Lodge, you will join river cruises along the Kinabatangan River with a Nature Guide in search of wildlife and birds.

Wildlife Encounters Galore during a Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge Adventure, Sabah

There are plenty of opportunities to spot the different species of primates along the Kinabatangan River, including the Proboscis Monkey and Macaques. There is also an amazing range of birdlife along the Kinabatangan River, including numerous species of Hornbills, Kingfishers and more. If you are lucky, you might see the critically endangered “Borneo Pygmy Elephants” along the river bank.

During your Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge trip, you will stay overnight at Kinabatangan Nature Lodge, which is located on the banks of the Kinabatangan River. The Lodge offers comfortable, clean accommodation in private chalets. You will stay in an Agamid Chalet (twin or double bed, air-conditioning and ensuite shower room). If you’re looking for high-quality accommodation for your stay along the Kinabatangan River, check out our 2D1N package at the Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort.

For nature and wildlife lovers, this 2D1N Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge Trip also works well when combined with a trek through the pristine Sepilok Forest Reserve as part of the 3D2N Sepilok Trek & Kinabatangan River Trip or followed by joining the 4D3N Danum Valley Package.

Trip Itinerary – 2D1N Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge Trip (Kinabatangan Nature Lodge), Sabah, Malaysia

Day 1 (Meals: L & D)

8:00hrs – 9:00hrs: You will be collected from your hotel within Sandakan or at Sandakan Airport (you need to book a flight that arrives at Sandakan Airport before 8:00hrs) or near Sepilok. You will be transferred by minibus/coach to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.

1000hrs: Visit Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. At this world-renowned centre, come face to face with human’s closest relatives, the Orangutans. Orangutans share 97% of the same DNA as humans. The orangutans’ feeding time is 1000 hours. While Orangutan rehabilitation is still the primary goal at Sepilok, present aims include public education on conservation and research and assistance for other endangered species (such as captive breeding of the endangered Rhinoceros).

11:30hrs – 12:00hrs: After the feeding session at Sepilok, proceed for lunch at a local restaurant in the Sepilok area.

13:00hrs: After lunch, you will be transferred to a Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge called Nature Lodge, which is located in the Lower Kinabatangan River Sanctuary. The journey will take approximately 2 hours, passing by Kota Kinabatangan town and oil palm plantations. Once you arrive at Kampung Bilit, you will then transfer to Kinabatangan Nature Lodge, just 3 minutes by boat transfer across the River. Welcome drinks will be served upon arrival.

15:00hrs: On arrival at the Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge, you will have a welcome briefing, including an orientation of the Lodge and the surrounding area. Check into your chalet within the Agamid Wing of Kinabatangan Nature Lodge. Join the afternoon river cruise at 16:00hrs to search for wildlife and bird life along the Kinabatangan river banks. Return to the Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge around 18:00hrs to freshen up and then enjoy dinner at the Lodge restaurant in the midst of the Kampung Bilit secondary jungle.

After dinner, go for a guided night walk behind the Lodge to enjoy the wilderness and watch sleeping birds and nocturnal creatures of the jungle.

Overnight at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge in an Agamid Chalet (with twin or double bed, aircon and ensuite Shower Room). Click here to see photos of the accommodation for the Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge trip.

Day 2 (Meals: B)

06:00hrs: Join an early morning river cruise to see more birds and wildlife.

07:00hrs: Return to the Kinabatangan riverside lodge for breakfast. After breakfast, you will proceed to check out of your Chalet.

08:30hrs: Start your transfer by minibus/coach back to the Sepilok area.

10.30 – 11.00hrs: Arrive at the Rainforest Discovery Centre. Embark on a journey along the Rainforest Skywalk, Sabah’s longest canopy walk, and soak in panoramic views across the rainforest canopy. Hopefully, you’ll see some of the exotic birds found here and possibly a sighting of an Orangutan. You’ll join a guided walk along one of the marked trails to visit “Old Sepilok,” the tallest tree at the centre. It’s like meeting a giant from the rainforest’s ancient past. If time permits, you will also visit the botanical garden and see some of the endemic flowers of Borneo.

12.30 – 13.00hrs: Continue your journey back to Sandakan and transfer to either your hotel or Sandakan Airport (recommended flight AK6497 ETD 2.50 pm or later). We hope you’ve enjoyed your Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge Trip.

Trip Pre-requisites – 2D1N Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge Trip (Kinabatangan Nature Lodge), Sabah, Malaysia

This 2D1N Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge trip is open to all.

Trip Inclusions – 2D1N Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge Trip

  • Return road transfer from Sandakan or Sepilok area and return boat transfers to the Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge from Kampung Bilit.
  • Meals (1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch & 1 Dinner).
  • Visits & entrance fees to Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre visit and the Rainforest Discovery Centre.
  • At the Kinabatangan River: 2 x river cruises (1 morning & 1 late afternoon), 1 x guided night nature walk. The Kinabatangan River cruises included with this trip will travel as far upstream as ~7km to Pontian Point and downstream a maximum of ~ 10 km to Tenegang Besar Point.
  • 1-night accommodation in an Agamid chalet (twin/double/triple beds, ensuite shower room and toilet, aircon) within the Agamid Wing of Kinabatangan Nature Lodge.
  • Guided throughout your trip by an English-speaking, licensed, experienced and friendly Nature Guide.
  • Access to free-flow coffee/tea and fresh water at the restaurant at the Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge.
  • 0% Sales and service Tax on the tour price as applicable from 6th May 2019.

Trip Exclusions – Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge Trip

Camera/video conservation fee at Sepilok Sanctuary (RM10 per item) and the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RM10 per item), soft drinks or alcoholic drinks, and flights from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan. There is a single supplement of RM212.00 on top of the trip price if you book this trip on your own (for single sharing a Chalet). The new Tourism Tax – The Tourism Tax is currently set at a flat rate of RM 10 per room per night and will be charged to non-Malaysian or foreign tourists from 1st September 2017.

Upgrades are available for this tour – see add-on options above. Tour price is based on joining a shared trip.

Recommended Packing List – Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge Trip

To get the most from this trip, please bring with you a raincoat, cap/hat, insect repellent, sun cream, good walking shoes, a comfortable cotton T-shirt, long sleeve top, long or short trousers, binoculars for observing wildlife, a head torch for night trek, camera and personal medications (if needed). Please take your passport with you on this trip – your passports will be checked at the Kinabatangan Lodge.

Notes – 2D1N Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge Trip (Kinabatangan Nature Lodge), Sabah, Malaysia

If weather or other factors (e.g. landslide) make an activity unsafe, the Lodge will adapt the trip itinerary for safety reasons. There will be no refund if a trip itinerary needs to be adapted on the day due to safety reasons.

6 reviews for Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge | 2 Day | Sabah, Borneo

  1. English

    Emily Somova (verified owner)

    We had a great trip. The guides were great, and Alan the driver was fantastic. I liked that we didn’t feel rushed at any point.

  2. English

    Kate Whitehead

    Everything about my Kinabatangan River trip was fabulous. The booking process online was easy and my emailed enquiries were all answered promptly.

    The pickup from Sandakan airport was well organised and meant that the start of the trip was hassle free. The visit to Sepilok was great, made rather exciting when a big dominant male orangutan came quite close!! It was amazing to be able to see the mature orangutans without glass or fences.

    I was made to feel very welcome on arrival at the Riverside Lodge and my little chalet was very cozy. All the activities at the lodge were organised very efficiently, with the use of a gong to announce the start of an outing or meal, meaning that I didn’t have to stress about clock watching too much.

    The afternoon and morning speed boat trips on the river were the highlight of the trip for me. The river is stunningly beautiful and the guides were so good at spotting wildlife. We saw wild orangutans which actually made me feel quite emotional! If I could have had full flexibility I would have much preferred to have an extra river trip and not go to the cave. Although the cave was interesting it was nothing like as fantastic as the river.

    Every single member of staff I had contact with on the tour, including guides, drivers, catering staff and Lodge staff, was lovely. Everyone was helpful and welcoming. The food was all delicious and I was well catered for as a vegetarian.

    A big thank you to everyone 🙂

  3. English

    Michael Wells

    I had a wonderful time and got very lucky to see the pigmy elephant. Which was reason for this short tour. I had left my passport in the room and they called our guide right away and got it to me before we got far away. Very happy with the guide I had for the boat rides and cave. Very good job on the booking end with info and follow ups.

  4. English

    Peter F (TripAdvisor)

    An amazing experience. – We were blessed with clear blue skies as we sailed across to the island followed by baby turtles hatching right next to us on the beach and scrambling to the sea. The highlight was at 9pm when a nesting turtle came up onto the beach to lay her eggs, we were able to get so close to watch this amazing site. The babies from the hatchery were then released under the moonlight, truly unforgettable. Don’t expect a 5-star resort as that is not what you go for, a once in a lifetime experience, however, you are guaranteed to have.

  5. English

    Fi-JN123 Staffordshire, United Kingdom (TripAdvisor)

    Amazing trip! – We loved the river cruise and saw lots of wildlife including proboscis monkeys. I’d definitely recommend Borneo Dreams. The team were very easy to contact before the trip and got back to me quickly answering any queries I had. On the day of the trip, we were picked up on time by a friendly driver. Once we got to the river lodges we were greeted with smiles from efficient staff. The guide on the cruise was informative and ridiculously good at spotting wildlife (i’m not sure how he did it!). After the cruise I asked if it would be possible to head straight back to Sandakan and skip dinner as we’d had a long day and the next day was also going to be packed full. The staff organised this quickly.

    Every step of the trip felt well organised and the staff were all friendly and welcoming. I wouldn’t change a thing about our trip and couldn’t be more impressed with the service we received.

  6. English

    Jon Cross

    Excellent trip – very smoothly run and highly recommended

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Kinabatangan River

  • Is Kinabatangan River safe to visit?

    As far as we know looking at local papers and government announcements There has never been any history of a security or criminal acts in the Kinabatangan area. This also includes Danum Valley, Tabin, Selingan island and Lankayan Island. However, there was a very small isolated incident on the outskirts of Sandakan.

  • How far is it from Kinabatangan River to Danum Valley Feild Centre Office in Lahad Datu?

    The route to the Danum Valley Feild Centre Office in Lahad Datu is 124 kilometres and takes approximately 1 hour 54 minutes. Here is the normal route:

    Take Jalan Sukau to AH150 for 32 min (36.8 km)

    Follow AH150 to Lorong Fajar 1 in Lahad Datu for 1 hr 19 min (87.0 km)

    Take Lorong Fajar 2 and Lorong Fajar 6 to Lorong Fajar 9 for 2 min (190 m)

  • How far is Kinabatangan River from Sandakan Airport?

    The journey from Sandakan Airport (SDK) to Kinabatangan River (Bilit) is 156 kilometres and takes 1 hour 57 minutes approximately. The route it takes is:

    Follow Jalan Airport and Jalan Lintas Labuk to Jalan Ranau – Sandakan/Jalan Sapi Nangoh/Route 22 for 8 min (5.1 km)

    Follow Jalan Ranau – Sandakan/Jalan Sapi Nangoh/Route 22 and Jln Sandakan-Lahad Datu/AH150 to Kinabatangan for 1 hr 13 min (73.9 km)

    Take Jalan Sukau to Jalan Kampung Bilit for 32 min (36.8 km)

  • Where can I see orangutans in Borneo?

    Seeing an orangutan in its natural habitat is one of the top reasons for coming to Borneo. In Borneo, there are around 11,000 orangutans in Sabah and 1,600 in Sarawak. In Sabah, the top three places to see orangutans in the wild, along with other wildlife encounters on offer, are the Kinabatangan River, Danum Valley and Tabin Wildlife Reserve. 

    Kinabatangan River, Sabah

    the Kinabatangan River is one of the best wildlife-watching destinations in Southeast Asia. If you spend a few days here joining river cruises you will have a very good chance of seeing an orangutan in the wild. Wildlife watching on the Kinabatangan is done from boats making this location suitable for a range of ages and fitness levels. The Kinabatangan River is the easiest and most ‘comfortable’ option in Borneo for seeing Orangutans in the wild.

    Danum Valley, Sabah

    Danum Valley is the best place to see wild orangutans in pristine, undisturbed forest. Sightings are not ‘guaranteed’ but there is a pretty good chance of seeing an orangutan if you spend a few days at Danum. You will join guided treks into the forest in search of wildlife (including orangutans). The trekking is relatively easy so you don’t need to be super fit. 

    Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah

    Tabin Wildlife Reserve is a large protected forest area covering 122,500 hectares. At Tabin, there are reasonable chances of seeing an orangutan by joining guided treks into the forest but they are not as high as Danum or the Kinabatangan. 

    Alongside these ‘seeing orang-utans in the wild’ options, you also have the chance to see orangutans at the world-famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. At Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre illegally captured, orphaned and injured orangutans are taught to survive in the wild again. The Centre has two feeding sessions a day which is open to the public during which you can go to a raised platform to watch the orangutans come in from the surrounding forest to be fed.

    Which one of these options is best for you for seeing orangutans in Borneo depends upon your budget, how to fit you are, how much time you have and the way you want to go in search of orangutan (by foot, boat or 4WD safari). Choose one, or more, of the above options to have the best chance of seeing an orangutan in Borneo.

  • Where can I see pygmy elephants in Borneo?

    The pygmy elephant (or Bornean pygmy elephant) are the smallest elephants in Asia and are endemic to Borneo. With only about 1,500 Bornean pygmy elephants left on Borneo, they are classified as critically endangered. For those visiting Borneo to see wildlife, the Bornean Pygmy elephant is likely to be in your top 5 of things to see. Encountering a herd of these elephants is unforgettable, and often once in a lifetime, experience. Whilst Borneo is big (it’s the third-largest island in the world) the pygmy elephant can only be found in a limited area in the forests of northeastern Borneo (with most found in Sabah, Borneo). The pygmy elephants migrate throughout the year, following a traditional corridor, and the top three places to see pygmy elephants in Sabah, Borneo are as follows:-

    Kinabatangan River

    The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is a narrow corridor of Protected lowland rainforest along the banks of the Kinabatangan River. Herds of the Bornean Pygmy elephant migrate through this sanctuary and when they are passing through they can be seen for a few days along the banks of the river as they forage for food. If you are lucky to be visiting the Kinabatangan River whilst they are in the area you will have the privilege of being able to watch the elephants during morning and afternoon river cruises. As with all wildlife encounters, sightings cannot be guaranteed but the more days you spend at a Lodge on the Kinabatangan River (and therefore more river cruises you join) the increased chance of seeing the rarer wildlife finds like the pygmy elephant. 

    Danum Valley

    Danum Valley, or Danum Valley Conservation Area, is one of the largest protected areas of primary rainforest in Sabah and offers a ‘safe-haven’ for the pygmy elephant and other wildlife found here. Elephants can often be seen along the access roads into Danum Valley, as well as roaming through the forest. There are two locations tourists can stay at in Danum Valley to see wildlife – Borneo Rainforest Lodge and Danum Valley Field Centre. At both locations, you are able to join guided treks into the forest, and guided night drives, in search of wildlife including the Bornean pygmy elephant.

    Tabin Wildlife Reserve

    Tabin Reserve is considered to be the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia and covers an area of lowland forest of approximately 300,000 acres. It is home to the Bornean pygmy elephant as well as many other endangered wildlife species. Similar to Danum Valley, the access roads and guided treks into the forest provide the best opportunities to see pygmy elephants. There is one location tourists can stay at in Tabin Reserve – Tabin Wildlife Resort.

  • How do you get to the Kinabatangan River?

    At 560 kilometres long, the Kinabatangan River is Sabah’s longest river with the lower reaches of the River being home to a rich concentration, and diversity, of wildlife. This makes the Kinabatangan River one of the most popular places for tourists to visit during their holiday to Borneo. The simplest way to get to the Kinabatangan River is too join an organised tour. As the Kinabatangan River is located towards the east coast of Sabah the starting point for most tours to the River is from Sandakan (Sandakan Airport or from a hotel in Sandakan). 

    How do you get to Sandakan?

    Sandakan is a middle-sized city located on the east coast of Sabah and well connected to Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur. The main ways to travel to Sandakan from within Sabah are by plane, by public bus or by private transport.

    By plane

    Internal flights operate daily from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) and Tawau to Sandakan Airport. Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines operate daily flights from these airports to Sandakan. You can also fly direct from Kuala Lumpur Airport (KUL) to Sandakan Airport on a daily basis. Flying to Sandakan is an easy, quick option and if flights are booked well in advance you can typically pick up low price tickets with the airlines.

    By public bus

    A slightly cheaper option than flying is to catch a public bus to Sandakan Bus Station. You can catch a public bus from bus stations in Kota Kinabalu, Semporna or Tawau to Sandakan. The most popular bus route is from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan. In Kota Kinabalu, you will need to go to the northern bus terminal (located in Inanam). There are several buses here going to Sandakan on a daily basis. We’d suggest you try and catch the first buses to depart in the morning as it’s a long journey to Sandakan bus station (a ~ 6 – 7 hour journey). 

    By private transport 

    This includes hiring a car to drive to Sandakan, using a local taxi or via an organised private coach transfer. 

    How do I get to the Kinabatangan River Independently?

    For independent travellers wanting to arrange their own way to the Kinabatangan River, there aren’t any direct public transport services to the two main villages on the river which provide access to Lodges on the Kinabatangan River – Bilit & Sukau. You would need to use local bus service and ask to be dropped off at Sukau Junction, followed by catching a transfer with a local van from Sukau Junction to either Bilit or Sukau (a ~ 45km journey). For this option, you still need to have booked a stay at a Lodge near the Kinabatangan River and arranged a transfer with the Lodge from your drop off point. This option may be a cheaper alternative to an organised tour but is a lot more hard work and involves more time for the amount you may save.   

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