Journaling The Journey

Finding Rare Proboscis Monkeys

Finding the rare Proboscis Monkeys

Once I saw a picture of elusive Proboscis Monkeys, I knew I had to see them for my myself.  But where?  Finding the rare Proboscis Monkeys is not so easy.  Why?  Because they can only be found on the island of Borneo.  Interestingly, this small island is home to 3 countries: Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.  So, where on Borneo does one have the best chance in finding the rare Proboscis Monkeys?  Eventually, after a few attempts we discovered the cheapest and easiest way in finding the rare Proboscis Monkeys.  Read on to find out how we did it!

Finding Rare Proboscis Monkeys is Not Easy

Surprisingly, I found out that these lovely beasts are endangered.  Why?  Well, a few reasons.  First, their habitats are being taken away due to logging and palm oil plantations.  Second, they are being hunted for food and traditional Chinese medicine.

FiRst Attempt – Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

One of the top excursions from Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (on Borneo) is a River Cruise which promises one in finding the rare proboscis monkeys.  Obviously, we were excited.  And at just $45 per person we were in!

So what went wrong?  First we were picked up from our hotel and then spent another hour picking up others from other hotels.  Then the trip took another 2.5 hours on a very bumpy road.  And then there was a lot of sitting around and waiting. Subsequently we did end up finding some of the rare proboscis monkeys.  However from afar.  After dinner we were driven back.  And again this took another 2.5 – 3 hours.  In summary, way too much driving for a small reward.

Finding Rare Proboscis Monkeys Sitting
Proboscis Monkey
Rick Wallace

Second Attempt -Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei

Even though we struck out in Malaysia, we were determined in finding the rare proboscis monkeys.  Since our next stop was Brunei, we decided to investigate a possible sighting there.  Indeed there were many options for excursions to choose from.  However we didn’t want a repeat of our experience in Malaysia.  Luckily,I read that it was possible to hire a long boat in hopes of finding the rare proboscis monkeys.  But where?

Long boats are plentiful next to the Brunei River.  Especially along the waterway in front of the hotel The Brunei.  Ultimately we chose a driver who spoke English well and understood our mission.  The monkeys start feeding around 3:30 pm.  So, he suggested that we come back around that time to begin the journey.  After a few hours we returned and were whisked off towards the mangroves.  Immediately we started to see them!  Ultimately the further we went the better the sightings.  After a few hours our necks could not take it anymore!  So, we headed back to the pier.  The experience (which we negotiated up front) cost us $20 (plus a $10 tip).  In summary, it could not have been better!

Finding Rare Proboscis Monkeys at a Sanctuary

Finally there is another way in finding the rare Proboscis monkeys – The Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary Labuk Bay is located 6.5 hours from Kota Kinabalu and about 45 minutes from Sandakan on the east coast. The entry cost was 60 MYR (about $13/person).

Undoubtedly this is a good way of finding the rare proboscis monkeys. Albeit in a more controlled kind of setting.  And this facility has 2 feeding platforms with 4 feeding times throughout the day.

Wrap Up

In the tree finding rare Proboscis monkeys

Although it took us a few attempts, finding the rare proboscis monkeys up close was well worth the journey!  They are incredibly interesting creatures.  And we need to help preserve their land or they will become extinct and quickly.  We have been  very lucky to trek with Mountain Gorillas, take care of injured pandas and swim with whales.  We are very grateful for these experiences and don’t take them for granted.

Tell us about your interactions with animals.   We would love to hear from you!

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