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Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary

Cost:

RM 60 child entrance entrance fee

RM 30 child entrance fee

RM 10 camera fee

RM 20 video camera fee

Getting There: 

Taxi – Catch a taxi from town for a relatively cheap price. Arranging it through your hotel is best.

Shuttle Bus – Labuk bay offers shuttle bus service for RM 15 each way. The shuttle leaves at 9:30am from Hotel Sandakan or 10:30am from Sepilok Center and Sepilok Junction. However, return shuttles are only offered from Nipah Lodge at Labuk Bay at 3pm and 5pm, which means you’ll end up spending more time at the sanctuary than is really necessary.

To Stay:

Lodging is offered at the Nipah Resort at Labuk Bay near the sanctuary. A dorm room can be obtained for RM 35 per person or a chalet is offered for RM 180 per room. Most visitors, however, choose to stay within the nearby town of Sandakan.

The Experience:

Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is a privately-run sanctuary more than 25 kilometers outside of Sandakan. Here dozens of Proboscis monkeys roam freely amongst the trees returning to several worn, broken and junky platforms for feeding. It is entirely possible to watch the feeding at the nearby Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre at 10am and catch the feeding of Labuk’s Proboscis monkeys at 11am, you can use the Labuk shuttle from Sepilok or hire a private taxi driver to take you to both. However, there is no need to rush as Lubuk is home to two feeding platforms located in different areas of the sanctuary does offer a variety of other viewing times as well.

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Compared to nearby Sepilok, Labuk is much small, older and much more expensive and serves not as a rehabilitation for the animals but more as a reserve, where the animals are simply fed, but not necessarily cared for. Still, if you haven’t captured that perfect photo or even caught a glimpse of the creature elsewhere, it’s worth it.

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You’ll be asked to take off your shoes as you enter the main building; why, though, is beyond me as you’ll be forced to avoid stepping in poop from the Silverred Leaf Monkeys that swamp the deck. While the small, exotic monkeys are adorably cheeky, they also seem to be somewhat unpredictable and often sqable over food or overrun the stairs trapping visitors either above or below. The quirky Silverred Leaf Monkeys steal the show as handlers feed them first, throwing food often directly at visitors feet.

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As the entertainment provided by the small monkeys wanes, a large, beautiful hornbill descends from the sky swooping in to eat. He hangs around just long enough for excited visitors to snap photos before ascending back out of sight.

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Sensing that a meal is near, the proboscis monkeys make their way down an old wooden boardwalk toward the main feeding platforms. Labuk is home to several male Proboscis and their large heirums of females. The smaller, faster females often fight over food, while it’s clear the large and lumbering males are in charge. Unlike the orangutans at Sepilok, the Probosicis at Labuk seems to hang around longer, gathering well before the food is out and lingering for a short time after.

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To learn more about the creatures, a video is offered prior to feeding at Platform B at 10:15am and 3:15pm each day.

Honestly, the sanctuary prices are highly inflated, especially compared to nearby Sepilok, but it’s a privately-run organization and they have the ability to set the prices how they see fit. It doesn’t seem to stop people from coming; although less crowded than Sepilok, Labuk still draws a decent amount of people to its feedings, and in my opinion, the chance to watch these foreign creatures interact with each other is worth it.

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