Visiting Sabah and want to see proboscis monkeys? Consider visiting Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary.
Located just outside of Sandakan and Sepilok, Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is the place to go for an up close encounter with these distinctive monkeys.
Proboscis monkeys are only found in Borneo and are named after their long noses. Between their noses, pot bellies, white tails and red faces, they are easy to spot and remember. Finding them in the jungle is fun and seeing them up close is amazing.
While you are in Borneo, you’re likely to get multiple opportunities to see these monkeys in the wild, but this one here is the easiest, and it’s not hard to see many of these proboscis monkeys at Labuk Bay. It is one of my personal favourite experiences in Sabah as you just get so close to these very cool creatures.
Want to learn more about the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary to work out if it’s right for your trip?
Keep reading because we have a full Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary review with everything from how to get here to what exactly you’ll find when you arrive. There’s also a full video walk through of this experience.
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Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
The Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is a private reserve that was created by a local palm plantation owner after he realised that the monkeys were living here.
It’s a relatively small pocket of mangrove forest, but as more and more of the monkeys’ natural habitat has been destroyed by never ending palm plantations, this Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary Sepilok has been a lifesaver for many of the monkeys in the area.
At two square kilometres, an estimated 300 monkeys live here.
It’s easy to spot the monkeys as they feed four times a day on special platforms around two viewing areas. This brings many of the monkeys into the open. While this may be a problem if you want a more ecological experience, it’s also the only way the monkeys can get enough food as this area is too small to support so many monkeys and is surrounded by plantations.
On arrival at the site, pay the entry fee at the ticket building and then you (or your taxi driver) drive to one of the two viewing platforms. You can walk to them too, but the distances do start to add up, and it’s hot and humid. It’s also not that interesting in this area. As we drove through, I wandered if we were in the rainforest at all.
Thankfully, the forest around the platforms and the walks to the viewing platforms is better.
See the map below for how the site is set up:
So head to the viewing platform where the next feeding takes place (times below) and either park your car or your taxi will park. From here, there are wooden boardwalks to the viewing platforms which make the walk very easy.
I went to viewing platform A and it was a short and easy walk. It was also totally amazing.
One moment, I’m walking along, looking around but not spotting anything.
Then, suddenly, proboscis monkeys seemed to be dropping in from everywhere! Right in front of me.
They didn’t seem bothered by me at all. To be honest, I was a little scared. I had horror-movie moments years ago when my daughter was 4 at the monkey forest in Bali when the monkeys kept trying to attack her. I’ve been very weary of monkeys since.
However, I soon got over it. They weren’t threatening at all. We all kept a respectful distance, and it was amazing.
They obviously knew the feeding was coming up as more and more of them appeared around the path. It was great to watch them interact, the mothers with their babies and more.
They are amazing creatures. There’s just something about how they look, and I loved them.
When the person went to get the food, they knew what was happening and all started bounding over. It was crazy! Some of the male ones were relatively big and made huge thudding noises as they scampered towards the platforms. It felt quite dramatic.
There are a few feeding platforms around the viewing one and soon there was food on three of them. Monkeys were seemingly everywhere.
Did I mention it was amazing?!
It was fun watching them eat, seemingly have discussions and watching babies trying to get their mums to let them eat too.
There are two feeding times for each platform.
At Platform A, feeding times are 9:30am and 2:30pm.
At Platform B, feeding times are 11:30am and 4:30pm.
I was at Platform A at 2:30pm. You can go to all four times if you want.
The monkeys know to come to the platforms at these times and are fed monkey beans, cucumbers and pancakes. They usually hang around for awhile afterwards as well in their own groups. Occasionally, fights break out. They seemed quite chill when I visited although there were some loud grunting noises.
While these are wild monkeys, their behaviour and diet is different so visiting them will give you a different experience than if you see them elsewhere (like at the Kinabatangan River). They are used to people and you can get relatively close and take some great photos.
Of course, there aren’t just monkeys here and you should keep your eyes opened. Popular inhabitants are silver-leaf monkeys and oriental pied hornbills.
You should definitely time your visit for one of the feeding times. The first feeding time is the best with the monkeys at their most enthusiastic.
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary Entrance Fee
The entry fee at the time of publishing is RM15 for adults or RM5 for kids under 12 if you are Malaysian.
For international visitors, the entry price is RM60 for adults and RM30 for kids. Under 3’s are free, and there is also a RM10 camera fee. You don’t pay for using a mobile phone to take photos.
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary Video Walk Through
Below, you can find a full video of my experience at Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary.
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary Opening Hours
Opening hours are 8:30am to 5:30pm.
Where Is Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary?
Address: Off, Jalan Labuk, 90000 Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia
The Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is about 43 kilometres/one hour from Sandakan. From Sepilok, it’s about 22 kilometres/less than 30 minutes.
You can only get here by tour or taxi. It is easiest to arrange a driver with your hotel. This is what I did.
You can also use Grab to get a taxi but the downside of this is that you’ll need to talk to your driver and arrange for them to wait for you and drive you back or you may struggle to get back into town.
If you have your own car, you can drive yourself.
It’s amazing to see the proboscis monkeys in action, and this is a great place to do it. I highly enjoyed my visit here. Much more than I expected actually. Proboscis monkeys are strangely endearing 🙂
It’s an easy and accessible place to visit which is nice to walk around and even nicer when you spot the gorgeous monkeys.
You only need to spend an hour here to get a lot out of the visit (as long as it’s at feeding time). I’m sure you could enjoy longer walking between viewing platform A and B and seeing both feedings too.
Don’t miss it!
Looking for other things to do in Sepilok? Find our full guide here. You can also find more things to do in Sandakan here. You can also find our full guide to where to stay in Sandakan here and all our guides to Sandakan here.
Planning a trip to Malaysia? Have any questions? Join our Malaysia Travel Planning Facebook group here now! It’s the perfect place to ask any questions and to be inspired!