The Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary offers another perfect Proboscis monkeys observation spot for any tourist who wants to have a closer look at these very special monkeys and do not have the time to travel too far away to watch them.

The Sanctuary is located at the centre of the mangrove forest along the coastal land near Samawang Village at Labuk Bay, Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysia. From the airport in Sandakan, it is 38km away and takes about an hour to get there. Part of the trip will be through the graveled roads and jeep tracks of plantation estates. To get there, travel along Jalan Labuk and turn off to SPS 3 at the junction between KM 31 & KM 32 (apposite to the Consolidated Farm (Sabah) Sdn. Bhd.) The Sanctuary is located 15km along gravel road from here.


For those who love to watch these unique primate not found elsewhere in the world is a “Must See”. It would definitely gives you one of the most exhilarating and memorable experience observing the Proboscis monkeys both young and adult leaping from tree to tree and eventually down to feed on young leaves and plants. The leaping act is superb, fast, steady, stylish and perfect.

Some years ago (1994), while embarking on Oil Palm Plantation development near the mangrove swamps of the present sanctuary, the owner of the site came to know of the proboscis monkeys living there. Fascinated, he learned more about the monkeys and their predicament. Few people in their quest for commercial gain would have paid much attention to the plight of these monkeys in their struggle for survival. However, for this owner, although the 400 plus acres of mangrove forest were initially bought for commercial development, the plan was quickly dropped so that these monkeys could continue to survive there without fear of losing their natural habitat. As the sources of the food for these monkeys had much dwindled, efforts were made to supplement the monkeys’ diet with fruits and water daily to ensure the conservation of these animals.
This land continued for the last ten years and today overall groups of these monkeys totalling around 60 comes regularly for their meals. The diet supplement scheme had been very successful, not only were the monkeys coming back daily for their food; every now and again, it can be observed during feeding times that another new born calf had been produced. Initially, carried around in their mother’s arms they soon become independent and continue their growth into adulthood. At present, an observation platform had been erected to give visitors an excellent view of these monkeys during feeding times. Accommodation and other facilities are also available. Bangakatan House (observation platform area) has now been upgrade to cater tourists and become a must to visit after a tour to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre.

The Malay name for the species is “Monyet Belanda”. Proboscis monkeys are excellent swimmers. But swim only when necessary and for pleasure. The proboscis monkeys are only found in certain parts of Borneo. The monkeys inhabit forests newer coastal swamps or those containing rivers and lakes.

The only place in the world where proboscis monkeys occur is the Island of Borneo in South-East Asia. And they are not even found throughout all of Borneo. They are forest-dwellers and limited mainly to coastal swamp forests next to large river. The calls of the proboscis monkey were also a subject of praise. In 128, the then curator of the Sarawak Museum, Eric Mjoberg, wrote that “the enormous nose is a sounding board that strengthens and deepens the male’s vocal powers… The sound is deep and nasal, strongly reminiscent of the bass viol. Possibly too, there is some aesthetic touch in it, for the females find the sound attractive and crowd round their musically gifted leader.”

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