Borneo is know for more than orang utans, it is also the home of the Proboscis Monkey.
The Proboscis Monkey is distinguished by a red nose, which is rather like a clowns nose for the males. It also is significantly larger than normal monkeys with big bellies. In Sepilok there is one place to see them up close…Labuk Bay.
So we headed to Labuk Bay by taxi from our hostel- the only option. Not many people seem to make this journey. A huge plus for us was at the scheduled morning feeding it was only us and our neighbours from Pakanangan Dil an Australian mother and daughter.
As we arrived at the feeding platforms, which consisted of something like a boat jetty structure surrounded by jungle. The tension was built by some noises in the distance…a tree moves off to our left…more noises getting closer…and then whoosh! In come 2 Harems and a Bachelor Troop, some 50 monkeys in total.
For Proboscis Monkeys, a male either has a ton of wives (harem) or has to join a bachelor troop and wait for the chance to fight for a harem.
There were so many Proboscis Monkeys, this was well worth the visit.
Next up was a video about the centre. A funny story about Alastair, head of the family with his multiple wives who had to fight off Bill, head of the bachelors to keep his place at the top of the jungle. This story was told with great humour and has been featured on Animal Planet. It also gave some history into the Sanctuary, that was setup by the owners of a Palm Oil plantation.
As the video neared its end, the monkey noises got more distinct and we then heard things running across the roof of our video room.
Going outside the source of the noise was evident as a group of Silver Leaf Langurs came bounding into the area. This was crazy as we got to feed the monkeys, take selfies with them and sit about as they jumped around us. There was even another 2 groups of Proboscis Monkeys.
After the monkeys we spent the afternoon in the nearby city of Sandakan. To get wifi and money out and some lunch.
Sandakan was founded by the Scottish engineer, and part time gun smuggler, William Clarke Cowie. This became the capital of Sabah State in 1883 before being destroyed in World War 2. Before that however it was a busy port exporting timber, some of which was used to construct the Temple of Heaven, which we visited in Beijing.
What a brilliant day out. Back at the hostel we met a few friendly back packers. We sat up drinking tea (beer is expensive in Malaysia) and shared stories from travelling around Asia to visiting Scotland. We were all safari bound tomorrow, so would bump into them again.