In the centre of the mangrove forests of Semawang is the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, where you can see Borneo?s indigenous proboscis monkeys.
Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is located within an oil palm estate about 38 kilometres from Sandakan. In the mid-1990s this 400 acre site was going to be cleared for the development of oil palm when the owner discovered that proboscis monkeys were living in the mangrove forest. He decided to retain this relatively small pocket of forest as a sanctuary for the monkeys. Today Labuk Bay is home to around 150 free ranging proboscis monkeys.
This privately run sanctuary has two observation platforms. Feeding takes place at Platform A at 9.30 am and 2.30 pm and at Platform B at 11.30 am and 4.30 pm. At most feeding times groups of proboscis monkeys descend from the nearby forest and mangroves and head to the wooden platform for a free meal. The staff feed the monkeys beans, cucumbers and pancakes.
The monkeys at Labuk Bay are wild and free to roam the mangroves but they are highly habituated and often get very close to visitors. The behaviour (and diet) of these proboscis monkeys is very different from the wild monkeys that live on the Kinabatangan River and other areas of Sabah and Sarawak. Labuk Bay offers a chance to get very close to proboscis monkeys. The sanctuary also offers excellent photo opportunities. Other animals seen near the feeding platforms at Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary include silver-leaf monkeys and oriental pied hornbills.
The entrance fee for foreign visitors is RM 60 (adult) and RM 30 (child) whilst Malaysians pay RM 15 (adult) and RM 5 (child). There is also a camera / video fee of RM 10 per day. A restaurant that serves drinks and rice and noodle dishes is located near Platform B. There are video shows at Platform B at 10.15 am and 3.15 pm.