Sticky Rice Travel’s latest video takes you down the waterways of the great Kinabatangan River. As the second-longest river in Malaysia, spanning 560 kilometers through a diverse range of habitats, the Kinabatangan floodplain has some of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Borneo. Until twenty years ago, excessive deforestation ravaged the floodplain ecology, but since the late-90s, conservation efforts have been protecting the region. Wildlife conservation biologist Kennesh Manokaran narrates the video, and shares with us why the Kinabatangan is his favorite place in Borneo for wildlife.
A lof of the footage in this video was shot in the area around the village of Batu Puteh, where our friends at KOPEL are based. KOPEL is one of Sabah’s oldest community-run ecotourism cooperatives, and has become a model for sustainable tourism practices that empower the local community. The opening sequence was shot around Tungog Rainforest Eco Camp, KOPEL’s jungle getaway built on the forested shores of an oxbow lake. The accommodations are simple and rustic, and the eco camp runs on a zero-waste, zero-energy, and zero-chemical policy, creating one of the most pure and immersive ways to experience the Kinabatangan.
Another one of our favorites is the Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort, tucked away a few bends upriver from the village of Abai. Getting there involves a splendid boat ride from Sandakan, along the coast of Borneo, and into the forested tributaries of the river delta. The stilted resort is perched above freshwater wetlands, connected by boardwalks that weave through the mangroves. The chalets are luxurious, the food is delicious, and the guides and staff are beyond charming. Far off the beating track, it’s the definition of a tropical oasis.