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Kuching Wetlands National Park – Proboscis Monkeys, Dolphins, and Snorkeling

Take a river safari through the mangroves of the Kuching Wetlands National Park. Located just a short distance from Kuching, this trip is one of the easiest ways to spot some of the unusual wildlife in Sarawak. Proboscis monkeys and fireflies dwell in the trees lining the river. Crocodiles and the snub nosed irrawaddy dolphins are commonly spotted along the riverbanks and at the river mouths.

Our half day trip to Kuching Wetlands National Park sends you out in the evening for a boat cruise and wildlife spotting adventure. If you follow us for the whole day, we’ll take you on a snorkeling trip to Satang Island before taking you into the wetlands for the wildlife spotting experience.

About the Tour:

You will leave the hustle and bustle of Kuching City and head over to the village of Santubong, some 45 minutes out of town. The village of Santubong lies at the foothills of a mighty mountain of the same name. From the village, you will replace land with water and set out on a boat in search of wildlife.

The boat will bring you through the meandering rivers of the Kuching Wetlands National Park, leaving the mountain and the village of Santubong behind. The wetlands are most known for their mangrove forests, which are home to the proboscis monkey and estuarine crocodiles.

From the Kuching Wetlands National Park, it’s a short boat ride to the island of Satang. Satang Island is home to some of the best snorkeling spots in Sarawak, with its coral reef just below the waterline.

About Kuching Wetlands National Park:

The Kuching Wetlands National Park is located at some 20 kilometres from Sarawak’s capital Kuching. The park covers an area of over 6500 hectares of mostly mangrove forest in the delta where the Salak & Sibu Laut rivers meet the South China Sea. The park also has smaller pockets of heath forest, which creates a biodiverse habitat hosting many types of wildlife and fish.

The area was originally gazetted as a national park in 2002 as the state government wanted to preserve the remaining mangrove forests near Kuching due to their ecological significance. A few years later, in 2005, the area was gazetted as a RAMSAR site, making the wetlands a national park of international importance.

The Kuching Wetlands National Park can only be visited by river, there are no trails or treks in the park. Guests generally visit the park by taking a boat from the Santubong Village. From there the boat enters the park and meanders through the many river channels.

About the Wildlife:

The Kuching Wetlands National Park has an extensive area of mangrove forest, mixed with some heath forest. This proves to be the ideal ecological setting for various types of wildlife, fish and birds. Over 100 species of birds have been spotted in the wetlands, as well as three types of monkeys. Perhaps one of the most rare inhabitants of the national park is the unusual Irrawaddy Dolphin.

Mammals:

  • Irrawaddy Dolphin (Orcaella brevirostris): This snub-nosed dolphin is unlike common dolphins. They mainly live near river esturines and river mouths. They can grow up to 2.5 meters long. Listed by IUCN as Endangered.
  • Proboscis Monkey (Nasalis Larvatus): An orange furred monkey with a large nose and round belly. Nicknamed the “Orang Belanda”, or Dutchmen, by the natives for their resembling appearance. There are about 150 individuals in Bako National Park. Listed by IUCN as Endangered.
  • Hairy-nosed Otter (Lutra sumatrana): A small otter endemic to South East Asia. This rare hairy-nosed animal is brown of colour with a white belly. Listed by IUCN as Endangered.
  • Silvered Lutong (Trachypithecus cristatus): A monkey from the Old World with a greyish fur and has wide eyes. This arboreal monkey lives in mangroves and in heath forest. They live in large groups of up to 40 individuals.

Birds:

  • Bornean Bristlehead (Pityriasis gymnocephala): An uncommon small but colourful bird that can only be spotted in Borneo.
  • Lesser Atjutant (Leptoptilos javanicus): A rare and large stork with a bare head and neck. Their prefered habitat is wetlands and mangrove forests. Listed by IUCN as Vulnerable
  • White Bellied Sea Eagle (Haliaeetus leucogaster): A large eagle, commonly found in Australia and South East Asia. The bird of prey can have a wingspan of over 2.2 meters.
  • Chinese Egret (Egretta eulophotes): A semi-large white egret that is endemic to South East Asia. More than 10% of its total population is believed to live in and around the Kuching Wetlands National Park. Listed by IUCN as Vulnerable.

Reptiles:

  • Estuarine Crocodile (Crocodylus porosus): The saltwater crocodile is the largest reptile found in the world. There are over 500 individuals living in the Kuching Wetlands National Park.
  • Asian Water Monitor (Varanus salvator): A common sight for some, and an impressive sight for others. This black coloured monitor lizard can be found throughout Borneo. The animal generally grow up to 2 meters in length.

Itinerary – Half Day

Afternoon and Evening Wildlife River Cruise

  • In the late afternoon, pick up from your hotel in Kuching.
  • Transfer to Santubong Boat Club.
  • Hop aboard a boat and cruise downriver to the mouth of the Santubong River.
  • Keep an eye out for fascinating wildlife that live in this mangrove river delta.
  • Conclude the tour in the darkness by experiencing the flickering fireflies on the mangrove trees.
  • Return to the Santubong Boat Club.
  • Transfer back to the hotel in Kuching.

Itinerary – Full Day

Satang Island Snorkeling with Afternoon and Evening Wildlife River Cruise

  • Pick up from your hotel in Kuching.
  • Transfer to Santubong Boat Club.
  • Hop aboard a boat and cruise downriver to the mouth of the Santubong River.
  • Keep an eye out for fascinating wildlife that live in this mangrove river delta.
  • After some time on the rivers of the Kuching Wetlands National Park, cross the South China Sea to the island of Satang.
  • Arrive at the island and jump in the water for some relaxed snorkelling.
  • Lunch is served on the beach.
  • Spend some more time relaxing before beading back to Santubong Village.
  • Return to the Santubong Boat Club.
  • Transfer back to the hotel in Kuching.

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