The Klias Wetlands, a protected area comprised of an expanse of mangroves and peat swamp, is part of the Klias Peninsula, a large coastal wetland, covering around 130,000 hectares, in the district of Beaufort in Sabah.
Our 90-minute travel to Klias from the city of Kota Kinabalu ended at the Klias Safari River Cruise restaurant and jetty where our journey to the wetlands began.
Our cruise to the riverine and swamp forest allowed to us to observe wildlife at close range. Hats off to our open boat captain who also acted as expert wildlife spotter.
Navigating the labyrinthine wetlands, we were able to see a family of playful long-tailed macaques, a monitor lizard clambering a coconut tree, diverse variety of river birds, and the star of Klias – the odd looking, endemic proboscis monkey. According to our guide, there are approximately 800 proboscis monkeys that inhabit the wetlands.
The wetlands is also known to home to estuarine crocodiles, otters, silver-leaf monkeys and hornbills.
As dusk settled, we went back to the restaurant and enjoyed a delectable village-style dinner buffet. Two hours after, we cruised back to the wetlands, navigating the river in pitch black. In no time, we started gazing at the tiny sparkles created by fireflies in trees and got entranced at the quiet spectacle of the multitude of stars in the night sky. It was nothing short of amazing.
Klias is 112 km from Kota Kinabalu. Tours are available via borneo-authentic.com or @baa_sabah and @kliasrivercruise on Instagram.