Kawa Kawa River
Kawa Kawa River
3.5
Tours & experiences
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Top ways to experience Kawa Kawa River and nearby attractions

The area
Address
Kg Pantai Mas, Kota Belud 89150 Malaysia

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.


3.5
3.5 of 5 bubbles21 reviews
Excellent
10
Very good
2
Average
3
Poor
1
Terrible
5

PER_Travel
Perth36 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Family
This is for sure monkey business.

The “meals” provided were somewhat sub standard. At best it could be referred to a local snack. The river stank and the camp facilities sewer went right in to it.

No monkeys were present and after having been shuttled from the river to a beach, to view a sunset, we decided we had enough. Our transport was ordered to return us to town, leaving the promised “dinner” that was to be served at the sewer smelling camp out of the programme.

In summary: 5 hours in a mini van, 45 minutes on an overloaded river boat, and no monkeys. Thank God we did not extend any further.

If you want to waste a day on the road and in other unpleasant surroundings, this is the trip for you. The rest of you - stay away from this monkey business.
Written 10 January 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Alex C
44 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Family
So good river cruise and firefly tour, if anyone need charter a driver can find this person (jack) (Whatsapp number +60128435750) he really nice and kind person, the proboscis monkey and firefly are awesome, really recommended place to visit at Kawa kawa river cruise.
Written 11 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

nhkemat
4 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019
The place looks like a large shack by the river.

The lifejackets are old and worn out. Many of them are ripped at the seams and have zips that don't work.

The boats are old but usable. Sometimes, the drivers would smoke. Luckily ours smoked at the end of the trip and the breeze was blowing the smoke out of our direction so I didn't bother to tell him not to smoke.

We couldn't see the Probocis monkeys. Just a shade of orange by the trees far away. It's better to go to a reputable zoo. The river has some garbage like plastic bottles in it too.

We didn't try the food. When we came in, there were 2 men who were sitting close by the food table. We assume they must be the servers. One of them was smoking.

The bathrooms were dirty. And they didn't have any soap. Since they cook on-site, imagine what the cooks/ servers would not do after they do their bathroom business.

Eventhough we would love to see the fireflies, we didn't feel safe eating the provided dinner that is already pre-arranged before the fireflies activity. We also had 4 kids who will be hungry. So we decided to skip the dinner and fireflies and went back to Kota Kinabalu for dinner.

Don't bother with this trip. And take the negative reviews of this trip seriously. It is not worth it!
Written 26 December 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

J.S
2 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2019 • Couples
It was really sad seeing and hearing bulldozers in the background clearning land. The forest was really thin in places.
Written 9 August 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

yukitan71
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia22 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2019 • Friends
services is good. food is delicious buffet and with many varieties. sighted proboscis monkey. and night time lots of fire flies but at a few localised spots. for locals with transport contact owner directly to get very good rate.
Written 28 June 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Diving-Addiction00
Malaysia378 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Jul 2018 • Couples
We joined this tour expecting to see Probocis monkeys and wild life but were very disappointed with the whole journey. The boat was cramped. We were overloaded with tourists beyond capacity. We hardly saw more than 2-3 monkey's and all in all, it was just not worth the journey, time and money spent.

I highly recommend heading down to Klias instead as this was a much better experience and tours are done in the late evenings unlike in Kota Belud where the tour started at 3.00pm and we were sunburnt from the sun.

Not worth it.
Written 14 September 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bronwyn H
Hoi An, Vietnam29 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jun 2018 • Couples
A great trip and fantastic tour guide. On the way Fizal from Fly Borneo Company shared the sites of the city as we drove to Kota Belud in a comfortable air conditioned car.
On arrival we had home made pancakes, and fried banana from their local banana plants.
The boat cruise lasted one and a half hours..we spotted kingfisher, egrets, monitor lizard, a tree with a family of macas and two separate trees of proboscis monkeys.

We were not guaranteed to see any animals, and so it was very special that we did. Our boat operators did everything to ensure we could get as close as possible to the monkeys.

The dinner was a satisfying meal of local dishes and fresh fruit.

With it now being dark we travelled to another river location where we went out along the river. There were plenty of fire flies in the bushes but with a technique using the torch a crew member had the fire flies coming to us in the boat. It was a very magical experience to end a great day.
Written 6 June 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Lisa M
Melbourne, Australia17 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2017 • Couples
Probably only have ourselves to blame after booking this trip with a man who took us on a boat trip to Mamutik Island. See separate post. Anyway, the bus (10 seater mini van) picked us up half an hour late, then we had to stop half way and wait for over 1/2 hour on the side of the road for another bus to catch us, because our "driver" forgot to pick up two people who were being delivered to us. Eventually arrived 3 hours after we should have been picked up. On arrival, given donuts and tea/coffee whilst many of us were harassed by aggressive monkeys physically jumping up to steal our food. Some of the Korean ladies were very scared and distressed. Onto the boat and yes we saw a couple of monkeys (lucky because it was getting dark at this stage), but it was impossible to tell from a distance whether they were Probiscus monkeys or just the annoying normal monkeys. Long way to come to see something that may or may not have been a Probiscus monkey. You would have needed a good set of binoculars to see anything. After about 15 minutes, off the boat, back in the van and up the road to a restaurant (and I use that term very loosely) lined up and had a couple of varieties of really bad cold food slapped on our plate. We were told we had 25 minutes to eat our food and be back on the bus. Back to the River by bus and back in the boats for the fireflies. Whilst they were OK, they weren't worth 7 hours of our life, or the horrific bus trip home. I sat in the front with the driver who was young and the worst (most dangerous) driver I have come across in Asia. He had absolutely no concept of safety and driving to the road conditions. I was a bit nervous on the way there on dry roads, but on the way home, it was raining steadily, sometimes heavily. In addition to not using his wipers when he should have, he continued to tailgate, speed, and attempt to overtake slower moving vehicles in very dangerous conditions. I had to tell him to slow down, that he was responsible for getting us home safely, and to stop trying to overtake cars - just get us home - there was no hurry. At one stage, he asked me if I wanted to change seats and I said yes, I want to drive. Anyway we eventually got home more through good luck than anything else. DO NOT go on a tour to Kawa Kawa River under any circumstances. It is a rip off and they don't care about your health and safety. Also, its two hours each way and 7 wasted hours of your life.
Written 22 December 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

southern_skies_28
Brisbane Region, Australia22 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2017 • Solo
Im a pretty open minded traveller and can laugh about most situations but this was really poor.

I chose this tour because I read there were less boats and people, in which case I would hate to see the 'busy' one. There are many points along the river where many boats leave from, I counted at least 20 the time and day I went.

After 'high tea' (deep fried banana, black tea or coffee from a thermos) you get thrown on one of many boats and taken to 'find' proboscis monkeys which is a scam. You go around a mangrove for 20 minutes while the guide doesn't even bother to look up from their phone. At the very end there are some other monkeys which are clearly fed and domesticated to keep them in that area. (I asked the guide if they were fed by humans and she confirmed it with a cheeky grin! That was probably the highlight of the tour - at least we laughed about it! On that note, all the staff are friendly and chatty, and they all speak several languages)

Back in your van to get thrown out at a beach for 1 hour which is covered in plastic trash, sand flies and mosquitos along with everyone else from the 20 other boats.

Back to the boat dock for an ok meal although could be better given the cost of the tour. At this point the mosquitos were thick and undeterred by repellant. A few bug zappers or even coils would be an easy addition.

During dinner I was told I had to pay 70myr, even though I had already paid 160myr to akinabalu youth hostel whom I booked it through. Fortunately I had the receipt on me.

Then finally go out to see fireflys for 20mins.

Honestly this tour is a waste of time and money. 7 hours for less than 1 hour on the water.
The fireflys were great but not worth the overall totally disappointing experience.
Written 9 October 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jamiefloyd
97 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2017 • Friends
We booked this trip via a tour kiosk in Kota Kinabalu the day before.We chose the Probosis Monkey/Fireflies tour to near Kota Belud which us about 1.75 hours each way in a minibus.Only my son & myself on way there but joined by 2 Asian girls on return to KK .On arrival greeted with a cake & drink & it's away to go.Initially disappointed as we hardly saw a thing although we enjoyed sharing the journey with a Monitor Lizard swimming beside us.On return to base many people disembarked but we were told to stay on the boat & on a rerun we did manage to see a troupe of the big nosed blighters way up in a tree being studiously observed by a bigger male with an even bigger nose.They say that Probosis Monkey alpha males are in a state of permanent arousel but although this one was big & we could tell he had a big nose he was too far away for confirmation of his monkeyhood..
We were then taken on a 3rd run down to the mangrove swamp at the estuary of the tempasuk (kawa) river where it flows into the South China Sea to see the sunset.This was quite beautiful although the sunset itself was somewhat clouded over.
Then it's back to base for what we thought was a rather at best average Malaysan buffet before setting off to the nearby Nanamun river to see the fireflies.In pitch darkness the fireflies are literally turned on by a guy in our boat flashing-his torch.The display is a little awe inspiring & even surreal when the flies seem to drift upwards & outwards in slow motion similar to a firework .
Written 23 September 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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