There is only 1 island in the world where you can see these strange looking, long nose monkeys and that is on the island of Borneo. The island of Borneo has been separated from any mainland for millions of years so a number of unique animals have managed to evolve including the Proboscis Monkey, Orangutan, Pygmy Elephant and Pink Dolphins.
When the Dutch came and colonised Malaysia, the local people started to call the Proboscis Monkeys Dutch Monkeys due to that they thought that the Dutch or European people had large noses compared to the more delicate noses of the local Asian people. In Malay language they say ‘Monyet Belanda’ (monyet – monkey, Belanda is the Malay word for Dutch).
Borneo is the 3rd largest island in the world and is part owned by 3 countries. Brunei is a very small national in the north east of Borneo. Most of the northern area of Borneo is part of Malaysia, called East Malaysia is divided into 2 Malaysian states, Sarawak and Sabah. The southern part of Borneo is Kalimantan and is part of Indonesia.
The majority of Borneo is lush tropical jungle and the Proboscis Monkey is found through most part of Borneo.
The scientific name for the Proboscis Monkey is Nasalis larvatus, Nasalis is latin for nose and larvatus is latin for mask. The Proboscis Monkey is a small reddish brown monkey and their bodies are anywhere from 53cm to 66 cms long. The males have the larger noses, although the female still have the large bulbous nose, the male noses are much larger and hang down below their mouth.
The Proboscis Monkey live in small groups of 1 male and a few females and babies. They communicate with various vocal sounds including an usual honking noise. The Proboscis Monkey are generally shy animals and keep their distance from humans though there are a number of National Parks in Borneo that it is quite easy to see them.
One of the most accessible National Parks to go and see the Proboscis Monkey is the Baso National Park which is located around 1 hour south of Kuching in Sarawak East Malaysia. The Baso National Park is accessible only by boat so you need to get a car from Kuching to a boat terminal and then take a short 20 minutes boat ride into the National Park. You do need to get out of the park and walk to shore.
The Proboscis Monkey is not the only attraction in the Bako National Park. You can also see Long Tailed Macque Monkeys, Silvered Langurs, Leaf Monkeys, wild boar, water monitors and a range of snakes including Green Tree Pit Vipers pictured below. There are also 150 species of birds living in the National Park.
There are direct flights to Kuching from Kuala Lumpur or Singapore and flight time takes around 1 hour 50 minutes. Airlines flying to Kuching from Kuala Lumpur include Malaysian Airlines and Air Asia. Airlines flying from Singapore to Kuching include Silk Air, Air Asia and Malaysian Airlines.
Read more about Kuching Sarawak