Classic Borneo Trip Notes

Classic Borneo

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 May 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Last Modified: 21 Sep 2016
Classic Borneo
Trip code: TMKB
Validity: 01 May 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Travel to Borneo and leave urban life behind. Head into Borneo's lush jungles, down scenic rivers and through the vibrant villages of beautiful Borneo. On the way, soak up stunning mountain vistas, meet local indigenous people, relax in hot springs and have an encounter with some pretty special orangutans. There's no doubt that this adventure in Borneo will find its way into your heart and leave you with unforgettable memories.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodationFinishing point instructions
ThemesAccommodation NotesEmergency contact
Is this trip right for you?Meals introductionVisas
Why we love itMealsWhat to take
MapMoney mattersClimate and seasonal information
ItineraryGroup leaderHealth
Itinerary disclaimerSafetyTravel insurance
Physical ratingJoining pointA couple of rules
Included activitiesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Important notesJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Group sizeFinish pointFeedback
Your fellow travellersFinish point description
Explorer, Wildlife
Is this trip right for you?
- This trip covers a lot of distance, so be prepared for some long drives of up to 5 hours. Wherever possible, you'll make stops in interesting locations to break up the trip.
- The accommodation varies, from hotels to unique chalets to jungle lodges. The latter two may be a little more basic than our standard hotels. Their unique location and close proximity to wildlife is what makes them special though.
- This trip visits Kinabalu National Park but we do not climb the mountain. If you want to climb Mt Kinabalu please see our Sabah Adventure trip.
- Travelling light is essential, as there is a strict 15 kg maximum luggage limit due to the internal flight. Excess luggage will incur extra fees.
Why we love it
- Experience the friendliness and hospitality of the Dusun people while enjoying lunch in a rural village
- Explore the unspoilt wilderness of the Kinabalu National Park while walking trails at the base of the iconic mountain
- Look over gloriously verdant rolling hills of tea with a night at a tea plantation, including a tour and sampling of delicious local varieties
- One of the last remaining wild places on earth, Borneo offers rare treats for the nature lover – see Orangutans at the Sepilok Sanctuary and search for wildlife while cruising the Kinabatangan River
- During two days on glorious Manukan Island there's plenty of time to soak up the relaxed beach vibe, and to get close to marine life on an included snorkelling trip

Day 1 Kota Kinabalu
Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia. An arrival airport transfer is included. Please advise your flight details at time of booking or 14 days prior to departure so as we can book this transfer for you. Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm, which you can find details about at the hotel’s reception. If you have any free time beforehand, perhaps explore this intriguing city that was born between the Borneo jungle and the South China Sea. Modern-day 'KK' is a vibrant modern metropolis, having recovered from World War II bombings. The Sabah State Museum is a great place to immerse yourself in its backstory.

Notes: If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
    Optional Activities
    • Kota Kinabalu - Sabah Museum entrance fee - MYR15
      Hotel (1 nt)
      Day 2 Mt Kinabalu / Ranau
      Leaving Kota Kinabalu behind, you'll head for the hills and travel towards the unspoilt wilderness of the World Heritage-listed Kinabalu National Park (approximately 3 hours). You will stop off en route at a local home at Dusun Village. The Dusun people are wonderfully warm and friendly people, and while here you'll sample the local foods with a home cooked lunch get some insight into what it’s like to live in a rural village. Later you can stretch your legs and soak up the mountain scenery with a stroll through Kinabalu National Park. There are many walking trails from which you can birdwatch, and remember to watch for the odd snake or little leach. There is plenty to see and do here. The Mountain Botanic Garden is an excellent showcase of the diverse plant life on the mountain, as flora from all over the park has been replanted here. Late in the afternoon you travel by private bus to Sabah Tea Plantation (approximately 30 mins). Tonight you will stay amongst the grounds of a lush tea garden.
      Included Activities
      • Mt Kinabalu - Guided walk around lower trails
        Cottage (1 nt)
        1 breakfast, 1 lunch
        Day 3 Kinabatangan River
        After breakfast you will take a tour of the tea factory itself, ending in a sampling some of the delicious varieties. From there, head to Kinabatangan River in private mini van, a trip of approximately 5 hours. Your jungle lodge, located beside the river, is ideal for taking in the lush surrounds. At 560 kilometres, the Kinabatangan River is the second longest river in Malaysia. It's also a protected forest reserve, containing some of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Borneo. Later in the afternoon you will take a river cruise, hopefully spotting some of the more exotic local creatures. Wild elephants seldom reveal themselves, but crocodiles, macaques, wild orangutan, proboscis monkeys, hornbills and kingfishers are more easily seen. After this short adventure you'll head back to the lodge to enjoy dinner.
        Included Activities
        • Sabah Tea Plantation - Tea Factory Tour
        • Sabah Tea Plantation - Tea Sampling
        • Kinabatangan - River cruise & wildlife spotting on Kinabatangan River
          Chalet (1 nt)
          1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
          Day 4 Kinabatangan River
          You might awake to the call of a Bornean gibbon, or perhaps a hornbill. Enjoy a morning cruise down the river, searching for more birds and wildlife. Keep an eye out for Long Tail Macaques and Pig Tail Macaques – ask your leader about the difference. Later, you can trek up to a birdwatching tower overlooking the river and visit a Merabu tree. When it's all over, this evening's river cruise will be your last chance to photograph or simply marvel at your surrounds. Spend one more night in your lovely accommodation right in the heart of the jungle.
          Included Activities
          • Kinabatangan - River cruise & wildlife spotting on Kinabatangan River
            Chalet (1 nt)
            1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
            Day 5 Sandakan
            Travelling by private minivan, you will stop to visit the intricate Gomantong Caves. Renowned for their edible swiftlet nets, which are harvested for bird's nest soup. Bird's nest collection is an ancient tradition, though nowadays licences are required for it. Travelling to Sandakan, a journey of 3 hours, you will stop in at the Sandakan War Memorial. Here you will learn about the city's past as you stand on the same ground of the former Japanese POW camp. This site also marks the starting point of the tragic Sandakan Death Marches, on which 2,400 POWs were forced to walk through the jungles of Borneo. By the end of the march, only 6 Australians survived, and only because they had escaped. Arrive in Sandakan, which was once the capital of British North Borneo and traditionally has strong trading ties with Hong Kong. The Cantonese influence is palpable in the lively harbour-side market, the many Chinese temples and the local cuisine.
            Included Activities
            • Sandakan - War Memorial
            • Sukau - Gomantong Caves
              Hotel (1 nt)
              1 breakfast
              Day 6 Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary/Sandakan
              This morning take a private transfer to the Sepliok Orangutan Sanctuary (approximately 1 hour). The centre was set up to help re-introduce these wonderful creatures back into the wild after a life of domestication or having been orphaned. From the viewing platform, you can watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view and eat the supplementary diet of bananas and milk that is laid out for them twice a day. Human contact must be kept to a minimum and it's essential that you follow the instructions of the park, as directed by your leader. Also included is a new nursery where you can view young orangutans as they learn how to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym. The viewing area is behind one-way glass so as to not disturb the animals. To see more of Borneo’s creatures there’s the option to visit the newly opened Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center. Here rescued Sun Bears that have spent many years mistreated and locked away in cages are cared for, with hopes of rehabilitation and reintroduction into the wild. You will also visit the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, where you can watch up close the amazing bachelor proboscis lazing and feeding – an experience that can only be found in Borneo.
              Included Activities
              • Sepilok - Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
              • Sepilok - Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
                Optional Activities
                • Sepilok - Bornean Sun Bear Centre - MYR30
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  1 breakfast
                  Day 7 Manukan Island
                  Transfer to Sandakan Airport today for a flight to Kota Kinabalu. Keep in mind that the luggage allowance for this flight is only 15 kg, and any excess baggage charges will incur a further charge. A short boat ride (around 20 minutes) takes you to Manukan Island, just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu. This is one of the larger islands found in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine National Park. The first of two days on this island will be free for you to explore the island at your leisure – perhaps swimming or local activities. The 1.5-kilometre beach is lovely to stroll along at low tide.

                  Note: Accommodation at Manukan is on a twin share basis. Some chalets have one twin share room with ensuite bathroom while others have 2 bedroom chalets with a lounge room. These chalets have 1 bedroom with an ensuite bathroom, and the other bedroom’s bathroom is located off the lounge room. Due to the limited chalets on Manukan Island we are not always able to provide exactly the same room for each passenger, but we always try to allocate rooms as fairly as possible and we choose to stay on this Island for it's unique and beautiful environment. Please see important notes section below for further information.
                  Chalet (1 nt)
                  1 breakfast
                  Day 8 Manukan Island
                  Enjoy a snorkelling trip today, where an array of coral and brightly coloured marine life reveals itself, conditions depending. An optional scuba dive trip from Manukan Island is also on offer for those interested in a more immersive experience. If you are interested, let your leader know and it can be arranged. After snorkelling, the afternoon is yours to enjoy. Soak up the turquoise vistas for another few hours as you stroll or swim about in this gorgeous corner of the world.
                  Included Activities
                  • Tunku Abdul National Marine Park - Snorkeling Trip
                    Optional Activities
                    • Kota Kinabalu - Tunku Abdul Marine Park Scuba diving 3 dives - MYR380
                      Chalet (1 nt)
                      1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                      Day 9 Kota Kinabalu
                      Head back to Kota Kinabalu today by boat and minivan. This will take around 40 minutes. You then have the option to travel by private bus to visit the intriguing Mari Mari Cultural Village, nestled deep in the countryside. Here you will see how indigenous ethnic groups of Borneo used to live. The trip there should take less than an hour. This is a rare opportunity to see what the culture and lifestyle was like here in a bygone era. Witness first hand how the tribes would cook their meals, ignite flame with bamboo, and use a blowpipe to hunt. It's a fun, interactive and educational experience. Return to your hotel in Kota Kinabalu later on. Perhaps head out for a final meal with your group to celebrate your Borneo adventure.
                      Optional Activities
                      • Kota Kinabalu - Mari Mari Cultural Village - MYR170
                        Hotel (1 nt)
                        1 breakfast
                        Day 10 Kota Kinabalu
                        There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
                        1 breakfast
                        Itinerary disclaimer
                        ITINERARY CHANGES Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

                        OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
                        Physical rating

                        Included activities
                        Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
                        Mt Kinabalu - Guided walk around lower trails
                        Sabah Tea Plantation - Tea Factory Tour
                        Sabah Tea Plantation - Tea Sampling
                        Kinabatangan - River cruise & wildlife spotting on Kinabatangan River
                        Sandakan - War Memorial
                        Sukau - Gomantong Caves
                        Sepilok - Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
                        Sepilok - Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
                        Tunku Abdul National Marine Park - Snorkeling Trip
                        Important notes
                        1. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
                        2. Strict luggage limits apply. See under the Important Notes Section of Trip Notes for more information.

                        Group size
                        Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                        Your fellow travellers
                        GROUP TRAVEL
                        As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

                        SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
                        Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

                        A single supplement is available for every night on this trip. Please advise your sales agent at time of booking if you would like to purchase this single supplement.
                        Chalet (4 nts), Hotel (4 nts), Cottage (1 nt)
                        The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

                        Throughout the trip we request that our lodgings prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

                        If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

                        MANUKAN ISLAND
                        Due to limited number of rooms at Manukan Island Resort, we use two different chalet types to accommodate our groups: single story villas and double storey villas. The double storey villas have one twin-bedded room with an ensuite bathroom and a lounge room (these chalets are used to accommodation either 2 single travellers or a couple). The single storey villas are a 2 bedroom chalet with a shared lounge room – one of the bedrooms has an ensuite bathroom and the second bedroom does not have an ensuite but instead can make use of a bathroom located off the shared lounge room (these chalets are used to accommodate either a couple plus 2 single travellers or 2 couples). The tour leader may also be sharing one of the villas with group members (in his/her own room).
                        With any shared accommodation facilities which do not have individual locks on room doors such as this, we highly recommend that clients use the safety deposit boxes provided at reception to ensure the safety of their valuables. Room types will be allocated as fairly as possible.
                        Meals introduction
                        While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.
                        9 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners
                        Money matters
                        SPENDING MONEY:
                        When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                        We recommend USD250.00 for meals not included.

                        The official currency of Malaysia is the Ringgit (MYR).

                        The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency in is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM). ATM's are now readily available and visa cash advances are available in major banks. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, clean bills in small denominations are most useful. Traveller's cheques can be difficult to change.

                        DEPARTURE TAX
                        All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

                        EMERGENCY FUNDS:
                        We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you bring an extra USD500 for emergencies (e.g. natural disasters or civil unrest). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to our itineraries, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be some extra costs involved.

                        If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier.

                        The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers:

                        Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.

                        Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$3 per day for local guides.

                        Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-US$2 per day for drivers.

                        Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

                        In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping.

                        At your group meeting on Day 1, your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your group leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip.

                        Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.
                        Group leader
                        All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

                        Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
                        Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.

                        We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

                        Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.

                        For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:


                        Please note for various nationalities in particular Australian, UK, Irish, New Zealand and United States, different increased Government travel warnings are currently in place for Eastern Sabah. We ask all of our travellers to familiarise themselves with their own Government Travel Advisories and to check that these Government warnings do not affect the level of coverage that is offered to them by their Travel Insurance provider. Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and your insurance must cover you for all activities and areas visited as part of this tour. Please contact your Travel Insurance provider to ensure you have adequate cover for travel to Eastern Sabah.
                        We ask all of our travellers to monitor their own Government travel advisories, some of these are listed below,
                        Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade
                        UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
                        Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
                        US Department of State
                        New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade
                        Ireland Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade

                        The safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a major priority of Intrepid. With this in mind we monitor world events very closely. Intrepid makes operational decisions based on informed advice from a number of sources including The level of the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) travel advisory. For any Intrepid Travel operated trip if this advisory is at Level 4 'Do Not Travel' then Intrepid will either cancel a trip or reroute the itinerary to avoid the areas concerned. We however also acknowledge that many of our travellers come from many different countries whose own Government travel warnings may differ to the Australian Government. We ask you to familiarise yourself with your relevant Government travel advisories at time of booking and continue to monitor these advisories prior to your trip.

                        FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
                        Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.

                        SEAT BELTS:
                        Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.

                        PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
                        While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
                        Joining point
                        Horizon Hotel
                        Jalan Pantai Pusat Bandar
                        Kota Kinabalu
                        Kota Kinabalu
                        Phone: +60 88518000
                        Joining point description
                        Located right in the heart of Kota Kinabalu Horizon Hotel is only 15 minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu Airport. As soon you step outside you are surrounded by many restaurants, bars and shopping centres all within walking distance from the hotel. The hotel features 24 hour reception, a variety of dining options in both restaurant and cafes, outdoor swimming pool, spa centre and Gym. All rooms have private bathroom, TV and tea & coffee making facilities.
                        Joining point instructions
                        A complimentary arrival transfer is included in this trip. Please advise your flight arrival details to your agent at least 14 days prior to your trip departure if you wish to have this provided. Once you exit customs, our representative will be holding a sign with your name on it.

                        At Kota Kinabalu International Airport If you have any problems and cannot locate our transfer representative on arrival (the driver is only able to wait for 1 hour past your scheduled arrival time) please go to the Airport Information counter (located on the same floor at arrivals) and ask them to call our transfer operator Vision Transport on +60 16 818 6890 or +60 138819883. If you flight is delayed or you have been put on a different flight number please call our local operator in advance to let them know.

                        If you want to take a taxi on arrival please go to the taxi service counter – here the rate is a set rate of 35 MYR and they will issue a voucher to use with the taxi’s parked outside. If you arrive between 10pm – 6am expect to pay a 50% surcharge
                        Finish point
                        Horizon Hotel
                        Jalan Pantai Pusat Bandar
                        Kota Kinabalu
                        Kota Kinabalu
                        Phone: +60 88518000
                        Finish point description
                        Located right in the heart of Kota Kinabalu Horizon Hotel is only 15 minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu Airport. As soon you step outside you are surrounded by many restaurants, bars and shopping centres all within walking distance from the hotel. The hotel features 24 hour reception, a variety of dining options in both restaurant and cafes, outdoor swimming pool, spa centre and Gym. All rooms have private bathroom, TV and tea & coffee making facilities.
                        Finishing point instructions
                        If you have a transfer to the Kota Kinabalu Airport your transfer driver will collect you from your Guesthouse 3 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the hotel / guesthouse reception to call our transfer operator Vision Transport on their 24 hour number on +60 16 818 6890 or +60 13 8819 883. Your group leader will reconfirm this with you before departing
                        Emergency contact
                        While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

                        We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

                        You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

                        For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at

                        In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.

                        Intrepid's Thailand Office: +66 898 103 722
                        As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required.
                        Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

                        Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                        Most nationalities do not need visas to visit Malaysia as a tourist for up to three months. Please check with your relevant Malaysian embassy or consulate.
                        What to take
                        What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).

                        Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

                        Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:


                        WATER BOTTLE
                        Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

                        HEADLAMP OR TORCH:
                        A headlamp or torch is recommended for around your accommodation at night. Some properties have limited lighting and are powered by generators that switch off at a certain time. It’s a good idea to bring a headlamp or torch.

                        There is a strict 15kg luggage maximum on this trip due to internal flight. Excess luggage is to be paid by the traveller.
                        Climate and seasonal information
                        The month-long Ramadan Festival will start on the 7th of June 2016. This is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at all popular tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you definitely need to expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month of Ramadan is a fantastic month to travel in Muslim countries as it offers a chance to witness this fascinating Islamic event and the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken, from 7th July 2016.

                        CHINESE NEW YEAR:
                        An important 15-day festival for the Malaysian Chinese, based on the lunar calendar in January or February. In 2016, the Year of the Monkey is scheduled to be held from 8th February. This can be a busy time and some transport delays, shop closures and reduced opening hours at some sites may be expected, but there are also many fabulous festivals and rituals to observe during this time, so it's a great time to travel. Although we make all reasonable efforts to avoid disruption a flexible approach from the traveller is appreciated.
                        All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

                        You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

                        DENGUE FEVER:
                        Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.

                        AIR POLLUTION
                        From June to October, Malaysia can experience air pollution from forest fires in Indonesia. Current recorded pollution readings in a number of states are higher than usual for this time of year. The persistent hot and dry weather conditions also causes dust to remain suspended in the air and accumulate, causing haze. Please be aware of this if you suffer from any medical conditions exasperated by air pollution.

                        Zika Virus
                        Malaysia is experiencing ongoing transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to Malaysia or talk to their doctor about possible implications.

                        Please see further information about the Zika virus (and our current cancellation/change policy) on our safety page of the Intrepid website at
                        Travel insurance
                        Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

                        When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

                        If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

                        A couple of rules
                        Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

                        Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
                        Responsible Travel
                        We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller.


                        When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.

                        Birds Nest Soup
                        Birds Nest collection is an ancient tradition dating back to 500AD which is used to make Bird Nest Soup. Today birds nest collection is a regulated practice with locals requiring a Government Harvesting licence to climb to the roofs of caves to collect the birds nest. The first collection takes place early in the breeding season before the swiftlets lay their eggs. The birds then make another nest in which they lay their eggs. After the young have left the nest the 2nd collection is made. Care must be taken to assure that the nests are collected only after the young swiflets have abandoned these nests. Edible Birds nests are protected under the Birds Nest Ordinance and the Forest Enactment of 1968. There is heavy fines and penalties imposed on unlicensed collectors and Intrepid Travel asks our passengers to refrain from consuming Birds Nest soup to discourage unlicensed collection.

                        The Intrepid Foundation
                        Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.

                        The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:


                        Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Malaysia-Borneo include:

                        * HUTAN - Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Program - studying the lives of orangutans and developing innovative solutions to preserve them. Support through The Intrepid Foundation will help HUTAN support the team of 12 research assistants and help ensure the future of these magnificent apes on our planet.

                        PALM OIL
                        While travelling through Eastern Sabah, you will likely notice that much of the land is covered in palm oil plantations. Check out our Boeneo Destnation page for more information about this hot topic:

                        After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.