Classic Borneo Trip Notes

Classic Borneo

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2015 to 30 April 2016. View the trip notes for departures between 01 May 2016 - 31 December 2016

Last Modified: 27 Oct 2015
Classic Borneo
Trip code: TMKB
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 30 Apr 2016
Leave urban life behind and head into lush jungles, down scenic rivers and through the vibrant villages of beautiful Borneo. On the way soak up stunning mountain vistas, 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.
We are happy to advise that Mt Kinabalu Park and Poring Hot Springs have now reopened and our trips will now revert back to their normal itinerary.
Based on traveler feedback, from 1st May 2016, this trip will include a visit to Kiau Village and a home cooked lunch on Day 2 instead of Poring Hot Springs.
This trip is run by our experienced sister company Peregrine Adventures. Your group is therefore likely to be a mixture of Intrepid passengers and other like-minded international travellers.

Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesFinish point instructions
ThemesGroup sizeEmergency contact
MapYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
ItinerarySingle travellersVisas
Also available to purchaseAccommodationIssues on your trip
We also recommendMeals introductionWhat to take
Itinerary disclaimerMealsHealth
Culture shock rating TransportSafety
Physical ratingGroup leaderTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining point Responsible Travel
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionA couple of rules
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyArrival complicationsResponsible Travel projects
TippingFinish point Carbon offset
Departure taxFinish point descriptionFeedback
  • ‘Comfort travel’ means encountering all that the real world has to offer, but with an added degree of, well… comfort. We use more private transport, the travel pace more relaxed, the accommodation a touch nicer. And by paying a little more up front, you’ll be treated to more included meals, more leader-led activities and get a greater immersion in all things local.
Wildlife, Explorer

Day 1 Kota Kinabalu
Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
You'll be met on arrival at Kota Kinabalu airport and transferred to your hotel. Please advise flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to departure if you wish to have this transfer provided. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.
Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, is an intriguing city between the Borneo jungle and the South China Sea. Having survived World War II bombings, 'KK' (as it's commonly known) now has a charm that can only be found in a frontier town.
Included Activities
  • Complimentary airport arrival transfer
Optional Activities
  • Kota Kinabalu - Sabah Museum entrance fee - MYR15
Horizon Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Day 2 Mt Kinabalu
Leaving Kota Kinabalu behind, head for the beautiful Kinabalu National Park in private mini van (approx 3 hours).
Mt Kinabalu (located within Kinabalu National Park) at 4,095.2 metres, is the highest mountain on the island of Borneo. Mount Kinabalu is one of the youngest non-volcanic mountains in the world. It was formed within the last 10 to 35 million years. The mountain still grows at a rate of 5 millimetres a year. Kinabalu National Park covers an area of 754 square kilometers and was Malaysia's first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mountain and its surroundings are among the most important biological sites in the world, with over 800 species of orchid, 600 species of ferns, 326 species of birds, and is the richest place in the world for the Nepenthes insectivorous pitcher plants (five of the thirteen are found nowhere else on earth).
Here we will stretch our legs and take in the mountain views on one of the numerous walking trails - keeping an eye out for birds and snakes.
Leaving the hills behind, we pay a visit Poring Hot Springs (approx 45 mins). We will traverse the tree-tops on a suspended canopy walkway where you can get a birds eye view of the jungle and mountains of this beautiful National Park area.
Tonight we stay amongst the grounds of a tea garden.
Included Activities
  • Mt Kinabalu - Guided walk around lower trails
  • Poring Hot Springs - Canopy Walk
Sabah Tea Garden Cottage or similar (1 nt)
Days 3-4 Kinabatangan River
Rising early, we catch a glimpse of the sunrise while taking a morning walk through the tea plantation.
Then it is time for a tour of the tea factory itself, concluding in some tea sampling.
We then head to Kinabatangan River in private mini van (approx 5 hours)
Our jungle lodge alongside the Kinabatangan River gives us great opportunity to relax and take in the surrounds. The Kinabatangan River is the 2nd longest river in Malaysia at 560 kms from its source at Mt Trus Madi to the Sulu Sea and is also a protected forest reserve which contains some of Borneo's highest concentrations of wildlife.
In the late afternoon we will take a river cruise and hopefully spot some of the local wildlife - wild elephants are rarely seen but we will hopefully find crocodiles, macaques, wild orangutan and proboscis monkeys, as well as hornbills or kingfishers - just some of the many types of animals and birds found in this area.
We will return to our jungle lodge for dinner.
On the following day you may be woken up by the calling of the Borneo Gibbon or Hornbill or both, breaking the silence around the resort. We head out on an early morning cruise down the Kinabatangan River. Search for more wildlife and birds today including Proboscis Monkey, Borneo Gibbon, Long Tail Macaques and Pig Tail Macaques.
In the afternoon twe take a trek Ox Bow lakes. The Oxbow lakes are an unusual and unique landscape feature of the Kinabatangan. It is a crescent-shaped lake which is lying alongside a winding river. These lakes are formed through erosion and deposits of soil changing the river’s course over time. Depending on the time of year we may not be able to trek to the oxbow lake so instead we will trek up to a birdwatching tower over looking the river and visit a Merabu tree.
In the evening we get our last chance to take as many photos as we can on a final river cruise. We spend one more night in our lovely accommodation right in the heart of the jungle.
Included Activities
  • Tea Garden - Sunrise Morning Walk
  • Sabah Tea Plantation - Tea Factory Tour
  • Sabah Tea Plantation - Tea Sampling
  • Kinabatangan - River cruise & wildlife spotting on Kinabatangan River
Myne Resort or similar (2 nts)
Day 5 Sandakan
In our private minivan we stop to visit an intricate system of caves known as Gomantong Caves. The caves are renowned for their valuable edible swiftlet nests, which are harvested for bird's nest soup. Birds' nest collection is an ancient tradition, but nowadays locals must have licenses to climb to the roof of the caves, and collect the nests and penalties are imposed on unlicensed collectors.
We then travel towards Sandakan approximately 2.5 hours stopping at Sandakan War memorial along the way.
Get some insight into the city's past at the emotive War Memorial, built on the site of a 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.
Sandakan was once the capital of British North Borneo and traditionally has strong trading ties with Hong Kong. The Cantonese influence is evident in the lively harbourside market, the many Chinese temples and the local cuisine.
Included Activities
  • Sandakan - War Memorial
  • Sukau - Gomantong Caves
Sandakan Waterfront Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Day 6 Sandakan/Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary
Hop in our private transfer for a short journey to the Sepliok Orangutan Sanctuary. (approx 1 hour)
The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre was set up to help re-introduce these wonderful creatures back into the wild after a life of domestication or having been orphaned. To aid the orangutans adapt to the wild, a supplementary diet of bananas and milk is laid out on feeding platforms twice a day. From the viewing platform, you can watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view on ropes and vines. We're not permitted to hinder the orangutans as human contact must be kept to a minimum and it's essential that we follow the instructions of the park, as directed by your leader. There's also a short film about the orangutan rehabilitation process to watch in the reserve's interpretation centre.
A new section has now opened up at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre which is the outdoor nursery where young orangutans will be cared for from being born in captivity or when their mothers have been killed. These youngsters have not had the chance of a natural upbringing and don’t have the skills to be able to survive in the wild. The aim of the nursery is to train these your Orangutans to climb and be normal Orangutans so that they can be reintroduced to the wild. Included in our entrance ticket you will have the chance to view these young Orangutans as they learn how to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym. The viewing area is behind one-way glass so as not to disturb the Orangutans.
If you want to see some more of Borneo's beautiful creatures, perhaps visit the newly opened Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center. This is a wonderful new center taking care of rescued Sun Bears that have spent many years mistreated and locked away in cages. Borneo Sun Bear Conservation center is giving a better life to these bears by caring for them with the hope of reintroducing them back into the wild. They are doing great work at promoting Sun Bear conservation in Borneo through animal welfare, conservation, rehabilitation, research and education - to put a stop to these cruel practices. There is plenty of time for an optional visit to see these very cute bears!
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. The sanctuary is a protected forest reserve inhabited by several groups of wild proboscis monkeys.
Included Activities
  • Sepilok - Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
  • Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
Optional Activities
  • Bornean Sun Bear Centre - MYR30
Sandakan Waterfront Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Days 7-8 Manukan Island
Transfer to Sandakan airport and fly to Kota Kinabalu. The maximum luggage allowance for this flight is 15kg maximum, Intrepid won't cover the cost of luggage that exceeds this weight.
Located just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, (20mins by boat) Manukan Island is one of the larger islands located within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine National Park. We spend two days here, with the first day free for activities. Take the chance to walk along the 1.5km beach at low tide, go swimming, or simply kick back and relax.
Today we explore the island and take a snorkelling trip - be sure to look out for tropical fish and colourful coral.
We stay here for one more night before heading back to Kota Kinabalu.
There is the option to do a scuba dive trip from Manukan Island to see the wonderful underwater world of Borneo. Please let your leader know if you are interested in doing this and they can help you organise it on the trip.
Please note that we use twin share accommodation at Manukan: some chalets have 1 twin share room with ensuite bathroom whilst 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 acknowledge that we are unable to provide exactly the same room for each passenger however we hope you understand that we 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.
Included Activities
  • Tunku Abdul National Marine Park - Snorkeling Trip
Optional Activities
  • Tunku Abdul Marine Park - Scuba diving 3 dives - MYR350
Manukan Island Resort or similar (2 nts)
Days 9-10 Kota Kinabalu
Say goodbye to our island getaway as we head back to our hotel in Kota Kinabalu via boat and mini van. (approx 40 mins)
There is the chance to take an optional visit to Mari Mari Cultural Village to see how indigenous ethnic groups of Borneo used to live. It's a great chance to see what the culture and lifestyle would have been like years gone by seeing first hand how the tribes would cook their meals, starting fire with bamboo and using a blow pipe to hunt. It's a fun, interactive and educational experience.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Optional Activities
  • Mari Mari Cultural Village - MYR155
Horizon Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • TMKB - Single supplement (TMKB)
  • TMKB - Single Supplement (TMKB)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Classic Malaysia & Borneo (TMKMC)
  • Sabah Adventure (TMSC)
  • Classic Borneo - Independent Journey (TMKBJ)
Itinerary disclaimer
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 in Australia. 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.
Culture shock rating

Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
Physical rating

Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
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.
Money Exchange
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.
Spending money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
On this trip, we have included gratuities for the essential services that you will receive as part of your tour package. This will cover tips to drivers, specialist local guides (where applicable), restaurant staff for included meals, porters, bellboys and other hotel staff, including room-cleaning staff.
This amount DOES NOT include a tip for your tour leader, so you may wish to set aside some funds for this. It is customary to tip your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip.
You also wish to put aside some money for your own tipping, such as when you are doing our own optional sightseeing or activity that involves local guides and/or drivers or when joining in optional groups meals or dining out on your own. In these instances, we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier. The amounts can vary greatly according to destination, so we suggest that you ask your tour leader to give you guidance on what are appropriate amounts to tip.
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.
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Important notes
We are happy to advise that Mt Kinabalu Park and Poring Hot Springs have now reopened and the following trips will now revert back to their normal itinerary.
Classic Borneo departing 20th of June 2015 (TMKB150620)
Classic Borneo departing 11th of July 2015 (TMKB150711)
Classic Borneo departing 18th of July 2015 (TMKB150718)
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.
There is a strict 15kg luggage maximum on this trip due to internal flight. Excess luggage is to be paid by the traveller.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Group size
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.
Your fellow travellers
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 on this trip for 2014. Please note it does not include the following nights:
Days 7 and 8 Manukan Island
Please note at the Myne resort that we stay at Kinabatangan River we use Chalet rooms and Longhouse rooms. When the single room is unavailable in the Chalet you will be accommodated in a single room in the longhouse. Their is no river view in the longhouse rooms. All room facilities are the same.
Manukan Island Resort or similar (2 nts), Horizon Hotel or similar (2 nts), Sandakan Waterfront Hotel or similar (2 nts), Myne Resort or similar (2 nts), Sabah Tea Garden Cottage or similar (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 hotels 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.
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, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners
Budget for meals not included:
USD 200.00
Boat, Plane
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.
Joining point
Horizon Hotel
JalanPantai Locked Bag 2084
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 KKIA If you have any problems and cannot locate our transfer representative on arrival 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
Arrival complications
We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Finish point
Horizon Hotel
JalanPantai Locked Bag 2084
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.
Finish 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
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Thailand Office can be reached on Tel: +66 898 103 722 (Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia, Burma & Phillipines) and Tel: +855 92 555 969 (Cambodia). For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week (excluding Sunday). For further contact details please refer to:
Emergency funds
Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
Australia: No - not required
Belgium: No - not required
Canada: No - not required
Germany No - not required
Ireland: No - not required
Netherlands: No - not required
New Zealand: No - not required
South Africa: No - not required
Switzerland: No - not required
United Kingdom: No - not required
USA: No - not required
The above nationalities do not need visas to visit Malaysia as a tourist for up to three months. Other nationalities should check with their Malaysian embassy or consulate.
Issues on your trip
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.
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.
You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
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.
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 to navigate your way around at night.
If you are interested in taking a dip at the Poring Hot Springs please bring a small towel from home as these are not available for hire at the Hot Springs.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
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.
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.
You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
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.
Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
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.
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.
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:
Responsible Travel projects
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.
Carbon offset
Carbon Offset C02-e 283.00 kgs per pax.
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