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.

Start
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Finish
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Countries
Malaysia
Themes
Explorer, Wildlife
Code
TMKB
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
283kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • 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

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 May 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
9 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners
Transport
Boat, Plane, Van
Accommodation
Chalet (4 nts), Hotel (4 nts), Cottage (1 nt)
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

Dates

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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.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

Reviews

Our Classic Borneo trips score an average of 4.63 out of 5 based on 73 reviews in the last year.

Classic Borneo , September 2016

Classic Borneo , September 2016