Explore the highlights of Borneo on an Intrepid Family Adventure tour

Travel to Borneo on a Family Adventure tour through the highlights of this incredible region. Embark on a magical journey to explore the natural wonders of tropical Sabah. Learn how orphaned orangutans are rehabilitated back into the wild, swim among colourful fish and spot wildlife in Borneo's steamy jungles. Along the way, make friends with local villagers, try delicious cuisine and enjoy plenty of time to kick back and relax. Round up the family and jump onboard this excellent adventure into the heart of Borneo.


Start
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Finish
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Country
Malaysia
Style
Original
Theme
Family, Wildlife
Code
TMFG
Physical rating
Ages
Min 5
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Take a guided walk through the lush lower trails of Kinabalu National Park, witness Mt Kinabalu in all its glory at dawn, and enjoy a well-earned dip in the Poring Hot Springs

  • Stay overnight among the birds and beasts of the jungle, right next to an oxbow lake, at Kinabatangan Eco Camp

  • A homestay in a Malay village offers an authentic experience of the local culture. Try you skills in the language as you play with the local children

  • Visit the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and the brand-new Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center for up-close encounters with these incredible creatures

  • Swim, snorkel and stroll at Pulau Tiga, the world-famous 'Survivor Island' – the ideal tropical destination for the whole family

Is this trip right for you?

  • There's a wide range of accommodation on this trip, from hotels and guesthouses to homestays and jungle camps. Some may be a little more basic than your standard Intrepid hotel, but their unique location and close proximity to wildlife is what makes them special.

  • There are a few days that we cover long distances with some travelling times of 4-5 hours. Alittle bit of patience will go a long way towards your enjoyment of this beautiful land!

Itinerary

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

Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia. Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, is an intriguing city located between the Borneo jungle and the South China Sea. Having survived World War II bombings, 'KK' (as it's commonly known) has a charm that can only be found in a frontier town. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive early, you can immerse yourself in history at the Sabah State Museum, visit the Monsopiad Cultural Village, once home to a notorious head hunter, or explore the islands off Kota Kinabalu which are excellent for swimming or snorkelling.
Accommodation
  • Dreamtel Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kota Kinabalu - Sabah Museum entrance fee - MYR15
  • Kota Kinabalu - Mari Mari Cultural Village - MYR180
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Head for the beautiful Kinabalu National Park. Stretch your legs and take in the mountain views on any of the numerous walking trails. As you walk along, keep a close eye on the sky and on the trees, as there are many exotic birds to spot – mountain serpent-eagle, Dulit frogmouth and bare-headed laughingthrushes among them. It's also important to keep an eye on the ground for snakes, and you might encounter a leech or two. There's plenty to see and do in this World Heritage-listed park. The Botanical Garden is an excellent showcase of the diverse plant life on the mountain, and flora from all over the park has been replanted here. This afternoon is free for you to relax.

Accommodation
  • Sabah Tea Garden (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mt Kinabalu National Park
  • Mt Kinabalu - Guided walk around lower trails
  • Mt Kinabalu National Park - Botanical Gardens
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will get up early to catch glimpses of the mighty Mount Kinabalu, before the cloud rises for the day. A little later in the morning you will embark on a day trip to Poring Hot Springs, which are not too far away (approximately 1 hour). Here you will have time to soak in the famous thermal pools which are mineral-rich and believed to have medicinal properties. There will also be time to explore some of the many trails in the reserve, or go for a refreshing swim at a nearby waterfall. Tonight you will stay in a reconstructed longhouse on the tea plantation. Rooms are twin/triple-share and have fans and shared bathrooms.
Accommodation
  • Sabah Tea Garden (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Poring Hot Springs
  • Poring Hot Springs - Canopy Walk
Optional Activities
  • Poring Hot Springs - Orchid Conservation Centre - MYR15
  • Kundasang - War Memorial - MYR10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Travel by private bus to Batu Puteh, a small village on the banks of the Kinabatangan River (approximately 5 hours). Your hosts for the next two nights are the local community run conservation organization KOPEL whose aim is to provide villagers with the means of making a sustainable living from the forest. KOPEL are responsible for a reforestation project in which the community are actively involved in growing seedlings and replanting back degraded forested areas. In doing so, they are helping to restore forest corridors and increase the forest habitat for wildlife in the Lower Kinabatangan Region. To date KOPEL has restored more than 1000 hectares with over 350,000 trees. KOPEL also work on a number of other resource conservation projects with the local fishermen and farmers in the area.

It should be noted that although the homestay hosts and guides do receive ongoing training from KOPEL they are primarily fishermen and farmers first and tourism is a supplementary income. Not all speak English fluently but your group leader will help with translations and also give you a fun language sheet that will help you get by and have fun with your local hosts.

After learning about forest rehabilitation, head by boat into the jungle (approximately 30 minutes) and stay by the beautiful oxbow lake. You should be able to glimpse crocodiles, macaques, wild orangutan and the freaky-looking proboscis monkeys. You'll pack an overnight bag for the jungle camp and leave your main luggage at the KOPEL office. Stay in the jungle in a simple hut with basic facilities and cold bathing. Mosquito nets are provided. Lighting is provided by a combination of car battery and solar power. A torch, insect repellent and rain jacket are essential. Later we will make a trip along the river in a boat to look for wildlife.

As it gets dark we head out on foot looking for creepy crawlies and other nocturnal animals such as civets and tarsiers. Later settle in for a night as the cicadas sing you to sleep
Accommodation
  • Kinabatangan Eco Camp or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kinabatangan River - Sunset wildlife boat trip
  • Kinabatangan - Night jungle walk
Optional Activities
  • Camera fee - MYR5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
We are up at dawn to look for more wildlife on a river cruise. Later there is time for some more treks around the camp for the energetic or kick back in a hammock on your camp deck. As lunch time approaches we will get a local traditional cooking lesson at the jungle camp with our local hosts. Later we take a boat back to KOPEL village base and take a short bus ride to visit the nearby Batu Tulug burial caves. These caves were once a burial site some 500-900 years ago. A short hike will take you through the caves where around 125 wooden carved coffins are found. Afterwards there maybe chance for a game of volleyball in the villagers before we transfer to our host families for the night. Out of respect for our hosts please ensure you are wearing conservative clothing covering your knees and shoulders during our stay. This is a good opportunity to interact with your families and learn a little more about the local culture and way of life - so now is not the time to be shy! In the evening we are treated to a traditional music and cultural dance performance at the KOPEL village hall.
Accommodation
  • Homestay (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kinabatangan River - Morning jungle walk
  • Kinabatangan - Cooking class
  • Homestay - Cultural show
Optional Activities
  • Camera fee - MYR5
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
After breakfast, jump into the minivan and travel to Sepilok (approximately 2 hours). On the way you will pay a visit to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. The sanctuary is a protected forest reserve inhabited by several groups of these intriguing primates. It's a chance to get up close to the amazing bachelor proboscis lazing around and feeding – an experience that can only be found in Borneo. Watch with awe as these gracious creatures jump from tree to tree and sometimes come down to munch on young leaves and plants. Later we transfer to Sepilok for the night Here you will have some free time to kick back at your guesthouse and relax and enjoy the natural surroundings.
Accommodation
  • Sepilok Jungle Resort or similiar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sepilok - Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
Optional Activities
  • Camera fee - Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary - MYR10
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre that was set up to help reintroduce these animals into the wild after they have been domesticated or orphaned. To aid with adaptation, a supplementary diet of bananas and milk is laid out on feeding platforms twice a day. Watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view on ropes and vines. Human contact must be kept to a minimum, and your leader will brief you on the park's strict regulations. There's also a short film about the orangutan rehabilitation process to watch in the reserve's interpretation centre. Today you will also have the option to visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center (at additional cost). This is a wonderful new centre taking care of rescued Sun Bears that have spent many years mistreated and locked away in cages. There is plenty of time for an optional visit to see these very cute bears. A laundry service is available at the guesthouse tonight.
Accommodation
  • Sepilok Jungle Resort or similiar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sepilok - Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
Optional Activities
  • Camera fee - Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre - MYR10
  • Sepilok - Rainforest Discovery Centre - MYR15
  • Sepilok - Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre - MYR32
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today you will transfer to Sandakan airport and fly to Kota Kinabalu (approximately 1 hour). Then drive to Kuala Penyu (approximately 2.5 hours). From there you will travel by speedboat (approximately 30 minutes) to your secluded, rustic hideaway on Pulau Tiga. Pulau Tiga played host to the first ever series of Survivor, the American television program, in 2000 and has jungle trails and mud volcanoes as well as white sand beaches. Your flight departs in the morning, and your boat to Survivor Island leaves in the afternoon. This means there is plenty of time to allow for delays, but also means a long day of travelling. Accommodation for the next 2 nights is in basic chalets but the natural surroundings make up for the simple standard.

Later your leader can take you for a walk through the jungle to visit one of the mud volcanos and wallow in the mud like a buffalo before walking back to the sea to rinse off – guaranteed to take years off!
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Pulau Tiga National Park
  • Pulau Tiga - Guided walk to Mud Volcano
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Today (weather permitting) we take a boat to nearby snake island which is breeding area for Yellow-lipped Sea Kraits or Banded Sea Kraits. If we are lucky your guide might be able to find one of these snakes lurking under a rock. Later we head to a sand spit where we can snorkel in the clear waters. The waters surrounding the island are home to over 132 species of fish as well as sea turtles.

The rest of the day is free to relax in a beachside hammock or perhaps take to one of the jungle trails to explore
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Pulau Tiga - Snake Island Snorkelling
  • Pulau Tiga - Boat trip to Snake & Sand islands
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Bid farewell to your patch of paradise and head back to the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu where you will spend your last night. You will get there via speedboat (approximately 30 minutes). Transfer from the mainland to a seaside guesthouse for your final evening. Take the opportunity to relax, enjoy a drink and look back on the week's adventures with the family and your fellow travellers. Our hotel is approximately 40 mins drive from downtown Kota Kinabalu.
Accommodation
  • Langkah Syabas Hotel (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast. You are free to depart the accommodation at any time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

10 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners

Transport

Boat, Bus, Longtail boat, Minibus, Plane, Van

Accommodation

Guesthouse (2 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (2 nights), Jungle Lodge (3 nights), Resort (2 nights)

Included activities

  • Mt Kinabalu National Park
  • Mt Kinabalu - Guided walk around lower trails
  • Mt Kinabalu National Park - Botanical Gardens
  • Poring Hot Springs
  • Poring Hot Springs - Canopy Walk
  • Kinabatangan River - Sunset wildlife boat trip
  • Kinabatangan - Night jungle walk
  • Kinabatangan River - Morning jungle walk
  • Kinabatangan - Cooking class
  • Homestay - Cultural show
  • Sepilok - Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
  • Sepilok - Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
  • Pulau Tiga National Park
  • Pulau Tiga - Guided walk to Mud Volcano
  • Pulau Tiga - Snake Island Snorkelling
  • Pulau Tiga - Boat trip to Snake & Sand islands

Dates & availability

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Important notes

Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.
Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old.

A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children under 15 years of age at time of travel.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides 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.

Reviews

Our Borneo Family Adventure trips score an average of 4.8 out of 5 based on 35 reviews in the last year.

Borneo Family Adventure, April 2017

Allison Rippin Armstrong

Borneo Family Adventure, April 2017

Andrew McMurray