Map of Borneo Family Holiday including Malaysia

Discover Borneo on a wild family adventure.

Travel to Borneo on an 9-day family adventure and discover the curious wildlife and spectacular landscapes of the region. Learn how orphaned orangutans are rehabilitated back into the wild, swim among colourful fish, watch baby green turtles take wobbly steps towards the waterfront and relax on sandy beaches. Along the way you'll make friends, try some delicious cuisine and forge some incredible memories. With all of the essentials included, and plenty of free time to explore at your own pace, you and your family will fall in love with the unique animals, lush ecosystem and sandy islands of Borneo.


Start
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Finish
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Destination
Malaysia
Style
Original
Theme
Family, Wildlife
Code
TMFG
Physical rating
Ages
Min 5
Group size
Min 2, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Take a guided walk through the lush lower trails of Kinabalu National Park and witness Mt Kinabalu in all its glory at dawn.

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

  • Visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and, if you're lucky, watch baby orangutans learn to swing in a special enclosure.

  • Enjoy a special opportunity to watch protected turtle hatchlings scatter across the beach to the water under the cover of night.

Is this trip right for you?

  • There's a wide range of accommodation on this trip, from hotels and guesthouses to 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. A little bit of patience will go a long way towards your enjoyment of this beautiful land!

  • 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.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2023 to 31 Dec 2023.
View the 2020 itinerary
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 WWII bombings, KK (as it's commonly known) has a charm unique to the frontier town. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 5 pm at your hotel. Here you will meet your leader and fellow family travellers. Following the meeting, perhaps head out with your fellow families to the waterfront market. Here you’ll find smoky stalls serving up grilled meat and fish and heaps of local delicacies. If you arrive with significant time before the welcome meeting, you can immerse yourself in history at the Sabah State Museum 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.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information for each member of your family. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Head for the beautiful Kinabalu National Park. 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. The walk in the park takes about one hour. From here we head to the Poring Hot Springs with a scenic canopy walk and a quick dip in the springs themselves if time permits.

Tonight you will spend the night in a reconstructed longhouse on the tea plantation. Rooms are twin/triple-share and have fans and shared bathrooms.
Accommodation
  • Sabah Tea Garden or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Mt Kinabalu National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Mt Kinabalu National Park - Botanical Gardens
  • Poring Hot Springs - Canopy Walk
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
This morning we visit a Sabah Tea Factory and learn the process of tea leaves before saying goodbye to the mountain and heading into the jungle. Travel by private bus to Batu Puteh, a small village on the banks of the Kinabatangan River (approximately 5 hours). Your hosts for the night 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. Arrive in the afternoon meet your hosts and learn a little more about KOPELs work, before jumping in a boat and heading upriver to your accommodation in the jungle (approximately 30 minutes). This afternoon, you’ll head out on a sunset cruise up the river in search of wildlife, including macaques, wild orangutan and proboscis monkeys. Be prepared for an adventure! Return to your jungle camp by an oxbow lake, freshen up for dinner and afterwards, let the cicadas sing you to sleep.
Accommodation
  • Kinabatangan Eco Camp or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kinabatangan River - Afternoon Wildlife Cruise
  • Sabah Tea Plantation - Tea factory tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
For some departures throughout the year we will only spend 1 night in the Eco Camp and 1 night in the Village in accommodation with attached bathrooms due to availability.

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, including mosquito nets and cold bathing. You’ll be in deep jungle, so as not to disturb the wildlife, there is no generator and therefore little to no electricity at the camp. A torch, insect repellent and rain jacket are essential for tonight.
Wake up to the sounds of the jungle ready for a busy day. After breakfast you’ll head upriver to the village where you take a walk around the village to learn more about the life of the local people. For lunch, it’s all hands-on deck as you partake in a fun traditional cooking class, eating the fruits of your labour for lunch! The afternoon is free to relax, enjoy some boardgames or keep spotting some wildlife. Before heading back on the boat for some more wildlife spotting. After dinner tonight, you’ll don headtorches and head out into the jungle for a night walk in search of insects and nocturnal animals. See what happens to the jungle at night, and what creatures come out to play!
Accommodation
  • Kinabatangan Eco Camp or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kinabatangan - Night jungle walk
  • Kinabatangan - Cooking class
  • Kinabatangan River - Afternoon Wildlife Cruise
  • Kinabatangan – Cultural Performance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Say goodbye to the Eco Camp and take a drive to Sandakan via the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. These unique primates are not found elsewhere in the world! You will be in awe as they leapt from incredible heights to lower branches.

We arrive in Sandakan in the afternoon. You will notice the strong Cantonese influence, seen in the lively harbourside market, the many Chinese temples and the local cuisine. Here there is free time to catch up on your essentials, like laundry and banking, as well as to explore the city. Otherwise, just spend some time relaxing by the pool!
Accommodation
  • Sabah Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sepilok - Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is an exciting day and a favourite with the kids – here come the orangutans! It’s a 45-minute drive by minibus to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. 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 see these charming creatures as they swing into view and eat a supplementary diet of bananas and milk, 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, but you are free to snap plenty of photographs. You will also have the privilege of viewing a 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 not to disturb the animals.

Heading back to Sandakan you will have the afternoon free.
Accommodation
  • Sabah Hotel or similiar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sepilok - Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
Optional Activities
  • Sepilok - Sun Bear Conservation Centre - MYR50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Leave your large bags at the hotel and transfer to a nearby jetty, then board a speedboat bound for Turtle Island. Travel past small fishing villages and bamboo fish traps, arriving at Turtle Island Marine Park after about an hour. The rest of the day is free for you to soak up the island life. Relax on the beach and take a swim or perhaps hire some snorkelling gear and investigate the underwater world. Under the cover of darkness, watch as giant green turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs under the moonlight. Witness the island researchers release protected hatchlings and guide them in their frantic dash to the ocean. It's a moving experience that is bound to be rewarding for you and your family, but please be aware that this is a very delicate environment and you must follow instructions from your leader and the local rangers to ensure minimal impact on the turtles. Spend the night on this beautiful island – even though the accommodation is quite basic, this will be a memorable experience.
Accommodation
  • Chalet (1 night)
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
The accommodation on Turtle Island is very basic. Also, you will view the turtles as they come ashore which can be anytime during the night. This may mean quite a late night for the children, as at times they don't come in until after 10 pm. Groups will wait in the dining hall until the rangers call us. We suggest you bring with you some games, cards, art supplies or other items to keep the children entertained. A head torch is advised to see the full experience.
Today you will transfer back to the mainland. Once back in Sandakan the group will have the opportunity to visit the War Memorial before heading to the airport and for your flight back to Kota Kinabalu (approximately 1 hour). Keep in mind that the luggage allowance for this flight is only 15 kg, and any excess baggage may incur a further charge. Back at your hotel in Kota Kinabalu you will have time to relax before heading out for a last night optional dinner.
Accommodation
  • Dreamtel Hotel or similar (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sandakan - War Memorial
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
With no activities planned for today, you and your family are free to depart the accommodation at any time following check-out.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Bus, Minibus, Plane

Accommodation

Hotel (4 nights), Longhouse (1 night), Jungle Camp (2 nights) Chalet (1 night)

Included activities

  • Mt Kinabalu National Park - Entrance Fee
  • Mt Kinabalu National Park - Botanical Gardens
  • Poring Hot Springs - Canopy Walk
  • Kinabatangan River - Afternoon Wildlife Cruise
  • Sabah Tea Plantation - Tea factory tour
  • Kinabatangan - Night jungle walk
  • Kinabatangan - Cooking class
  • Kinabatangan – Cultural Performance
  • Sepilok - Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
  • Sepilok - Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
  • Sandakan - War Memorial

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Borneo Family Holiday trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Prices may go up, so secure your trip today!
Jump to a departure month

Important notes

Travellers on Intrepid trips that start on or before 31 December 2022 are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy.

FAMILY TRIP:
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:
Minimum age for children on this trip is 5 years old.
CHILD DISCOUNT:
A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children 17 years and under at time of travel.
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Days 02 (Sabah Tea Garden) , Days 3 & 4 (Jungle Camp) and Day 7 (Turtle Island) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.
KINABATANGAN:
For some departures throughout the year we will only spend 1 night in the Eco Camp and 1 night in the Village in accommodation with attached bathrooms due to availability.
WEATHER:
Borneo is a tropical country so rain can be excepted at any time. The wet period in Borneo runs from November to February. Temperatures remain fairly constant year round with averages of 27-32°C/80-89°F and relative humidity of around 80%. Consider bringing a portable small neck fan with you to keep you and your family cool.
OUR HOTELS:
Many hotels outside of the big cities of Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan have been built so travellers can enjoy the countryside, forest/mountain views, where people can wake up to nature sounds not cars. Many of the hotels we use are in such locations and can be quite remote. So access to restaurants are limited.
FOOD:
Borneo’s food is known for being fairly mild, with high reliance on fresh fruit and vegetables.
The cuisine is a mix of Thai, Malay and Indian. Cuisine staples include grilled fish, barbecued prawns, fried rice, noodles, and local vegetables seasoned with garlic, ginger, and rich sauces. Fish and chicken based soups with noodles cooked in a hot clay pot are very traditional.

Essential trip information

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