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Sabah Adventure

Trip type: 
Adventure level: 
4. Demanding
Max group size: 
Avg user rating: 
Asia, Borneo, Malaysia | 13 days
Trip code: 
What's included: 

Transport - Boat, Bus, Longtail boat, Plane, Taxi

Accommodation - Chalet (1 nt), Dormitory (2 nts), Guesthouse (4 nts), Homestay (1 nt), Hotel (2 nts), Jungle Lodge (1 nt)

Meals - 8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners

Trip Highlights: 
Tribal experience
Meet orang-utans
Rainforest canopy walk
see full itinerary >>

Holidays in Borneo
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(Departures in 2012-13)
  • Day 1 - Kota Kinabalu
  • Day 2 - Dusun Village
  • Day 3/4 - Mt Kinabalu
  • Day 5/6 - Poring Hot Springs
  • Day 7 - Kinabatangan jungle camp
  • Day 8 - Sandakan
  • Day 9 - Turtle Island
  • Day 10 - Sepilok
  • Day 11 - Kota Kinabalu
  • Day 12 - Tour Ends
Extensions and Extras: Extend your holiday and see more of the world. View additional tours for this trip »
Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu

Arrive at Kota Kinabalu hotel, where you'll have the rest of the day free to relax after your flight before the welcome meeting in the evening. Details of where and when this will take place will be at the hotel's reception.

Hotel - 1 night

Dusun Village

Dusun Village

This morning you will travel by private vehicle to a Dusun village near the base of Mt. Kinabalu (approx. 3hrs). The people who live here are wonderfully warm and friendly and you'll have the opportunity to learn about their traditional way of life during your stay here. The village is nestled in amongst picturesque hills in the shadow of the highest mountain between the Himalaya and New Guinea. This truly is a magnificent setting in which to immerse yourself in local life. In the evening you will enjoy the cultural dance and stay overnight in a local house. Homestay - 1 night (D)

Please be aware that conditions at the homestay are basic, with multi-share, outdoor facilities and cold water only.


Mt Kinabalu

Mt Kinabalu

The next two days will be spent, after a short drive (approx. 45 min) in Kinabalu National Park, Borneo's first UNESCO World Heritage Site, chosen for its 'outstanding universal values'. Kinabalu is the highest peak of Borneo (4,095m) and is sacred to locals. They believe that spirits of their ancestors inhabit the top of the mountain.

Once you've arrived and settled in, you'll have the rest of the day free to prepare for your climb. There are some stunning nature trails that you can follow through the lowland tropical forest, or you can explore the five-acre botanical garden, which has been filled with plants from all over the park. 

Rising early the next day you begin the climb up Mt Kinabalu. This is a challenging walk and you will need to be fairly fit. Be prepared to tackle a trail that is made up of steep steps that vary in size. However there is no rush, so take your time and enjoy the pristine environment that surrounds you on the climb. There is a huge variety of plantlife, including around 1,000 species of orchid and the extraordinary carnivorous pitcher plant. You'll cover around 6km today (4-6hrs) and stop for the night at a resthouse near Laban Rata (3,272m). 

Basic guesthouse - 2 nights. (Bx2 Lx1 Dx1)

The resthouses will be basic dormitory style accommodation with multishare facilities. At Laban Rata additional blankets can be hired if needed. You can hire porters for the climb up the mountain (additional charge) to carry your baggage. Alternatively if you decide that you don't want to do the trek, then alternative arrnagements can be made at additional charge. Just let us know when you book.

Poring Hot Springs

Poring Hot Springs

Waking up at 2.00am, you set out for the final ascent to the summit (4,095m). On reaching the top (approx 2-4hrs walking), you will be treated to a magnificent sunrise and (weather permitting) a stunning view, with the jungles of Borneo in one direction and the South China Sea in the other. This final section is very steep in places and the trail is marked by a rope, which can also be used to aid your climb. It's a good idea to wear gloves to protect your hands from rope burn, as well as to keep them warm!

You will then return to Laban Rata for breakfast, before descending the mountain (approx. 3-5hrs) in time for lunch. This afternoon you'll make the 1 hour drive to Poring Hot springs for a well deserved soak and some free time.

Poring is situated in lowland rainforest, contrasting with the montane and submontane rainforest of Kinabalu National Park. The springs are known for their therapeutic properties and the waters with their sulphuric minerals are reputed to ease aching muscles. Basic guesthouse - 2 nights (Bx1 Lx1)

Kinabatangan jungle camp

Kinabatangan jungle camp

Today you will travel by local bus to Kinabatangan (approx. 5.5hrs). Your host tonight is the ecological organisation MESCOT, whose aim is to provide villagers with an environmental education and the means to make a living from the forests, without the need for destroying them. 

In the afternoon you will take a boat into the jungle (approx. 30mins) to the beautiful Oxbow Lake. This is definitely the best way to experience untamed Borneo and although wild elephants are rarely seen, you hopefully be able to spot crocodiles, macaques, orangutan and proboscis monkeys, while hornbills fly overhead. In the evening you will enjoy a night jungle walk, looking for nocturnal active animals and sleeping birds. Jungle Camp - 1 night (D)

Accommodation at the camp is basic. You will be staying in simple huts with shared facilities that are cold water only. Your main luggage will be left at the MESCOT office and you will just take an overnight bag with you into the jungle.



Today sees you travelling  back on land in a bus to Sandakan, the commercial hub of the district (approx. 2hrs). As you head into town, you will be able to see for yourself an indication of the vast areas of rainforest that have been cleared for palm plantations. You will have some free time here to catch up on laundry and explore the city. Sandakan was once the capital of British North Borneo and traditionally has strong trading ties with Hong Kong. The Cantonese influence is obvious in the lively harbourside market, Chinese temples and the local cuisine. If you want to get an insight into the city's past, then you can visit the emotive War Memorial, which was built on the site of a Japanese POW camp. This site also marks the starting point of the tragic Sandakan Death Marches. 2,400 POW's were forced to walk through the jungles of Borneo. By the end of the march, only six Australian escapees survived. Hotel - 1 night (BL)

Turtle Island

Turtle Island

This morning you will board a speed boat and whizz over to Turtle Island Marine Park. (approx. 1hr ride). The marine park is separated from the Philippine border and the larger Philippine island of Bakkungan Besar by no more than a narrow stretch of water - the route of barter traders and pirates from ancient times.

In this tropical island you will get the opportunity to swim and snorkel and hopefully see female green and hawksbill turtles coming ashore to lay eggs, or researchers releasing new hatchlings in the evening. Be aware that this natural phenomenon is likely but never guaranteed to happen while you travel on the island. If you are lucky enough though, watching the baby turtles making their mad dash for the sea, and the mothers coming ashore is heartwarming and something that will stay with you for a very long time. Hotel - 1 night (LD)



After the turtle experience you will be ready to meet michivious ourang-utans. Return to the mainland (approx. 45mins) and continue to yout=r guesthouse near Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (approx. 30mins)

Today there is 60 to 80 ourang utans living free in the reserve. In the wild, orangutan babies stay with their mothers for up to six years while they are taught the skills they need to survive. The Centre was set up to help re-introduce these charming primates back into the wild after having been orphaned or living a life of domestication. A buddy system is used to replace a mother’s teaching. A younger ape will be paired up with an older one to learn the skills they need. Another aid to their rehabilitation is the feeding platforms on which bananas and milk are placed twice a day. From the viewing platform you'll be able to watch as they swing into view on ropes and vines to eat. 

To learn about another species, you can visit the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary (additional charge), where you can get up close to the batchelor groups as they relax and feed. The sanctuary is a protected forest reserve, and several groups call it home. Alternatively, the Rainforest Discovery Centre (additional charge) is just a five minute walk from your guesthouse. It was created to create public awareness of the importance of conserving the forests as well as the sustainable use of forest resources. You can experience life high up in the canopy by talking a walk along the 28m high walkway. From up there you will have spectacular views of the giants of the rainforest, such as the menagaris tree. Be sure to keep a look out for some of the 250 species of bird that call this place home! Guesthouse - 1 night (B)


Kota Kinabalu

Today after a free morning at your leisure you will fly back to Kota Kinabalu and have some time to just relax on the beach or explore and shop for your special souvenirs to take home. The capital of Sabah is an intriguing city between the Borneo jungle anf the South China Sea. Having survived the World War II bombings, 'KK' now has a charm that can only be found in a frontier town. If you still haven't had your fill of sightseeing, then why not immerse yourself in history at the Sabah State Museum, or visit the Monosopiad Cultural Village, which was once home to a notorious headhunter. Hotel - 1 night (B)


Tour Ends

The tour ends after breakfast for Land Only passengers. (B)