- Stay at Sukau Rainforest Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World set on the banks of the Kinabatangan River, and glide along jungle waterways in an electric boat.
- Observe orangutans and Malayan sun bears at conservation centers in Sepilok; and visit a community-based organization that’s working to protect Borneo’s rainforests and cultural heritage.
- Set out on safari in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, home to nine primate species, three cat species, and some 220 bird species.
- Spend three days in the primary rain forests of Danum Valley Conservation Area, hiking, walking through the canopy, and observing dazzling flora and fauna.
The third largest island in the world, Borneo is stunning for its verdant jungles, dramatic coastlines, and incredible biodiversity. Land and sea teem with exotic endemic species, many of which are endangered. Spend 11 exhilarating days exploring Malaysian Borneo, on the island’s northeastern edge. Set out on day and night hikes, river safaris, and 4x4 excursions, looking for iconic orangutans, leopard cats, hornbills, and more. Stay in jungle lodges nestled within wildlife reserves close to the action.
Arrive in the bustling city of Sandakan on Malaysian Borneo’s eastern coast. Head inland to our lodge, located just beyond the borders of the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve.
Venture into the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve to visit the orangutan rehabilitation center. Join scientists to observe the morning feeding, learn about onsite projects, and visit the nursery. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, and then head to the Rainforest Discovery Centre for an afternoon of jungle trekking. At dusk, weave through the rain forest canopy along an elevated walkway, seeking out wildlife amid the treetops. (1-2 miles hiking, 1-2 hours)
After breakfast, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the nearby Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre to learn about Malayan sun bears. Continue to the Kinabatangan River, home to one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Borneo. Settle into Sukau Rainforest Lodge, a National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World, and take a cruise at dusk to look for orangutans, pygmy elephants, silvered langurs, hornbills, and proboscis monkeys. On a night walk, see nocturnal fauna such as the slow loris, western tarsiers, civets, and more. (1–2 miles hiking, 1–2 hours)
Watch the sun rise during an early morning river safari cruise. Return to the lodge and set out on a jungle walk to search for wildlife, followed by a dusk river cruise.
Rise early and travel upriver to the village of Batu Puteh. Upon arrival, help plant a tree at a forest restoration site, then enjoy breakfast in the village. Meet with a coordinator from KOPEL, the local branch of a community conservation organization, and learn about sustainability and economic issues surrounding palm oil, as well as KOPEL's work protecting Borneo's rain forests and indigenous cultural heritage. Visit a small farm and continue to Lahad Datu for lunch. Then head into the heart of the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, home to nine primate species, three cat species, some 300 bird species, and the rarely seen pygmy elephant and banteng. Set off in 4x4s to search for leopard cats, marbled cats, flying squirrels, and binturongs (bearcats). Return to our lodge for dinner.
Take an early morning nature walk, then after breakfast, hike to the mud volcano, where salt-enriched mud bubbles up and attracts many different animals. Climb the observation tower for great views of the surrounding forest. In the evening, walk the lodge grounds in search of nocturnal fauna. (1–2 miles hiking, 2 hours)
Travel to the valley of the Danum River, known for its 169 square miles of virtually undisturbed primary rain forest. Spend three days exploring the local nature trails on your own or with a guide. Keep an eye out for rare species, including the pygmy elephant, clouded leopard, Bornean gibbon, and maroon langur. Bird life is especially diverse, with some 275 recorded species. Take a guided night hike when the forest is vibrant with wildlife. Stretch your legs on a moderately challenging hike to a nearby waterfall, go on a canopy walk in the treetops surrounding our lodge, and venture out on night safaris to experience the forest when it is vibrant with wildlife. (Day 7: 1–2 miles hiking, 2 hours; Day 8: 1–2 miles hiking, 1-2 hours)
Rise early for one last wildlife walk through the forest. Then depart for Lahad Datu to catch our flight to Kota Kinabalu. Upon arrival, transfer to our downtown hotel and enjoy a farewell dinner. (1-2 miles hiking, 1-2 hours)
Transfer to the airport and depart for home.