- 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.
- Discover Borneo’s dazzling undersea on Pulau Gaya, and venture inside the otherworldly chambers of Gomantong Caves.
- Explore the primary rainforests of Danum Valley Conservation Area, hiking, walking through the canopy, and observing dazzling flora and fauna.
- Stay at a lodge set on the banks of the Kinabatangan River, and glide along jungle waterways in an electric boat.
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 at Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) in the city of Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Malaysian Borneo’s Sabah state, located on the island’s northwest coast. Transfer to our hotel and enjoy an evening at leisure.
After breakfast, embark on your preselected full-day excursion. Drive inland to Mount Kinabalu, located within Kinabalu Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site recognized for its rich biodiversity. Explore the park’s lush trails in search of endemic birds and orchids, and take in the beautiful landscapes. Alternatively, transfer to the waterfront and depart by local boat to Pulau Gaya, a jungle-clad paradise ringed by white sands and turquoise waters. Spend time basking on the beach, don a snorkel to explore the undersea, or go kayaking. Later, gather together for a welcome dinner. (Optional 2-3 miles hiking, 3-4 hours)
Transfer to the airport and catch a morning flight to Sandakan. Upon arrival, transfer to our jungle lodge, located on a lakeshore just outside Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve. After lunch, we will head towards the forest reserve for a jungle walk in search of birds and other mammals. After dinner, take an optional night walk around the property with our guide. (1-2 miles hiking, 1-2 hours)
Rise early for a canopy walk to search for birds and wildlife. After breakfast, venture into the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve to visit the orangutan rehabilitation center, which is dedicated to the rehabilitation of orphaned orangutans. Observe the morning feeding, and learn about onsite projects. Return to the lodge for lunch. Later, weave through the rainforest canopy along an elevated walkway, seeking out red giant flying squirrels, which can leap over 400 feet between trees. This evening, head out again for a night walk to search for nocturnal wildlife. (2-3 miles hiking, 2-3 hours)
Rise early for an optional birdwatching walk near our lodge. After breakfast, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the nearby Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre with its founder to learn about Malayan sun bears. Continue to the Kinabatangan River, home to one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Borneo, and arrive at your hotel located on the banks of the riverbed. Settle into your comfortable villa 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 mile hiking, 1 hour)
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. After lunch, take a short boat ride and then drive into the countryside to Gomantong Forest Reserve. Explore the lush rainforest reserve, and venture inside Gomantong Caves, which are home to thousands of bats and swiftlets. Explore the cathedral-like inner chambers along a raised boardwalk. At dusk, witness the extraordinary exodus of more than a million bats emerging from the cave to feed then return to the lodge for dinner. (2-3 miles hiking, 2 hours)
This morning, travel overland 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 rainforests and indigenous cultural heritage. Visit a small farm and drive to Lahad Datu for lunch. Continue west to the valley of the Danum River. Settle into our lodge, then head out on an afternoon walk in search of orangutans, red leaf langurs, hornbills, and more. (1-2 miles hiking, 2 hours)
The Danum River is known for its 169 square miles of virtually undisturbed primary rainforest. Spend two full 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 wildlife is at its most active. (Days 8 and 9: 4-5 miles hiking, 4-5 hours with shorter options)
Rise early for one last wildlife walk through the forest. Then depart for Lahad Datu to catch our flight back to Kota Kinabalu. Upon arrival, transfer to our waterfront hotel and enjoy a farewell dinner. (1-2 miles hiking, 2 hours)
After breakfast, transfer to the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) and catch your flight home.