Borneo Explorer

Borneo Explorer

Style: TravellerCultural discovery away from the crowds
Duration: 12 days
Type: PrivateExclusive departures for you, your friends and family


Day 1 – Arrival Kota Kinabalu

On arrival in Kota Kinabalu you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Known locally as KK, Kota Kinabalu is a friendly city with a blend of over 30 ethnic groups: the result is a unique mixture of culture, cuisine and ancient traditions. Overnight at Grandis Hotel or similar 

Day 2 - Boat trip to Gaya Island

Off the coast from Kota Kinabalu are a number of islands. Teeming with a magnificent range of marine life, the islands are fringed with coral reefs and have some of the best beaches in Borneo. Today we make a boat trip to one of the islands, Gaya, an idyllic way to spend our first day here, to relax and enjoy some world class snorkelling or take a kayak out. There is a 1km fine sand beach. Overnight at Grandis Hotel or similar (BL)

Day 3 - Fly to Sandakan & Orang-utan rehabilitation centre

WWe take the early morning flight from KK to Sandakan and proceed straight to the Sepilok Orang Utan Centre. After we have lunch at The English Tea House, located on top of a hill with a panoramic view of Sandakan, followed by a visit to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, the best place in town to spot the beautiful and endemic Proboscis Monkey. Overnight at Sepilok Nature Resort or similar (BL)

Day 4 - Rainforest Discovery or Orang-utan feeding & Sukau via the Gomantong caves

This morning you can choose to either re-visit the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre at feeding time or alternatively enjoy a visit to the nearby Rainforest Discovery Centre, where we will learn about the conservation of the rainforest and the myriad animals and plants that rely on this incredible habitat. Later we continue our journey to Sukau, stopping off at the Gomantong caves. For centuries, the caves have been renowned for their valuable edible swiftlet nests, which are harvested for bird's nest soup. The most valuable of the nests, the white ones, can sell for very high prices. Every evening, over 2 million resident bats spiral out for their evening feed. As the bats leave, the swiftlets are usually beginning to make their way back to the caves after a day's foraging. From here we continue onto our jungle base in Sukau. Overnight at Bilit Rainforest Lodge or similar (BD)

Day 5 – Sukau & boat cruise

The Kinabatangan River has remained relatively unaffected by the rapacious logging unfortunately so prevalent elsewhere, mainly because the land is permanently waterlogged and there are few commercially valuable trees there. Sabah’s longest river is home to an impressive array of wildlife and is a real highlight of any trip to Borneo: it is home to macaques, monitor lizards, elephants and, most famously, the proboscis monkey. This afternoon optional jungle walks are available for those wishing to explore further. Then, later in the afternoon as the sun starts to go down, we take another boat cruise, along the Kinabatangan River. Late afternoon is a great time to watch the monkeys as they jump from one side of the bank to the other in front of your boat. Overnight at Bilit Rainforest Lodge or similar (BLD)

Day 6 - Tea Plantation

Today we leave Sukau by bus and travel to a tea plantation where we will spend the next two nights staying in a traditional style longhouse as used by the tribal people of Borneo. Surrounded by rainforest and with magnificent views of Mount Kinabalu, this is a great place to explore. In the evening you may have the opportunity to see a blow pipe demonstration and see how headhunters traditionally hunted their prey. Overnight at Sabah Tea Plantation or similar (B)

Day 7 - Tea Plantation

After an early start, we head out to explore the tea plantation and hope for a fine view of Mount Kinabalu. We will also take a tour of the tea factory to learn all about the tea grown in this area before a picnic near the Sapoan River. We walk back to the Longhouse, and later this evening there is the opportunity to participate in some batik painting and join in the traditional dances of the Rungus Tribe. Overnight at Sabah Tea Plantation or similar (BL)

Day 8 - Poring Hot Springs & Kiau Village

We start our day with a visit to Poring, a popular spot with locals who enjoy the hot springs found here. From here we move on to Kiau village. This is a great opportunity to learn about life in rural Borneo, with the families here, who are pineapple farmers. We will learn all about the cultivation of, and how to cook, this tasty fruit. Overnight at Mt. Kinabalu Heritage or similar (BD)

Day 9 –Kuala Penyu & Pulau Tiga

This morning we take the bus to Kuala Penyu from where we travel by boat to the small island of Pulau Tiga. Formed after a volcanic eruption just over one hundred years ago, the island, which has magnificent coral reefs and a wide variety of terrestrial flora and fauna, is now part of a state marine park. Overnight at Pulau Tiga Resort or similar (BD)

Day 10 - On Pulau Tiga

The island’s claim to fame is none other than being the first ever ‘secret’ location for the hit reality series, ‘Survivor’. Hence, many refer to Pulau Tiga as Survivor Island. Located just 10km off shore on the West Coast of Sabah, it is the ideal place to relax at the end of your tour although there is also plenty on offer for the more active traveller. Spend the day swimming or snorkelling in the clear waters or go kayaking. Divers can explore its underwater treasures (diving courses are available). Pulau Tiga is also famous for its therapeutic natural volcanic mud. Overnight at Pulau Tiga Resort or similar (B)

Day 11 - Return to Kota Kinabalu

Today we return to Kota Kinabalu. The rest of the day is your own free time. Why not do some last minute shopping or explore the sights of KK? You may want to visit the British North Borneo Memorial which commemorates the soldiers who fought and died defending the British Empire during World War I and walk to the Signal Hill Observatory, a 10 min walk up hill from the Atkinson Clock Tower and offers a good view of the city centre. Overnight at Grandis Hotel or similar (B)

Day 12 – Tour ends Kota Kinabalu

The tour ends this morning after breakfast. If you are on the early morning flight, breakfast is not included at the hotel before departure. (B)

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