BORNEO: SABAH JUNGLE AND BEACHES
14 days, from £1,100 pp, based on a family of four sharing.
Plus international flights from £600 per adult.
Recommended for travel between March and September, although year-round travel is possible.
Travel Style: Self-Guided.
Rub shoulders with orangutans at SORC (Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre).
Let kids play under towering skyscrapers at KLCC park.
Venture deep into Borneo's pristine jungle on a river-boat adventure.
Take in the spiky summit of Mt Kinabalu (from its low lands or peak) at Kinabalu National Park.
Chase clown and parrot fish around vibrant coral, in the crystal clear waters of the South China Sea.
Enjoy a touch of luxury on stunning Gaya Island.
THE BORING BUT NECESSARY BITS
Average flight time from UK: 15 hours
Total drive time: 9 hours
Longest drive: 4.5 hours
No visa required for UK passport holders.
Malaria: Coastal areas are low risk, inland forested areas (including Sepilok) are high risk.
Borneo's spectacular jungle and pristine coastlines are home to an abundance of indigenous wildlife. This two-week self-guided itinerary captures the highlights of Borneo, including wild animal encounters, jungle lodge homestays and rainforest backed beaches. Witness turtles hatching, breakfast with orangutans and swim with stingrays on an action-packed family adventure.
Day 1 – 3 Kuala Lumpur
Your adventure begins in Malaysia's capital, Kuala Lumpur. It’s a young city, where just a few generations separate todays KL-ites from the Chinese and Malay founders. The result is a city that craves modernity, with a glistening skyline punctuated by the awesome Petronas Towers, whilst continuing to embrace the ancient cultures of its people. Explore the colourful street food stalls in frenetic Chinatown and Little India and wander amongst the giant skyscrapers and shopping malls in the city centre. Little adventurers will love the huge KLCC park, complete with splash park, adventure playground and miles of cycling and walking trails, while the interactive science museum inside the hulking Petronas Towers is a great indoor option. On the city’s outskirts the Batu Caves are a must-see. Guarded by a giant golden statue of a Hindu god, adventurers of all sizes will love searching out bats and monkeys amongst the Hindu temples and stalactites, hidden within the limestone cliffs.
Day 3 – 6 Sandakan and Sepilok
After a short flight over the Riau Islands, you’ll arrive at Sandakan, on the eastern edge of Malaysian Borneo. A former colonial strong-hold, the city was badly damaged during WWII, but is thriving again thanks to the success of the palm oil industry. Arm the kids with a treasure map and spend a leisurely day exploring colonial mansions and religious relics.
Sepilok, a half-hour drive away, on the cusp of Borneo’s untamed jungle, is nature at its very best. It’s home to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (SORC) with its nursery for orangutan youngsters, as well as a sun bear conservation centre, the Rainforest Discovery Centre and a proboscis monkey sanctuary. All these attractions are fabulously run and most within walking distance of each other, allowing your Tribe to explore them all at your own pace. SORC is undoubtedly the highlight, with a feeding platform where young adventurers can watch out for the shaking of trees and rustling of leaves awaiting their first orangutan encounter. Night walks and a Nature Education Centre are also available for older children, offering a wonderful opportunity to see young orangutans playing chase in the trees while learning about key environmental issues such as deforestation.
Day 6 – 8 Kinabatangan River
Time to leave the relative comfort of sanctuaries and civilisation behind as you go wildlife hunting in the untamed jungles of central Sabah. The long, snaking Kinabatangan River provides the perfect access to some of the world’s most fauna rich lands. A traditional river-boat takes you deep into the jungle, so keep your eyes peeled for orangutan’s, as well as nine other primates, pygmy elephants, crocs, wild boar and if you’re very lucky a clouded leopard. There are several eco-focused lodges along the river’s edge and your Tribe will enjoy the warm hospitality and expert local knowledge they provide. Accommodation is basic, but the setting is stunning with the wild jungles of Borneo on your doorstep.
Day 8 – 10 Kinabalu National Park
Take a scenic drive west through tropical rainforest, jungle and tea plantations until the imposing Mount Kinabalu dominates the sky-line. You’ll spend two nights in a traditional Sabah Longhouse and learn about their unique tea growing techniques whilst enjoying the beautiful countryside and fresh mountain air. Kinabalu National Park is close by and adventurous travellers can attempt trekking to its striking crown-like peak. It’s the highest point between the Himalayas and New Guinea, and the reward is breath-taking views as far as the Philippines to the north and Indonesia to the south. For younger adventurers, or those that have climbed enough mountains, the National Park has some great trails that meander through low lying tropical rainforest and the Poring hot springs (an unlikely left-over from WWII Japanese occupation) are a great stopping point, surrounded by kid-friendly gardens.
Day 10 – 14 Gaya Island
Pulau Gaya is a dot of tropical green in a landscape of turquoise blue seas. With stunning beaches matched by luxurious accommodation, it’s a fabulous place to end your Borneo adventure. The small island of virtually undisturbed tropical forest is rife for exploration. The snorkelling here is some of the best in the world as the surrounding oceans are teeming with life. Multi-coloured coral reefs vie for attention with tropical clown and parrot fish while sting rays, turtles and giant angelfish lazily cruise the clear waters. In-land you can seek out macaques, hornbills, tree frogs and Bornean bearded pigs as you trail through the untouched rainforest. When you’ve exhausted the exploration, just sit back, relax and enjoy your luxurious accommodation and spectacular setting.
On day 14 you will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.