Our tour begins in the city of Kota Kinabalu and continues to Kinabalu National Park, a paradise for nature lovers. We then travel to Sandakan, gateway to the rich rainforests of Eastern Borneo and the idyllic islands of the Sulu sea. Visits will be made to Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, Selingan Island and the Sakau Rainforest Resort. A rail trip is also included on the Northern Borneo Railway. Visitors will experience the varied and abundant flora and fauna found in this rich tropical ecosystem.
Why book with Tours of Exploration?
- We specialize in customized, personalized tours that can suit your needs, interests, and hobbies. Whether you are in Borneo for research, photography, or pursuing another hobby, we will ensure you leave your trip fully satisfied with how your vacation time was spent.
- We choose to work with local partners, not only to guarantee an immersive, culturally and naturally authentic experience; but also to economically support the area's local population. Wildlife conservation is one of our key values!
- Book with confidence as deposits are risk-free and refundable
2022 - 2023 Departure Dates & Costs
Departures daily based on 2 or more persons.
Tour cost: $ 2,455 USD (includes domestic airfare)
Single Supplement $ 480 USD
* This tour can be modified to suit your interest, with daily departures, for shorter or longer time frames for 2 or more persons
Day 1 - Kota Kinabalu
Upon your arrival in Kota Kinabalu, you will be met by your guide and transferred to the hotel. Balance of the day at leisure and time in the evening to watch the sunset over the South China Sea. Overnight Shangrila Resort Tanjung Aru Resort for 2 nights. Tours of Exploration can assist with excellent promotional airfares from major cities in North America to join up with the trip.
Day 2 - Islands of the South China Sea (B,L)
Transfer 20 minutes from the jetty to Gaya Island. Explore one of the 2km jungle trails and learn about some of the unique medicinal plants, tropical hardwood trees, coastal vegetation, tropical dipterocarp rainforest and the ecology of the mangrove forest. Transfer across to Manukan Island for a picnic lunch. Relax, snorkel and free at leisure before returning at 3 pm. Return to Shangri-la's Tanjung Aru Resort.
Day 3 - Kinabalu National Park (B,L,D)
Drive 3 hours overland (130 km) through padi-fields and Dusun villages over the ridges of the Crocker Range to the foothills of Mt. Kinabalu at 5,000 ft. to arrive at Poring east of the park headquarters. The vegetation here is tropical lowland rainforest. Explore the jungle trail leading up to the treetop canopy walkways, 41m above the forest floor. Visit Kipungit Waterfall and soak in hot sulphur pools. Return to Kundasang for overnight at Fairy Garden.
Day 4 - Kinabalu National Park (B,L,D)
After breakfast, depart for Kinabalu Park Headquater at Kundasang. Visit the Visitor Centre and Mountain Garden; home to some of the 24 species of flowering rhododendrons, 10 species of carnivorous pitcher plants, estimated 1,400 species of orchids, over 600 species of ferns, more than 40 species of oak trees and over 300 species of birds. Take a guided walk on one of the trails in the cool surrounding of the montane forest before returning to Fairy Garden for overnight.
Day 5 - Mt. Kinabalu National Park/Kota Kinabalu (B,L)
Morning to explore Mt Kinabalu National Park. Afternoon return to KotaKinabalu. Overnight Shangrila Tanjung Aru.
Day 6 - Sepilok Orangutan Centre (B,L,D)
Transfer to the airport for your Malaysian Airlines 7:00 am flight to Sandakan. On arrival at Sandakan airport at 7:40 am, transfer to Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre. Trek ten minutes through the rainforest on wooden plank walks to witness the feeding of the orangutans. Also found in the sanctuary are Sumatran rhinoceros, brought to the centre for captive breeding. Red leaf monkeys, gibbons and many lowland forest birds are also seen in the park. Continue to Sandakan jetty for an estimated 2 hours boat journey to Sukau Rainforest Lodge along Sabah's longest river, Kinabatangan with opportunity to view birds and wildlife in virgin mangrove, wetland and rainforest habitats. Late afternoon take a two hours river cruise using electric motor in search of some of the 10 primate species including Proboscis monkeys as they settle down on treetops along the Kinabatangan River. Return for solar heated hot shower, candle light dinner and slide show conducted by naturalist guide. 3 nights at Sukau Rainforest Lodge.
Day 7 - Sukau Rainforest Lodge (B,L,D)
Wake up to the calls of gibbons and hornbills. A 6.00 am morning river cruise up the Kinabatangan River to view more birds and wildlife. Experience the wilderness of Borneo. You have the option to participate in our conservation project by planting trees at our 64 acres adopted land. In the afternoon, we proceed for another river cruise for more wildlife. After dinner a night safari cruise spotting nocturnal animals, crocodiles and birds.
Day 8 - Sukau Rainforest Lodge (B,L,D)
Wake up to the calls of gibbons and hornbills. An early morning river cruise up the Kinabatangan River to the Kelenanap ox-bow lake for a short jungle walk (if weather permits) along the lake while searching for more wildlife.
Day 9 - Sukau - Sandakan - Kota Kinabalu (B,L)
Morning wildlife excursion. Return to Sandakan by boat. Lunch at Sandakan before a short tour of Sandakan town including the water village, The Agnes Keith House and The Australian War Memorial. Transfer to airport for departure flight MH2065 at 5.20pm. Upon arrival, meet and transfer to Shangri-la's Tanjung Aru Resort for overnight.
Day 10 - Departure (B)
Transfer to the airport for the departure flight. Extensions will be offered on an individual basis to Brunei, Sarawak or mainland Malaysia.
Optional Extra Day - Northern Borneo Railway (B,L)
Depart hotel for 3 hours journey to Papar on The North Borneo Railway steam train which is built and operated to the highest of international service standards with renovated colonial style carriage. Enjoy the scenic view passing through villages, plantations of rubber and palm and paddy fields along the way with light lunch served in traditional style. Return to Kota Kinabalu.
What our clients say about Borneo…
“Our trip to Sabah and Sarawak was a perfect blend of culture and nature. We were guided by the most knowledgeable people from the region and truly felt we saw and began to understand this most special area of Malaysia: the people, culture, plants, forests and extremely rich biodiversity.” J. Citrin and R. Culbert
“…Couldn’t wait to tell you that at Sukau we met David Attenborough (aka God!) and after two days got up the courage to ask for his autograph – which he graciously provided. We were observing a mother and young Orang Utan interacting above the resort while, at the same time in the background, you can hear the quiet tones of Attenborough giving an interview for his latest TV thingy. Wow.” P. Phillips
“What a trip! We had the very best time… the delights went on and on… the most wonderful was the reverence with which the Malaysians hold their natural wonders – and care for them. They were so impressive with their knowledge and appreciation for the wildlife, forests, butterflies, insects etc. It was fantastic. And the orang-utans were SO enjoyable.” N. Strauch and B. Dorr
“…our trip to Borneo was wonderful. The arrangements were perfect, we never had a missed pickup or mixed up reservation. The guides were knowledgeable, courteous and patient and spoke very good English. It was indeed a once in a lifetime trip. We were fortunate to see many, many birds, fungi, flowers and animals - even the Bornean Pygmy Elephants made an appearance!” D. and J. States