Borneo luxury holidays, tailor made

“This holiday is all about seeing the best of Borneo in style - wonderful wildlife, private guides, comfortable transport and a few days luxury thrown in too.”

Highlights

Kuala Lumpur | Kuching | Bako National Park | Batang Ai | Sandakan | Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary| Kinabatangan River | Kota Kinabalu | Rasa Ria

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip can be tailor-made and departures can be arranged all year. The sample itinerary below can be modified to your personal wishes including departure date, duration, accommodation used & how long you spend in each destination.
Our top tip:
Take some leech socks for rainforest trekking.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Activity level:
Leisurely.
Accomm:
12 nights luxury hotels, basic jungle lodges and longhouses.
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available at hotels.
Meals:
Some meals included dependent on your accommodation choices.
Included:
Accomm., transfers, driver/guide, flights (if booked).
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Borneo luxury holidays, tailor made

Bako National Park is a small, coastal, mangrove forest well known for its conservation and education work and is one of the best places in the state to see proboscis and other rare monkeys as well as an array of colourful birdlife. It is possible to stay overnight in the park if you wish.

This Borneo holiday itinerary includes a visit to the Iban Headhunter tribe who live in their traditional longhouse homes and here you experience their age-old culture. You can stay for a night or two with one of the Iban families or at the Hilton Resort. Do not be put off by the fact that this is a Hilton: as one of the international chainís most remote properties it is built in the style of a wooden longhouse. The resort employs and trains local staff and demonstrates a refreshing awareness of the natural environment and local culture. Through your visit to the resort and Iban longhouses you contribute financially to the medical and educational needs of the Iban people.

The Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary is the leading orangutan conservation and rehabilitation centre in the world. Here you are virtually guaranteed some impressive sightings of one of manís closest relatives at the twice-daily feeding sessions. The orangutans at the sanctuary are orphaned youngsters and adults who have lost their jungle homes due to deforestation. Whilst they are fed and protected by rangers at the sanctuary they are free to venture into the forest. There are no cages or bars: when the orangutans are ready to return fully to the wild they can simply disappear into the forest.

Spend a couple of nights at the village of Sukau in the Kinabatangan River Area. The small and basic lodges in this stunning area of rainforest are making a conscious effort to minimise the impact of tourism on the environment whilst using the income to support local projects and preserve the forest. Villagers are paid to collect seeds, become involved in tree-planting programmes and grow their produce using organic techniques. Most of your wildlife viewing is done from small boats supplied by locals and many are moving towards electric motors which are more environmentally friendly. The lodges use solar-power; recycle as much of their waste as possible and employ staff and guides from local villages. In this way the people are encouraged to preserve the forest and avoid hunting the diverse wildlife of the area.

After your stay in the rainforest you might like to have a few days of luxury enjoying one of Sabahís beautiful beaches. North of Kota Kinabalu, Sabahís capital city, the 5* Rasa Ria Resort might appear to be a surprising choice. However, this large resort has its own Nature Reserve and plenty of conservation programmes that you can be involved in. You can foster one of its animals or plant a tree as well as learn about the amazing flora and fauna of the two main types of rainforest in the country (dipterocarp and mangrove).

Reviews of Borneo luxury holidays, tailor made

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 02 Apr 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Spotting a mother and baby orangutan in Tabin

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If you love nature and animals do not hesitate to book! Definitely come with an attitude of enjoying nature and whatever it may bring.
Use this time to getaway from it all and recharge in nature.
The fact that you are visitingis helping the eco-tourism in Borneo as well as giving you a chance to getaway from it all and recharge in nature. Every place we visited gave us a different experience: Sepilok Rehabilitation Center - semi-wild adult and young orangutans that we could watch for hours (ensure to definitely have a full day there, the tour with the guide is too quick); Kinabatangan River

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. It is bringing jobs and educating everyone involved to understand how we can help and support.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Unbelievable! I cannot wait to go back!!

Reviewed on 27 Apr 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


We had lots so hard to choose, but this is our top three:
- Sitting on the Kinabantan River in a small boat watching proboscis monkeys fall asleep in the trees at sunset with a cup of coffee in our hands! Magical.
- Seeing wild Pygmy elephants on the riverbank and hearing their sounds as they call to each other
- Gaya Island Resort - Coming back after breakfast to a bath filled with beautiful pink petals, the customary towel swans and soft music playing followed by a man knocking at the door with a bottle of champagne. Amazing!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Spend more time on the Kinabantan River - it's an amazing place and with the palm oil plantations growing by the day it makes the rare experience of seeing animals in the wild all the more special. Accommodation is basic but the memories of the animals will far exceed that. We wished we'd spend an extra day there and less time at the Rasa Ria in Kota Kinabalu. In all honesty Iím not sure Iíd recommend the Rasa Ria. We did a number of the activities and I heard from one of the guests that on a trip to the nightflies locally, a guide recommended catching some nightflies and taking them back to guests rooms. This very much shocked me - more so that the other residents thought this was a good idea. The service in the Rasa Ria is also not great - itís just too commercial and non-personal for me. Invest in a high quality waterproof jacket for the jungle! You'll probably get one hideous downpour whilst you are there and you'll thank yourself for investing wisely. Same for a rucksack cover - invaluable.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, especially on the Kinabantan River. The accommodation was very explicit that the food all comes from the local villages and most of the staff came from the local area also. Loved planting a tree that one day might be enjoyed by the proboscis monkeys.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic - comment from my husband "I normally am ready to come back to work, but this time i absolutely hated it!"

Reviewed on 12 Aug 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Watching elephants have a bath in the Kinabatangan River - amazing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Go to the night market in Kota Kinabalu, you get a feeling you are in a pace very different from England!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The guides were extremely good and shared with us how much tourism obviously means to them, but also their country as a whole. They were very knowledgeable and proud of their country. We learnt much about what was threatening the environment, and many of the places we stayed in were using environmentally friendly washing products.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic - the wildlife was amazing; watching elephants bathing in the river, snorkelling with turtles, scuba diving with sharks (small ones thankfully!), and the odd orangtan and probocis monkey! The people were extremely friendly and proud of their country. A wonderfully welcoming place to visit, I will be back!

Reviewed on 10 Apr 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


There were many...making it to the top of Mount Kinabalu, spotting four wild orangutans and a huge croc on a Kinabatangan river cruise and Lankayan Island were the best.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Don't miss Lankayan Island.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


We visited local villages and markets where we bought gifts and souvenirs. Environmentally, the hotels/lodges, especially the Melapi Proboscis Monkey Lodge and Lankayan Island, did an excellent job in reducing environmental impact. Heating water only at certain times, trying to reduce water usage, electricity restricted at times, etc etc.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fantastic.

Reviewed on 02 Aug 2008 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


An open topped boat ride in the pouring rain that felt like being doused by a hot shower. Meeting the Iban and keeping our heads. Seeing the amazing wildlife of Borneo: proboscis monkeys, orang-utans and even elephants. Lankayan island

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Miss out Mulu and stay longer in Lankayan and the Danum valley. Take walking boots for the trekking and buy the leech socks at Danum as much much cheaper than the UK.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The Iban wanted us to bring all our friends and so they clearly feel the benefit of tourism. With 14 flights I can't honestly say that it had minimal impacts. Certainly learnt a lot about the impact of Palm oil on the environment.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Excellent.

Reviewed on 22 Oct 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Most memorable would be doing a night cruise on the Kinabatangan River, pitch black and crocs in the river, but loved every minute; the kingfishers were amazing!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take extra cash to tip your guides as they are fantastic and deserve it. Take a decent camera, one preferably with a zoom lens to get good snaps of the wildlife. After that sun cream, sun cream, sun cream...

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, I was concerned about this and discussed it with a couple of my guides who explained how important tourism is to their economy. Experiencing the devastation of the rainforest first hand really brought home the importance of preserving such an amazing place as Borneo. By visiting the conservation areas you provide them with money to continue their work and you also raise your own awareness!

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


10/10 Could not have wished for a better holiday, the operator was fantastic and come highly recommended. Have already started to look at where to go next!

Reviewed on 18 Sep 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Itís got to be all the wildlife I saw, unbelievable! To see the animals in their wild environment was amazing.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Listen to your guides and make the most of your time. What you see will last you forever.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


A lot of the holiday I was interacting and enjoying the local way of life. This definitely benefited the locals and there was no negative impact on the environment, it did make you look at the environment a lot closer and see what effect people are having on it.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


This was one of the best experiences of my life and one that will stay with me forever.

Reviewed on 31 Jul 2007 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Seeing wild pygmy elephants at the river bank

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Ensure you balance action with relaxation

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


As far as we could tell. The luxury hotel felt extravagant at times but enjoyable

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Outstanding

Reviewed on 18 Apr 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


The wild orang-utan coming down out the tree was great but a small orang-utan at Sepilok who came down her tree to have a really close look at us was beautiful. She didn't go to the feeding platform that day so the 3 of us were the only ones to get a really close look at her.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


If you are going walking, watch out for the leeches, there are lots of them - pack leech socks. Don't expect haute cuisine, mostly it is absolutely fine, but it can get a bit repetitive.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


It was great to stay in places that were owned & staffed by local people (except in KK - how people who just go there can claim to visted Borneo for real is beyond me). I am not convinced it is a great idea to handle baby turtles before they go into the sea.

Reviewed on 08 Jan 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Staying at the Longhouse with the Iban was fantastic. It is not everyone's bag but it was a wonderful experience and the people are fantastic. The best part of the holiday was spent at the Proboscis Lodge on the Kinabatangan River was wonderful and we would have loved to stay longer.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday? Bring warm clothes if you are going to climb Kinabalu! I was freezing.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


I hope so, the attitude towards the environment is fantastic although the amount of Palm Farming is a little depressing.

4. Any other comments?


We were initially refused entry at the Sukau Rainforest Lodge due to a late payment. While I accept that they have to be firm about payments to directly effect the guests in such an open manner was dreadful. Eventually our guide changed the accommodation to the Proboscis Lodge, whom were very friendly and we had a wonderful time. We were also told that we could not pre-book seats on the Malaysian Airways Flights yet when we arrived at the airport and requested certain seats they had been pre-booked! The Longhouse and the Kinabatangan River were worth the trip alone. Our guide Glen (who took us to the Kinabatangan River) was a legend and really helped us.

Reviewed on 20 Oct 2006 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Bako national park amazing, Kinabatangan river; definitely Borneo is worth a visit for its natural resources.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Visit parks and nature places you will be impressed; if you go to Sabah scuba diving is a must, there is plenty of island (Sepidan etc). Do not waste time on Iban tribes; as you wil see people dressed in Western short and t shirt, tv hifi; gas cooking and fridges not even hidden properly; moreover since you go in the long house everyone especially mothers with child beg you to buy things - if this is not hard sell picture and whatever stated by in agent brochure false; I found the day a waste of time. Be aware scuba diving is not available at Rasa Ria resort off Kota Kinabalu.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Honestly I cannot see how (the benefit for local people was extremely minimal) a dinner costs at Shangri la Rasa Ria 105 Ringitt = 22.72 Euro the equivalent of a dinner in Italy; where an employee costs to the company 2000 Euro gross to the company a month basic salary in Malaysia an employee is paid 400 Ringitt a month = 86.58 Euro do not get a heat attack where all the money goes?? Probably in the pocket of a few multinationals if you see the places I have been.

Read the operator's response here:

The vast majority of Iban families have a strong desire to remain in their traditional, longhouse homes (with some modern additions including electricity which we acknowledge). In the past the authorities have tried to move tribal groups into conventional towns against their wishes to make provision of education and medical facilities easier. However, tourism has contributed to saving the tribal groups from this as a mutually beneficial relationship has developed between the Iban (and other tribes), tourists and the local authorities. The income from tourism encourages government to provide for the Iban in their natural homes and guests to the houses of the Iban experience a unique culture and history.

The Rasa Ria provides a staff remuneration package that is similar or better than most of its competitors in Sabah and has one of the lowest rates of staff turnover. The package includes meals, medical assistance, retirement benefit, insurance coverage, a personnel development programme, employee discounts and accommodation for out-of-town employees. The Shangri-La group issues anonymous questionnaires for employees that are independently assessed to constructively utilise employee feedback and the Rasa Ria feedback rates amongst the highest in the company.

In addition to this the hotel works with Sabah's Human Resource Development Department and trains youngsters without work experience to develop a career in the hotel industry.

On a community level, each week different schools are invited for an educational trip to the nature reserve to understand the importance of conservation of the flora and fauna, most especially the Orangutans. The hotel works closely with Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre in Sandakan, one of the world's leading Orangutan research and conservation organisations.

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