Borneo wilderness adventure holiday

“Travel deep into Borneo’s wilderness on this adventurous and immersive experience where you’ll get up close to local flora and fauna with the support of experienced naturalists.”

Highlights

Sandakan | Sepilok | Deramakot Forest Reserve | Lower Kinabatangan River Sanctuary | Tabin Wildlife Reserve | Lahad Datu | Kota Kinabalu

Description of Borneo wilderness adventure holiday

This isn’t just a holiday; it’s a totally immersive Borneo Wilderness Experience. Photographers, explorers, nature enthusiasts and those wishing to get off the beaten track will enjoy delving deep into Borneo’s diverse ecosystem. With lodging ranging from comfortable to uber-luxury, this itinerary includes the very best opportunity to spot mammals, primates and birdlife in a variety of remote and beautiful habitats. End your stay in heavenly seclusion at Borneo’s newest and most exclusive island retreat, Borneo Eagle.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Arrive into Sandakan airport where you will be met and transferred in a private vehicle to the Sepilok Nature Resort. In the afternoon, you have the option to venture to the local Orangutan centre or Sun Bear Centre or simply relax and refresh before taking the optional night walk.
Day 2:Today is at your leisure to explore and visit the attractions in the Sepilok area, from the famous Orangutan Sanctuary to the Rainforest Discovery Centre (entrance fees to be paid locally). Within walking distance of the hotel is the Orangutan sanctuary and the Sepilok Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC). With its 147 metre long canopy walkway, the centre offers an unrivalled opportunity to walk through the tops of the giant rainforest trees and experience the jungle from up to 28 metres above the forest floor. Observation towers provide great places for bird watchers, and people have even been known to spot the occasional Orangutan swinging through the treetops. For a nominal entrance fee (around MYR10 (£2) for non-Malaysians), visitors can spend time in the plant discovery garden viewing an abundance of interesting plant species including native orchids and pitcher plants as well as impressive American imports such as bromeliads and Venus fly traps. Jungle trails featuring suspension bridges are a real favourite and the whole site offers a wealth of interesting flora and fauna.
Day 3:Depart Sepilok for Deramakot Forest Reserve, one of Sabah’s best wildlife watching destinations. Upon arrival check-in, then go on a forest walk near the base station. After dinner go on 4X4 night safari to look for wildlife. The park-style accommodation is basic but has air-conditioning and attached bathroom.
Day 4 & 5:Enjoy two days to explore the biodiversity of Deramakot via treks and 4WD safaris. Start with an early morning wake-up call for a pre-dawn 4X4 safari. Drive along the various tracks in the reserve looking for wildlife before breakfast at the lodge. Return to the lodge for breakfast then go a jungle walk. The afternoons are free to relax at your own leisure. After dinner go on another 4X4 night safari.
Day 6:Another early morning wake-up call for a dawn walk through the rainforest. Return to the lodge and have breakfast, checking out to depart Deramakot and head back to Sandakan to overnight.
Day 7:Travel to the Lower Kinabatangan River Sanctuary by boat, passing pristine mangrove forests and searching for wildlife. This is a wonderful journey of discovery which starts from the waters of the Sulu Sea at Sandakan Town through magnificent scenery of the mangrove forest. Stop for lunch at a jungle resort along the way, then continue upriver to your jungle lodge. Accommodation is in simple chalet style with private facilities. Late afternoon, there is an option to take a river cruise to Menanggul River, a small tributary of the Kinabatangan. This is a perfect opportunity to look for the famous Proboscis Monkeys and the Hornbill, as well as Pygmy Elephants and, if you’re lucky, wild Orangutans!
Day 8:Take an early morning river trip to Ox Bow Lake to observe the wildlife activity here. Return to the lodge for breakfast and the rest of the day free. As dusk falls, head out on a cruise along the Kinabatangan River in search of more wildlife before they settle down for the night. Return to lodge for dinner.
Day 9:Depart Kinabatagnan and travel overland to Lahad Datu, where you will take a gravel road to Tabin Wildlife Reserve arriving in time for lunch and to check in to the wildlife resort. Tabin was declared a wildlife reserve due to the large number of wildlife and birds inhabiting its jungle, many of which are endemic and endangered species. The three largest land mammals of Sabah, the Borneo Pygmy Elephant, Sumatran Rhino and Tembadau can be found within Tabin. Following lunch, visit the Lipad mud volcano which serves as a mineral salt lick for wildlife. Walk up to the observation tower and admire the contrasting landscape of the volcanic area with the surrounding thick forest where a variety of birds are commonly sighted. You may see footprints of wild boars, elephants and deer. In the evening, enjoy a night safari to hopefully spot more wildlife in the area such as tarsiers, civet cats, Sambar deer and other nocturnal creatures.
Day 10:This morning you may opt to join an early walk or dawn drive to discover some of Tabin’s rich collection of almost 300 bird species and wildlife (activities are paid locally). After breakfast, trek through the lush green rainforest known for its rich diversity of plants and animal species to visit Lipad Waterfall. Take a dip in the natural pool and enjoy a natural and refreshing shower under the waterfall. Alternatively explore the surrounding vegetation or simply relax. In the afternoon you may wish to try out the Tabin Rainforest Foot Soak made with a natural blend of herbs to relax tired muscles after long jungle treks.
Day 11:Leave the lodge today around mid-morning for your transfer to Lahad Datu and on to Danum Valley, arriving in time for lunch. Although set in a remote primary rainforest it also manages to combine comfort, privacy and good food with high quality natural history interpretation making it an ideal property for wildlife enthusiasts. Depending on your enthusiasm, fitness and the weather, you can expect to do up to four activities in a day: one before and one after breakfast, one late afternoon followed by one in the evening (night walk). The lodge’s activities are flexible so you can request specific elements that you would like to include during your stay. Encounters with wildlife in their natural habitat are abundant within the trail network of the lodge (though not guaranteed). Highlights of your visit will include the canopy walkway, the ancient Kadazan-Dusun Tribal Burial Cliff and a perhaps a dip in the natural jacuzzi pool. After lunch, trek in one of the oldest remaining rainforests in the world and experience an exciting suspension walkway. Suspended 30-40 metres above the forest floor, the 300-metre long canopy walkway is a great place to see wildlife without having to crane your neck up to the treetops! This evening, weather permitting, embark upon a night drive in an open-air jeep to search out the nocturnal animals.
Day 12:After breakfast this morning, enjoy the group guided nature walk, with experienced naturalists, through undisturbed riverine and lowland dipterocarp forest. There is a good chance to photograph wildlife in this pristine jungle vegetation and experience unlimited bird watching of rainforest species. Trek to the Kadazandusun burial site, Coffin Cliff before proceeding to the view point for a bird's eye view of the Danum Valley and Borneo lowland rainforest area. It’s a 3km return trip, involving a 40 minute climb to a magnificent lookout point, but well worth it. Return to the lodge for lunch. This afternoon you have the option to head to the jacuzzi pool for a refreshing dip, located just 15 minutes from the lodge, or relax after your morning hike. Following lunch, embark upon a group trek along the Segama and East Trails in search of wildlife. This evening, join the night walk around the lodge searching for nocturnal animals (weather permitting).
Day 13:Take an early transfer back to Lahad Datu for your morning flight to Kota Kinabalu, where you will be met and transferred to Kuala Penyu jetty for a speedboat to your desert island paradise. Located on a small island 10km off the western coast of Sabah, Borneo Eagle is a haven for luxury relaxation and seclusion. The island of Palau Tiga was only before known as the set of the first TV season of ‘Survivor’, and home to a small basic resort offering trips to the mud volcanoes and dive excursions.
Day 14&15:Enjoy two days of total tranquility during your Borneo island adventure. You can enjoy refreshments in the Main Restaurant or Wine Pavilion or choose complimentary room service and private in-room massage, only leaving your villa to jump straight into the clear blue South China Sea and snorkel on the coral reef with the underworld. Kayaks and paddle boards are complimentary and Scuba diving can also be pre-arranged.
Day 16:Day is free at leisure until you meet your guide for your boat transfer back to the mainland and onwards to Kota Kinabalu airport and your homebound flight. Single supplement on request *All services and prices are subject to availability and are based on 2 people sharing. City stopover packages, alternative airlines and additional nights are all available – please ask us for the options

Travel Team

If you would like some help or advice, or just want to discuss your ideas for your next trip, do give us a call.

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made at a time to suit you and can be adapted to suit your interests, budget and requirements as necessary
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Borneo wilderness adventure holiday

Environment

On this tour we work with the Borneo Rainforest Lodge who have their own Green Practices Pledge to the environment:
Danum Valley Conservation Area is one of the last remaining protected lowland rainforests in Borneo. This exquisite place is home to several endemic plants, insect and animal species. The Management feels it is a responsibility to preserve this "Wonder of Nature" by providing services in a manner that minimizes impact on this pristine environment. To minimize the environmental impact of the lodge, the Borneo Rainforest Lodge will implements several green practices in stages.

Reduce Waste
Reduce plastic waste by installing refill facilities for filtered water, selling reusable drinking bottle, using 100% biodegradable bags and lunch box, providing shampoo and body gel in refillable dispenser.

Reduce Energy
Using solar water heater, using ceiling fan without air conditioning in the rooms, installing LED-lamps and energy saver bulbs.

Reduce Chemicals
Use eco-friendly insect repellent and eco-friendly detergents & toiletries (not containing phosphate, optical whiteners, chlorine, ammonia parabens, synthetic perfumes and colouring)
Use natural fragrance for rooms & toilet.
Use homemade compost for gardening.
Use homemade insecticide (garlic & fruit enzyme).

Reuse
Reuse coffee grounds & fruit peelings to make compost.
Reuse wood scrap for making signage & key chain.
Reuse milk box for planting.
Reuse charcoal ashes for making cleaning soap.

Recycle
Recyclable item are segregated into 8 categories including plastics, paper and carton, aluminium can, tin can and iron scrap.
Process waste food into EM waste food pellet for gardening.

On this tour, you will visit the famous Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah, founded in 1964, to rehabilitate orphan orangutans. The site is 43 square kilometres of protected land at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve. Today around 60 to 80 orangutans are living free in the reserve. The facility provides medical care for orphaned and confiscated orangutans as well as dozens of other wildlife species. Some of the other animals which end up being treated at the centre include sun bears, gibbons, Sumatran rhinos and the occasional injured elephants.

We work with the Orangutan Appeal UK, the only not-for-profit charity that works directly with the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary in Sandakan. Clients have the option to sponsor an orphaned Orangutan named Beryl, who was found alone on a plantation by one of the workers when she was only a year old. The money goes directly to the Sanctuary in Sepilok to continue their excellent work. Clients receive an ‘adoption certificate’ and regular email updates on the progress of Beryl and of course if you’re lucky you may see her when you visit the Centre.

During the tour you also have the opportunity to visit The Borneo Sun Bear Centre, a conservation centre with the aim to raise awareness and encourage research on the world’s smallest bear. Found throughout mainland Asia, Sumatra in Indonesia and Borneo, the exact number of Sun bears in the wild is unknown, making it even more pressing to reduce pressure on a species that is classified as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List and at risk of becoming endangered unless circumstances threatening their survival improve. The BSBCC, the first and only facility of its kind in the world, is a non-governmental organisation set up in 2008 through collaboration of the Sabah Forestry Department, Sabah Wildlife Department and LEAP.

Community

Our local ground operator owns and operates a number of eco-lodges which are included in this itinerary. Accommodation has all been locally built and is run and operated by local people. The main purpose of these trips is to interact and contribute to local communities and projects and understand the need to minimize any negative impact on the local environment. Our ground agents only employ local guides to accompany our clients. All food in the lodges is sourced locally, helping the local rural communities wherever possible.

The Abai Jungle Lodge operates a tree planting and optional lunch programme with the local Abai villagers as part of your time there. This programme has been introduced by the Lodge as a way to directly contribute money to the local village community, plus it helps guests learn a little about the way this traditional community lives. The Lodge owners pay a small fee to plant a tree in the village with the proceeds going to the villager whose land it is planted on – the choice of villager plot rotates around the village to keep it as fair as possible.

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