Wildlife, jungle, beaches, city life and indigenous villages, trekking, river cruises and, of course, orangutans. This 10 days Borneo holiday packs in a lot.
Kota KinabaluDusun village visitKinabalu National ParkSabah Tea PlantationKinabatangan River cruisetrekkingbirdwatchingGomantong CavesSandakan War MemorialSepilok Orangutan Sanctuaryoptional: visit Bornean Sun Bear Conservation CentreLabuk Bay Proboscis Monkey SanctuaryManukan Islandsnorkelling tripoptional: scuba diving
Discover Borneo’s wild wonders – jungles, mountains, rivers and coral reefs – on this 10 day small group adventure. Explore walking trails in dense jungle in the shadow of towering Mount Kinabalu and meet Borneo’s most iconic residents, organgutans, at the world famous Sepilok Sanctuary. Take atmospheric cruises on the Kinabatangan River, looking out for proboscis monkeys, lizards and crocodiles, and unwind in a natural hot spring. You’ll meet some of Borneo’s warm and welcoming indigenous people, including the friendly Dusun group who will prepare lunch for you in their village. Spend a night at a tea plantation, too, with a tour and a chance to taste all the local varieties of our favourite drink. You’ll experience a little slice of beachside paradise, too, with a stay on gorgeous Manukan Island, where you can relax on the beach and see the amazing marine life on a snorkelling trip.
You’ll be travelling in a small group, max 12 people, staying in a mix of chalets, jungle lodges, hotels and cottages. Transport is by mini van, with one internal flight.
Single supplement £420.
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‘Orang-hutan’ means ‘person of the forest’, and this term was originally used to refer to forest dwelling humans as well as their shaggy, branch swing...
1 Reviews of Borneo small group holiday
5 out of 5 stars
Reviewed on 13 Aug 2019 by Sue Hutchins
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
So hard to say as there was at least one highlight every day. From the first nights meal out in a local restaurant to seeing Orang-utans in the wild. Having local guides mean that you are immersed in the culture of Malaysian Borneo.
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
1. We struggled to work out how much cash to take with us so here is what we spent. We spent about £700 for the two of us including souvenirs (about £150) and tips. This included a couple of beers each most days. You can spend a lot less than this if you are on a tight budget. There are ATM’s that give good rates in Kota Kinabalu and in Sandakan. Just ask the tour guide to point you in the right direction. The other places on the tour you would be wise to have cash with you. 2. You don’t need towels of any sort. All hotels have towels and there are beach towels available on Manukan Island. 3. Take a decent torch. If you choose to go for the night jungle walk (you need to pay extra for this) a torch is a must. We were told that head torches are not a good idea as the insects fly straight at your face, but you can always hold these in your hand. 4. Take a decent pair of walking shoes/boots and good moisture wicking socks. The jungle trekking can get muddy and the Gomantong Caves are very slippery with bird droppings and bat guano (not to mention crawling with cockroaches) . There are Wellington boots available to hire in the jungle lodge but they have limited sizes and members of our group had to have boots that were the wrong size which made the trekking very uncomfortable. 5. We took leech socks and wore them in the jungle but we were the only ones that had them and only the guide got a leech on him so I’m not sure they are essential. 6. Bring binoculars. The guide had a pair that he lent out but having your own is better than waiting your turn as you often miss out. 7. Listen yo your guide and ask questions. They are happy to share their knowledge. If you have Rony as your guide he is also a wildlife ranger and knows so much about the flora and fauna. 8. Eat in local restaurants with your guide. They may not look as sanitary as they would at home but if the guide says they are ok take the risk! The food is amazing we were never unwell from eating local food.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
The local people benefit as local companies are used for transportation and local guides are used throughout. We also had lunch in a local home. So the local economy was supported. The guide always had drinking water for us to use to top up our water bottle from. He also encouraged us to boil some water as soon as we went to our room to provide drinking water rather than using plastic bottles. The tour visits three animal sanctuaries which have the aim of rehabilitation and return to the wild. There is of course a negative impact on the environment with us travelling to Borneo via air travel and the tour includes a short flight too.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
If you are looking for a tour that gives you a flavour of Malaysian Borneo this is the one for you. There is wildlife spotting, jungle trekking, city visits, a reflection on the effects of WW2 on this island and a lazy couple of days on Manukan island with plenty of opportunities for snorkelling. The local guides make this a truly amazing holiday.
As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we've screened this (and every) holiday so that you can travel knowing it will help support the places and people that you visit, and the planet. Read how below.
The very ethos of our style of travel is responsible; small groups on fully escorted tours, experiencing the very best of a region, a culture and a landscape, with a friendly local hand guiding the way. Our itineraries are designed to give our travellers real life experiences without compromising the part of the world through which we are journeying. This is our commitment as a global tour operator.
When visiting a destination such as Borneo, with its pristine rainforests, tropical beaches and stunning array of wildlife it becomes even more important that we as a tour operator manage our trips in a manner which allows this natural paradise to continue to thrive alongside the country’s own tourism infrastructure, ensuring that it is as stunning when we leave as when we arrive.
Environmentally, we ensure that our groups respect the region we are visiting. Our local group leader who is with you throughout the tour will gently guide the group in this respect. On the snorkelling trip off Manukan Island, you’ll be briefed on how to behave in the marine environment to best protect the fragile eco-system that exists beneath the waves. You’ll learn about the work taking place with the orangutans at Sepilok and the proboscis monkeys at Labuk Bay, without harming the efforts taking place to re-introduce these amazing creatures back to the wild. And you’ll journey by boat down the Kinabatangan River, observing, but not affecting the array of wildlife that makes its home on the shores.
As a company we acknowledge that our responsibilities don’t stop when our tours end and in Borneo we have an ongoing project whereby we work with HUTAN, the Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Program. The purpose of the project is to study the lives of orangutans and develop innovative solutions to preserve them. This support comes in the form of donations from our own not-for-profit foundation which is part funded by donations from our travellers. In this instance its helps support a team of 12 research assistants and helps ensure the future of these magnificent apes on our planet.
In addition to operating responsibly travelling through the natural world, our trips also try to look after the communities we meet along the way. We recruit our group leaders and drivers directly from the regions through which we travel, developing their skills and offering regular employment. We source the produce and supplies we use on route from local merchants, eat where the locals eat, stay in comfortable, privately owned hotels and chalets rather than larger chain hotels and encourage all our passengers to purchase souvenirs in local craft markets and smaller shops, again supporting local enterprise and encouraging traditional skills.