Sarawak and Sabah holiday, tailor made

£3795including UK flights
17 Days
Borneo, Malaysia
Tailor made
More info
Price includes international flights from the UK, internal Borneo flights, accommodation on twin/double basis, airport transfers, touring with English-speaking Guide, shared boat excursions and meals as stated (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
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Description of Sarawak and Sabah holiday, tailor made

Explore the best of Malaysian Borneo on this detailed wildlife itinerary to fascinating Sarawak and Sabah. Stroll the waterfont promenade in Kuching and discover traditional tribal life in Batang Ai National Park while spending time with the local Iban tribe: try fishing Iban style and sample some of their fiery rice wine! Visit the two orangutan sanctuaries of Semenggoh and Sepilok and learn about the important work both sites are doing to try and save and rehabilitate the 'old man of the forest' - the lovable orangutans.
Cruise along the Kinabatangan River 'wildlife corridor' to spot resident birdlife including magnificent hornbills, an abundance of kingfishers and birds of prey. Also seek out the larger wildlife such as proboscis monkeys, saltwater crocodiles, gibbons, macaques, mangrove snakes and hopefully pygmy elephants and wild orangutans.
Continue to the Tabin Wildlife Reserve which is a refuge for many endangered animals including the rare Sumatran rhinoceros. Explore the reserve enjoying visits to the mineral salt lick which attracts an abundance of the larger wildlife in search of this important source of sodium missing from their normal diet and visit the Lipad waterfall for a well-earned dip in the cool waters.
End your trip with a short break on the pristine beaches of Gaya Island. Spend time at the 5* Gaya Island Resort enjoying time to relax or explore further with acitivites such as snorkelling, diving, jungle walks or a visit to their marine sanctuary: in all, this is an excellent way to end an adventurous visit to Borneo.


Day 1Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Kuching.
Day 2Land Kuching and transfer to your city centre hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Day 3Today will be spent exploring Kuching on a city tour. Kuching is a welcoming city offering Chinese temples, colourful markets and even a quirky cat museum. (B)
Day 4Depart early morning to explore the small but perfectly formed Bako National Park. The park's coastline is dotted with small bays and pretty beaches with many trails to explore. After dinner there will also be an interesting night walk in search of the nocturnal residents. Overnight in the basic park accommodation. (B/L/D)
Day 5Enjoy breakfast followed by one final hike in search of migratory birds and family groups of proboscis monkeys. Return to Kuching for the evening at lesiure. (B/L)
Day 6Drive through the Sarawak countryside to the Batang Ai reservoir. En-route visit a market in Serian town and observe pitcher plants and orchids. Proceed by traditional longboat to Nanga Sumpa Lodge, an interesting journey of discovery through the jungle environment. Enjoy dinner and the remainder of the evening at leisure. (B/L/D)
Day 7Hike the jungle trails in the cool of the morning to search for wildlife, this area is an important orangutan nesting area so keep an eye out! Board your longboat and head to the Ensuluai waterfall. Enjoy time to relax, swim or explore the rainforest - there may also be the chance to enjoy fishing Iban-style! Return to the lodge for dinner and visit the tribal longhouse to spend time with the Iban people. (B/L/D)
Day 8This morning is free at leisure to relax or enjoy a final swim. Return downriver and travel onwards to Kuching stopping at Semenggoh Wildlife Centre on the way to witness the feeding of the orangutans. End the day back in Kuching for the evening at leisure. (B/L)
Day 9Depart Sarawak this morning and fly to Sandakan, Sabah. Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to the Sepilok Nature Resort. The remainder of the day is at leisure, we recommend heading to the Rehabilitation Centre to witness the orangutan feeding. Overnight Sepilok. (B)
Day 10Visit Sepilok to witness the morning feeding of the orangutans at the Rehabilitation Centre. There will also be the chance to visit the orangutan nursery to see the juveniles at play. From here visit the Borneo Sun Bear Centre before enjoying lunch in the Sepilok area. Transfer to Sandakan and board a cruise boat taking you into the Lower Kinabatangan Delta in search of wildlife. Arrive at Abai Jungle Lodge and enjoy time at leisure to relax or explore the nature boardwalk. Late afternoon take a further river cruise in search of proboscis monkeys, macaques, birdlife, insect life and hopefully pygmy elephants and wild orangutan. Overnight Abai Jungle Lodge. (B/L/D)
Day 11Enjoy an early morning boat excursion to the Pitas Lake for birdwatching and wildlife viewing - early morning is a great time to see the resident wildlife as it's cooler. Return to the lodge to enjoy breakfast and free time. Cross to the Abai village and take part in their unique tree planting programme and enjoy lunch. Return to the lodge and transfer upriver to the Sukau area. Check into the lodge and enjoy time at leisure before heading out for a further river cruise along the Menanggul River. Overnight Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge. (B/L/D)
Day 12Depart early and drive to the small town of Lahad Datu. Here change to a 4WD vehicle and drive to Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Enjoy a little free time before heading out to explore the reserve: trek through the jungle and visit the Lipad mud volcano which is an important mineral salt lick for the wildlife and thus a real attraction. Scale the observation tower and enjoy the birds-eye view. Return to the lodge and enjoy a nocturnal walk after dinner. (B/L/D)
Day 13Take an early morning bird walk to search for the 300 bird species of the reserve. Visit the Lipad waterfall and take a dip in the natural pool or explore the surrounding jungle. This afternoon sample a Tabin Rainforest Foot Soak made with a natural blend of herbs to help relax tired muscles. Overnight in the lodge. (B/L/D)
Day 14This morning stroll to the nearby rock pool which is popular with groups of macaques and other mammals. Enjoy lunch and depart the reserve to transfer to Lahad Datu airport for the short flight across to Kota Kinabalu. Upon arrival transfer to the Sutera Marina jetty and cross over to Gaya Island Resort. (B/L)
Days 15-16Days at leisure to swim, snorkel, dive, enjoy the fabulous Spa facilities or simply relax. (B)
Day 17Today you will return to the mainland and drive to Kota Kinabalu airport for the flight back to the UK. (B)

Price information

£3795including UK flights
Price includes international flights from the UK, internal Borneo flights, accommodation on twin/double basis, airport transfers, touring with English-speaking Guide, shared boat excursions and meals as stated (B = Breakfast, L = Lunch, D = Dinner).
Make enquiry

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements

Travel guides

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Responsible Travel

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.


On this Borneo holiday you will visit both Semenggoh Wildlife Centre and Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre.

Semenggoh Wildlife Centre is located in Semenggoh Nature Reserve, which is home to a community of orangutans and other wildlife which have been found injured, orphaned or kept illegally as pets. The Centre works hard to educate the local and international community on the importance of preserving the regions indigenous wildlife but also to rehabilitate the animals back into their natural environments. The Centre has had such an amazing success rate and is now working in conjunction with Matang Wildlife Centre, in Kubah National Park, to coordinate the wider release of the animals. This important work is done with the help of donations and entrance fees to the centre paid on your behalf by our local agents.

Sepilok was founded in 1964, Sepilok was established to rehabilitate orphaned and often injured orangutans and rehabilitate them back into the wild. Located on the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve, the facility provides medical care for orangutans and other wildlife species including gibbons, Sumatran rhinos and the occasional injured elephant. The Centre works like a halfway house for the orangutans: it provides a semi-wild haven in the protected reserve outside the confines of the Centre but twice a day meals are provided for those animals who feel the need for it. Entrance to the Centre for these feedings is chargeable and all funds go back to the Centre to help fund the important work they are doing here. The Centre is also an important education tool for visitors to learn about the orangutans and the Centre’s work and help promote it to possible future visitors.

YTL Hotels, owner of Gaya Island Resort, operates an in-depth sustainable development policy at the resort. In 2012, Gaya Island Resort began working with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Sabah to put together a program to work with a group of small-scale local fishermen committed to line fishing which reduces the damage to marine life, contributes to the conservation of healthy oceans and improves the livelihood of local fishing communities. As a result, the resort now serves “The Catch of the Day” on its menu at Fisherman’s Cove Restaurant, highlighting their efforts in supporting the sustainable fishing industry and creating awareness for hotel guests.

Many lights in public areas on Gaya Island Resort have been retrofitted with motion sensors so that they are automatically switched on only when needed and incandescent and halogen bulbs have been replaced with lower wattage bulbs to reduce energy consumption. Heat exchange equipment and heat recovery hot water tanks are used to help conserve energy and reduce electricity used by air conditioners. The heat produced by the air conditioning unit compressors is captured to heat water for the use of resort guests.

As Gaya Island lacks a viable natural source of freshwater, the resort uses a reverse osmosis technique to produce clean water safe for consumption. This system was put into place prior to the opening of the resort to avoid the use of water barges, an unsustainable and environmentally unfriendly method of supplying water to guests. The reverse osmosis plant also treats wastewater from guest villas, producing grey water which is used to water the resort gardens. At a cost of RM2.5 million, the desalination system has been fully functioning since May 2012, supplying the whole resort with clean water safe for drinking.

Gaya Island Resort is located in Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park and the resort has established a Turtle Rescue Centre and Marine Sanctuary in an effort to create awareness about the marine life and how they can help sustain and promote healthy sea life. The Sanctuary cares for and protects the reefs, marine biodiversity and is the first Turtle Rescue Centre in Malaysia. In the wild, the number of injured or ill turtles has increased significantly over the years. Sadly, the waters around the globe are strewn with rubbish often mistaken for food by animals. Turtles eat jellyfish as a main source of protein often leading to them ingesting plastic bags by mistake. As the turtles’ food source is depleting, turtles may resort to eating garbage which can lead to serious illness or death.

As the safety of the turtles inhabiting the area is a pressing issue, GIRMC gets involved through the rescue of injured or ill sea turtles. The major highlight of GIRMC is the turtle holding tank where injured turtles that are discovered within the seas around Gaya Island are placed. These turtles are studied, and the cause of injury or illness is determined. They are then treated, nursed back to good health and monitored. After the turtle’s recovery and stabilisation, the turtles will be released back into the wild.


Our local Borneo ground agents employ only local guides and drivers thereby keeping all moneys paid to staff in the local community. Where possible, food served to guests at all the lodges is sourced locally thereby providing a further income to local residents.

Abai Jungle Lodge is located next to Abai village en-route from the Sulu Sea to Sukau. In conjunction with the Abai villagers, the Abai Jungle Restaurant was built with food sourced from Abai village and their fishermen. A donation is made for each diner towards the Abai Homestay Development Fund to go towards the upgrading of village facilities with the provision of household goods, school uniforms, seeds etc.

Abai Jungle Lodge came later and was built behind the restaurant. The lodge uses many environmentally friendly practices including the use of biodegradable and environmentally friendly shampoo and soaps in guestrooms, rainwater collection and a reverse osmosis water treatment system which purifies the water in an energy efficient and cost effective way. The lodge also introduced their ‘tree planting and lunch with the villagers’ programme where for every person who partakes in this activity, a donation is made to the village as well as the tree itself which helps generate an extra income for the village. Over the years the lodge owners have donated useful items such as motor and fibreglass boats to the villagers.

Handmade baskets produced by the indigenous Penan community are sold in Gaya Island Resort’s gift shop to shows support for the Penan community, contributing to their income and also keeping local handicraft skills alive.

In conjunction with Orangutan Appeal UK and the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre, for every booking to Borneo we adopt our chosen Sepilok orangutan, Gelison, in your names for a year. Orangutan Appeal UK works to support the orangutans of Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre. Funds from the adoption costs go towards funding the Centre’s work providing food, medical care and a safe refuge for the orangutans as well as being an important educational tool for visitors.

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