Borneo tour, Great Apes and Beach escapes

“Our most popular Borneo holiday is led by guides involved in Orangutan conservation research projects with the Sarawak Forestry Cooperation. Their expert knowledge ensures you are taken to the very best places to view the Orangutans in the wild.”


Kota Kinabalu | Mount Kinabalu National Park | Sandakan | Sepilok | Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre | Kinabatangan | Sukau | Sandakan | Lankayan Island

Description of Borneo tour, Great Apes and Beach escapes

This Borneo tour is a tailor made, ten day itinerary for travellers who want to see the island’s Malaysian state of Sabah, a region that is packed with some of the most extraordinary wilderness experiences. In just a short period of time you can, therefore, cover a lot of epic experiences, with the help of our drivers and expert guides who transfer you from place to place.

Starting in Kota Kinabalu, you spend three days exploring Mount Kinabalu National Park and its exquisite environs, dominated by the great Kinabalu Mountain, South East Asia's tallest peak standing at 4,101m. The national park itself is famous for its superb birdwatching, orchids and the world’s largest flower, the rafflesia. Seek out waterfalls, take a canopy walk, discover cloud forest and take a soak at Poring Hot Springs.

Flying east to Sandakan, your next few days are all about Borneo’s orangutans and their habitats in the jungles around Kinabatangan River. You will visit the world famous Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary which covers nearly fifty square kilometres and provides a safe haven for rescued orangutans, which are then nurtured until they are ready to go back into the wild again. You too can experience this ‘wild’ taking a boat trip into the heart of the jungle and spending overnight at a riverside lodge where elephants and monkeys are just a few of the other inhabitants.

The last few days of this holiday are at the beach, after taking a boat out to Lankayan Island, off the north coast, which is surrounded by a marine national park set up to protect its wildlife, in particular its prolific sea turtle population. It is also a snorkelling and diving paradise where, apart from the marine life, and a few other guests in beach chalets, is uninhabited. A dreamy desert island to finish this trip of a lifetime.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

Everything is tweak-able, giving you the freedom to build your own unique and meaningful trip. Slow down the pace with few extra nights here and there, add a few more active adventures along the way, upgrade your accommodation for that extra bit of luxury – it’s up to you!

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

We use local partners who share the same values as us when it comes to wildlife. The guides they use around the Kinabatangan River know the area very well, and show respect and care when taking clients around on the trips. They take part in Orangutan research and nest surveys in Sarawak with the Sarawak Forestry Cooperation and Wildlife Conservation Society Malaysia.

Our local partners have won a number of sustainability tourism awards.

We steer towards small scale hotels, that have character and heritage rather than large modern chains as we like to support local businesses and heritage.

Our local partners also support local community projects in Sarawak and have a 27 year sustainable tourism and community partnership with 4 Iban communities.

In our Know Before You Go which is sent to clients before travelling, we encourage them to take care with water usage as usable water is a rare commodity in Borneo.

Our environmental policy begins in our Brighton office we are very passionate with recycling, and have a strict recycling, no waster policy. We encourage our clients to take care when travelling, and send a responsible travel infographic with information on how to do this. Our local partners also have a recycling system in their office.

The Impacts of this Trip

As both of our main specialists have travelled to Borneo and know the best local places to eat out and visit. We like to support local businesses and restaurants hence only arranging breakfast in hotels where the client has opportunitiies to eat at local restaurants nearby.

We support a local charity called Reef Guardian which supports the marine park off the coast of Sandakan. Clients have an opportunity to donate £5 to the charity when booking, and they can then adopt a turtle when staying on Lankayan Island.

Our local partners comply with all relevant laws that protect the rights of their employees. All staff have employees contracts and understand the terms and conditions of their employment.

During the clients visit to the National Park, the clients have an opportunity to buy local handicrafts created by the local community at market stalls on the side of the road.

All guides are trained to assist clients in travelling with respect and we also inform client before they travel about appropriate etiquette in Borneo.


27 Reviews of Borneo tour, Great Apes and Beach escapes

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 14 Mar 2020 by

Excellent. All the guides were wonderful. Very knowledgeable. Accommodation was basic in places but clean and food was great. Everyone very welcoming and helpful. Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Feb 2020 by

We were amazed that everything worked perfectly. Read full review

Reviewed on 17 Sep 2019 by

We loved everything, it was an awesome trip. The people were lovely, so helpful and friendly. Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Sep 2019 by

Borneo has stolen our hearts and it surpassed and thoroughly exceeded our expectations Read full review

Reviewed on 19 Aug 2019 by

The boat ride along the river and seeing wild orangutans was the most memorable part of the holiday. Read full review

Reviewed on 29 Jul 2019 by

Hard to just pick one memorable part, but the river cruises were really special. It was absolutely fantastic to see the wild elephants one evening, and the following early morning boat trip was completely magical. Read full review

Reviewed on 22 Jul 2019 by

This was a memorable holiday throughout, highlights included seeing wild orangutan at Tabin and Kinabatangan, Sukau.. Seeing the turtles laying eggs and releasing the young ones at Turtle Island Read full review

Reviewed on 02 Jun 2019 by

Snorkeling with sea turtles on Lankayan Island and seeing the wildlife in Sendakan were the most memorable parts of our holiday Read full review

Reviewed on 27 May 2019 by

It was all absolutely fantastic. From seeing the Orangutans and Sun Bears in Sepilok to the monkeys, birds, crocodiles and pigmy elephants whilst staying on the Kinabatangan River. Read full review

Reviewed on 17 Apr 2019 by

The river lodge was the most memorable part our holiday. It was good vacation. Read full review

Reviewed on 30 Sep 2019 by

The most exciting part of the holiday was Deramacott. Great guide and great wildlife sightings. Read full review

Reviewed on 30 Jul 2018 by

Swimming with turtles at Lankayan island and seeing pygmy elephants on the Kinabatangan River Read full review

Reviewed on 27 Jun 2018 by

We were lucky enough to see a herd of Pygmy elephants crossing the Kinabatangan River, along with crocodiles, wild orang-utans and lots of other monkeys and reptiles. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Apr 2018 by

The river cruising and seeing the wildlife. 10/10 Read full review

Reviewed on 10 Feb 2018 by

Seeing "critters" in the wild, including orangutans, pygmy elephants, other monkeys, birds, etc. Multiple interactions with locals. Read full review

Reviewed on 13 Oct 2018 by

The holiday was excellent. At some of the locations there is a chance to get out and explore and fairly well marked jungle tracks suitable for someone with limited/no jungle navigation ability. Read full review

Reviewed on 07 Jul 2018 by

It was amazing. It can always be better, but it met our expectations Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Oct 2017 by

The people both in Borneo and on the Indonesian Islands ( Bali and Flores) were happy and smiling all of the time and their natural hospitality was very impressive. I loved the boats trips on the Kinabatagen river and all the amazing bird and animal wildlife and Paul really enjoyed the early morning treks in the Tabin Wildlife reserve and captured photographs again of an amazing and unusual selection of wildlife. Read full review

Reviewed on 02 Oct 2017 by

All of it was amazing. Read full review

Reviewed on 14 Jul 2017 by

Seeing Pygmy elephants in the wild was the highlight. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Apr 2017 by

Wonderful, we really enjoyed it and didn't want to come home! Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Apr 2017 by

Mountain climbing was the most memorable. Great. One of our best in twenty years. Read full review

Reviewed on 14 Nov 2017 by

A tour by the frog pond at Kubah national park was the highlight. Read full review

Reviewed on 02 Aug 2017 by

We loved our 2 night stay in the Longhouse. We felt very privileged to be a part of their life for a couple of days. Read full review

Reviewed on 19 Apr 2017 by

Everything was most enjoyable. Excellent. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Feb 2017 by

Special moments were seeing an orang-utan in the wild, the river excursions through the jungle and managing to get to the top of Mt Kinabalu with a lovely clear view. Read full review

Reviewed on 14 Oct 2016 by

There were too many memorable moments to pick just one. Watching the wild Orang Utans high in the trees, walking along the gangway following a juvenile Orang Utan in the Sepilok santuary, the orchids, Lankayan, watching the turtles and releasing the hatchlings, swimming with reef sharks and more. Read full review

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