Sabah holiday, land beneath the wind

“An active adventure in Sabah, including climbing Mount Kinabalu and seeing orangutans, with accommodation in unique, close to wildlife locations.”

Highlights

Kota Kinabalu | Dusun village | homestay | climb Mount Kinabalu | Poring Hot Springs | Kinabatangan River | wildlife cruises | night walks | Sandakan | Turtle Island | Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre | optional: visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre | War Memorial | final evening free in Kota Kinabalu

Description of Sabah holiday, land beneath the wind

Discover the fascinating wildlife and beautiful landscapes of Borneo on this Sabah holiday. Known as the Land Beneath the Wind, Sabah is a place of wild landscapes, hot springs, steamy jungles where orangutans live and tribal villages.

This 12 day holiday introduces you to all Sabah’s highlights. Spend two days climbing Mount Kinabalu for amazing views, before unwinding in sulphurous hot springs. Visit an orangutan sanctuary and learn how these enigmatic creatures are being protected and watch sea turtles lay their eggs at night on the beaches of Turtle Island. You will also have a cruise on the Kinabatangan River, looking out for the unique wildlife that lives in the surrounding forests and meet the Dusun people, learning about their lives with a fun overnight homestay.

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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03 Oct 2020
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Holiday type

Small group adventure

What is a small group adventure?
It's a great way to travel! Whether you are travelling on your own, with a partner or with friends, a small group trip is a fantastic way to see the world. You'll travel on a fixed itinerary that has been designed to help you discover the best of region. From the known highlights, the hidden gems that you won't find in the guidebooks.

Itineraries run on set departure dates, accompanied every step of the way by an English speaking local group leader. You chose the itinerary and the date that suits you best and you book on.

Why travel on a small group adventure?
Small groups allow us to explore where larger tour groups can't. Our maximum group size of 16 travellers allows us to use local transport to get from A to B, to visit rural villages, spend time with the locals and even stay at a local home overnight, and it allows us to give our travellers genuine, real life experiences of the countries we are visiting; what you'll be doing and how you'll travel depends entirely on your chosen itinerary.

Is an adventure right for me?
The word adventure means something different to everyone, and our range of trips reflects that. Whether you want to explore local markets, visit out of the way temples and meet local people or go on an early morning safari drive searching for the 'big five', we'll have a trip for you. If you are looking for a physical challenge such trekking the Kokoda Track or summiting Kilimanjaro, we can help with that too.

So what can I expect on this trip?
This is a classic style of small group adventure. You'll find your trip combines a good mix of included activities and free time, with some meals included as per your itinerary. We don't want you to feel chaperoned, it's your holiday not ours. Your group leader will be on hand to assist with organising anything you might wish to do in your free time, but how you spend it is up to you. Anything listed as included in your itinerary will be included in trip price; whereas anything listed as optional will be at an additional cost should you wish to take part.

These trips are great value, including things that you would struggle to organise independently, such as a night at a homestay in a remote village, or local guides around a remote place of interest. Transport will be a combination of private vehicle and public transport, whichever is the most appropriate for the route we are travelling; this might include train, plane, camel, tuk tuk, bicycle, boat…

On a majority of these trips you'll stay in 2-3 star accommodation, locally owned and reflective of the region you are travelling through. All solo travellers will be automatically roomed on a twin share basis with another group member of the same sex, unless you opt to pay for your own room at time of booking. There are no compulsory single supplements for solo travellers willing to share. Single rooms aren't available on camping trips, and you will be expected to help out with camp tasks such as setting up and breaking down your camp.

Can I book my flights with you?
Yes! We are a fully ATOL bonded tour operator meaning that we can book flights from the UK as part of your holiday package. Just ask us for a quote including flights when you make your enquiry.

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.

Environment
During our trip, our group leader and local guides take active steps to ensure our groups behave in an environmentally responsible manner, such as sticking to established trails, not leaving anything behind and not removing any plants in rural areas. They are also always eager to share information about their country and culture, and help you break down barriers in your interactions with local people.

In an effort to support conservation in Borneo, we visit the Sepilok Orang-utan Reserve and Turtle Island in the Seligan National Park where we learn about these fragile environments and their inhabitants.

Community

The Impacts of this Trip

On the Kinabatagan River you will be welcomed into the lives and homes of local villagers for the night. The families will prepare an amazing dinner and you will have the chance to get a better insight into life in Borneo.

We sponsor the placement of an English teacher in Kiau as well as supporting several other projects in the region. Travellers are encouraged to donate to any of these and at the end of our journey, any unwanted clothing, medicines and bandages will be collected for distribution to local villages.

Climate

4 Reviews of Sabah holiday, land beneath the wind

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 24 Jun 2014 by

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


Seeing the baby turtles being released into the sea

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


Dont underestimate how difficult the hike up Mt Kinabalu is. I broke my finger
falling on the way down

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


Yes, benefited local people

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


Perhaps the climbing is too extreme, and the rest of the holiday not active
enough. Need more of a balance on the trekking

Reviewed on 27 Mar 2014 by

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


Scrambling to the top of Kinabalu mountain and trying to get a photo taken at the top with over 100 other people.

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


Be aware that Mount Kinabalu is quite a tough walk (11 hours on the second day) and the ascent involves ropes. Be aware the trip to Turtle Island is on a speedboat and for us involved a very bumpy ride and getting drenched with water for most of the 1 hour journey.

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


Yes.

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


I felt we covered everything on the itinerary (saw turtles laying eggs, climbed mountain etc), but most of the holiday felt like tick in a box mass tourism i.e. we we went on a jungle boat trip, but we had to compete with at least 7 other boats at the same spots, the turtle experience felt tacky (sitting in a restaurant potentially for hours until someone shouts "turtle time", comparing the hatcheling release with a grand prix race), the night jungle walk consisted of walking around in circles about 100 yards from the lodge and the mountain climb felt unsafe at times when we were competing with over 100 people for a small space at the top of the mountain.

Read the operator's response here:

We’re sorry that Mr Price felt that elements of the holiday did not meet up to his expectations. Malaysia is a destination that is growing in popularity and as such attracts many travellers to the more popular locations on the tour. This is a tour that at times strays off the beaten track, such as our homestay in Dunsun village at the base of Mt. Kinabalu but it also aims to visit the regional highlights of this amazing country.

Summiting Kinabalu for sunrise is on the wish list for many travellers to this region and while we hope that our group be will be there on a quieter day, we unfortunately have no control over visitor numbers.

The boat trip taken from your jungle lodge base is taken in anticipation of seeing some of the native wildlife in their natural habitat, and as with many wildlife spotting opportunities, this can mean that everyone out looking for wildlife congregates on the same stretches of the river and banks where the animals are known to be found. Again, if it’s a busy period, this can mean that there are other travellers in the same locations.

Ultimately this holiday does visit tourist areas and sites; however we travel throughout in a responsible manner, benefiting the economies of local communities, creating employment opportunities through our use of guides and drivers and staying in accommodation that is locally owned.

Reviewed on 02 May 2013 by

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


Climbing Mt Kinabalu. Staying in the jungle. Seeing local, unique wildlife.

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


It says you'll get an adventure and you do. Don't expect your home comforts here.

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


The homestay keeps alive local traditions and we must have given work through using local guides and facilities. I hope the visits up river and to the orangutan sanctuary helps the animals and local people enough to be sustainable and allay further development of the land for oil palm.

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


The holiday was absolutely fantastic. Our guide was superb, especially as he stepped in at the last minutes. Activities were full-on but worth every minute. The group was friendly and fun. My only criticism was the total lack of contact by the operator regarding major itinerary changes due to insurgency, thereby not giving time for an individual change of plan/part refund if wanted. The only time they contacted me was 3 days before, when I was already on the road and not reading my mail.

Reviewed on 29 Dec 2012 by

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


Orangutans, Turtles, Mt Kinabalu...

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


Go with an open mind. Take it all in... there's so much to see!

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


Yes and no... I think it benefited local people. Not sure about reducing environmental impacts... Turtle Island had a huge amount of rubbish from nearby floating villages. I know this is not from our holiday, but not sure how it is being dealt with and sure it is affecting the turtles!

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


Excellent!! Amazing experience...

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