Borneo holiday, Highlights of Borneo

“Take two weeks to explore Borneo's Sarawak and Sabah regions, which include Mount Kinabalu and Sepilok, prior to relaxing at your leisure within a luxury beach resort.”

Highlights

Sandakan | Kinabatangan River | Pitas Lake | Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre | nocturnal nature trails and river cruises | Rainforest Discovery Centre | Kota Kinabalu | Poring hot springs | Kinabalu Park | Timpohon Gate | Mountain Garden | Optional activities, include: a tree planting project, lunch with local Abai villagers, a trek to Mt Kinabalu's second shelter |

Description of Borneo holiday, Highlights of Borneo

A wonderful tour of the main highlights of Borneo, including the majesty of Mt. Kinabalu, a thrilling canopy walk high above the jungle at Sepilok where you will see endangered Orangutans and Sun Bears. In the Kinabatangan River area you may spot the unique Proboscis Monkeys and a whole host of other wildlife and birds.

This Highlights of Borneo tour has an English-speaking guide for the majority of your adventure and you will be staying in a mixture of luxurious resort hotels, idyllic islands and rustic lodges.

As professional tour operators, we love Borneo and aim to give all responsible travellers the best possible experience to ensure they leave feeling relaxed and enlightened and eager to come back for more. If there are any special requests or requirements that you wish to be added to the tour then let us know as we want to create a Borneo tour that's designed specifically for you, all you have to do is ask.

Departures to Borneo can be arranged year round, however the weather in Borneo is most unsettled between November and February, generally though rainfall can occur at any time.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Sandakan, via Kuala Lumpur (own arrangements).
Day 2:Arrive into Sandakan airport where you will be met by one of our representatives for your transfer to the Four Point by Sheraton and the rest of the day free at your leisure.
Day 3:This morning you will be collected from your hotel and travel to the jetty, for the 1 hour boat cruise down the Kinabatangan River to Abai Jungle Lodge for lunch and check in. After lunch, free time to relax before cruising upriver again to search for the local wildlife. After dinner, a night cruise leads you to witness the magic of the fire flies lit up in the dark. (B,L,D)
Day 4:Take an early morning river cruise to the nearby Pitas Lake observing wildlife as the sun rises. Return to the lodge and after breakfast, you have the opportunity to take part in the tree planting project followed by an optional lunch with the local Abai villagers. Your afternoon is then free until the evening boat cruise searching for the nocturnal animals and birds that live within the forest. (B,L,D)
Day 5:Today you will rise early for the morning river trip back to Sandakan where you will have time to visit the Central Market for a spot of souvenir shopping. After lunch, transfer to the Sepilok Nature Resort. You arrive in time for the afternoon feeding of these magnificent apes and can embark on an evening tour of the Centre to see who comes out after dark. (B)
Day 6:Day at leisure at Sepilok where you may choose to revisit the Centre where you can see the worlds smallest bear - the Sun Bear - also on the endangered list and visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre to learn more about the flora and fauna of this very special island (entrance fees to be paid locally). (B)
Day 7:Today you will take a flight back to Kota Kinabalu where your guide will meet you and head off to the Poring Hot Springs (developed by the Japanese in WWII) where you have the opportunity to relax in sulphurous pool and explore the various nature trails. There is also a canopy walkway, 30 metres above the jungle floor. Proceed to the World Heritage site of Kinabalu Park and your lodge. (B,L,D)
Day 8:Travel on to the Timpohon Gate (1,524m above sea level), where you will have the option to participate in a trek to the second shelter along the mountain trail. You will have a guided walk of the Mountain Garden where you may be fortunate to see the Rafflesia flower in bloom (this is also known as the rotting flesh flower). Travel back to Kota Kinabalu and the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort. (B/L)
Days 9-11Free time to relax and enjoy the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort.There are a number of tours available in and around Kota Kinabalu which we would be pleased to advise you on. Overnight at the resort. (B)
Day 12:After breakfast, check out of your hotel for your transfer to the airport for your return flight home (own flight arrangements). We can arrange late check out if it's required. (B)

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

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year and can be adapted to suit your interests, budget and requirements as necessary
Our top tip:
Spend time with your Iban guides as their local knowledge is key. Also, don't forget insect repellent, light clothes and leech socks (can be bought locally).
Trip type:
Tailor made. All-year round.
Activity level:
Leisurely.
Accomm:
1 night Sheraton hotel, 2 nights jungle lodge (private bathroom/hot shower), 2 nights private bungalows, 1 night basic jungle lodge (attached bathroom) and 4 nights private guest room with balcony in nature resort.
Included:
Accommodation, transfers, transport and tour guides.
Meals:
8 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners.
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type
We offer a complete tailor made service allowing you to decide when you go, where to stay and what to do, to create a unique holiday for your individual requirements by our travel experts. We would be happy to telephone you to discuss your requirements and options. Our staff have intimate knowledge of this destination, so do please include your telephone number when you complete the enquiry form.

Responsible tourism

Borneo holiday, Highlights of Borneo

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

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

On this Borneo holiday, 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 orang-utans as well as dozens of other wildlife species. Some of the other animals which are treated at the centre include:- sun bears, gibbons, Sumatran Rhinos and the occasional injured elephant. A visit to the Sepilok Rehabilitation centre benefits the Orangutans in a number of ways as the entrance fees paid to the centre go directly to paying the staff, providing the food and the training of specialist guides to rehabilitate the Orangutans back into the wild. Donations are welcomed by the centre although not a condition of entry and we separately would request all of our Borneo clients donate a small amount for their visit.

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.

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is a founding member of the Asia Pacific Hotels Environmental Initiative. In accordance with the Group's environmental policy, all Shangri-La and Traders hotels have "Green Programs" to identify ways to reduce wastage, eradicate practices that damage the environment and generally promote environmental awareness.

The Tanjung Aru Resort collaborates with the WWF and works with villagers from Kampung Berungus in Kudat to preserve the seagrass bed habitat of the seacow or 'dugong'. The Resort obtains a weekly supply of sustainably harvested fish and shrimp to be served in the resort’s restaurants. It is anticipated that this long-term collaboration will help restore the integrity of the marine eco-system whilst providing poverty troubled villagers with a consistent source of income. The Resort has also introduced a 'Bakashi' program which is a system using fermented organic matter to create compost for gardens from kitchen organic waste. This has resulted in a reduction in the amount of fertiliser and compost used.

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.

Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort has partnered with Seri Mengasih, a school for over 100 intellectually and physically challenged children, since 2008. 2010 marked the third year of full school fees support alongside regular hotel skills training in areas such as housekeeping and bakery, with the goal of hiring apprentices into the hotel. One apprentice works at the registration and towel counter by the poolside and is able to interact with guests.

28 Reviews of Borneo holiday, Highlights of Borneo

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Reviewed on 01 Oct 2017 by

We had some excellent wildlife sightings particularly of orangutans and pygmy elephants. We consider we were very lucky in what we saw. Being in Danum Valley was special even though many of our best wildlife sightings were away from there. It's a great environment with excellent staff at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 Sep 2017 by

Seeing a wild orangutan with a baby swinging through the trees was amazing. Read full review

Reviewed on 15 Apr 2014 by

Brilliant! Knowledgeable guides and small groups of like-minded people, who were interested in and cared about the natural environment of the place they were visiting. Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Jul 2013 by

Fabulous. There's really nothing more to say. Read full review

Reviewed on 21 Sep 2013 by

Fantastic! Eye opening!The best part was seeing Orangutans in the wild at Borneo Rainforest Lodge Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Oct 2012 by

It was great. I loved every minute of it. Borneo is a beautiful country with friendly helpful people. I only wish I could have stayed longer. Read full review

Reviewed on 31 Jul 2012 by

The guides and staff were so friendly and helpful to us that I do believe our expenditure helped the local economy. Read full review

Reviewed on 24 Jun 2012 by

The most memorable part was being able to see so much wildlife and our guide was second to none in his knowledge. Read full review

Reviewed on 22 Apr 2012 by

Seeing wild orangutans in the rainforest, watching the Green turtle lay her eggs on Seligan Island and swimming and snorkelling with Hawksbill turtles on Landkyan Island were the most memorable parts of the holiday Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Apr 2012 by

We had many memorable and exciting parts but one of the significant highlights was our trip to an Iban longhouse in Sarawak. We had an excellent guide, Bayan (probably spelled wrong!), who is Iban - his knowledge of the culture, the plants, the animals and birds, etc. was impressive. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Oct 2012 by

The holiday was excellent and throughly enjoyable and it enabled us to achieve our key objectives of having numerous opportunities to see orang-utans at comparatively close quarters. Read full review

Reviewed on 07 Oct 2012 by

The most memorable part was the Kinbantangan river cruise. Saw so much wildlife - fitted all our expectations about the Borneo jungles...Really great holiday, very memorable. Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Sep 2012 by

Pigmy elephants in Taiban were the most memorable part of the holiday Read full review

Reviewed on 15 Aug 2012 by

Seeing a female turtle return to the sea at 6:30am on Seligan Island, Sabah was the most memorable part...A tremendous introduction to the wildlife and conservation efforts of Borneo. Read full review

Reviewed on 02 Aug 2012 by

The most memorable part of the holiday was Abai jungle lodge - wildlife and village amazing. The guides were brilliant. Read full review

Reviewed on 02 Aug 2012 by

Shangri La hotels were exceptional. Fantastic food and service. Turtle island and river 'safaris' were v good...Very good mix of beach and culture. Read full review

Reviewed on 16 Jul 2012 by

The most memorable parts were Elephants and Orangutans along the Kinabatangan River, seeing a Civet during a night walk whilst staying at Abai Jungle Lodge, pulling up on to the beautiful beach at Selingan and watching baby turtles hurry down the beach towards the sea. Read full review

Reviewed on 13 Oct 2012 by

took very good care of us. overall a little disappointing compared to other countries Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Sep 2011 by

We had so many memorable experiences - difficult to say - but I would say Danum Valley - the lodges were so luxurious and the setting superb - and we saw wild orangutans. Read full review

Reviewed on 31 Jan 2011 by

I can't specify the most memorable part as everyday was a wonderful experience. The organisation was perfect, there were never any delays and even though we used 3 different tour operators whilst doing our tour everything fell into place. The guides and drivers were all very good and couldnt do enough for you. Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Oct 2011 by

The wildlife both on land and under the sea were exceptional. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Sep 2011 by

Absolutely wonderful, with a range of habitats, wildlife and activities. A very well organised holiday that exceeded our expectations and accommodated all our special requests. Very easy holiday for families, with some easy trekking. A magical holiday. Read full review

Reviewed on 16 May 2011 by

The wildlife, from the orang-utans at Sepilok to swimming with giant greenback turtles in Pom Pom - amazing and memories that will stick with me for life...Excellent holiday, would recommend and I have friends very much interested in visiting too. Read full review

Reviewed on 09 Mar 2011 by

The most memorable part was probably the river 'safari' trips...The holiday was varied and exciting and had much to recommend it. Read full review

Reviewed on 12 Aug 2010 by

The most memorable part was definitely the wildlife of Borneo, we had excellent opportunities to see orangutangs, monkeys and birds up close. Guides were well informed and friendlyExcellent, wouldn't change a thing! Read full review

Reviewed on 08 Jul 2010 by

Excellent. Incredibly well organised, great value for money and having gone on the advice of the operator had an excellent combination of activities, sights and relaxation. Read full review

Reviewed on 26 Sep 2010 by

The orangutans swinging through the trees at Sepilok at feeding time...Seeing a pygmy elephant and a wild orang-utan with baby beside the Kinabatangan river were most memorbale....Possibly the best ever. It is a beautiful country with lovely people. Read full review

Reviewed on 07 May 2010 by

Brilliant - a wonderful experience Read full review

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