Borneo wildlife holiday with Mt. Kinabalu climb

“A tailor made tour of wildlife, hot springs and relaxing river cruises, this varied trip culminates in a challenging, but rewarding trek to the summit of Mount Kinabalu.”

Highlights

Kota Kinabalu | Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre | Pitas Lake | Lunch with local Abai villagers | Sandakan | Central Market | Sepilok Nature Resort | Rainforest Discovery Centre | Sun Bear Conservation Centre | Kinabalu Park | Two-day Mount Kinabalu trek | Laban Rata | Three days leisure at a resort hotel

Description of Borneo wildlife holiday with Mt. Kinabalu climb

An active and adventurous holiday taking in the highlights of the Borneo wildlife regions, with a Mt Kinabalu Climb ending with relaxing days on the beach (unless you want more activity!).

Spend time boating on the Kinabatangan River in search of the resident wildlife. You should see the wonderful Hornbills with their unique calls, Proboscis Monkeys, crocodiles wallowing in the shallows, Borneon Pygmy Elephants and maybe wild Orangutans.

From the river region return to Sandakan and head to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre to witness feeding time and learning more about these wonderful apes. You can also visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre and see the world's smallest bear at the Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Then it's onwards to Kinabalu Park via the Poring Hot Springs and the canopy walkway.

Climbing Mt. Kinabalu is not for the faint hearted, it is South-East Asia's highest mountain but well worth the effort and a fantastic achievement. You spend the night in basic accommodation on the mountain and ascend in time for sunrise on the very top! You will descend the same day and head off to your beach resort for the final few nights. A perfect end to a memorable holiday in Borneo. There's also an option to add the Via Ferrata - THE WORLD'S HIGHEST!

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.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Depart the UK on an overnight flight to Sandakan, Borneo (own arrangements).
Day 2:Arrive into Sandakan airport where you will be met by one of our representatives who will transfer you to your hotel with the remainder of your day at leisure.
Day 3:Sepilok & Abai: This morning you will make a short en-route stop at the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre before joining the boat cruise onwards to Abai Jungle Lodge. After lunch, free time to relax before cruising upriver to search for the local wildlife. After dinner, a night cruise leads you to witness the beautiful fire flies glowing in the darkness. (B,L,D)
Day 4:Abai: Enjoy an early morning river cruise to Pitas Lake observing the early rising animals and birds. After breakfast, you have the opportunity to take part in the tree planting project followed by an optional lunch with the local Abai villagers. This afternoon you will have free time at leisure before a late afternoon river cruise. (B,L,D)
Day 5:Sepilok: This morning return to Sandakan by boat and visit the Central Market for a spot of souvenir shopping, the largest market in Sandakan with great sea views. After lunch, transfer to the Sepilok Nature Resort. You arrive in time for the afternoon feeding of these magnificent animals. (B,L,)
Day 6:Seplilok: Free day. You may wish to revisit the Centre and spend time at the Rainforest Discovery Centre viewing the abundant flora found in Borneo and also visit the Sun Bear Centre; a conservation centre for the world’s smallest bears who are in danger of becoming extinct (entrance fees to be paid locally). (B)
Day 7:Kinabalu Park: Fly to Kota Kinabalu today and journey to Kinabalu Park, stopping at Poring Hot Springs along the way for a dip in the steaming pools and to explore the various nature trails. There is also a canopy walkway, some 30 metres above the jungle floor: fascinating but not for the faint-hearted! Transfer onwards to your Park accommodation for your overnight stay. (B,L,D)
Day 8:Mt Kinabalu Climb: This morning arrive at Park Headquarters to start your trek to Laban Rata (10,700 ft), around 5 hours. Enjoy the beautiful landscape of different types of vegetation lowland forest, montane, moss and sub-alpine. Overnight at a mountain resthouse in basic, dormitory accommodation. (B,L,D)
Day 9:Mt Kinabalu Summit: Wake before sunrise at 3:00am and commence trekking to the summit, approximately 3 hours, arriving in time to catch the sun come up over the stunning vista. Return to the rest house for breakfast and then descend to the Park Headquarters. After breakfast, transfer onwards to your beach resort for a well deserved rest. (B)
Day 10-12:Shangri La Rasa Ria: Days at leisure to relax and enjoy the facilities of your resort or maybe embark on some of the many optional excursions available in the area. (B)
Day 13:Depart Borneo today, transferring back to Kota Kinabalu Airport for your return flight home (own arrangements). (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.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Our top tip:
Try and get a bit of walking in before you go - you'll get more out of the climb.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Activity level:
Moderate.
Accomm:
6 nights resort, 4 nights lodge, 1 night mountain guesthouse.
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available for a surcharge at lodges and resorts.
Meals:
7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners.
Included:
Accommodation, transport, listed activities.
LGBTQIA+
Our partners behind this holiday promote inclusivity on all their trips and across their business and we are all committed to ensuring travellers face no discrimination on any part of the trip they control.
Dietary requirements:
We can cater for vegetarian and vegan diets.
Vouchers
Accepted

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
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 Canyon who was being kept illegally as a pet and was taken in by the sanctuary when she was 2 years old. She is now 5 years old and progressing well. 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 Canyon and of course if you’re lucky you may see her when you visit the Centre.

On this tour, you will visit the famous Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah, founded in 1964, to rehabilitate orphaned orang-utans. The site is 43 square kilometres of protected land at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve. Today around 60 to 80 orang-utans 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 end up being treated at the centre include sun bears, gibbons, Sumatran rhinos and the occasional injured pygmy elephants.

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 Resort also operates an irrigation program for its 18-hole Golf Course using 'grey' or recycled water from the Resort.

The Nature Reserve, located beside Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort, has a forest garden planted with different types of trees and plants to encourage the habitation of insects and small wildlife. The 64-acre Nature Reserve of coastal vegetation is home to 62 species of birds, various reptiles and mammals and the much-endangered Orangutans. A Rehabilitation Programme was initiated by the resort in support of the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre of the Sabah Wildlife Department. To date, a total of 32 Orangutans have successfully passed the first stage of the rehabilitation process and been returned to Sepilok for the second stage and final rehabilitation and subsequent release to the wild.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

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.

The River lodge owners employ local people as staff wherever possible. The lodge owners also operate a tree planting and lunch programme with local villagers. This programme has been introduced by the Lodge as a way to directly contribute money to the local village community, plus it helps guests learn a little about the way this traditional community lives.

The Rasa Ria Resort established a Nature Conservation Programme in 1996 between the Resort and the Sabah Wildlife Department to establish a nature education centre for the general public and local Sabah schoolchildren. The Shangri-La chain has also set up 'Embrace', a Care for People project which commits each hotel to a chosen local organisation for at least 5-10 years.

Climate

4 Reviews of Borneo wildlife holiday with Mt. Kinabalu climb

5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 13 Feb 2018 by

Overall it was an amazing trip and we saw lots of wildlife. Tabun was especially memorable for the amount of wildlife we saw, especially on the night drives. And seeing elephants, gibbons, wild orangutans and a whale shark was particularly special. Read full review

Reviewed on 16 Apr 2015 by

We all thoroughly enjoyed our experience in Borneo and felt that it exceeded our expectations. Read full review

Reviewed on 12 Jul 2013 by

Amazing. We were very fortunate with the wildlife we saw. The itinerary captured everything that we enjoy doing and so for us it was the perfect holiday! Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Oct 2012 by

Fantastic ! Although it did take me 4 days of R&R to recover from the 1st 10 days. Everybody agreed it was unique and a wonderful experience Read full review

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