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Borneo Adventure

Discover the varied landscapes, fascinating history and culture, as well as the amazing flora and fauna of this exotic and evocative island

A 2-week Borneo tour of Sabah and Sarawak

Our Malaysia, Borneo tour – ‘Borneo Adventure’ – includes the awe-inspiring landscapes, incredible flora and fauna and lush rainforest of four of the island’s most spectacular national parks as well as introducing you to the fascinating local culture, history and cuisine. An optional extension to an unspoilt, tropical island in the South China Sea rounds off this exciting 2-week tour.

Starting in the historic town of Kuching – the former capital of the famous Raja Brooke and now the capital of Sarawak State – we’ll visit the stunning national parks of Bako and World Heritage Gunung Mulu National Park before heading north to Sabah’s Kota Kinabalu, better known during the colonial period as Jesselton. From here we take a boat trip to explore pristine Dinawan Island – underwater and above ground – before heading into the interior where we’ll visit another UNESCO-listed site, Kinabalu National Park. Continuing east we’ll discover the fabulous wildlife of Kinabatangan with boat trips along the jungle-lined river as well as day and night hikes, stay in an eco-lodge and visit the unique Sabah Tea Plantation, plus of course the world-famous orangutan sanctuary and rehabilitation centre at Sepilok.

For those with a few more days to spare you can optimise your airfare with our selection of optional add-ons which include a stay at the superb Danum Valley Rainforest Lodge, a 2-day ascent of Mount Kinabalu itself or 3-days on the unspoilt tropical island of Manukan.

An original, highly varied and truly unforgettable 2-week Borneo adventure through Sarawak and Sabah!

Note also that for those looking for a shorter tour then we also offer an 8-day, Sabah-only, tour – The Land Below the Wind – starting and finishing in Kota Kinabalu, the state capital and international airport.

Includes: Flights: 3 (unavoidable) domestic. Meals: B x 12, L x 7, D x 8

Note that further info, related articles and plenty more photos can be found on the Borneo Adventure page of our travel blog.

(Last but not least, many thanks to Erica Halvorsen for allowing us to use some of her great wildlife photos.)

Malaysia

Itinerary

Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.

Malaysia, Borneo Adventure, Fort Margherita, Kuching

Day 1 - Kuching - arrival and walking tour of the historic town

Check-in to our Kuching hotel before an afternoon walking tour of some of the sites of the scenic and historic town founded in 1872 by the famous ‘Raja’ Charles Brooke. The heritage tour includes Chinatown, the waterfront area, colonial buildings such as Fort Margherita and the excellent Sarawak Museum. Evening, local-style welcome dinner.

Overnight: Kuching Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: D, 

Malaysia and Borneo tour

Day 2 - Bako - a visit to Bako National Park

Transfer by road and boat to the nearby Bako National Park. This spectacular protected area, located on the Bako Peninsula, displays some of Sarawak’s most diverse flora and fauna including the iconic proboscis monkeys. Hiking routes through the park will be selected after discussion with your guide, according to time constraints and energy levels.

Overnight: Kuching Transport: Minibus, Boat, Walk,  Meals: B, L, 

Malaysia, Borneo Adventure, Deer Cave at Mulu

Day 3 - Mulu National Park - into the interior

Transfer by plane into the island’s interior to visit the awesome UNESCO World Heritage Gunung Mulu National Park, where we’ll stay in well-appointed national park lodges. Afternoon hike to Deer and Lang Caves – two of the Park’s most spectacular, and indeed two of the world’s largest caves. After dinner, there’s an optional night hike for those who’d like to experience the sounds and sights of the rainforest after dark.

Overnight: Mulu Transport: Plane, Walk,  Meals: B, D, 

Malaysia, Borneo, Mulu

Day 4 - Mulu - the world's longest cave and a canopy walkway

Morning boat trip up the jungle-lined Clearwater River to visit the famous cave of the same name which at 107 kms is a contender for the longest in the world. Additional visit to the magnificent Wind Cave before returning to the Park HQ for a tree-top level view of the lush forest and birdlife on the canopy walkway – one of the longest in Asia!

Overnight: Mulu Transport: Boat, Walk,  Meals: B, L, 

Malaysia, Kota KInabalu, waterfront hawker market

Day 5 - Kota Kinabalu - farewell to Sarawak and arrival in Sabah

The morning is free to relax, explore some of the self-guided trails or take in the Park’s visitor’s centre before a  transfer to the small Mulu Airport for our flight to Kota Kinabalu, former Jesselton, in Sabah. Afternoon at leisure to explore the town’s vibrant night market or perhaps stroll down to the waterfront for sundowners.

Overnight: Kota Kinabalu Transport: Plane, Walk,  Meals: B, D, 

A quite cove on the island

Day 6 - Pulao Dinawan - a South China Sea island

A visit to the nearby pristine tropical island of Pulao Dinawan in collaboration with a local conservation project, where we’ll explore the undersea life on a guided snorkelling tour as well as the flora and fauna of the island’s jungle-clad interior. Late afternoon return to Kota Kinabalu with perhaps a visit to the town’s waterfront night hawker’s market.

Overnight: Kota Kinabalu Transport: Boat, Walk,  Meals: B, L, 

Malaysia, view from Sabah Tea

Day 7 - Mount Kinabalu - the National Park and Sabah Tea

Into the interior with a scenic drive through the Crocker Range to Kinabalu National Park – another UNESCO-listed site – for a hike along one of the nature trails. Continue to the Sabah Tea Plantation for our overnight stay in cosy plantation cottages with stops on the way to see the famous Rafflesia flowers (blooming permitting) as well as the Kundasang War Memorial to the Allied POWs who died during the infamous Sandakan Death Marches.

Overnight: Sabah Tea Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, L, D, 

Malaysia, Borneo Sabah Tour, Sabah Tea

Day 8 - The Plantation and east to Sepilok

Time to take in the awe-inspiring views over Mount Kinabalu with a morning tour of the fascinating organic plantation and of course the chance to sample the results. Departure east for Sepilok where we’ll stay at the picturesque, lakeside Sepilok Jungle Resort. Time at leisure to explore the resort’s very own botanical gardens.

Overnight: Sepilok Transport: Minibus, Walk,  Meals: B, L, D, 

Conservation and Tourism in Borneo

Day 9 - Sepilok - the famous orangutan sanctuary

Discover some of Sepilok’s sites with morning visits to the world-famous Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre as well as the nearby Borneo Sun Bear Sanctuary. Time at leisure to escape the midday sun with a late afternoon stroll to explore the nature trails and canopy walkways of the fascinating Rainforest Discovery Centre.

Overnight: Sepilok Transport: Walk,  Meals: B, 

Self guided Borneo Tour

Day 10 - Gomantong caves and the Kinabatangan River

Departure for the spectacular Gomantong Caves*, famous for their edible bird nests. Explore the limestone features and their unique ecosystem and, with luck, spot some of the wild orangutans that inhabit this area. Continue to Kinabatangan where we’ll check in to our beautifully located, riverside eco-lodge. A sunset boat cruise on the jungle-lined Kinabatangan River and a night trek to discover the nocturnal wildlife complete our day’s activities.*(Please note at the time of writing the actual caves were closed due to walkway repairs although, as the entrance area affords good wildlife possibilities, we will continue to include the site as a stop.)

Overnight: Kinabatangan Transport: Minibus, Boat, Walk,  Meals: B, L, D, 

Malaysia, Borneo, Kinabatangan

Day 11 - Kinabatangan - river cruise and jungle hike

Today’s program includes a dawn river cruise, jungle hike and night nature trail with of course plenty of time to relax at the lodge and take in the river views from your chalet balcony. Proboscis monkeys, orangutans, crocodiles and pygmy elephants are just a few of the possible sightings, whilst rare bird species include the lesser adjutant, Storm’s Stork, pitas, broadbills and several species of hornbill.

Overnight: Kinabatangan Transport: Boat, Walk,  Meals: B, L, D, 

Malaysia, Borneo, Sabah tour orangutan

Day 12 - Morning in Kinabatangan and flight from Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu

A morning at leisure – explore some nature trails or check out the river action from the resort’s well-situated terrace before an afternoon transfer to Sandakan for a return flight to Kota Kinabalu. Alternatively, a transfer to Lahad Datu and on by 4WD is provided for those opting for the Danum Valley extension.

Overnight: Kota Kinabalu Transport: Minibus, Plane,  Meals: B, D, 

Malaysia, Borneo, Manukan beach

Day 13 - Kota Kinabalu and end of tour

The morning is at leisure to explore Kota Kinabalu, and perhaps check out one of the town’s museums or markets before either an afternoon transfer to Kota Kinabalu Airport for your departure or on to Manukan for a few days beach, snorkelling or diving time on this delightful tropical island.

Extra nights in Kota Kinabalu are also available on request

Transport: Walk,  Meals: B, 

Print Itinerary

Details

The nitty-gritty, the things you need to know, the answers to your burning questions.

Malaysia, Borneo, local food

Just a few of the many highlights

Jungle hikes, canopy walks, night treks and river expeditions are all on our Borneo menu as well as cave exploration, a visit to an orangutan rehabilitation centre and an overnight stay at a tea plantation.

  • Explore the colonial heritage and bustling Chinatown of Sarawak's charming Kuching Town
  • A 2-day stay in World Heritage Mulu National Park with its stunning scenery and vast cave systems
  • Visit the world famous Sepilok orangutan sanctuary and rehabilitation centre in Sabah State
  • Discover the spectacular landscapes and flora and fauna of Bako National Park
  • Check out the highly varied and still abundant wildlife of Kinabatangan on foot and by boat
  • Spend a day on tropical Dinawan Island as guests of a marine conservancy organisation

Air Departures (UK) *From

  • 25 June 24 3,065 GBP
  • 24 July 24 3,065 GBP
  • 27 August 24 3,065 GBP
  • 24 September 24 3,065 GBP
  • 22 October 24 3,115 GBP
  • 26 November 24 3,115 GBP
  • 17 December 24 3,215 GBP
  • 14 January 25 3,150 GBP
  • 11 February 25 3,150 GBP
  • 11 March 25 3,150 GBP
  • 1 April 25 3,150 GBP

Land Departures

  • 26 June 24 2,400 GBP
  • 25 July 24 2,400 GBP
  • 28 August 24 2,400 GBP
  • 25 September 24 2,400 GBP
  • 23 October 24 2,450 GBP
  • 27 November 24 2,450 GBP
  • 18 December 24 2,450 GBP
  • 15 January 25 2,495 GBP
  • 12 February 25 2,495 GBP
  • 12 March 25 2,495 GBP
  • 2 April 25 2,495 GBP

Guaranteed Places Left Special Price Solo Traveller Closed

*As fares are fluctuating wildly at present all ‘with flight’ prices are approximate.

*Air departures are from the UK. Land departures start from Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia.

*Land departure dates correspond to the FIRST day of the itinerary.

We choose our hotels based on a combination of location, comfort and convenience. Here is a *selection of the types of hotel/rooms you can expect to stay at on this tour...

Malaysia, The Lime Tree, Kuching

The Lime Tree Kuching view

  • Central location in historic Kuching Town near Chinatown
  • Well-appointed, comfortable rooms
  • Great views from their rooftop bar and restaurant
Malaysia, Mulu National park Accommodation, Mulu

Mulu National Park Lodge

  • A stay in Sarawak's famous Mulu National Park
  • Overnight in park lodges in the heart of the jungle
  • Bungalow style accommodation
Jesselton Hotel Kota Kinabalu

Jesselton Hotel Kota Kinabalu view

  • Small, boutique-style accommodation in central Kota Kinabalu
  • Stay in a beautifully restored colonial period building
  • Welcoming friendly hotel with in-house bar, cafe, restaurant
Malaysia, Sabah Tea

Malaysia Sabah Tea view

  • Overnight stay in an organic tea plantation
  • Magificent views over the Crocker Ranges and Mt Kinabalu
  • Accommodation in cozy plantation cottages
Nature Lodge Sepilok

Nature Lodge Sepilok view

  • Chalet-style accommodation in a garden setting
  • Short walk to the Rainforest Discovery Centre
  • In-house restaurant and bar
Bilit Adventure Lodge

Bilit Adventure Lodge view

  • The river on one side - the jungle on the other
  • Isolated location but good in-house bar and restaurant
  • Individual, chalet-style accommodation
Malaysia, Manukan Island Resort, Sabah

Manukan Island Resort Sabah view

  • Manukan Island - in the South China Sea
  • A stunning and beautifully preserved, tropical island
  • Located in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park.

*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.

Visa Info & Notes

Please note that the Malaysian government has seen fit to introduce a Malaysia Digital Arrival Card, (MDAC), system as of 1st January 2024. This form needs to be submitted online at least 3 days prior to arrival. (We would expect a few possible teething problems so we’d say it’s best to save proof of submission such as a photo or screenshot of the submitted form just in case.)

We apologise for the inconvenience incurred but will bite our tongues and refrain from further comment.

Finally, also note that you may come across references to a daily ‘tourism tax’ of 10 RM, payable by visitors to Malaysia, but this has already been included in the cost of your tour and will be paid by your tour leader.

Visas: No visa in advance is required. A free 60-day visa is issued on arrival at any international airport. As usual, a minimum of 6 months validity from the date of arrival and at least 1 blank page in your passport is required.

The standard arrival point for this tour is Kuching International Airport and departure point is Kota Kinabalu International Airport.

Meals: Breakfasts are generally hotel buffets with lunch and dinners based on local food. Your tour leader will usually order a selection of dishes, local style, while a number of meals are not included, which allows you to ‘do your own thing’ or take a break if you’re feeling ‘riced out’.

With its kaleidoscopic population, Malaysian cuisine is one of the most varied and richest anywhere on the planet and includes all the various, regional Indian and Chinese dishes, the unique Chinese/Malay Nonya cuisine as well as traditional Malay food alongside Thai and Indonesian influences. Dishes are generally mild with plenty of vegetarian and vegan options on offer.

Accommodation: All choices fall into the comfortable 3* range and are en-suite and air-conditioned. We have posted a selection of sample accommodation on the lefthand hotel tab but please note that as we try and avoid the larger hotels, availability, in high season particularly, means we use several options in each destination. 

Activities: Note that no activities are compulsory and that any, including trekking, can be tailored for any fitness level or alternatives suggested. 

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