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Borneo is one of the last of the world’s wild places, with its dense rainforests, tropical coastal islands and mysterious jungle valleys. As such, it has become a rare place on this planet today – somewhere where you can still encounter a rich variety of colourful and endangered wildlife, amidst amazing natural scenery. This trip to the Malaysian state of Sabah takes you face to face with many unique species, including orangutans, proboscis monkeys and hornbills.


From 1st May 2016 this trip will have the following changes:
Day 2 Kiau Village visit & home cooked lunch replacing Poring Hot Springs.
Day 3 Overnight at resort accommodation in Kundasang and day trip to tea plantation instead of overnight at Sabah Tea.

Day 9 Mari Mari Cultural visit now included

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
(24 reviews)
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 16
Carbon offset
283kg pp per trip

Why we love this trip

  • Borneo is one of the last of the world's wild places, with its dense rainforests, tropical coastal islands and mysterious jungle valleys.
  • It has become a rare place on this planet today - somewhere where you can still encounter a rich variety of colourful and endangered wildlife, amidst amazing natural scenery.
  • This trip to the Malaysian state of Sabah takes you face to face with many unique species, including orangutans, proboscis monkeys and hornbills.
  • Explore with a wildlife cruise on Kinabatangan River.


You will be free to explore Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah until your Welcome Meeting at the hotel. You can find details of the meeting at the hotel’s reception. Your group meeting will be at 6pm on day 1.
Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, is an intriguing city that was born between the Borneo jungle and the South China Sea. Having recovered from World War II bombings, 'KK' now possesses a gateway charm that can only be found in a frontier town.
If you have enough free time, why not immerse yourself in local history at the Sabah State Museum, visit the Monsopiad Cultural Village (once home to a notorious headhunter).
An arrival airport transfer is included please advise your flight details at time of booking so as we can book this transfer for you.
  • Horizon Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Kota Kinabalu - Sabah Museum entrance fee - MYR15
Leaving Kota Kinabalu behind, you'll head for the hills and the beautiful Kinabalu National Park that encompasses Mount Kinabalu. (approx 2 hours)
Arriving in time for lunch, you will have the afternoon to stretch your legs and take in the mountain views or many of the numerous walking trails - keeping an eye out for birds, snakes and the odd little leech.
There is plenty to see and do here. The Mountain Botanic Garden is an excellent showcase of the diverse plant life on the mountain, as flora from all over the park has been replanted here.
In the afternoon you will drive to Poring Hot Springs (approx 45 mins) where you will have time to soak in the famous thermal pools before taking to the treetops on a canopy walk.
It's then a 30 min drive from the hot springs to your accommodation at Sabah Tea Plantation.
  • Sabah Tea Garden Cottage or similiar (1 night)
Rising early, you may catch a glimpse of the sunrise while taking a morning walk through the tea plantation.
Then it is time for a tour of the tea factory itself, concluding in some tea sampling.
You then head to Kinabatangan River in private mini van (approx 5 hours)
Your jungle lodge alongside the Kinabatangan River gives you great opportunity to relax and take in the surrounds. The Kinabatangan River is the 2nd longest river in Malaysia at 560 kms from its source at Mt Trus Madi to the Sulu Sea and is also a protected forest reserve which contains some of Borneo's highest concentrations of wildlife.
In the late afternoon you will take a river cruise, hopefully spotting some of the local wildlife - wild elephants are rarely seen but you will hopefully find crocodiles, macaques, wild orangutan and proboscis monkeys, as well as hornbills or kingfishers - just some of the many types of animals and birds found in this area.
You will return to our jungle lodge for dinner.
On the following day you may be woken up by the calling of the Borneo Gibbon or Hornbill or both, breaking the silence around the resort. You head out on an early morning cruise down the Kinabatangan River. Search for more wildlife and birds today including Proboscis Monkey, Borneo Gibbon, Long Tail Macaques and Pig Tail Macaques.
In the afternoon you take a trek to Ox Bow lakes. The Oxbow lakes are an unusual and unique landscape feature of the Kinabatangan. It is a crescent-shaped lake which is lying alongside a winding river. These lakes are formed through erosion and deposits of soil changing the river’s course over time. Depending on the time of year you may not be able to trek to the Oxbow lake so instead you can trek up to a birdwatching tower overlooking the river and visit a Merabu tree.
In the evening you get a last chance to take as many photos as you can on a final river cruise. You spend one more night in your lovely accommodation right in the heart of the jungle.
  • Myne Resort or similiar (1 night)
In our private minivan we stop to visit an intricate system of caves known as Gomantong Caves. The caves are renowned for their valuable edible swiftlet nests, which are harvested for bird's nest soup. Birds' nest collection is an ancient tradition, but nowadays locals must have licenses to climb to the roof of the caves, and collect the nests and penalties are imposed on unlicensed collectors. Be warned, like most caves they can have a rather interesting smell that you may find unpleasant. We then travel towards Sandakan approximately 3 hours stopping at Sandakan War memorial along the way.
Get some insight into the city's past at the emotive War Memorial, built on the site of a Japanese POW camp. This site also marks the starting point of the tragic Sandakan Death Marches, on which 2,400 POWs were forced to walk through the jungles of Borneo. By the end of the march, only 6 Australians survived, and only because they had escaped.
Sandakan was once the capital of British North Borneo and traditionally has strong trading ties with Hong Kong. The Cantonese influence is evident in the lively harbourside market, the many Chinese temples and the local cuisine.
  • Sandakan Waterfront Hotel or similiar (1 night)
You will head to Sepilok today to visit some rare and beautiful creatures.
You will visit the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, where you will have an opportunity to see these famous monkeys - found only on the island of Borneo - feeding with their different family or bachelor groups. If you are lucky you might also see a hornbill or two.
You will also spend some time at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre - a reserve set up to help rehabilitate and re-introduce orphaned or domesticated creatures back into the wild.
To aid their adaptation, a supplementary diet of bananas and milk is laid out on feeding platforms twice daily. You will be able to watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view on ropes and vines from a viewing platform.
It is very important that you don’t interrupt the orangutans, as human contact must be kept to a minimum to ensure their full recovery and successful re-introduction.
A new section has now opened up at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre which is the outdoor nursery where young orangutans will be cared for from being born in captivity or when their mothers have been killed. These youngsters have not had the chance of a natural upbringing and don’t have the skills to be able to survive in the wild. The aim of the nursery is to train these your Orangutans to climb and be normal Orangutans so that they can be reintroduced to the wild. Included in our entrance ticket you will have the chance to view these young Orangutans as they learn how to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym. The viewing area is behind one-way glass so as not to disturb the Orang-utans.
Return to Sandakan for the night.
  • Sandakan Waterfront Hotel or similiar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bornean Sun Bear Centre - MYR30
You will be transferred to Sandakan Airport today for a flight to Kota Kinabalu. Keep in mind that the luggage allowance for this flight is only 15kg, and any excess baggage charges will have to be covered by you.
Manukan Island is found just 20 minutes off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, and is one of the larger islands found in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine National Park. You will take a boat from Kota Kinabalu to Manukan Island
You will spend two days on the island, the first of which will be free for you to explore and partake in some local activities.
You might enjoy going for a walk along the 1.5km beach at low tide, going for a swim, or simply taking the opportunity to relax at the end of a bit trip.
On your second day on the island, you will go on a snorkelling trip, where you will hopefully see brightly coloured tropical fish and coral.
There is the option to do a scuba dive trip from Manukan Island to see the wonderful underwater world of Borneo. Please let your leader know if you are interested in doing this and they can help you organise it on the trip.
Please note that we use twin share accommodation at Manukan: some chalets have 1 twin share room with ensuite bathroom whilst others have 2 bedroom chalets with a lounge room - these chalets have 1 bedroom with an ensuite bathroom and the other bedroom’s bathroom is located off the lounge room. Due to the limited chalets on Manukan Island we acknowledge that we are unable to provide exactly the same room for each passenger however we hope you understand that we allocate rooms as fairly as possible and we choose to stay on this Island for it's unique and beautiful environment. Please see other Important Information section below for further information.
  • Manukan Island Resort or similiar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Tunku Abdul Marine Park - Scuba diving 3 dives - MYR350
You will return to your hotel in Kota Kinabalu today by boat and mini van. (approx 40 mins)
There is the chance to take an optional visit to Mari Mari Cultural Village to see how indigenous ethnic groups of Borneo used to live. It's a great chance to see what the culture and lifestyle would have been like years gone by seeing first hand how the tribes would cook their meals, starting fire with bamboo and using a blow pipe to hunt. It's a fun, interactive and educational experience.
The trip will come to an end after breakfast on Day 10.
  • Horizon Hotel or similar (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Mari Mari Cultural Village - MYR155


9 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners


Boat, Plane, Private vehicle


Chalet (4 nights), Cottage (1 night), Hotel (4 nights)

Included Activities

  • Complimentary airport arrival transfer
  • Mt Kinabalu - Guided walk around lower trails
  • Tea Garden - Sunrise Morning Walk
  • Sabah Tea Plantation - Tea Factory Tour
  • Sabah Tea Plantation - Tea Sampling
  • Kinabatangan - River cruise & wildlife spotting on Kinabatangan River
  • Sandakan - War Memorial
  • Sukau - Gomantong Caves
  • Sepilok - Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
  • Tunku Abdul National Marine Park - Snorkeling Trip


Our Untamed Borneo trips score an average of 4.71 out of 5 based on 24 reviews in the last year.

Untamed Borneo , August 2015

Julie Hill

Untamed Borneo , August 2015

Lee Sheridan

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. An airport arrival transfer is included. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking.
2. Strict luggage limits apply. There is a strict 15kg maximum luggage limit on this trip due to the internal flight. Excess luggage is to be paid by the traveller.
3. A single supplement is available on this trip. Please contact your sales agent if you would like to book this single supplement. Please note a single room is not available Days 7 and 8 on Manukan Island.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.