Take the kids on a magical journey to explore the natural wonders of tropical Borneo. Be enchanted by the ancient legends and traditions of Sabah, enjoy a relaxing soak in Poring Hot Springs, make local friends on a village homestay, experience a night in the wild on a jungle camp, get up close to gentle orangutans, explore an incredible underwater world in Pulau Tiga National Park. Round up the family and jump on board this excellent family holiday into the heart of Borneo.
Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.
Our Family Adventures are designed specifically for the spirited family and operated by our sister company The Family Adventure Company. We understand that travelling with kids sometimes requires a slightly different perspective. Keeping this in mind, we travel at a slower speed - recognising that showing your family around our exotic destinations can take time. By travelling at a relaxed pace, while still offering plenty of optional activities along the way, we're providing your family with the ultimate travel experience together.
Accommodation is chosen carefully to ensure your family gets the best of both worlds, with some of the creature comforts of home as well as experiencing accommodation unique to the region you are travelling through. Wherever possible you will stay in hotels with small comforts to make your stay more enjoyable - such as restaurants nearby, or accommodation with a pool. On some trips you may even find your family being rocked to sleep on an overnight sleeper train or drifting off while camped out under a canopy of stars - and we reckon it'll be these experiences the kids will love and remember the most.
Best of all, we find trips with children are so successful because kids have such a special ability to break down barriers with their natural curiosity, and because delighted locals always greet them with much affection. For all these reasons and more, you'll discover that Family Adventures are an amazing experience for all.
Why we love it
- Get up close to gentle orangutans.
- Experience a night in the wild on a jungle camp.
- Explore an incredible underwater world in Pulau Tiga National Park
- Visit Snake Island
Day 1 - Kota Kinabalu
- Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia.
- Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
- Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, is an intriguing city between the Borneo jungle and the South China Sea. Having survived World War II bombings, 'KK' (as it's commonly known) now has a charm that can only be found in a frontier town.
- If you arrive early, you can immerse yourself in history at the Sabah State Museum, visit the Monsopiad Cultural Village, once home to a notorious head hunter, or explore the islands off Kota Kinabalu, excellent for swimming or snorkelling.
Day 2-3 - Mount Kinabalu National Park
- Leaving Kota Kinabalu behind, head for the beautiful Kinabalu National Park. Stretch your legs and take in the mountain views on any of Kinabalu National Park's numerous walking trails - keeping an eye out for birds, snakes and the odd leech. There's plenty to see and do in this World Heritage-listed park. The 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. This afternoon is free for you to relax here. The next day we get up early to catch glimpses of this mighty monolith before the cloud rises for the day, before you take a day trip to Poring Hot Springs (approx. 1 hr), where we have time to soak in the famous thermal pools, take in the trails that abound within the reserve, or have a refreshing swim in a nearby waterfall.
Day 4-5 - Kinabatangan Jungle Camp
- We travel by private bus to Batu Puteh, a small village on the banks of the Kinabatangan River (approx 5 hrs).
- Our hosts for the next two nights are the local ecological organisation, MESCOT, whose aim is to provide villagers with environmental education and the means of making a living from the forests, without the need for their destruction. Part of the program is to develop an ecologically sound wildlife and ecotourism centre, owned and operated by the villagers themselves. After learning about forest rehabilitation, head by boat into the jungle (approx 30 mins) and stay by the beautiful Oxbow Lake - the best way to experience untamed Borneo. Wild elephants are rarely seen but you'll hopefully find crocodiles, macaques, wild orangutan and the freaky looking proboscis monkeys, as hornbills fly in the skies overhead. Be prepared for an adventure!
- Stay in the jungle in simple huts where sleeping facilities are basic and only cold bathing is available. We'll pack an overnight bag for the jungle camp and leave our main luggage at the MESCOT office.
- The next day, return to a local Malay village where we're invited into the lives and homes of the local people. This is an amazing privilege and your leader will explain local cultural expectations to ensure that you get the most out of our stay.
- Our accommodation is a homestay experience where you're split into different homes throughout the village. Accommodation is traditional but simple and you can expect squat toilets and cold water bucket showers.
- Please note that the order of these activities may occasionally be reversed depending on seasonal variations and if the weather is inclement (rainy season is November to April) we may not be able to visit the jungle stay.
- Out of respect for your Muslim hosts, alcohol is not to be consumed and women need to ensure that their arms and legs are kept covered. It is quite a conservative Muslim Village.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 6-7 - Sepolik Orangutan Reserve
- We head to Sepilok by minivan (approx 2 hrs) where we have free time to settle into our guest houses to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings. This afternoon we visit Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary where you can watch up close the amazing bachelor proboscis lazing and feeding - an experience that can only be found in Borneo. The sanctuary is a protected forest reserve inhabited by several groups of wild proboscis monkeys.
- The following day we visit The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre that was set up to help re-introduce these wonderful creatures back into the wild after a life of domestication or having been orphaned. To aid the orangutans adapt to the wild, a supplementary diet of bananas and milk is laid out on feeding platforms twice a day. From the viewing platform, you can watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view on ropes and vines. We're not permitted to hinder the orangutans as human contact must be kept to a minimum and it's essential that we follow the instructions of the park, as directed by your leader. There's also a short film about the orangutan rehabilitation process to watch in the reserve's interpretation centre. This afternoon we have free time to relax and look at some photos of the morning.
- Visit the newly opened Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. This is a wonderful new center taking care of rescued Sun Bears that have spent many years mistreated and locked away in cages. Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre is giving a better life to these bears by caring for them with the hope of reintroducing them back into the wild. They are doing great work at promoting Sun Bear conservation in Borneo through animal welfare, conservation, rehabilitation, research and education - to put a stop to these cruel practices. There is plenty of time for an optional visit to see these very cute bears!
Day 8 - Pulau Tiga National Park
- Today we transfer to Sandakan airport and fly to Kota Kinabalu. The maximum luggage allowance for this flight is 15kg maximum, Intrepid won't cover the cost of luggage that exceeds this weight. We then drive to Kuala Penyu (approx 2.5 hrs) from where we'll travel by speedboat (approx 30 mins) to our secluded, rustic hideaway on 'Survivor Island'. Please note due to limited space on our transport to Pulau Tiga we'll be taking overnight bags only and dropping our main luggage off at our mainland accommodation.
- Pulau Tiga played host to the first ever series of Survivor - an American television program that was filmed on the island in 2000. The island is full of mud volcanoes, jungle walking tracks and is surrounded by beautiful beaches and amazing snorkelling opportunities. The waters surrounding the island are home to over 132 species of fish, as well as sea turtles, while the island's wildlife consists of proboscis and macaque monkeys, flying foxes, bats and monitor lizards. Keep an eye out for the hornbills overhead on their flight for the day's food. It's the ideal place to snorkel, swim or just relax on the beach.
- Arriving in the afternoon we will spend the night on the island. After settling into our accommodation, you can take a walk through the jungle to visit one of the mud pools where you can see wallow in the mud like buffaloes, then walk back to the beach for a swim in the sea. Weather permitting, we will take a boat for a trip to Snake Island, home to the yellow-lipped sea krait who use the island as their breeding ground.
- Tonight we will stay in very basic family twin share accommodation with private cold water amenities. The resort offers the opportunity to sight the morning hornbills on their flight for the day's food.
Day 9-10 - Kota Kinabalu
- Today we say goodbye to our patch of paradise and head back to Kota Kinabalu where we will spend our last night. We travel via speedboat (approx. 30 mins) to the mainland where we transfer back to the city and our final destination and some time for last minute shopping or a great final meal.
Day 11 - Kota Kinabalu
- The tour will come to an end after breakfast this morning.