Emerging from Dutch, Portuguese and British rule, Malaysia has prospered into a diverse and multicultural country where Chinese, Malay, Indian and Indo-Chinese cultures have combined to give the nation its unique flavour. Beginning in the futuristic city of Singapore, journey to the bright lights of Kuala Lumpur, hop down to fascinating Malacca (Melaka), enjoy the cultural spoils of an island hideaway and get a dose of colonial history in Penang before winding up the adventure on the beaches of Pulau Langkawi. Sample mouth-watering foods, see a wealth of modern and historical sights and savour the natural beauty of the Malaysian landscape on this treasure-filled trip.
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.
Day 1 - Singapore
- Arrive in Singapore where you will be transferred to your centrally located hotel.
- A pre-trip briefing will be held in the evening, where you will meet the other members of your group and discuss the trip itinerary. Please check for a welcome notice on the hotel noticeboard located near the hotel lifts, which will provide your tour leader's name and the details of the meeting.
- In the meantime we encourage you to get out and discover the delights that Singapore has to offer including trying some of its famous cuisine.
- After the group meeting you may head out to a nearby restaurant and enjoy a meal together (this is optional and at your own expense). The rest of the evening is free - perhaps a quiet drink in the Clarke Quay or Boat Quay areas. You may wish to arrive a bit earlier before the start of the tour to explore the island-state's many other attractions.
- Singapore has one of the best zoos in the world and Sentosa Island has its share of tourist attractions including a few small beaches, Fort Siloso and the Universal Studios theme park.
Day 2 - Malacca (Melaka)
- You will travel to Malacca today. This town is a former colonial outpost, its history is still evident in the pretty streets that remain today - it maintains a distinctive old world charm that makes it a delight to visit.
- Take a quaint trishaw tour along the narrow winding streets to get a taste of old Melaka and learn about the ancient spice trade. Take in sites such as Harmony Street, a mosque, Chinese Buddhist Temples and a traditional Muslim house-museum.
Day 3-4 - Kuala Lumpur
- From colonial charm to the bustling capital, today you will make your way to Malaysia’s most cosmopolitan city, Kuala Lumpur.
- With a wonderful mix of Malay, Chinese and Indian cultures, Kuala Lumpur is a truly unique city.
- Discover the key sites of Kuala Lumpur on a half-day city tour. Visit some of the city's most impressive architecture such as the National Monument, National Mosque, Istana Negara (National Palace), Batu Caves and Royal Selangor Pewter.
- You will have some free time to explore the city and soaking in the spectacular views from the top of Menara Kuala Lumpur is a wonderful way to while away the hours.
- Enjoy an included dinner in the Kuala Lumpur's lively Chinatown district (Petaling Street).
Day 5-6 - Penang
- Again you will enjoy the great juxtaposition of this beautiful country by travelling from KL to the north of Peninsular Malaysia and the island of Penang.
- Stop in Georgetown, another Malaysian city successfully fusing the best of a myriad of cultures.
- From the ornate Indian temples to the Islamic mosques and Chinese shop houses, Penang is an island of contrasts and boasts a rich and varied history. You will have the opportunity to tour the grand and opulent Cheong Fatt Tze Mansion and the Khoo Kongsi (both optional - small entrance fees payable) today, as well meander past wonderful antique shops and absorbing the old-time Chinatown charm of Chulia Street, evoking the ambiance of a bygone era.
- A morning tour of Penang takes in Fort Cornwallis, the site of the original British settlement. You also take a drive to Kek Lok Si, the largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia.
- A cooking class gives you a chance to learn the skills of preparing delicious Malaysian cuisine that encompasses Malay, Chines and Indian influences.
Day 7-9 - Penang - Pulau Langkawi
- You then fly from Penang to the island of Langkawi.
- Finish your trip with a few days of blissful relaxation in the beautiful beachside villages of Pulau Langkawi. From the pristine white sand beaches to the luscious rainforests and quiet, untouched Malay villages, this is a truly beautiful place to let your hair down.
- You will have the opportunity to swim amidst beautiful shoals of brightly coloured fish in the local marine park and enjoy an indulgent barbecue dinner.
- Taking a cable car to a lookout where you’ll enjoy expansive views across this tropical paradise is another highlight.
- Just pull up a towel and take some time to relax and enjoy the beauty of this magical place from the beach.
- Just pull up a towel and take some time to relax and enjoy the beauty of this magical place from the beach.
- Enjoy a delicious seafood barbecue dinner.
Day 10 - Kota Kinabalu
Fly from Langkawi to Kota Kinabalu and transfer to your hotel. This flight is included in your trip price.
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.
You have 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).
As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary and we encourage you to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers and for your new leader to run you through the next couple of days of the itinerary.
Horizon Hotel or similar
Day 11 - Kinabalu National Park
- Leaving Kota Kinabalu behind, you'll head for the hills and the beautiful Kinabalu National Park that encompasses Mount Kinabalu.
- 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 1 hour) where you will have time to soak in the famous thermal pools before taking to the treetops on a canopy walk.
- You will then drive to your accommodation at Sabah Tea Plantation.
Sabah Tea Garden Cottage or similiar
Day 12-13 - Kinabatangan River
- 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 hed 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. take a walk 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.
- 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
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 14-15 - Sandakan
- 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 2.5 hours stopping at Sandakan War memorial along the way.
- You will gain an insight into the city's tumultuous past at this emotive War Memorial. The memorial was built on the site of a Japanese POW camp.
- This site also marks the starting point of the tragic Sandakan Death Marches – where 2400 POWs were forced to walk through the jungles of Borneo.
- Only six Australians survived this march, and all six were only able to do so because they escaped.
- Once capital of British North Borneo, Sandakan has strong trading ties with Hong Kong traditionally.
- The myriad of Chinese temples, the flavours in the local cuisine and bustling harbourside markets are a testament to these ties.
- 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 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 Orangutans.
- Return to Sandakan for the night.
Sandakan Waterfront Hotel or similiar
Breakfast | Dinner
Day 16-17 - Kota Kinabalu - Manukan Island
- You will be transferred to the Sandakan 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.
- You will spend one last night in tropical paradise before returning to Kota Kinabalu.
- 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 important notes section below for further information.
Manukan Island Resort or similiar
Breakfast | Lunch
Day 18-19 - Kota Kinabalu
- You will return to Kota Kinabalu today by boat and mini van. (approx 40mins)
- The rest of the day will be free for you to relax beach side before an optional farewell dinner with your new travel friends.
- 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 19.
Horizon Hotel or similar