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.<br />
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.
Please note in 2015 this trip will now be called Malaysia & Borneo Encompassed. There will be some iitnerary changes to this trip in 2015. Updated trip notes will be available online from the 1st of October. Please note in 2015 the flight from Langkwai to Kota Kinabalu will now be included in the trip price.
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 2-3 - 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.
- A trishaw ride through the city is a great way to acquaint yourself with the winding streets and must-see sights.
- You will also take part in a wonderful cooking class, where you will learn the art of fusing the flavours of Malay and Chinese cuisine.
Day 4-5 - 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.
- An optional evening out (at additional cost) is a buffet dinner followed by a cultural performance of traditional dances from around the Malay Peninsula as well as Borneo.
Day 6 - Kuala Kangsar - Lakeside Homestay
- Again you will enjoy the great juxtaposition of this beautiful country by travelling from a busy city to the heart of Peninsular Malaysia.
- We travel towards Kuala Kangsar and make our way to a local-style hideaway located by the side of a lake.
- You will be accommodated by a local family here, and will have the opportunity to indulge in the local traditional delicacies and learn more about day-to-day life of the more rural Malay people on a guided walk around the village.
- Stay in basic traditional houses with twin-share beds and cold showers. Please note that out of respect for our hosts, alcohol is not available during our stay.
Day 7 - Kuala Kangsar - Penang
- Discover the rich Malay culture on a tour of the royal town of Kuala Kangsar, with its sultans' palaces and the Ubudiah Mosque with its impressive golden dome.
- Continue to Penang, 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 a city 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.
Day 8-9 - Penang - Pulau Langkawi
- 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.
- 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.
Day 10 - Kota Kinabalu
- Today you fly from Langkawi to Kota Kinabalu. Please note that this flight is not part of the tour package and needs to be booked separately.
- Please note we do not include a departure transfer in Langkawi from your hotel to the airport. Your hotel will be able to organise transport for you to the airport. The airport is only 15 minutes drive away.
- On arrival in Kota Kinabalu, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Please advise your flight details so as we can book this arrival transfer for you in Kota Kinabalu.
- You will be free to explore Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah until your 'Welcome to Borneo' meeting at the hotel. You can find details of the meeting at the hotel’s reception. As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location.
- 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).
- Tonight you enjoy a Welcome Dinner that showcases the delicious cuisine in Kota Kinabalu.
Horizon Hotel or similar
Breakfast | Dinner
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 Sabah Tea Plantation where we will stay.
Sabah Tea Garden Cottage or similiar
Day 12 - Kinabalu National Park - Poring Hot Springs
- Today you will get up early to catch glimpses of this mighty monolith before the cloud rises for the day. You will then get to visit the tea factory and learn about tea production. Please note that at various times throughout the year the tea factory may not be in production.
- After an Asian breakfast you then take a day trip to Poring Hot Springs (approx. 1 hr), where you will 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.
- You will take to the treetops on the canopy walk.
- Please note for the trip departing on the 19th of April 2014 there is an amendment to the accommodation. Please see "Other Important Information" section of this document for further information.
Sabah Tea Garden Cottage or similiar
Day 13 - Kinabatangan River
- You will travel to the lower Kinabatangan River, Bilet, today (approximately 4-5 hours).
- The Kinabatangan River itself is the second longest in Malaysia. It stretches 560 kilometres from Mt Trus Madi to the Sulu Sea. It is surrounded by a protected forest reserve, and an abundance of Borneo’s wildlife.
- You will take a lazy river cruise in the afternoon, where you will have the opportunity to spot some of the aforementioned wildlife, crocodiles, macaques, orangutan, proboscis monkeys, along with kingfishers and hornbills are among the more frequently spotted animals. Wild elephants are a rare sight these days.
- You will return to the chalet in time for dinner, and for the adventurous, there will be an optional night trek.
Myne Resort or similiar
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
Day 14 - Sandakan
- After a morning river cruise You will depart for Sandakan today (approx 2.5-3 hours).
- On the way you will have the opportunity to visit Black Cave, located within an intricate network of caves called Gomantong Caves. These caves are particularly noteworthy thanks to the valuable and edible swiftlet nests that lie within. These nests are used in bird’s nest soup. Traditionally, bird’s nest collection was an art and ritual, but in the modern era local’s are required to have a license to climb to the rood of the caves to harvest the nests
- As we near Sandakan we will make a stop at the Sandakan War Memorial.
- 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.
Nak Hotel or similiar
Day 15 - Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre - Sandakan
- 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 integral 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.
- Return to Sandakan for the night.
Nak Hotel or similiar
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 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.
Manukan Island Resort or similiar
Breakfast | Lunch
Day 18-19 - Kota Kinabalu
- You will return to Kota Kinabalu today by boat.
- The rest of the day will be free for you to relax beach side before an optional farewell dinner with your new travel friends.
- The trip will come to an end after breakfast on Day 19.
Horizon Hotel or similar