Swimming: Some hotels have pools (see Trip Notes for details) and the shallow waters off the beach at Pulau Tiga are ideal for swimming.
Approx 13 -
Minimum Age: 5
Explore Tour Leader plus driver(s).
Borneo Family Wildlife Tour
Details may vary depending on departure date. Please choose
Exotic wildlife, traditional tribes and beautiful beaches are all part of this unique adventure through Borneo. We visit the world’s largest orang-utan rehabilitation centre in Sepilok and explore the jungle along the Kinabatangan River. Join us on an exhilarating canopy walk through the tree tops and bathe in bubbling hot springs.
Manukan Island - Boat trip to this protected tropical island with excellent snorkeling opportunities
Kinabatangan - Stay in a jungle lodge and cruise the river to see proboscis monkeys
Sepilok - See the loveable orang-utans at this world famous rehabilitation centre
Longhouse - Sleep in a traditional style longhouse on a tea plantation
Homestay - Stay with local families and learn about life in rural Borneo
Pulau Tiga - Swimming, snorkeling and mud volcanoes on an idyllic tropical island
What we say
Staff Member Tanya Marchetti travelled on this tour in 2005.
"The kids and you will love this tour – why? The challenge of spotting the most orang-utans swinging through the trees, crocs and monkey spotting in dugout canoes on ox bow lakes, lounging in a mud baths then swimming in crystal clear waters scrubbing the mud off."
We arrive in Kota Kinabalu and check in to our hotel. Known locally as KK, Kota Kinabalu is a burgeoning city with a blend of Malays, Europeans and Chinese: the result is a unique mixture of architecture, culture, high technology and ancient traditions.
Overnight Standard Hotel
Boat trip to Manukan Island
Off the coast from Kota Kinabalu is the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park, Sabah’s first national park. Teeming with a magnificent range of marine life, the islands are fringed with coral reefs and have some of the best beaches in Borneo. Today we make a boat trip to one of the islands, Manukan, an idyllic way to spend our first day here, to relax and enjoy some world class snorkelling. The villagers here live in Kampongs, stilt wooden houses connected by walkways and the interior of the island is a wonderland of tropical forests and wildlife, with monkeys, bearded pigs and hornbills a plenty.
Overnight Standard HotelIncluded meals: Breakfast
Fly to Sandakan; visit Sepilok orang-utan rehabilitation centre
This morning we fly to Sandakan on Sabah's east coast from where we make the short drive to Sepilok. Sepilok is home to the largest of the three orang-utan rehabilitation centres in the world. Covering over 4000 hectares of forest, the centre was established in 1964 to rehabilitate captured, injured or abandoned apes. he animals are taught how to make nests and how to survive in their natural habitat. We plan to visit the centre in time for feeding when, along with the permanent members, pregnant mothers who otherwise live in the jungle, often come to supplement their diet and return after the birth of their young. There is a small charge to bring your camera into the sanctuary area.
Overnight Standard LodgeIncluded meals: Breakfast
Visit to Rainforest Discovery Centre or orang-utan centre; drive to Sukau via the Gomantong caves
This morning you can choose to either re-visit the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre at feeding time or alternatively enjoy a visit to the nearby Rainforest Discovery Centre, where we will learn about the conservation of the rainforest and the myriad animals and plants that rely on this incredible habitat. From the canopy walkway you will see the beautiful rain forest of Sepilok from up to 28 m above the forest floor! You might even catch a glimpse of the Bornean bristlehead bird, one of the rarest birds in Sabah! Apart from that, there are another 250 species of birds to look out for, including hornbills, pittas, kingfishers and broadbills Later we continue our journey to Sukau, stopping off at the Gomantong caves. These limestone caves are Sabah’s most famous and are home to over a million swiftlets, which swarm into the caves at sunset to roost. The nests are harvested for bird’s nest soup, using 60m long rattan ladders. In addition to the swiftlets the caves are home to two to three hundred thousand bats, which leave the caves at sunset to feed. From here we continue onto our jungle base in Sukau.
Overnight Standard ChaletIncluded meals: Breakfast, Dinner
In Sukau; wildlife viewing, jungle walks, boat cruise
Unlike other areas in Sabah, the Kinabatangan River has remained relatively unaffected by the rapacious logging unfortunately so prevalent elsewhere, mainly because the land is permanently waterlogged and there are few commercially valuable trees there. The river meanders through a flood plain and creates many ox-bow lakes making an ideal environment for wildlife viewing. On our cruise this morning, we may see crocodile warming themselves in the morning sun and some of the other birdlife such as egret, storm’s stork, oriental darter and oriole. This afternoon optional jungle walks are available for those wishing to explore further. Then, later in the afternoon as the sun starts to go down, we take another boat cruise, along the Kinabatangan River and Menungal tributary, hopefully to spot some more wildlife, including the long nosed proboscis monkeys which converge on tree tops by the river banks to settle for the night.
Overnight Standard ChaletIncluded meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Drive to tea plantation
Today we depart Sukau by bus and travel to a tea plantation where we will spend the next two nights staying in a traditional style longhouse as used by the tribal people of Borneo. This plantation is the only organic tea farm in Borneo, surrounded by rainforest and with magnificent views of Mount Kinabalu, it is a great place to explore. This evening you may have the opportunity to see a blow pipe demonstration and see how headhunters traditionally hunted their prey.
After rising early this morning, we walk out into the tea plantation for a fine view of Mount Kinabalu. We will also take a tour of the tea factory to learn all about the tea grown in this area, then walk out to the Sapoan River and enjoy a picnic lunch. After returning on foot to the Longhouse, this evening, there is the opportunity to participate in some batik painting and maybe even join in the traditional dances of the Rungus Tribe.
Drive to Poring Hot Springs; drive to Kiau Village
We start our day with a visit to the Poring Hot Springs, a popular spot with locals who enjoy the hot springs found here. At 450m we are in tropical lowland forest, dense with vegetation and thick bamboo, with a humid misty atmosphere. You can cross a tree top walkway 60m above the forest floor or perhaps you prefer to take a relaxing soak in a hot spring bath, looking out for hornbills, mynah birds and monkeys. From here we move on to our abode for the night in Kiau village where we stay with local families, a great opportunity to learn about life in rural Borneo. Many of the families here are pineapple farmers and we hope to visit the farms and learn all about the cultivation of and also how to cook this tasty fruit.
This morning we drive to Kuala Penyu from where we travel by boat to the small island of Pulau Tiga. Formed after a volcanic eruption just over one hundred years ago, the island, which has magnificent coral reefs and a wide variety of terrestrial flora and fauna, is now part of a state marine park.
Overnight Simple ChaletIncluded meals: Breakfast, Dinner
On Pulau Tiga
This paradise island is the ideal place to relax at the end of your tour although there is also plenty on offer for the more active traveller. The snorkelling opportunities are excellent and other activities such as seakayaking and fishing are also on offer. A network of marked trails provide the chance to discover the island’s wildlife from macaques and monitor lizards to rare birds such as the curious megapodes, hornbills and sea eagles. One trekking trail leads to the mud volcanoes on the island which are famed for their mineral enriched mud, said to have healing properties.
Overnight Simple ChaletIncluded meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Return to Kota Kinabalu
Today we return to Kota Kinabalu with time for some last minute shopping or further personal exploration. You may wish to visit the Masjid Sabah, the second biggest mosque in Malaysia, or the Sabah Museum, shaped to resemble a Rungut Longhouse and containing a magnificent collection of ethnographic and historical artifacts.
Overnight Standard HotelIncluded meals: Breakfast
Tour ends Kota Kinabalu
The tour ends this morning after breakfast. Passengers travelling on the group flight back to London usually depart early morning and breakfast is not included at the hotel before departure.
Included meals: Breakfast
Please note that from time to time our itineraries may be amended, either for operational reasons or in response to feedback from customers. Please ensure you have read the latest Tour Notes before booking or travelling on your tour.