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Itinerary

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Tour Itinerary

Imagine a place that is spiritual and wild, colourful and mysterious, and full of tantalising secrets - this is beautiful Borneo. From the steamy jungles of Mulu National Park and the secluded beaches of Turtle Island, to the graceful orangutans at Sepilok and small villages nestled in the shadow of Mt Kinabalu, Borneo is a true gem of South East Asia. Experience captivating sunsets, be welcomed on homestays, travel along scenic trails, laze on tropical beaches and see an abundance of wildlife - this is a tour to remember forever.

Countries Visited

Malaysia

  1. Day 1
    Kuching
    Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia. Kuching, meaning 'cat' in Malay, is arguably the most pleasant city in Malaysian Borneo. It was home to the infamous White Raja of Sarawak, whose mysterious rule in this remote corner of the world sparked the imagination of many people who dreamt of becoming royalty. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, which you can find details about at the hotel’s reception. In any free time before the meeting, check out this cosmopolitan city rich in architecture, where the waterfront houses a wealth of curious shops and local vegetable, spice and fish markets. This city of skyscrapers sitting near lush green jungle is easily walked around, so maybe relish the mellow vibe and head out with your new travel companions to try some local dishes like Sarawak Laksa and Kolok mee.
  2. Day 2
    Bako National Park - Kuching
    Hop in a private van to the fishing village of Kampung Bako (approximately 1 hour), then a local boat up the coast to Bako National Park (approximately 20 minutes). Bako is the oldest national park in Sarawak and features rainforest, abundant wildlife, jungle streams, waterfalls, interesting plant life, secluded beaches and trekking trails. Millions of years of erosion formed a coastline of steep cliffs, rocky headlands and stretches of white, sandy bays. Waves have carved the cliffs into fantastically shaped sea arches and sea-stacks, with coloured patterns formed by iron deposits. Weather permitting, you’ll take a leader-led walk through one of the jungle trails where you will witness different kinds of vegetation or may spot wildlife like proboscis monkeys, silver leaf monkey and the elusive Bornean bearded pigs if you are lucky. It can be a hot, but always rewarding hike. Return to Kuching in the late afternoon and spend the evening in a hotel.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  3. Day 3
    Kuching
    Head to the Semenggoh Orangutan Sanctuary – a government-funded rehabilitation centre set in lush surrounds. The centre was set up to help reintroduce these wonderful creatures back into the wild after a life of domestication or having been orphaned. Head into the jungle via a walkway, where from a viewing platform you can watch and photograph the orangutans as they swing into view and eat the supplementary diet of bananas and milk that is laid out for them twice a day. Take some time to savour the special moments in these animals’ company. Human contact must be kept to a minimum and it's essential that you follow your leader's instructions. Afterwards, return to Kuching and the hotel, where you can freshen up from the heat. This evening perhaps mosey down to the riverbank and watch tambang ferries glide by, or head out to one of the many Chinese-influenced hawker markets for dinner and experience the range of local seafood.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  4. Day 4
    Mulu National Park
    Fly to Mulu, sending your large bag on to Limbang and packing a day bag with the essentials for the next four days. When you arrive in Mulu, head into the heart of one of the most spectacular national parks in Asia – Gunung Mulu National Park. Transfer the short distance to Mulu HQ (2 kilometres) where you’ll stay for the next 2 nights. Your leader will go through some of the options for your free time here. You can take to the some of the self-guided trails around the park, or to the treetops on the world’s longest tree based canopy walkway. Or maybe simply kick back with a book and enjoy the sounds of the nearby jungle. Later there is the chance of an optional night walk to search for some weird and wonderful insects and reptiles. Tonight you’ll stay in the park headquarters, which has its own restaurant and Information Centre. Accommodation is multishare rooms with private bathroom.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  5. Day 5
    Mulu National Park
    Today you have a free morning to explore or have a sleep in. Spend the afternoon strolling the walkways of this 180-million-year-old rainforest, and then catch the sunset flight of the bats at Deer Cave. The World Heritage-listed park has absolutely spectacular limestone geology, with enormous caves, vast cave networks, rock pinnacles, cliffs and gorges. In fact, its system of caves is the largest known in the world, formed when surface water worked its way through the rock, carving gigantic passages through the bedrock. Deer Cave has one of the single largest cave passages in the world, 2.2 kilometres long and 220 metres tall at its highest point. Before it was part of the park the cave was a well-known hunting ground for deer, who were attracted to the pools of salty water running off the heaps of guano. The guano comes from the millions of bats who call the cave home, and at dusk there’s a mass exodus as they emerge for their nightly feeding, like a seemingly endless black plume of smoke twisting across the sky. In nearby Lang cave you can appreciate the work that the water does on the limestone, sculpting waves on the ceiling, drawing stalagmites, columns and stalactites.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  6. Day 6
    Mulu National Park
    Leave Park HQ behind and head into the jungle. Take boats for around 30 minutes upriver to the amazing Clearwater and Wind caves, which contain Asia’s longest underwater river. The Clearwater cave system runs for more than 200 kilometres, over 100 of which have been explored. The system gets its name from the bright jungle pool at the base of the steps that lead up to the cave mouth. Wind Cave draws a cooling breeze through its lengths and features some of Gunung Mulu’s best cave formations, while Clearwater is covered in a species of bright green plant that is unique to the park and offers a real opportunity to see the water at work on the rock. Afterwards, take a longboat downriver before disembarking to hike through undisturbed jungle to Camp 5, nestled at the end of Melinau Gorge (approximately 9 kilometres). During dry season, the boats may need to be pushed over certain sections of the river, so it is advisable to wear strap on sandals or shoes that can get wet. At Camp 5 you will sleep in these wonderful surrounds, on mats on raised open-air platforms in a mixed gender dormitory, with shared bathroom facilities and cold water showers. Bedding is not provided so bring your own sleeping sheet and a warm layer for cool nights. Mosquito nets are available to rent for a small charge. Please be aware that at certain times of the year there can be many bees around Camp 5.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  7. Day 7
    Headhunters Trail - Limbang
    Today you’ll tackle the infamous Headhunters' Trail. Located in an isolated area of the Bornean jungle, this 12-kilometre (approximately 5-hour) trail takes its name from its historical role as the route taken by warring parties between the Tutoh and Limbang rivers. The trek is through dense jungle along a well-defined, mainly flat track, although the way can be muddy during the rainy season. You'll also have to cross some streams by rope bridges, wooden walkways, logs or by getting your feet wet as you wade through. You’ll be surrounded by stunningly diverse flora, massive bird-filled trees, and the magical sounds of the forest – a hornbill flapping its wings, the cries of monkeys, and the pulse of cicadas and crickets. Then you’ll take a boat from Kuala Terikan to Kuala Mendalam, a journey of around 4 hours. Depending on how much rainfall there’s been, you may be required to help push the boat over shallow parts of the river and there will be a stop at a ranger station for lunch along the way. It’s a long, challenging and rewarding day. Travel on to Limbang by private vehicle (approximately 1.5 – 2 hrs), where you can freshen up and enjoy a good night's rest after two long days of trekking.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  8. Day 8
    Labuan Island
    After breakfast this morning take a short walk to the ferry terminal for an 8AM ferry to Labuan Island (approx. 2-2.5 hours). On arrival you’ll have a free afternoon and evening at a beach resort. Relax and recover after yesterday’s trek, chilling out with a cold drink and a good book. Maybe head to Layang Layang Beach for a swim and get together for a sunset cocktail by the end of the day.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  9. Day 9
    Kota Kinabalu
    Enjoy some more free time on the island before catching a ferry and express bus to Kota Kinabalu (approx. 3-4 hours), the capital of Sabah and a modern metropolis that rebounded from multiple bombings during WWII. Tonight, perhaps head out for a final meal with your group to celebrate your Borneo adventure – the night market is filled with fresh grilled seafood.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  10. Day 10
    Kota Kinabalu
    Spend a free day in Kota Kinabalu. You could visit the Mari Mari Cultural Village, or perhaps explore the islands off Kota Kinabalu, excellent for swimming and snorkelling. There are plenty of ferries heading out and each island has a different vibe, many with small hikes and some with restaurants and resorts on them. As this is a combination trip, you may be joined today by new travellers, who will have a welcome meeting at 6 pm as you did on your first night.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  11. Day 11
    Dusun Village
    Today, travel by minivan to a Dusun village, nestled amid picturesque hills in the shadow of imposing Mt Kinabalu – the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea (approximately 2 hours). The Dusun people, the ethnic group of our guides on Mt Kinabalu, are wonderfully warm and friendly people, and while here you'll have the opportunity to learn about their way of life and spend a night in a village. Depending on the weather, you will take a hike through the surrounding fruit and rubber plantations. Your leader can point you in the direction of the river for a great way to cool off afterwards! To ensure your share the business around the community, you will split up to stay in a couple of different family homes. All the homes are in waking distance from each other and you will usually have other group members with you at each home. Enjoy a cultural performance in the village tonight after dinner.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  12. Day 12
    Mt Kinabalu National Park
    This morning say goodbye to your new friends from the village and travel into the unspoiled wilderness of the World Heritage-Listed Kinabalu National Park (approximately 1 hour). Take some time to enjoy the surroundings and prepare for the climb. There are nature trails through the lowland tropical forest and a Botanic Garden to explore. Otherwise, just relax this afternoon and take in the cooler climate. Your leader will provide a safety briefing about the climb and assist with any last minute questions. Stay overnight at Kinabalu Park in a lodge with shared bathrooms. Nestled among the lowland forests, this is the perfect place to chill-out before the climb
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  13. Day 13
    Mt Kinabalu National Park
    Rise early and take a quick drive to Timpohon Gate to begin the climb up Mt Kinabalu. It's not an easy trek as it is uphill all the way, and you’ll need to be prepared to tackle a trail made up of steep steps that vary considerably in size. You may get quite hot but remember that the top of the mountain can be deceptively cold. There's no rush, so take your time and enjoy the pristine environment – this is an area that boasts a remarkable variety of plant life, including some 1000 species of orchid and the extraordinary carnivorous pitcher plant. You will cover 6 kilometres on the first day (approximately 4–6 hours) and stop at a resthouse near Laban Rata (3272 metres) for the night. Tonight will be an early night, so you're ready for the final ascent early in the morning.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  14. Day 14
    Mt Kinabalu – Poring Hot Springs
    Rise around 2 am in order to catch the sunrise at the summit of Mt Kinabalu (4095 metres). It's difficult walking, but you'll feel a huge sense of achievement once you make it. The view from the summit is incredible – the jungles of Borneo in one direction, the South China Sea in the other, making every inch of the climb worthwhile. Be warned though, the temperature can change very quickly up on the mountain, so bring clothes for all weather conditions. The climb from Laban Rata to the summit takes 2-4 hours and, due to the altitude, can be hard going even for the very fit. The first section from Laban Rata is along man made steps passing through vegetation. Once clear of the tree line, you will be walking up a series of wooden steps all the way to the final check point at Sayat Sayat. After witnessing the morning sunrise, return to Laban Rata for a well-earned breakfast, and then descend the mountain (approximately 3-6 hours) to enjoy a rewarding lunch at the bottom. Once everyone is down from the mountain you will continue on to Poring Hot Springs by bus (approximately 1 hour). Tonight you will stay at a hostel located right inside the springs complex itself, with a light and airy lounge room for you to relax in. The hostel is multishare and mixed gender with shared facilities.Some rooms have bunk beds.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  15. Day 15
    Poring Hot Springs
    Poring Hot Springs is an ideal place to kick back for a day to recuperate after the mountain climb. These pools were developed by the Japanese during World War II, where warm sulphur water – believed to have healing properties for the skin – is piped into several man made open-air hot tubs. During school and public holidays it gets very busy here with local visitors. Depending on the time of year it might be possible to see the Rafflesia flower nearby. Rafflesia’s are the world’s largest flower and can grow up to a metre in size! Today, there are also a number of optional activities to choose from. There are graded paths leading through rich lowland forest to mountain rivers, waterfalls and bat caves, with birds and other wildlife often seen along the trail. A walkway in the tree canopy provides magnificent views or there's also a visit the enchanting butterfly farm. 
  16. Day 16
    Kinabatangan River
    Today, journey by private bus into the steamy rainforest to Bilit – a small village on the banks of the Kinabatangan River (approximately 5 hours). Take a short boat ride to the comfortable jungle lodge where you’ll spend the night. The lodge is located right on the riverbanks and is a good place to spot wildlife. In the early evening as the sun sets, head out by motorised boat in search of wildlife such as macaques, orangutan, proboscis monkeys and, if you’re lucky, even pygmy elephants! In the evening, take a night walk in search of nocturnal wildlife. Rubber boots and leech socks are available to hire. The lodge tonight is comfortable with private bathrooms.
    Meals:   Dinner
  17. Day 17
    Sandakan
    This morning, take another early boat safari in search of wildlife – different species come out at different times of the day, so keep your eyes peeled. After breakfast, say goodbye to your jungle lodge and hit the road in a private minivan to the coastal city of Sandakan (approximately 3 hours). Visit Sandakan War Memorial and gain an insight into the Sandakan's past at its War Memorial, built on the site of a Japanese Prisoners Of War camp. This site also marks the starting point of the tragic Sandakan Death Marches, on which 2400 POWs were forced to walk through the jungles of Borneo. By the end of the march, only six Australians survived, and only because they had escaped.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  18. Day 18
    Turtle Island
    This morning, leave your large bags at the hotel and walk 15 minutes to a nearby jetty. Travel by speedboat, past small fishing villages and bamboo fish traps, to Turtle Island Marine Park (approximately 1 hour), where green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs every night of the year. In the afternoon, there's time for swimming, snorkelling or some quality time lazing about on the beach of this tropical island. Snorkelling gear is available for hire. In the evening, join a select group of visitors and an expert local ranger and be touched by the sight of giant green turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs under the moonlight. Watch the Rangers as they release protected hatchlings and guide them in their frantic dash to the ocean. It's a moving experience that could inspire you to join the turtle nest adoption program, with a certificate of adoption and updates on the development of your nest. Beware that this is a very delicate environment and you must follow instructions from your leader and the local rangers to ensure minimal impact on the turtles. You will spend the night on the island tonight.
    Meals:   Breakfast   Dinner
  19. Day 19
    Sepilok
    After breakfast, return to the mainland (approximately 1 hour), collect your bags, and continue by minibus to a guesthouse located near the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (approximately 45 minutes). The centre was set up to help reintroduce these wonderful creatures back into the wild after a life of domestication or having been orphaned. From the viewing platform, you can watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view and eat the supplementary diet of fruit that is laid out for them twice a day. Human contact must be kept to a minimum and it's essential that you follow the instructions of the park, as directed by your leader. Also included is a new nursery where you can view young orangutans as they learn how to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym. The viewing area is behind one-way glass so as to not disturb the animals. To see more of Borneo’s creatures, there’s the option to visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center. Here, rescued Sun Bears that have spent many years mistreated and locked away in cages are cared for, with hopes of rehabilitation and reintroduction into the wild. There’s also the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary where you can watch up close the amazing proboscis lazing and feeding – an experience that can only be found in Borneo. A 30-minute walk from your guesthouse is the Rainforest Discovery Centre, which also has a 620-metre long, 28-metre high canopy walkway with spectacular views of rainforest giants. Your accommodation is located about 10 minutes’ walk from the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.
    Meals:   Breakfast
  20. Day 20
    Sepilok
    Your Sabah Adventure comes to an end today. There are no activities planned and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. If you’d like to stay in Sepilok longer, just get in touch ahead of time and we’d be happy to arrange additional accommodation (subject to availability). Flights depart most days from Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu or Kuala Lumpur.
    Meals:   Breakfast

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Inclusions

  • Bako National Park - Wildlife Trail Trek
  • Kuching - Semenggoh Orangutan Sanctuary
  • Mulu National Park - Deer & Lang Caves
  • Mulu National Park - Wind & Clearwater Caves
  • Mulu National Park - Picnic Lunch
  • Mulu National Park - Local Dinner
  • Mulu National Park - Guided trek along Headhunters' Trails
  • Mulu National Park - Longboat ride along the Melinau & Terikan Rivers
  • Labuan Island - Sunset cocktail drink
  • Dusun Village - Guided village walk
  • Dusun Village - Cultural performance
  • Mt Kinabalu National Park - Mt Kinabalu Climb
  • Poring Hot Springs - Poring Conservation Fee
  • Kinabatangan River - Night jungle walk
  • Kinabatangan River - Afternoon Wildlife Cruise
  • Kinabatangan River - Dawn wildlife cruise
  • Sandakan - War Memorial
  • Turtle Island - Turtle Island Marine Park
  • Turtle Island - Turtle Hatchery Visit
  • Sepilok - Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre

Meals
17 Breakfast(s) Included
7 Lunch(es) Included
6 Dinner(s) Included

Style: Original

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Accommodations

Cabin (multishare) (2 nights), Dormitory (1 night), Hotel (5 nights), Resort (1 night), Chalet (1 night), Resort (1 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hostel (3 nights), Hotel (2 nights), Lodge (2 nights)

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Questions & Answers

Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?

Each person is allowed one "check-in," and one "carry-on." Remember to take all valuables with you as "carry-on", because electronic equipment, cameras, laptops, jewelry, business documents and money are not covered by the airlines' liability, so always carry them aboard with you.

Question: Is Airfare Included in the Price?

Airfare from your point of origin to and from the trip is not included in the land price.

Intrepid Tours Customer Reviews

Overall Rating
4
Accommodations
3.6
Itinerary
4.2
Professional Staff
4.4
Repeat with Operator
4.1
Value for Money
3.7

Ratings based off 210 reviews about Intrepid Tours - currently showing 9 reviews with comments only

Intrepid is awesome. Our guide was superb. Everything went smoothly!

Our tour guide was wonderful. She was knowledgeable, fun, energetic, and made our week run very smoothly. The trip itself was fantastic! We saw a lot and the islands are absolutely beautiful. Great food, great new friends made on the tour, and would absolutely book with Intrepid again.

Intrepid tour is great company. Will use this company again.

The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.

The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations

Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.

Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.

Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.

Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.

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