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With its dense rainforests, tropical coastal islands and mysterious jungle valleys, Borneo is a rare destination these days. It's a place where you can still encounter nature in its truest form, with a rich variety of colourful and endangered wildlife amidst amazing natural scenery. This trip to the Malaysian state of Sabah and Sarawak takes you face to face with many unique species, including orangutans, proboscis monkeys and hornbills.
Day 1: Kota Kinabalu
Welcome to Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah. An arrival airport transfer is included. Please advise your flight details at time of booking so as we can book this transfer for you. There is an important welcome meeting at 6 pm today, which you can find details about at the hotel’s reception. If you have any free time beforehand, perhaps explore this intriguing city that was born between the Borneo jungle and the South China Sea. Modern-day 'KK' is a lively modern metropolis, having recovered from World War II bombings. The Sabah State Museum is a great place to immerse yourself in its backstory.
Day 2: Mulu National Park
Fly from Kota Kinabalu to Mulu, travelling via Kota Kinabalu. In the late afternoon, visit Deer Cave and Lang Cave, which are reached by following a scenic jungle walk that follows a three-kilometre plank walk (in each direction) which passes through peat swamp, alluvial flats and limestone outcrops. At sunset you will watch the millions of bats fly out of Deer Cave and see the large ring shaped formations they make as they circle higher and higher up the cliff face before moving out across the rain forest in spiraling ribbons. You will want to have your camera handy for this magnificent sight.
Day 3: Mulu National Park
Spend the day exploring the stalagmites and columns of Clearwater Cave and Wind Cave. Located along the Melinau River, Wind Cave is named for the cool breeze that blows through it- so make sure you pack a jacket. Later, explore the caverns and crags of Clearwater Cave, one of the longest caves in Asia. For lunch, enjoy a simple picnic with your fellow travellers.
Day 4: Kota Kinabalu
Fly from Mulu to Kota Kinabalu, arriving in the late afternoon. Enjoy dinner in a local family home, before returning to your Hotel.
Day 5: Kinabatangan River
Fly from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan (approx 50 minute flight) and travel by private mini bus to Kinabatangan River (approx 2.5 hour road journey) . Your jungle lodge, located beside the river, is ideal for taking in the lush surrounds. At 560 kilometres, the Kinabatangan River is the second longest river in Malaysia. It's also a protected forest reserve, containing some of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Borneo. Later in the afternoon you take a river cruise, hopefully spotting some of the more exotic local creatures. Wild elephants seldom reveal themselves, but crocodiles, macaques, wild orangutan, proboscis monkeys, hornbills and kingfishers are more easily seen. After this short adventure, head back to the lodge to enjoy dinner.
Day 6: Kinabatangan River
You might awake to the call of a Bornean gibbon, or perhaps a hornbill. Enjoy an early morning cruise through the fog as the sun rises, searching for more birds and wildlife. Keep an eye out for long tail macaques and pig tail macaques – ask your leader about the difference. Enjoy coffee, tea and a snack during the cruise, with breakfast served as normal when you return to the lodge. A second river cruise, in the afternoon, will be your last chance to photograph or simply marvel at your surrounds. Dinner tonight will be a BBQ in the open air (weather permitting).
Day 7: Sandakan
Travel by private minivan to Sandakan (approx 2.5 hours). Once the capital of British North Borneo, Sandakan traditionally had strong trading ties with Hong Kong. The Cantonese influence is palpable in the lively harbour-side market, the many Chinese temples and the local cuisine. On the way visit the Sandakan War Memorial. Here you will learn about the city's past as you stand on the same ground of the former Japanese POW camp. This site also marks the starting point of the tragic Sandakan Death Marches. Arrive at your hotel in Sandakan for a free afternoon. You may want to take some time to relax by the hotel pool before heading out to find the best rooftop bar and restaurant in town.
Day 8: Sandakan
In the morning, visit the orangutans at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view on ropes and vines. It is important not to interrupt the orangutans, so as to aid in their successful re-introduction. A popular section at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, is the outdoor nursery where young orangutans are cared for if born in captivity or when their mothers have been killed. Entry here is included in your admittance. Take the chance to view these young orangutans as they learn how to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym. You also see the unique Sun Bears nearby today. In the late afternoon you will visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre where you can discover the rainforest from the tree tops. The Canopy Walkway is about 347 m long with 2 towers (named Bristlehead and Trogon respectively) and a single-column Sunbird Shelter. There is also nature trails on the ground level for you to wonder around on. Afterwards, journey back to your hotel in Sandakan for the evening.
Day 9: Kota Kinabalu
Catch a short flight to Kota Kinabalu. Travel by private bus to visit the intriguing Mari Mari Cultural Village, nestled deep in the countryside. Here you will see how indigenous ethnic groups of Borneo used to live. The trip there should take less than an hour. This is a rare opportunity to see what the culture and lifestyle was like here in a bygone era. Witness first hand how the tribes would cook their meals, ignite flame with bamboo, and use a blowpipe to hunt. It's a fun, interactive and educational experience. Later, enjoy a farewell dinner with the group.
Day 10: Kota Kinabalu
Say goodbye to your new companions as your trip ends after breakfast today.
- Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
- Mulu National Park - Deer & Lang Caves guided walk
- Mulu National Park - Sunset bat experience
- Mulu National Park - Wind & Clearwater Caves guided walk
- Kota Kinabalu - Dinner with a local family
- Kinabatangan River - Wildlife spotting cruise
- Kinabatangan - BBQ dinner
- Sandakan - War Memorial
- Sepilok - Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
- Sepilok - Bornean Sun Bear Centre
- Sepilok - Rainforest Discovery Centre
- Kota Kinabalu - Mari Mari Cultural Village
9 Breakfast(s) Included
3 Lunch(es) Included
4 Dinner(s) Included
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