See the orangutans and the best of Borneo
With its ancient rainforests, idyllic beaches and diverse wildlife, Borneo is one of the most captivating places on earth. On this trip, you'll enjoy three river cruises to take in the spectacular scenery and animals. 'This trip has been the most extraordinary time of my life,' says Dame Judi Dench, who travelled to Borneo for her ITV series Judi Dench's Wild Borneo Adventure.
'This jungle is beyond my wildest dreams. Around every corner there's always an extraordinary culture.'
Among the highlights of the tour will be a visit to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, where you can learn about the programme and watch rangers feed the amazing primates.
During your first cruise along the Kinabatangan River, you will have the chance to spot proboscis monkeys, rare birds and pygmy elephants. You then head out on a night cruise to see nocturnal wildlife that inhabits the area.
In the Gomantong Caves, you'll discover the home of millions of bats and swiftlets - and the giant pile of their guano (droppings) - in a scene that's like something out of Indiana Jones. Travelling to Kinabalu Park, you'll have the opportunity to see more than 4,500 species of flora and fauna and tour the World War II Memorial Park, as well as its museum.
Reasons to book
See the Orangutans
Beachfront hotel stay
- Return flights from London Heathrow to Sandakan with Malaysia Airlines and resort transfer. (Regional flights may also be available - supplements may apply).
- Nine nights in comfortable accommodation, including two nights at the spectacular Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort & Spa.
- Nine breakfasts, six lunches and two dinners included with the group.
- Visit to Kinabalu Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Sepilok orangutans experience at the rehabilitation centre.
- Kinabatangan River cruise, spotting pygmy elephants, monkeys and rare bird species.
- Mari Mari Cultural Village visit including demonstrations of traditional daily activities.
Day1Fly to SandakanSandakan, Sabah, Malaysia
Day2Arrival in SandakanSandakan, Sabah, Malaysia
On arrival at the airport, a driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure exploring the area or walk along the oceanfront, and see the bay dotted with fishing trawlers to distant isles.
Day3Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation CentreSepilok Orangutan Centre, Malaysia
Today you'll visit Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve. You'll learn about the rehabilitation programme before seeing the ranger feeding the primates from the feeding platform. Afterwards you'll continue to Bilit Kinabatangan to your home for the next two nights, Bilit Rainforest Lodge, which you'll reach by boat. Later this afternoon, take a river cruise along the Kinabatangan River to spot Proboscis Monkeys, rare bird species and if lucky, the Borneo Pygmy Elephants. Following dinner, enjoy a night safari cruise to see the nocturnal wildlife that inhabit the river.
Day4Bilit KinabatanganKinabatangan River, Malaysia
Rise and shine! Opt to go for an early morning cruise to view even more wildlife or take a jungle trek at the nature trails in the surrounding jungles of the Oxbow Lake to discover myriad bird species. We return to the lodge for a hearty breakfast, afterwards the day is yours to relax on the deck and enjoy the scenic view of the longest river in Malaysia. Mid-afternoon, take another river cruise in search of wildlife returning to the lodge in time for dinner.
Day5Gomantong Caves and Kota KinabaluGomantong Caves, Malaysia
Leave for Sandakan this morning, stopping at Gomantong Caves, home to millions of bats and swiftlets. Here you'll witness the harvesting of the birds' nests in action! In Sandakan, you'll stop for lunch at a traditional English Tea House before your transfer to the airport to fly to Kota Kinabalu. On arrival, transfer to the hotel, where you'll have free time to explore this exotic coastal capital, surrounded by rainforest with white sands and blue seas it's a picture of paradise.
Day6Kota KinabaluKota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Spend today at leisure and enjoy your fabulous resort, which boasts a spa, golf course and nature centre at the gateway to the reserve. End your day with sunset cocktails and dinner in a beachside gazebo while embracing the quiet sounds of the rolling waves of the South China Sea.
Day7Kota Kinabalu to Kinabalu ParkKinabalu Park, Malaysia
Ttravel to Kinabalu National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with more than 4500 species of flora and fauna. We first tour Kundasang, visiting the WWII War Memorial Park, which includes a small museum, and then we drop by to the scenic Desa Cattle Dairy Farm, located at the foot of Mount Kinabalu, which produces dairy products for the Malaysian market. After lunch at a local restaurant, proceed to your hotel, the rest of the day is at leisure.
Day8Poring Hot SpringsKota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
This morning you'll visit Poring Hot Springs, based in a tropical forest and known for its therapeutic properties. Here you can cross a tree top walkway 60 metres above the forest floor and visit the butterfly farm, or just take a relaxing soak in a hot spring bath. You'll then travel back to Kota Kinabalu, checking into a hotel in the city, after which you have free time to explore the area.
Day9Mari-Mari cultural villageMiri Miri Cultural Village, Malaysia
Today you'll travel through beautiful greenery under blue skies to Mari-Mari cultural village. You'll see the demonstrations of daily life including the building of fires, tattooing and making a hunting blowpipe. You'll enjoy a delicious lunch of local delicacies before returning to the hotel. The rest of the day will be spent at your leisure, upon return to the hotel mid-afternoon. In the evening, check out the local bars or be an adventurous foodie and try out the sumptuous seafood spread at the local markets.
Day10Kota KinabaluKota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Spend the day at leisure in the city, maybe take a stroll down to Jesselton Point, from where you can take a ferry over to the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Parks, which has a number of beautiful beaches dotted across the islands.
Day11Kota Kinabalu departureKota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Today following breakfast, you'll have free time to enjoy a last look around Kota Kinabalu before we transfer to the airport for your flight home.
Day12Arrive back in the UKKota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia
Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa
Stylish resort nestled between the ocean and a tropical rainforest
Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort & Spa, Kota Kinabalu is an enchanting tropical retreat rising above a pristine stretch of beachfront. Surrounded by 400 acres of tropical forest, nature is all around, with tropical-inspired accents showcased in the sumptuous interiors of 499 guest rooms and suites.
The resort is home to six restaurants and two bars, as well as
an eco-friendly championship golf course and the magnificent Spa at
Dalit Bay. Unique to the resort is the Discovery Centre, gateway to
the Rasa Ria Reserve. Here, you can meet Borneo's wildlife.