Best of Borneo
Day 1 Kota Kinabalu (1D)
Arrive any time during the day. Meet your CEO and group for a Welcome Meeting, typically around 6pm, followed by an included local home meal in the evening (15km from the city). If you choose to arrive early, Kota Kinabalu has much to offer. Enquire about pre-night accommodation at the time of booking. The capital of Sabah is an intriguing city that was born between the wild jungles and the South China Sea. Having survived World War II bombings, KK now has a charm that can only be found in a frontier town. With any free time here, you can immerse yourself in history at the Sabah State Museum, visit the Monsopiad Cultural Village, home to a notorious head hunter, or explore the islands off-shore, excellent for swimming or snorkeling. Allow approximately USD15 for an island visit, although costs can vary depending on your negotiating skills, the time you wish to spend on the island and the number of people with whom you share a boat.
Day 2 Kudat (1B)
Drive to Kudat on the northern tip of Borneo. Lounge on secluded white-sand beaches. Opt to go fishing on a local boat, surfing, jungle trekking or get involved in a local beach cleanup project. Kudat is about a three hour drive from Kota Kinabalu, but feels worlds away. Enjoy the quiet fishing village and empty beaches at the 'Tip of Borneo'. Approx. distance: Estimated travel time: 3 hrs
Day 3 Mt Kinabalu (1B)
Enjoy some extra beach time in the morning before driving to Kinabalu National Park in the afternoon. In the evening, attend a briefing on the next day's hike. If you do not wish to climb, we can arrange for you to stay at the base of the mountain. Mt Kinabalu is the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea at 4095m and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its incredible diversity of flora and fauna within the park boundaries. Hopefully you'll catch a glimpse of the summit, which is often shrouded in a cloud by the afternoon. We stay at the foot of the mountain, so there's the opportunity to stretch your legs by exploring the trails around the park. Approx. distance: Estimated travel time: 2.5 hrs
Day 4 Hike Mt Kinabalu (1B, 1L, 1D)
Store extra gear in the mountain's HQ and climb to Laban Rata, enjoying a packed lunch on the way. The hike can take from three to seven hours. Indulge in a buffet-style dinner then rest up for an early start to summit the mountain in the morning. We set off early to begin the ascent up Mt Kinabalu. It is not an easy walk, but it is incredibly rewarding. Willpower is the main requirement as it's uphill all the way! The well-marked trail is predominantly made up of steep steps that vary considerably in size. Altitude can affect anyone, no matter how fit you are, and it can certainly slow you down a fair bit. There's no rush. The key to success with altitude is to drink plenty of water, take your time and enjoy the pristine environment. We leave our main packs in storage. Carrying just an overnight pack, you pass an extraordinary variety of plant life including fungi, mosses, lichen, varieties of orchids and several types of carnivorous pitcher plants. The climb is 6km and usually takes between 5-7 hours. There are shelters along the way to stop for brief rests. We spend the night of Day 4 at Laban Rata in basic mountain huts. Laban Rata is at an altitude of 3,272m. Food and refreshments are available and blankets will be provided so a sleeping bag shouldn't be necessary. It's an early night in order to prepare for the final climb very early tomorrow morning! Getting to the summit (4095.2m) from Laban Rata takes 3-4 hours. If for any reason, you are separated from your group higher on the mountain, there is a thick white rope all the way to the summit. If visibility is very low it may be necessary to hold onto the rope and follow it. The rope leads all the way from the vegetation belt above Panar Laban to the summit. The weather on the summit can deteriorate very quickly, with thick mist reducing visibility to 3m, rain storms and strong winds can also occur at times. When climbing on the summit and the higher part of the mountain, it's important to have sufficient warm clothes, a head lamp/torch, spare batteries, waterproof rain coat, food and water. During the descent we stop at our mountain hut for breakfast before continuing to the park headquarters and onto our accommodation for the night. The descent is tough on the knees and takes approximately 5-7 hours. A certificate is available to prove that you completed the climb – this can be arranged for RM10. For an additional charge you can hire a porter to carry your bag. The porters charge per weight.
Day 5 Summit Mt Kinabalu/Ranau (1B, 1L)
Arrive to the summit of Mt Kinabalu (3-5 hours) in time for sunrise. Rejoice! Return to Laban Rata for a rest, then to HQ for lunch. After, it's a short drive to our homestay accommodation (45 mins) where we can relax and enjoy the peaceful surroundings. Enjoy some home-cooked meals and get to know our friendly host. Approx. distance: 40km (25 mi) Estimated travel time: 1 hr
Day 6 Ranau (1B)
Enjoy a free day with options to visit the Poring Hot Springs, hike local trails, visit the Lupa Masa (a primary jungle with loads of wildlife), take a canopy walk, visit the famous Sabah tea plantations, and visit a waterfall. The springs' hot sulphuric minerals are said to have healing properties and will be a nice reward after your arduous hike. ??If you are very lucky you may even have the opportunity to see a Rafflesia blooming – the world’s largest flower. Homestay to Poring Hot Springs – 30 mins drive.
Day 7 Weston (1B)
Drive to the charming fishing village of Weston. Enjoy the quaint atmosphere and in the afternoon, take a boat tour down the river to view wild proboscis monkeys and other wildlife, and opt for a post-dinner boat ride to see fireflies. We spend the night in Beaufort, where you can wander around this small town set on the Klias River, surrounded by an abundance of monkey and birdlife. Wander around the shops and restaurants near the hotel to get a feel for the real Sabahan lifestyle. Estimated travel time: 4-5 hrs
Day 8 Kota Kinabalu
In the morning return back to Kota Kinabalu. Spend the afternoon exploring the city, there are many restaurants and markets options. Take a walk along the waterfront or opt to visit one of the off-shore islands. Approx. distance: 3hrs
Days 9-10 Mulu (2B,1L,1D)
After a relaxing morning in Kota Kinabalu, catch an afternoon flight to Mulu. Sarawak's largest national park, World Heritage-listed Gunung Mulu National Park is a wonderland of natural and geological marvels. Spanning 529 square kilometers, with peaks rising to 2376 meters, Mulu encompasses a huge variety of tropical ecosystems and is also home to an amazing network of limestone caves. Here we explore some of the world's largest caves and witness the incredible nightly phenomena, where literally millions of bats leave the entrance to Deer Cave. There will be free time to enjoy a night jungle walk, use the walking trails, go adventure caving or take a tree-top canipy walk.
Day 11 Kuching (1B)
Enjoy a relaxed morning in the park before an afternoon flight to Kuching. Enjoy some of the excellent seafood in the city. Approx. distance: Estimated travel time (flight):
Day 12 Mentu Village (1B,1L,1D)
Stay one night in a local tribe's longhouse outside Kuching. Drive by private minibus (approx 2.5 hours) and then jump into a 4x4 to go off the beaten path to get to Mentu village. Enjoy the local food and culture.
Day 13 Kuching (1B,1L)
After a morning trek to see some of the village surroundings and local farms, travel back to Kuching for a final night in the city. Iban village to Kuching: 3-3.5 hrs
Day 14 Kuching (1B)
Depart at any time. For those with extra time here, opt to take a cooking class, visit the Sarawak museum, the Chinese history museum, Fort Margherita or walk along the waterfront promenade.