Wonders of Borneo
Day 1 Kota Kinabalu
Arrive at any time and transfer to hotel. Our welcome meeting will be at approx. 6pm, please check with reception for a welcome letter from your CEO. Kota Kinabalu, 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. In your free time 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 of Kota Kinabalu, excellent for swimming or snorkelling.
Day 2 Mt Kinabalu National Park (1B,1L)
Today we visit a local market and travel to Mt Kinabalu where we enjoy lunch in the park and a visit to the Poring hot springs for a soak. Option to hike trails or traverse the canopy walkway through the lowland rainforest. Overnight at a hillside resort with views of Mount Kinabalu. Mt Kinabalu is the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea. Hopefully you'll catch a glimpse of the summit, which in the afternoon is often shrouded in cloud. We stay at the foot of the mountain, so there's the opportunity to stretch your legs by exploring the trails around the park, check out the visitor centre or if you wish, or do an optional trip to Ranau. There are some beautiful nature walks around the headquarters and at Poring Hot Springs, through lowland tropical forest on well marked trails. Total driving hours: 5 hours (approx)
Days 3 Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre/Sandakan (1B)
Travel to Sandakan and visit Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre to learn about and observe these beautiful creatures. Also enjoy a walk through the lush, tropical rainforest. The historical city of Sandakan is located on the east coast of Borneo and it had served as the capital of the British North Borneo during the British colonial time. The city was the notorious site of a World War II Japanese airfield, built by the forced labour of Javanese civilians and Allied prisoners of war. In 1945, the remaining prisoners were sent on the "Sandakan Death Marches". These were a series of forced marches in Borneo from Sandakan to Ranau resulting in the deaths of more than 3,000 Indonesian civilian slave labourers and 2,400 Allied prisoners of war who had been interred at prison camps in Borneo. In the end, only 6 Australians survived, all whom had escaped. It is considered one of the worst atrocities suffered by Australian servicemen during World War 11. On the more positive side, Sepilok is where you get to meet the adorable 'wild men of Borneo'. Orangutans and their human like features are a truly unforgettable experience. The centre is an excellent example of active conservation, re-introducing domesticated, injured and orphaned orangutans back into the wild. You'll visit one of the feeding platforms & there's a visitor centre where you can learn more about these amazing animals. There are walking trails where you can see not only orangutans, but several species of macaque & a host of other birds & wildlife roaming freely. (Please note there is an additional camera fee at the centre) It must be remembered the reserve is primarily set up to help re-introduce orangutans back into the wild after a life of domestication or having been orphaned. As we walk into the reserve to see the semi-wild orangutans it is essential that we follow the parks instructions. We are not permitted to interfere or touch the orangutans as human contact must be kept to a minimum. Total driving hours: 5 hours (approx)
Days 4-5 Kinabatangan River/Sukau (2B,2L,2D)
Today travel by boat up the Kinabatangan River to our rustic jungle lodge. This afternoon, we take a wildlife cruise in search of monkeys, exotic birds and Borneo pygmy elephants. On Day 5, take a river boat to the Oxbow lake and enjoy an afternoon jungle walk. Optional nighttime river cruise and jungle trekking. Upon arrival at our Lodge, we will have time to relax, enjoy light refreshments, and settle in at the lodge before the afternoon wildlife cruise. At approximately 1600hrs, we will begin the river cruise in search of wildlife such as the Proboscis Monkey, the Borneo Pygmy Elephants, gibbons, macaques, and a variety of exotic birds, which can be spotted amongst the trees along the river bank. After the wildlife cruise, we will return to the lodge for a sumptuous dinner. You will have the opportunity to take part in a nature, after-dark river cruise to enjoy the nocturnal species residing in the jungle, before returning to the lodge for the night. On Day 5, wake up to the call of Gibbon and horn bills, before taking an early river cruise to the oxbow lake to observe wildlife and experience the early morning ambiance of the longest river of Sabah. Return to the Lodge for breakfast, after which you will have the option to embark on a challenging or more easy-going trek with the guide. Lunch will be served at the lodge. Take a rest before the afternoon walk. Delicious dinner will be arranged this evening at the Lodge.
Day 6-7 Danum Valley (2B,2L,2D)
Continue by boat and bus to our rainforest lodge in the Danum Valley Forest Reserve. Activities over the next two days include a walk to the Kadazandusun burial site, lectures on local wildlife and ecology, a nighttime wildlife drive in an open jeep, a canopy walk and an evening jungle walk. Option to go river tubing or trekking. On Day 6 you will be transfer by boat for 30min & continue to drive 5 hours to Borneo Rainforest Lodge at Danum Valley Forest Reserved. At 1230hrs, lunch will be served then introduction to the forest will follow. After the short introduction, trek to the Kadazandusun burial site, known as ‘Coffin Cliff’ then proceed trekking to the ‘View Point’ for a bird’s eye view of the area. Descend back to the ‘Jacuzzi Pool’ for a refreshing dip. A briefing and slide presentation at the conference room will follow just after the dinner. This evening, you will have the opportunity to do the ‘Night Drive’ in an open-air jeep in search for the nocturnal animals. Early the next morning after breakfast, experience the guided jungle walk to the ‘Canopy Walkway’ enjoying the sounds of the birds and return through the ‘Nature Trail’. After lunch enjoy optional activities; water tubing for an hour in the Danum river or trekking along the Segama River. Have dinner and proceed for the Night Walk in search of nocturnal animals. Please note that due to a Borneo Government conference, the November 2nd & December 21st departures will not stay at Danum Valley, instead, we will stay at Tabin Wildlife Reserve - Day 6-7 of those departures, will be as follows: Day 6 Transferred to Tabin Wildlife Reserve and check into an attractive timber lodge at Tabin Wildlife Resort, which comes complete with private balcony, air conditioner, ceiling fan and hot water shower. Nestled within the rainforest beside the Lipad river, this lovely setting is home to a surprising variety of birds, insects and small mammals. Discover the rich variety of jungle herbs, some endemic, used for generations by local folks for the treatment of various ailments. Visit to Trogon Hall gallery for information about the conservation of Tabin Wildlife Reserve and briefing on birds, insects and animals found in this area. In the afternoon, trekking from the Elephant trail to the active Lipad mud volcano which provides a mineral salt lick for wildlife. Climb the observation tower and admire the contrasting landscape of the bare mud volcano and the surrounding lush forest, where birds are commonly sighted. Try to identify the multitude of animal footprints here. The adventurous can try the effects of the volcanic mud, said to be responsible for a fine complexion. Trek from the mud volcano back to the main road. After dinner, enjoy a Slide presentation on Tabin’s natural wonders, followed by a night safari to look for nocturnal wildlife and birds. Remember to look up at the clear, dark sky of Tabin, identify the constellations above you and make a wish or two. On Day 2, join an early morning bird walk to discover some of Tabin’s rich collection of almost 300 bird species. After breakfast, drive to the the bird watching tower, then trek through the lush rainforest to visit Lipad Waterfall. Take a dip in the natural pool and enjoy a refreshing shower under the waterfall. Alternatively explore the surrounding vegetation or just relax. In the afternoon, option to try out the Tabin Rainforest Foot Soak made with a natural blend of herbs, to relax tired muscles after long jungle treks. In the evening, take a dusk drive to look out for more nocturnal wildlife & birds. After dinner, go for a night walk along the trail nearby the resort in search of sleeping birds, frog and nocturnal wildlife.
Day 8-10 Mabul Island (3B,1L)
Drive to the coast where we catch our jetty to Mabul Island, our home for the next 3 nights. Enjoy this tropical paradise with option to swim, snorkel and dive. Mabul Island is a tropical paradise where you can relax, snorkel, and enjoy the delicious food and idyllic island surroundings. This is the perfect place for dive enthusiastic and snorkellers, with an abundance of sea life including turtles, barracuda, sharks, stingray, lion fish, and bump-head fish. The islands were nominated for the international Wonders of the World List. Diving and snorkel gear can be rented on the island. Our resort includes an open-air resort restaurant, adjoining bar, reading area and TV room. The outdoor pool and jacuzzi, surrounded by palm trees and overlooking the ocean, offers relaxation and luxury. Massage available on the island at additional cost.
Day 11 Kota Kinabalu (1B,1D)
Travel by boat, bus and flight back to Kota Kinabalu. This evening we visit the night market and enjoy local delicacies for our farewell dinner.
Day 12 Kota Kinabalu (1B)
Depart at any time.