Borneo & the Malaysian Peninsula

14 days
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1'819 CHF
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Leisurely
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Trip code: 
ALM
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Culture
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Wander through jungles, tea plantations, colonial towns, modern metropolises and tropical beaches.

Malaysia is very much a country of two halves. To the east is the island of Borneo with its jungles, Orang-utans and rivers. To the west is the Malayan Peninsula with its blend of cultures and religion, colonial history and modern flair. As we make our way through these two distinct regions we go looking for charismatic wildlife, visit a tea plantation, delve into the country’s European heritage as well as its Asian blend of Malay, Chinese and Indian and enjoy its spectacular beaches. We visit Buddhist temples and mosques, wander through rainforest trails and street-food markets and take in the sights, sounds, smells and flavours of a truly diverse country.

Highlights

  • Explore colonial Penang and Malacca
  • Discover Kuala Lumpur's culinary and cultural diversity
  • Look for Orang-utans and Pygmy elephants

Key information

  • 14 days land only/ 16 days flight inclusive
  • Travel by minibus, boat and domestic flight
  • 12 nights hotels, lodges and guest houses, 1 night longhouse

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • 13 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 3 dinners
  • London flights (if booking incl flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation
  • Airport transport for Land Only bookings
Call for general departures:
056 631 86 64
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Sepilok, optional night walk

    Those on the group flights generally land in Sandakan early afternoon and from here are taken to nearby Sepilok. Passengers who are making their own way can arrive at Sepilok anytime today. There will be an initial briefing later this afternoon. There should be the opportunity for an optional night walk this evening (please ask your leader upon arrival) before dinner. If there’s no time this evening we may be able to do the night walk tomorrow evening.
    Sepilok Jungle Resort or Similar, Standard Hotel

  • Day 2

    Visit the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary; optional visit to the Sunbear sanctuary.

    Set up in 1964, the Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary is set within 43 sqkm of primary forest. It is the largest Orang-utan sanctuary in the world and aims to rehabilitate and release orphaned and captured Orang-utans into the wild. We visit the informative headquarters and go see the Orang-utans at feeding time.

    Next we visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre with its impressive canopy walkway offering great views over the Sepilok Reserve. This is a great place to see birds, including hornbills and the Borneo bristlehead, and during fruiting season we may spot the odd Orang-utan along the way.

    There is an option to return to the Orang-utan Sanctuary for the second feeding session this afternoon as well as the nearby Sunbear Conservation Centre.
    Sepilok Jungle Resort or Similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Travel via the Gomantong Caves to Kinabatangan; afternoon river cruise.

    Our first stop this morning is the bizarre Gomantong Caves. These caves are a major source of swiftlet bird nests that are a Chinese delicacy. During the season workers climb up large ladders to harvest the vulnerable nests. We continue to Borneo’s third longest river – Kinabatangan. The wildlife reserve is home to an astonishing array of wildlife including Pygmy elephants, wild Orang-utans, gibbons, Proboscis monkeys and rare birdlife. As dusk approaches we take to the river in search of some of the local fauna.
    Bilit Adventure Lodge or similar. Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 4

    Explore Kinabatangan river and hike to a viewpoint.

    Up early we head out on a dawn wildlife cruise on the river in search of more wildlife. Later we head out to a local oxbow lake. Depending on the levels of the water we may travel by boat one way and hike the other way or hike both ways. The hike to (or from) the oxbow lake takes about 1-1.5hrs and can get slippery when muddy.

    This afternoon we will learn a bit more about local conservation efforts and contribute ourselves by taking part in tree-planting. Later we return to the river to look for crocodiles and other residents of the forest. There should be the opportunity, this evening, for an optional nightwalk where we may see night owls or even Western tarsiers.
    Bilit Adventure Lodge or similar. Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 5

    To Kinabalu National Park and Sabah Tea Plantation

    Leaving after breakfast we make our way to Kinabalu National Park in time for lunch. Mt. Kinabalu itself towers 4,101m over the jungle and is the highest peak in S.E.Asia. The lower sections of the mountain are covered in thick vegetation and are known for their diverse plant and animal species. This afternoon we go for a walk to explore botanical gardens along the lower slopes.
    We later continue on our way towards the Sabah Tea Plantation where we spend the night in a traditional style bamboo longhouse (in twin rooms with shared bathrooms).
    Sabah Tea Longhouse, Basic Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Visit the tea factory; on to Kota Kinabalu for flight to Kuala Lumpur and Malacca

    Early risers may be rewarded with a breathtaking sunrise over Mt. Kinabalu. After breakfast we learn about tea processing with a visit to the tea factory before transferring to Kota Kinabalu, Sabah’s main city. After lunch in KK, as the locals call it, we head to the airport for our flight to the Malaysian Peninsula (please note there is a 15kg restriction but it is possible to pay for excess luggage at the airport).
    Upon arrival we meet our leader for this section of the trip. We have dinner near the airport before transferring about 1hr to Malacca. Depending flight arrival time and the time spent collecting bags we may head to Malacca and have a late dinner there.
    Hotel Mimosa or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Rickshaw tour of the old town of Malacca and exploration of the town.

    Malacca is a well preserved colonial town boasts a mix of Portuguese, British and Dutch architecture and is a melting pot of different cultures. The quaint China Town neighbourhood is home to numerous antique shops as well as a Hindu temple, Taoist temple and a mosque, whilst Malaysia’s oldest functioning church is nearby across the canal. We explore the city using its colourful and distinctive rickshaws.
    This evening we go out to try some of Malacca’s local cuisine. Known as Baba Nyona, it is a blend of Chinese, Malay and Portuguese flavours and is a speciality of the town.
    Hotel Mimosa or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 8

    Transfer to Kuala Lumpur; afternoon city tour.

    From Malacca’s sleepy charm we head to Malaysia’s bustling capital city, Kuala Lumpur. Known as KL for short, this vibrant city shows a completely different side of the country. Upon arrival we take in some of the city’s sites including the nearby Batu Caves, the iconic National Monument which is dedicated to those who died in the struggle for Malaysia’s freedom during World War 2 and the Malaysian Emergency (which lasted till 1960); the modernist National Mosque and the National Palace (Istana Negara) which is now a museum.

    The rest of the afternoon is free to explore the city further, visit the Petronas Towers (please note these are closed on Mondays) or go do a spot of shopping.

    (The 17 December 2017 departure will set off early this morning and will do the food tour today as Christmas Day is a public holiday. The KL city tour will be tomorrow).
    Metro Hotel Bukit Bintang or similar, Standard

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Explore Malaysia's cuisine on a food tour of the city; free afternoon with the chance to go for a drink at Trader's Bar.

    Malaysia prides itself in its diversity and this is reflected in its capital, Kuala Lumpur with its mix of Malay, Indian and Chinese traditions and people. One of the best ways of exploring this diversity is through a food tour of city. We discover different neighbourhoods with their distinct sights, sounds, smells and, of course, delicacies. Following a ride on the LRT monorail to Bangsar, we start our 3-hour tour exploring hidden back alleys on foot and learning about Malaysia’s wonderful street food traditions.

    Wandering through the Indian influenced neighbourhood of Brickfields our senses are assaulted by loud and colourful architecture, music and food. We sample delicious Indian dishes served on banana leaf and seek out sweet vendors for sugary treats such as banana fritters, sticky, sweet gulab jamun or the local favourite, cendol (shaved ice, plum sugar, kidney beans and coconut milk jelly).

    We then take to KL’s sky-high local transport system and are transported from the colour of India to the bustle of China. Exploring the city’s vibrant China Town we tuck in to wonderfully tasty noodles and sample refreshing lime juice whilst taking in the fast pace action all around us.

    Our food adventure ends with a coffee at a traditional coffee house where we can trace the evolution of the city through charming photographs of days gone by.

    The rest of the day is free to explore more of the city at your own pace. You can go shopping in its malls, go to one of the museums or take in the views from the KL Tower (please note some sites and museums are closed on Mondays.
    Metro Hotel Bukit Bintang or similar, Standard

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Catch the train to Penang; afternoon walk around the colonial town of Georgetown.

    Today we head north by train as we make our way to Butterworth (about 4hrs). From here it’s a short transfer across the bridge to the island of Penang and the town of Georgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its architectural and cultural landscape. Upon arrival we have an orientation tour before an optional dinner at one of the many street-food markets.
    Glow hotel or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Have a city tour of Georgetown; free afternoon to visit Penang Hill, go to the beach or explore more of the town.

    This morning we explore more of Malaysia’s diversity on a city tour of Georgetown. We take in Fort Cornwallis, the site of the original British settlement built by the British East India Company in the late 18th Century. From here we continue to Kek Lok Si, one of the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast Asia. Built in 1891, the temple boasts millions of images of Buddha as well as various murals and sculptures.

    We then have a free afternoon to explore further on your own, perhaps go up to the top of Penang Hill or the Botanical Gardens or take a stroll down to the Eastern and Oriental Hotel which has been perfectly restored to its past grandeur. The perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea or gin and tonic.
    Glow hotel or similar, Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Catch the ferry to the island of Langkawi; afternoon ride on the cable car for great views of the island.

    Taking to the seas we catch a 2hr ferry to the island of Langkawi. Officially known as ‘Langkawi, the jewel of Kedah’, it is actually an archipelago of almost 100 tropical islands surrounded by the turquoise Andaman Sea with pristine beaches and jungles.

    After checking in to our hotel we make our way to the cable car for spectacular views over the islands.
    Tropical Resort or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Free day to explore the island or just relax on the beach.

    Today is a free day to relax on the beach or partake in one of the various optional activities on offer. These options include going on a mangrove tour, exploring the island by bike or taking a cooking class.
    Tropical Resort or similar, Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Trip ends this morning, those on group flights will be taken to the airport this afternoon.

    For land only passengers, the trip ends after breakfast today. Passengers on the group flight will be taken to the airport in time for their flight, normally late afternoon.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Malaysia

A visa is not required for most nationalities including British, EU, US, Canada, Australia and NZ nationals. If you are unsure of the requirements please check with your nearest Malaysian embassy.

Vaccinations

Malaysia

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. For the latest information please visit www.exodus.co.uk/zika‐virus‐q‐a.

Eating and Drinking

13 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches and 3 Dinners

You should allow about US$200-300 for food not included. If you fancy a few drinks then you may want to bring a little more for beer and other alcoholic drinks as you can expect to pay near western prices. Most meals will be basic, based around rice and noodles, although most accommodation does offer a western breakfast of beans, toast and eggs. In the bigger hotels and cities the full range of Western and local foods are available. You can generally avoid the spicier food if you wish. In Kuala Lumpurthere is a food tour providing an opportunity to experience the country’s diverse culinary heritage. Vegetarians can be catered for but please be aware that choice may be limited outside the main cities.Please inform the Exodus office before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in Borneo the availability of certain products is minimal or non-existent, for example wheat or dairy-free, please be prepared for this and you may need to bring these from home.

Weather

Malaysia generally has a tropical climate which is fairly standard year round. Different parts of the country experience wet and dry seasons at different times of the year and you can expect to have sunshine and rain at any time. In the lowlands temperatures tend to vary from lows of 20’C to highs of 30’C whilst the highlands generally have lows of 15’C with highs of 25’C. Temperatures can get very cold on top of Mt. Kinabalu where it can even freeze at night.

Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu

Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur

Is this trip for you?

This trip is graded as leisurely (grade 1) Malaysia has a tropical climate which means that it can be quite hot and humid year-round. Due to the wide range of geographical zones visited there is no best time to visit and different parts of the country will be going through dry or wet seasons at different times of year. Though even if a region is going through its wet season it normally gets a mixture of rain and sun. We go on several leisurely walks in Borneo, including along canopy walkways in Sepilok, the botanical gardens in Kinabalu and, in particular, to a viewpoint in Kinabatangan. Whilst these are not challenging the trails can be muddy. We travel by minibus, motorised canoe, train, ferry and plane as we make our way from one of place to another and within regions. Most drives are relatively short, with the longest being around 5-6hrs but most are under 3hrs. The train ride from Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth is 4hrs and the ferry ride is 2hrs. During the northwest wet season (October to March) the ferry crossing can get a bit choppy.

Call for general departures:
056 631 86 64
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels and Lodges

2 nights River Lodge, 1 night Longhouse, 8 nights comfortable hotel and 2 nights Guesthouses.

We use a combination of standard and comfortable hotels and lodges on this trip. One night is spent in a traditional longhouse, in Sabah Tea, in twin rooms. The longhouse is more basic with shared toilets and showers. All other properties are generally picked for their location and may, in some area, be the only option, they are all, however, well maintained. In Langkawi our hotel has an outdoor swimming pool and direct access to Tengah Beach (a more peaceful alternative to Cenang Beach). Rooms here are equipped with ceiling fans and air-conditioning. If you would like to extend your time on the beach in Langkawi there is the option to stay in the hotel we use on tour or upgrade to a 4-star beach-front property (The Frangipani Langkawi Resort & Spa). Please ask our sales team for more details.

Call for general departures:
056 631 86 64
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed November 2017
    Tracy Dean White

    A great 2 week adventure in Malaysia

    I truly enjoyed the 2 weeks that I spent in Malaysia, on Borneo at the beginning and on the Malay peninsula at the end. Accommodation was of a high quality with the possible exception being the long house for 1 night in Borneo. There were separate guides in the 2 halves of Malaysia, and both were simply excellent: Aldrin in Borneo and Ant on the peninsula. The trip was mostly at a leisurely pace which is what I like, and there was an ample amount of free time on some days, and that includes 1 total free day at the end on the island of Langkawi. This trip is a new one, and I think it's excellent. I highly recommend it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It was great to be with the orangutans at Sepilok.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Both Aldrin and Ant were excellent.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring lots of sun screen! I found mosquito bug bites to be a relatively minor almost non existent issue, but other people might have different experiences.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The food was excellent everywhere we went.

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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