Borneo exotic Great Hornbill in tropical rainforest, Malaysia

Wild Borneo

14 days
from
£3,749
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Trip code: 
WOW
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
New Wildlife Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–12

Peak behind the green curtain at Borneo's wildlife wonders in Sabah's best parks.

The island of Borneo is known as being one of the world’s wildlife hotspots - thick jungles teeming with animals with enchanting names: Clouded leopard, Sun bear, Flying squirrel and Pygmy elephant. Whilst some of these animals are very rare and hard to see, others, including orang-utans, are quite common if you visit the right areas. Few places in Borneo can compare with the reserves of Tabin and Danum Valley which are limited to only a few visitors at a time. As well as visiting these exclusive reserves we experience the Kinabatangan River and complete our adventure with a stay on tropical Manukan Island.

Highlights

  • Borneo's top wildlife destinations of Danum Valley and Tabin
  • Orang-utans, Pygmy elephants and hornbills
  • Two days on tropical Manukan Island
  • Boat safari on the Kinabatangan River
  • Sepilok's Orang-utan Sanctuary

Key information

  • 6 nights jungle lodge, 3 nights hotels and 2 nights luxury beach resort
  • 14 breakfasts, 6 lunches and 6 dinners included
  • Travel by minibus, 4WD, boat and internal flight

 

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 8 lunches and 6 dinners
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
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.

Bornean tarsier

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

    Depart London

    Depart London

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 2

    Start Sandakan

    The group flights normally arrive in the afternoon. Land only passengers can arrive any time. There will be a briefing this evening at the hotel.

    Four Points by Sheraton or similar

  • Day 3

    Sandakan, Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, Rainforest Discovery Centre

    This morning we have a short tour of Sandakan to get an insight into the daily life of the city’s inhabitants. We take in the Central Market with its selection of local food, including, depending on the season, unusual fruit; the Sim Sim Water Village – a fishing village built over the water and accessed by boardwalks; the Buddhist Puu Jih Shih Temple; and the Sandakan War Memorial which commemorates the death and suffering of prisoners of war who took part in the death marches under Japanese occupation during World War II.

    Heading out of the city we drive to the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. The sanctuary was set up to protect the local population of Proboscis monkeys whose habitat is increasingly threatened by the development of plantations encroaching on the forest. This is a great place to get up close to these unusual primates found only in Borneo.

    Our next stop is the wonderful Rainforest Discovery Centre which offers a great insight into the islands forests’ flora and fauna as well as a canopy walk.

    We return to Sandakan in the late afternoon.

    Four Points by Sheraton or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Days 4-5

    Sepilok Orang-utans and Sunbears; boat safari on the Kinabatangan River

    Our first stop this morning is at the Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre and the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Both centres, located right next to each other, work towards the research, conservation and rehabilitation of orang-utans and Sun bears respectively. This gives us the opportunity to get a close look at both of these fascinating animals and whilst we have very good chances of seeing orang-utans in a fully wild environment later, it is very rare to see Sun bears in the wild as they are very shy creatures.

    From Sepilok, it’s about a 2hr drive to Sukau and the Kinabatangan River. This is where our adventure into the wilderness areas of Borneo properly begins. The second longest river in Malaysia, Kinabatangan is one of the best wildlife spots in Borneo and therefore Southeast Asia. Various monkeys, birds and wild orang-utans are commonly seen here as are crocodiles, lizards and other reptiles. This is also one of the places with the best chance of seeing Pygmy elephants, though these are not as common.

    We spend our time in Kinabatangan searching for the local fauna with late afternoon and morning boat safaris when the wildlife sightings are at their best. It is also possible to take a walk in the jungle during the downtime in the middle of the day.

    Myne Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 6-7

    Jungle exploration in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve

    Leaving the river behind, our first stop is the Gomantong Caves. This enormous cave is said to be a favourite of David Attenborough and has featured on a number of his programmes. It is most famous for its population of swifts whose nests are harvested in controlled but very precarious ways to make birds’ nest soup.

    We continue via Lahad Datu to Tabin Wildlife Reserve (around 5hrs driving plus stops from Kinabatangan to Tabin).

    This is the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia and is home to a vast array of animals in both primary and secondary forests. Amongst these are 300 bird species (including all eight types of hornbill), nine species of primate and even three species of cat (including Clouded leopard) as well as Pygmy elephants, Sumatran rhino and the buffalo-like banteng (Borneo’s three largest animals). Other inhabitants include Sambar deer, muntjac and Mouse deer. Whilst some of these are, of course, very seldom seen, there are generally good sightings of wild animals along the reserve’s jungle trails.

    We spend our time in Tabin going on jungle hikes, visiting the lipad mud volcano - a popular mineral salt lick for wildlife, going on night walks, going on night drives to see a different side of the forest and encountering some of the islands great wildlife.

    Tabin Wildlife Resort

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 8-9

    Wildlife walks in the Danum Valley

    Our final morning in Tabin is free to relax or go on another jungle hike. We then return to Lahad Datu before continuing to Danum Valley (about 4hrs plus stops).

    The Danum Valley Conservation Area covers about 438sqkm of forest and is considered to be an area of outstanding biodiversity (making it a popular place for various research programmes based out of the nearby field centre). It is home to 120 species of mammal including 10 types of primate and is a great place to see orang-utans in the wild. As well as 265 species of bird, the valley’s fauna includes flying frogs, flying squirrels, flying foxes, flying lizards and even flying lemurs.

    Our time is split between jungle trekking along some of the valley’s trails (including its canopy walks), looking for wildlife, going on a night walk or night drive and having a bit of downtime at the comfortable Borneo Rainforest Lodge.

    Borneo Rainforest Lodge

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 10

    Fly to Kota Kinabalu

    Our last morning at Danum is free to relax or go on one final walk in the rainforest. We return to Lahad Datu (2hrs) in time to catch our flight back to Kota Kinabalu (1hr) in the late afternoon.  Arriving in Kota Kinabalu late afternoon/early evening, we are unable to transfer to our Manukan island today so will spend the night in the city.

    Dreamtel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Days 11-12

    Two days on Manukan Island to relax or go snorkelling

    It’s only a 30 minute boat ride to the luxurious Manukan Island Resort where we will be enjoying the beach for the last two days of the trip.

    As one of the five islands which form the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, Manukan is surrounded by a protected reef and made up of tropical forest in the interior surrounded by white-sand beaches.

    The next two days are free to explore the island’s interior rainforest, go snorkelling, take a boat trip, do some birdwatching, go sea-kayaking or just relax on the beach or by the pool.

    Manukan Island Resort

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    End Kota Kinabalu

    Return to Kota Kinabalu. Those on the group flights will be taken to the airport in time for their flight home. The trip ends upon arrival at Kota Kinabalu for those not on the group flights.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Arrive London

    Arrive London

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

All breakfasts, 8 lunches, 6 dinners included.

You should allow about MYR650 (£115/$150) for food not included. If you fancy a few drinks then you may want to bring a little more as beer and other alcoholic drinks are expensive and you should expect to pay western prices. Malaysia is renowned for its culinary excellence however food can often be relatively unexciting and limited in the lodges and for hotel breakfasts. We suggest you take snack food with you as it is not freely available. Most meals are based around rice and noodles although most places 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. Vegetarians are well catered for, though choices are more limited. Please inform us 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

Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu

Is this trip for you?

This trip visits some parts of Borneo which, whilst still accessible by road, are remote and isolated. This means travelling along some dirt roads. The longest drives are generally between 2 and 5 hrs. There may be some early rises to experience the jungle at the best time of day. Being tropical, the climate in Borneo can get very hot and humid and the trails can muddy and slippery. Some of the areas we visit are also places where leeches are common (it is possible to get leech socks to protect yourself).

The focus is very much on seeing Borneo's wildlife and this includes some jungle walks. Whilst not challenging, a reasonable level of fitness is required. The trip ends with two days on the beach where you can relax or discover the island’s underwater wildlife.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
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

Lodges, Hotels and Resorts

We stay in a range of standard and comfortable accommodation including hotels in Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu, lodges in Kinabatangan, Danum Valley and Tabin Reserve and a resort on Manukan Island.

The Borneo Rainforest Lodge in the Danum Valley and the Tabin Wildlife Resort in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve are exclusive properties and are pretty much the only places to stay in their respective areas meaning that, despite being some of Borneo’s best wildlife areas, there are few visitors. Tabin Wildlife Reserve is comfortable but simple and the group may be spread across both river and jungle rooms. These rooms are the same standard, the only difference is that the jungle rooms are a little further from the communal areas. Danum Valley is a comfortable lodge with a large, open common area and nice rooms.

We normally also stay at the standard Myne Resort overlooking Kinabatangan River which is picked for its location as well as the Four Points Hotel in Sandakan and the Dreamtel in Kota Kinabalu.

Our last two nights are spent in the luxurious Manukan Island Resort.

Please note that single accommodation is not availble for the Danum Valley or Tabin Wildlife Resort. It is available at the other places we visit. 

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
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

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Dates & Prices

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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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Call us on 020 8772 3936