Borneo Wildlife Discoverer

15 days
from
£2,449
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Traveller ratings
4.8 / 5 from 32 reviews >
Trip code: 
WOH
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Wildlife Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Showcasing the best of Borneo - wildlife, rainforests and tropical beaches

Borneo is home to some of the most diverse and beautiful wildlife in the whole of South East Asia. Starting with a visit to majestic Mt Kinabalu, we then continue to one of the trip highlights - the pristine Danum Valley. A nature lover's paradise, whose beauty and animals are equalled only by Sarawak and the World Heritage Mulu National Park with its immense cave system and the oldest rainforest in the world. We come face to face with Orang-utans at the Sepilok sanctuary, stay at a bamboo longhouse in Sabah on a tea plantation, and finish the trip relaxing at the beach, and we also have the chance to spot the elusive Irrawaddy dolphins.

Highlights

  • Orang-utan spotting
  • Mulu N.P. with the impressive Deer Cave bat exodus
  • River cruising in Kinabatagan
  • Luxury jungle lodge in Danum Valley
  • Proboscis monkey spotting

Key information

  • 13 nights comfortable/standard hotels and lodges- all en suite, 1 night basic longhouse with shared facilities
  • Travel by minibus, 4WD and boat
  • Two internal flights
  • Visit remote wild areas

What's included

  • 14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 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:
020 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

Kuching
to
Sandakan
  • Day 1

    Start Kuching

    The capital of Sarawak, Kuching, is a vibrant riverside city full of different ethnic groups who have migrated from the surrounding forests. With a great museum and a well preserved colonial centre there is much to do in this fascinating cultural hot spot.

    Those arriving using their own arrangements can arrive at any time. There will be a group briefing this evening at 6pm with your tour leader after which we can have dinner at the hawkers stalls on the waterfront.
    Hotel Lime Tree or similar

  • Day 2

    Day trip to Bako N.P. famous for Proboscis monkeys

    Our first foray into Borneo’s amazing nature as we head to nearby Bako National Park famous for its Proboscis monkeys. This is where the rainforest meets the sea and the only way to get to the park is by boat (after a 1hr drive out of the city). It has abundant wildlife, jungle streams, waterfalls, interesting plant life, secluded beaches and trekking trails. Despite being the smallest National Park in Sarawak, Bako contains almost every type of vegetation found in Borneo.

    Please note that as Bako NP is only accessible by boat, our time there is often dictated by tides and weather conditions. Our leader will inform us of the details the previous day.

    We return to Kuching for the night.
    Hotel Lime Tree or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Fly to Mulu N.P.; sunset walk to Deer Cave for bat exodus

    We leave the city behind and fly to Mulu National park (schedules for this flight often vary). After checking-in at the Park HQ, we will be introduced to the park guides and head through the forest to Deer Cave. Some of the caves have been mapped by occasional expeditions; they have their own ecosystems with plants and animals living in the cave chambers.

    Deer Cave, the largest cave passage in the world, is home to millions of bats and swifts that live side by side on the roof of the cave. The cave floor has a raised platform, though that is no escape from the smell of the 'guano' – the excrement from millions of birds and bats. Close-by is Lang's Cave, which though much smaller, has some excellent stalactites and stalagmites and other cave formations. The forest around the caves is spectacular and there is plenty of time to examine it closely.

    The walk to Deer Cave is 3kms (each way) along boardwalks and there are wooden steps leading to different viewing platforms inside the show caves.

    We will arrive at Deer Cave in time for dusk which is when the bats leave the comfort of the cave to feed on insects (as long as it is not raining). This is a sight to behold with the bats leaving the cave in a long line snaking across the sky for quite some time. Dependent on the timings of the day we may visit the caves tomorrow instead.

    Please note that due to flight schedules there isn’t much time for lunch between the time we arrive at Mulu NP and the time we depart for the caves. You should buy something at the airport to have later.
    Mulu National Park Garden Cottages or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Full day exploring Mulu N.P.

    Today is a day for exploring this stunning park with a local guide. In the morning we visit three of the 'show caves' including Clearwater where a picnic (not included) lunch can be had in the gorgeous riverside location. The park has some incredible statistics; It has over 3,500 plant species, 8,000 different types of fungi and 170 species of orchid. Over 100 new plant species were discovered between 1960 and 1973, and many are still being added. There are 262 species of bird, almost 300 species of butterflies and many reptiles and mammals.

    Members of the Penan tribe live within the park. They are a small population of nomadic forest dwellers who live as hunter-gatherers. There has been fierce international opposition to the Malaysian government who tried to settle them in permanent longhouses and indeed the Penan themselves have also resisted. In 1994 they were granted an area of the forest where they could continue their traditional lifestyle. Although you are unlikely to meet these elusive people, you occasionally see their fishing shelters or areas in the forest where they have recently visited.

    This afternoon there are a number of options available including a visit to one of the local Penan settlements to learn a little more about their unique way of life. Alternatively, simply relax in the park and listen to the weird and wonderful creatures that call it home.

    Those with a head for heights can try the optional canopy walkway. This 480-metre skywalk is the longest tropical canopy walkway in the world and takes approximately 2 hours to complete. Along the way, visitors may be able to see macaque monkeys, hornbills, flying lizards, squirrels and a variety of rainforest birds.

    In the evening there is an optional night walk or we can try the local Mulu 'firewater', Tuak.
    Mulu National Park Garden Cottages or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Early rise for dawn chorus in Mulu; fly to Kota Kinabalu

    We aim to catch the morning flight out of Mulu and on to Kota Kinabalu via Miri though delays are not uncommon. Depending on what time we fly out of Mulu there may be some time to walk along self-guided trails or at the visitor’s centre.

    Known as KK to the locals, the capital of Sabah is a now a modern multi-cultural city. The evening is free to relax, explore the bustling Filipino markets or enjoy a sundowner on the waterfront.
    Hotel Dreamtel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Free day; optional snorkelling and island trip, wetland birdwatching or cultural village

    Today you are free to enjoy some of the many activities Kota Kinabalu has to offer. A popular option is to visit one of the tropical islands in the marine park, a 15 minute boat journey from the city and offering excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities. Here you can never be bored whether you are relaxing on the white sand, snorkelling or just swimming in the warm South China Sea.

    There is some good birdwatching opportunities in the wetlands not far from KK as well as a cultural village in Mari Mari for an insight into the different cultures of Sabah. Your tour leader can help organise any of these options.
    Hotel Dreamtel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    To Kinabalu N.P.; visit Sabah Tea Plantation

    Transfer about 2 hours and explore World Heritage Site; Mount Kinabalu National Park, home to the highest mountain in South East Asia, Mount Kinabalu at 4,101m. This impressive peak of huge granite walls can be viewed from the Crocker mountain range which we pass over, with panoramic views of the countryside and soaring hills. The lower mountain slopes are covered in thick vegetation and it is well known for its diverse botanical and biological species. En route, we stop at Nabalu market where villagers come to sell their produce and handicraft. It’s possible to walk through the plantation on your own if you want this afternoon. Tea, medicinal herbs, fruit and vegetables are just some of the things produced locally. From the plantation, the sunrise with a view of Mount Kinabalu is often spectacular. If we are lucky it may be possible to view the spectacular rafflesia in flower nearby or en route to the plantation.
    Sabah Tea Gardens Longhouse

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Visit Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary en route to Sepilok

    We visit the tea factory before we leave the plantation behind and continue our journey to Eastern Sabah. Our destination is Sepilok, a well-known destination for its Orang-utan Sanctuary. The journey time is about 5 hours and we will make a stop at the Labuk Bay Proboscis monkey sanctuary. Here you can get an up close look at this extraordinary animal which is only found in Borneo. We continue on to our lodge in Sepilok. This evening, as dusk approaches we will head to the nearby Rainforest Discovery Centre. The centre can have fantastic bird watching opportunities (though luck does play a role) as hornbills and the Borneo bristlehead are often seen and there is an array of displays which highlights the island’s diverse flora. Orang-utans can also be spotted during the fruiting season and there is an impressive canopy walkway as well as some easy walking trails.
    Sepilok Jungle Resort

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Visit Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary; optional visit to Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

    Up early we return to the Rainforest Discovery Centre for some more bird and wildlife viewing before returning to our lodge for breakfast. We then visit Sepilok Orang-utan Centre, the largest orang-utan sanctuary in the world. Here rehabilitated orphans and captured orang-utans are cared for until they are ready to be released into the wild. We get the opportunity to see these incredible relations of ours close-up and learn about the very real threats to their continued existence. You will have the chance to visit both morning and afternoon feedings. There is also an orang-utan nursery where youngsters are trained in climbing skills with the aim of reintroduction to the wild. We will have the chance to view the youngsters from a special viewing platform that sits behind one-way glass so as not to disturb or influence them.

    There is the option of visiting the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre which works with rescuing and rehabilitating captured bears as well as research and providing education to the community.
    Sepilok Jungle Resort

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    To Danum Valley Conservation Centre

    We drive to Lahad Datu approximately 3-4 hours where we change vehicles and drive off road into Danum Valley conservation area (approx. 2 hours), the largest protected lowland dipterocarp forest in Borneo. It is one of the last remaining pockets of primary lowland rainforest in Asia. Danum Valley is at the forefront of tropical rainforest research, and home to many rare and endangered species of mammals and birds – it is a real privilege to spend 2 nights here in the comforts of the Borneo Rainforest Lodge.

    Danum Valley is probably the very best place in Malaysia to see wild orang-utans in their pristine habitat. Apart from orang-utans, it has just about the complete range of Bornean wildlife and great trails. After settling in, there is an afternoon nature trek to try and spot the elusive orang-utan, and after dinner a night drive is possible to spot many of the shy and retiring creatures of the forest. We will spend our time here with very experienced guides who accompany us on all our walks. One night drive and one night walk is included during our stay.
    Borneo Rainforest Lodge

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 11

    Full day guided walk in Danum Valley

    We will spend a full day with our very experienced guides. We will have an opportunity to explore the trails, the canopy walkway and waterfalls whilst searching for wildlife in this remarkable place. The trek to a look out point over the Danum Valley takes approximately 1.5 hours each way. Danum is home to over 275 bird species, 110 species of mammals including orang-utans, five species of deer, giant flying squirrels, gibbons, bearded wild boars, flying frogs and the Asian elephant. One of Danum's least known animals is the elusive Sumatran rhinoceros, unfortunately facing imminent extinction.
    Borneo Rainforest Lodge

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 12

    To Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary

    After a final early morning nature hike we leave Danum and head to the Kinabatangan River. The journey takes about 4 to 5 hours. Our river lodge is located on the mighty Kinabatangan River, the 3rd longest river in Borneo. The area is home to an astonishing array of wildlife including ten species of primates, four of which are endemic to Borneo. It has one of the highest concentrations of proboscis monkeys and orang-utans in Malaysian Borneo. Other wildlife includes Bornean gibbon, Asian pygmy elephants, long tailed macaques, sun bears, clouded leopards and barking deer. There are also over 200 species of birds including hornbills, eagles, herons, kingfishers, oriental darters, night jars, flowerpeckers and spider hunters. In the early evening we take our first river cruise.
    Myne Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 13

    Dawn wildlife cruise on the Kinabatangan River and forest walks

    We are up with the animals for a dawn wildlife cruise followed by a trek out to a lookout point. In the afternoon, we will once again take a river cruise to spot wildlife and if we are lucky a crocodile or two.
    Myne Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 14

    Visit Gomantong Caves; transfer to Sandakan

    Today we will journey to Sandakan (approx. 3-4 hours). En-route we stop at the bizarre Gomantong caves. The caves are a major source of the swiftlet bird nests that are a Chinese delicacy. Every day, when in season, workers climb large ladders up to 400 feet up to the roof of the caves to collect the valuable nests. It is also a good place for bird watching and spotting wild Orang-utans.

    We then continue onto Sandakan. The town was once a huge logging centre (it first exported wood in the late 1880s to supply the building of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing) and is home to many Chinese and Filipinos. The waterfront is a good place to take an evening walk and the roof top restaurant at the Nak hotel is a great place to sip a cocktail or two.
    4 Points Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    End Sandakan

    There may be some free time to enjoy the hotel’s pool or explore Sandakan some more before those on the group flights are transferred to the airport for their flight home. For land only clients, the trip ends this morning after breakfast.

    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, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinners are included.

You should allow about GBP 100-150/ USD 130-200 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.

 Meals will be more varied for everyone in cities and seafood is widely available on the coast. In the bigger hotels and cities the full range of Western and local foods are available. We also suggest you take snack food with you, as it is not freely available. Most meals will be basic based around rice and noodles although most accommodation does offer a western breakfast of beans, toast and eggs. You can generally avoid the spicier food if you wish.

Vegetarians will find the food choice limited but are well catered for. 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

Borneo has an equatorial monsoon climate with the weather remaining similar throughout the year. It is hot and humid; temperatures range from 23-33degC during the day and rarely drop below 20degC at night. The rainy season is from November to January and the dry season is from May to September, though really it can rain at any time. A Borneo rain shower is quite an event!

Miri

Miri

Is this trip for you?

This trip is rated Activity Level 2- Leisurely/Moderate

This trip focuses on Borneo’s wildlife and natural wonders. There is a wide selection of accommodation used on this trip, from hotels, national park lodges, basic river lodges to a five star jungle resort. The longhouse is simple without en-suite facilities. The climate tends to be tropical which means it can get very hot and humid. There are a number of hikes in the forest though these are not strenuous.

Please note that in 2019 the visits of the Danum Valley and Kinabatangan will be reversed.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 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, Lodges & Longhouse

You will spend 13 nights in comfortable/standard hotels and lodges. All of which are en suite. There’s also 1 night in a basic longhouse, with twin share rooms and a shared bathroom.

The longhouse is basic but has ceiling fans, electricity and showers.

The Borneo Rainforest Lodge is a comfortable luxury jungle lodge resort in the midst of teeming primary jungle.

Single rooms are available (subject to availability) for a supplement for 10 hotel/lodge nights only (singles are not available in Mulu NP or the Danum Valley). Please advise the sales team at the time of booking if you would like to request a single supplement.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 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.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
020 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

Here at Exodus we are incredibly passionate about wildlife and the conservation efforts to save it.

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed November 2018
    Leo Murphy

    Borneo wildlife adventure

    This is a truly amazing holiday. If you have an interest in wildlife, then this is the trip for you, because the diversity of wildlife is bewildering. I went in early October, and on every walk we did we saw something. We saw Orang Utans almost every time we went out. Be prepared for rain. When it starts, it can come down in biblical proportions, though it doesn’t usually last for very long.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Almost too many to mention. As a keen photographer, I had to make myself put the camera down so I could take in what I was experiencing. Seeing Orang Utans, Broboscis Monkeys, Pygmy Elephants, Mouse Deer, Pit Vipers, Bearded Pigs, Hornbills, and various lizards and insects in the wild, is not something you should just view through a camera lens. The Bat Exodus from Deer cave in Mulu NP is a wonder of nature. The sanctuaries we visited offer a closer contact with some animals, which some people will probably prefer to the hit-and-miss nature of the jungle, but the necessary glass divide between you and the Orang Utans in Sepilok is undoubtedly a distraction. By contrast, in Labuk Bay where there is no divide, the Proboscis Monkeys charge around the decking area showing the visitors who’s boss. But for me, the sightings in the wild were the really special moments. Holding a huge male Rhinocerous beetle in your hand, with its fish-hook legs gripping on, is not something you experience every day. During a visit to Gomantong Caves which teemed with cockroaches, a Skink dropped onto my shoulder and hitched a ride with me out of the caves.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Nostalia (Talia), is without question, one of the best guides I have ever had. Extremely knowledgeable and articulate, she did not shy away from thornier topics such as Palm Oil cultivation and deforestation. Always smiling and cheerful, she bound the group together with assured ease. Our “Exodus Group” quickly became our “Exodus Tribe” much to Talias amusement and delight. She consistently went the extra mile, in my case sitting with me on two occasions to go through my photographs so I could make accurate notes for a book I have planned. She brought us to out of the way places to eat that we most likely would not have considered on our own. One such meal at a non-descript looking outdoor Chinese in Kuching, for me, was probably the best meal of the entire trip, and cost next to nothing. A special mention must also go to our three guides in Danum Valley. Along with Talia, Aldrin, Syafiq and Helen were exceptional. We did several walks over two days and nights, and were amazed at what they spotted for us. They were all equally enthusiastic, and genuinely loved spotting wildlife and sharing stories with us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take a poncho, or buy a cheap one when you get there. It gives you much more freedom than a rain jacket. Always carry a spare, medium sized dry bag. You’ll be surprised how much you use it. Bring a day-bag with a waterproof covering. You will need it. Drink as much water as you can, and top up at every opportunity. Free top-ups are available almost everywhere you stay. A reservoir for your day-bag is very useful. Bring a hat with a brim. The sun can be unrelenting. For photographers, only bring a tripod if you really need it. This is quite an active holiday, and you will be constantly on the move. Stopping to set up a tripod is not just impractical, it is unfair on your fellow group members and guides. (I brought a Gorilla tripod, and it never came out of my bag.) Again for photographers, bring spare batteries for the camera and a charger. This may seem obvious, but remember you will be shooting a lot of wildlife and will probably be using multi shot mode, and that chews up your battery. The humidity also seems to drain the batteries more quickly. Mosquitos were not as big an issue as I thought they would be. Normally I get eaten alive, but not in Borneo. But bring plenty of repellent. Likewise, leeches were rare. Two people from the group did get bitten, but otherwise the leeches were hard to find. I had leech socks with me which certainly helped, but long tight socks will work just as well. If travelling solo (With a single supplement), be prepared to have to share a room for maybe a couple of nights. Travel light and do laundry when you can. Try the Durian. Don’t let the smell put you off.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Something that is not mentioned are the suspension bridges. While the canopy walks are optional, some bridge crossings are not. If you have a problem with heights, you may want to take this into account. On the other hand, unless it is a serious problem for you, I wouldn’t let it put you off going. Do everything on offer. You’ll regret it if you don’t.
  • Reviewed October 2018
    Daphne Dawson

    A lot more than utang-utans

    I'd been to this part of the world before, but not to see the rain forests. This trip let me see all the incredible wildlife of the region - from insects to elephants. We had amazing guides who saw and named everything long before most of us had noticed a thing. It was a continuous revelation! It was also interesting to meet local people and see their way of life - even experiencing longhouse accommodation briefly. An exciting and thoroughly enjoyable trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting the Sepilok Urang-utan Rehabilitation Centre (I'd expected to enjoy this), but also seeing elephants in the wild.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader, Rony, was so consistently helpful. He really knew his wildlife and I learnt a great deal during the trip in consequence. But he was also fun to be with, and saw that we experienced local food and saw a number of things tourists might not notice normally. Great company and an excellent leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I'd got pretty worried about leeches and high humidity before going. Don't let these things put you off. Although we saw the leeches, they weren't such an issue. I invested in leech socks which were a good buy for the occasion: I left them for other travelers in the end, as I don't expect to use them again. Showers were good, so it was relatively easy to deal with the humidity too. Just pace yourself.
  • Reviewed September 2018
    ROBIN JONES

    borneo

    Very enjoyable well organised trip to a fabulous country.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Orang-utans and proboscis monkeys.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ronnie was super.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Be prepared to experience high humidity - book extra days before and after if you can.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    The only small problem was that certain travelers we very selfish in take the best coach/boat seats repeatedly without considering treating others fairly. Stay at Myan 'Resort' was disappointing (poor food and no room servicing).
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Patricia Ratcliffe

    Borneo wildlife discovery

    The trip started a little slowly but after a few days was just wonderful.nthe exodus guide, Maniel, was superb. We saw all of the wildlife anticipated - and more!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The wonderful local guides who were incredible at spotting wildlife including the nocturnal tarsier.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Maniel cannot be praised highly enough for his organisation, knowledge and patience.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Just follow the advice of the group leader and go at your own pace. Take plenty of insect repellent and travel everyday with a small towel because of the extreme humidity. Carry a cheap, light plastic poncho to cover up quickly when the rain begins. Take a good camera and binoculars.
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Susan Mann

    Excellent wildlife

    A fantastic trip to a beautiful country. My main purpose was to see orang utans in the wild, although I was prepared to be disappointed. However expectations were exceeded and we saw several in the Danum Valley and at Kinatabangan. Also many monkeys, birds, amazing insects and reptiles. Seeing the pygmy elephants was the icing on the cake, although it was a it disturbing to see how close all the boats got to the elephant that was in the river - I think they stopped her going where she wanted to go.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Hard to pick one as always, but watching a couple of orang utans making their nests for the night and the next day watching a mother orang help her baby by holding onto tree branches so you could get from one tree to the next are both special memories

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Beverley was very good, extensive knowledge of Borneo culture and history that she shared with us. She went out of her way to organise extra activities for us to increase our wildlife spotting. She took us to some excellent and very cheap restaurants that the locals frequent, which is actually what we want as tourists.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    July is the dry season so our trip was not affected by the few torrential downpours that we had, most of which happened during the evening/night. Maybe that's a good time to go. Even so, a poncho is a must. When it rains, it rains! I was glad I took my walking boots, though I had thought long and hard about it. Prepare to be hot and very sweaty a lot of the time! I'm not a mad-keen photographer myself, I think you can spend so much time and effort trying to get a photo that you don't actually watch. However, if you are a photographer, remember the light is low in the forest and also a lot of the wildlife is high up so a good zoom is needed for good photos!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Make the most of it and join in with everything on offer! This is a very enjoyable trip
  • Reviewed August 2018
    Maureen Pinder

    Great trip to Borneo

    I've been on plenty of Exodus hiking holidays, but this was my first wildlife trip. I was a bit nervous in case my fellow travellers were a bit serious about both wildlife and cameras, but they weren't at all. I bought a new bridge camera for the trip, but found some people just had compacts and I needn't have worried. We were lucky and had great weather throughout apart from one of two quick downpours. We saw loads of orang-utans, proboscis monkeys, various langurs and macaques, pygmy elephants, squirrels - flying and otherwise, a crocodile, 4 types of snake, monitor lizards, and loads of birds, bats and insects. All the destinations were great - Bako, Mulu, Sepilok, Danum Valley, Kinanbatangan River. We did definitely see the highlights. We spent more time in Sabah than in Sarawak, but I guess that's the most dramatic bit. All the accommodation was excellent - Danum Valley reminded me of a game lodge in Kenya. Got to admit I skived watching the second orang-utan feeding session at Sepilok and spent a couple of hours by the pool instead. The food was very good throughout, and I probably put on half a stone.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Rushing through a villager's house to catch sight of pygmy elephants in the back garden. Or, seeing a flying squirrel glide from one tree to another (at Sepilok).

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our leader Beverley Chin was great. She knows the country inside out, is unflappable, and a great organiser. She's travelled a lot herself, and thoroughly understands what westerners need.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I took football socks to act as leech socks, but we were lucky and didn't really see leeches because it had been dry. The shop at Danum Valley does sell leech socks. Ponchos seemed to be the thing for keeping the rain off. You definitely need a sun hat for the river cruises at least. I'd agonised about taking trainers or hiking boots, but was glad I decided on hiking boots. Take your swimming costume - I swam 4 times in various places. The Deet was disgusting, so most of us gave up trying to use it after a few days. We only got a few bites, again maybe because it was dry weather.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I stayed on for an extra week after the holiday ended and climbed Mount Kinabalu with a local agency (Amazing Borneo). It was very good, but very steep - wish I'd trained more beforehand!
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Joyce Cheyne

    Awesome adventure

    If you want to see the best of Borneo this trip's for you. Beautiful country, great food, lovely friendly people and oh boy did we see wildlife! So many highlights. The incredible proboscis monkeys were hilarious and so much fun to watch, silver leaf langurs including a mum and baby, red leaf langurs, long tailed and pig tailed macaques, pit vipers, monitor lizards, orang utans (of course) in Sepilok and also in the wild (very special moments), Bornean sun bears at their rescue centre (definitely worth a visit), mouse deer, Northern Bornean gibbon family in the wild (utterly brilliant to watch), Bornean colugo (flying lemur - which isn't a lemur), red giant flying squirrel which we watched flying with a beautiful sunset backdrop - really special, slow loris, leopard cat - what a find! - sambar deer, loads of frogs, lizards, the most amazing insects ever, a huge 3m long salt water crocodile, baby salt water crocodile, flying lizard, bats galore in the most amazing caves at Mulu and Gomantong which also has the swiftlet nests and of course the bat exodus from Deer cave at sundown, had the most amazing experience watching Borneo pygmy elephants swimming in convoy across a river, young ones too with trunks up, heard them trumpeting and watched two mums with young ones feeding right at the water's edge - so special. Then there's the birds! Hornbills galore, eagles, hawks, Buffy fish owls, sunbirds, kingfishers, broadbills, storks, egrets, flycatchers, bee eaters, flowerpeckers, bulbuls, kites, sandpipers, herons, doves, mynas and more. The bird watchers were very happy. Night walks and the night drive were a revelation, so much comes out at night from scorpions to stick insects. Not scary at all just fascinating. Boat trips were excellent, saw so many birds and monkeys in the trees. Loved staying in the longhouse, an experience not to be missed. The Borneo Rainforest Lodge in the Danum Valley was exquisite, 5* in every way; the rooms, the food, the attentive staff, the massage, the local guides, the drivers who also spotted wildlife and the red leaf monkeys in the forest having their breakfast at the same time as us.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the wild gibbon family and orang utans in the Danum Valley was pretty special. It was a hike to get there but the guides pace the walks so well pointing out all the wildlife, birds and important trees/foliage used in cooking and medicine so always interesting, worth every step. Watching the pygmy elephants swimming across the river in convoy, trunks up, babies in tow and feeding at the water's edge while others were trumpeting was an extraordinary experience. Bat exodus from the Deer Cave in Mulu was pretty special, waves of bats that went on for ages. Watching the flying squirrel. An experience I'll probably not repeat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Superb trip and we were very fortunate to be in the hands of a truly exceptional trip leader in Rony. He went the extra mile every hour of every day to make sure we had the trip of a lifetime and he succeeded. We all trusted Rony completely, he earned that trust daily.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do everything! Even if you don't particularly like insects or bats by a few days in you'll love them, they're so incredible. Drink loads of water! Makes all the difference in the heat and humidity. I was a bit worried about that before I went but it's fine, doesn't stop you walking up hill just take your time, everyone did. There's plenty of air-con or fans to give you a break from it. Trip notes advise cash to take. I adopted an orang utan at Sepilok, had a fantastic massage in the Danum Valley, went snorkelling, bought a few souvenirs and still came home with £120. Rony found us great food and beer at local prices so it's very cheap to eat. He also told us the best snorkelling trip for value for money. Take videos on your phone and camera. They are so good to watch when home and convey behaviour that a photo doesn't. Get your laundry done it's so cheap. Got all mine done before I came home for £4 and that was with a tip! (Not at the Sheraton!)

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Go! So many species endemic to Borneo, you won't find them anywhere else so you need to go. You'll be glad you did.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Pat Rumpus

    Wildlife and More

    We knew December was the wettest month, but hearts sank when our first wildlife trip had to be abandoned as the river was too high for safety to take us there. However, our guides had a good backup plan and took us to the Sarawak Cultural Village where we were able to see some traditional longhouses and experience a display of spectacular tribal dances - including one of the group having a go with a blow pipe. We were lucky enough to see the bat exodus from Deer Cave at Mulu before the rain started again and forgot to stop. We were evacuated from our comfortable lodges while it was still daylight, wading through above-the-knee water to the restaurant. As it got darker, and the water deeper we expected to spend the night elsewhere than our comfortable beds. However, the rain did stop and the river stabilised so we were eventually boated back. The poor villagers further up the river didn't come off so easily in the worst floods for 14 years. All praise to the Garden Park staff and our guides for their excellent control of the situation, and their help to their neighbours as well as us. Don't forget your PONCHO! Preferably a discreet colour. A wading nature walk next day turned up a scorpion, various lizards and skinks as well as a Paradise Flycatcher and the sunshine brought back the butterflies. From the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary on, the mammals were amazing. The monkeys are real characters with such expressive faces and it was good to see so many mums and babies. Great photo opportunities. Sepilok was a mixed experience. The youngsters are kept the other side of a glass wall and they didn't care for the pouring rain much either - rolling around trying to don sacks and holding leaves over their heads in attempts to keep dry. Although it was disappointing to only see one adult orangutan, it demonstrated how successful the rehab programme has been as far fewer babies and adults are coming in for care. However, moving on to Danum Valley, our outing turned up a mother and youngster orangutan yards from the centre. And they didn't stop coming. Five in a couple of hours. Even the guides were amazed. In all we saw ten or eleven over the whole of the trip, just doing their own thing in the trees. We were lucky enough to see a herd of pygmy elephants on our Kinabatangan river cruises. Again, loads of babies. There were a lot of boats vying for the best position so unfortunately the disturbance to the animals from noise and diesel was to be regretted. The birds were spectacular here too, hornbills, hawks, eagles and little flowerpeckers in the garden as well as more butterflies. Take binoculars and a camera with a good zoom if you want to get any animal shots. You don't need huge lenses - I got some great shots with a compact. And discreet colour clothing. Pack light. It really is 'deal with your own luggage' on this one and there aren't big retail opportunities so small is beautiful.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the interactions of the proboscis monkeys Seeing the orangutans wild in the trees Fabulous birds - amazing hornbills and bulbuls Pygmy elephants - adults barely taller than the tall grasses they were eating

    What did you think of your group leader?

    He organised things well and was a good birder which suited myself and my friend. He seemed to lack confidence in dealing with a group and found it difficult to address us all in one go. He really wanted us to see everything we came for but when things went against us weather wise, he found it hard to deal with. Unfortunately he did lose it with one of the group after a long day when it looked as though a river trip wouldn't be on because of continuing rain and went on a rant 'why don't you like me', 'I'm trying to do my best' and such like which was well out of order and had nothing to do at all with the group member.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Poncho! Umbrella. Waterproof shoes/boots (jungle walks need more than walking sandals). I dubbined a pair of cheap, microfibre lightweight, non waterproof boots and that really did do the business as I didn't want to take heavy leather boots. So can recommend that as a solution. Plenty of good mossie repellent as it gets washed off in the rain. Incognito is a good natural (non Deet) one. Discreet colour clothing Long walking socks and spray them with anti mossie to deter the leeches. I took gaiters and some managed to creep under so wouldn't recommend. Something simple to change into for dinner. Nowhere's 'dressie'.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Can thoroughly recommend this trip but possibly not in December. It is so different and truly exciting. All the variety of creatures and plants are wonderful. I thought ginger was just 'ginger' but not in Borneo - there are tomes on the different varieties. And so it goes on - 4 or more huge volumes on orchids - and that's only the ones that have been discovered. It was such a pleasure to see orchids and other colourful, unusual to us, plants growing in the gardens. I loved it all, despite the rain!
  • Reviewed November 2017
    Cathy Lawlor

    WOH

    Great taster for the delights of Borneo.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The jungle sounds when we arrived in Mulu; plus those enormous, beautiful butterflies! That's when I knew I was really going to enjoy my holiday.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manuel is my favourite guide! To say he went above and beyond the call of duty is to put it mildly. Always knowledgeable, approachable, friendly and funny. He was an integral part of my enjoyment of the trip.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bring long trekking trousers, 3/4 lengths and shorts. Accept that you're going to be hot and sweaty most of the time. Don't bring Deet in an aerosol or you will inhale and choke. And remember: 'go when you can, not when you need to'...

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We expected a lot of rain but saw little, except for our rained out beach day. So you have to roll with the punches!
  • Reviewed March 2017
    Barry Cooper

    Borneo Wildlife Discover

    This is an excellent trip to discover the wildlife and to explore the jungles of Borneo. The trip is well planned from the modern bustling cities of Kuching, Kota Kanabalu and Sandakan to the jungle resorts of Muli and Borneo. The opportunities to see wildlife are many and often you see it in the least expected way for example, a python curled up on the back of a truck in the Hotel Yard!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I can never answer this question because these trips are a continual mixture of high points but possibly just sitting alone in the Borneo Forest Lodge looking at the birdlife with Orangutans in the nearby forest, a moment of quiet reflection in the middle of a busy trip.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manuel was excellent His knowledge of the wildlife was superb and when asked for a particular birdsong, he could identify it immediately as well as the vast number of insects which we saw. On a personal note, I arrived separately from the Group as I had been travelling in Australia and on the day before the main group arrived, I fell heavily on a wet marble pavement in Kuching bruising ligaments in my leg. I realised that I was unable to participate in some of the more strenuous activities on this trip and Manuel arranged for me to visit a Doctor and throughout the trip, he could not have been more supportive. Manual reported the problem to Exodus and their support and help was gratefully appreciated. I felt that travelling with Exodus you were not another client but an individual and you were to receive personal attention.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is a busy tour but with two nights in most locations you do have time to relax. Costs are low so you can eat well and cheaply. If you are interested in wildlife, this is an excellent well planned and managed trip.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    As a result of climatic changes, I was planning to be in Borneo in the dry season but this was not the case and we had very heavy rain. We did not see the mass exodus of bats from the cave at Muli because of the torrential rain and one day of the trip was lost because of twenty hours of continuous tropical rain. Ensure that you have waterproof raingear with you.

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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