Current as of: July 23, 2024 - 01:34

Trekking Borneo & Beyond

Trekking Borneo & Beyond Trip Notes

  • Ways to Travel: Guided Group, Private Group Adventures
  • Destination: Malaysia
  • Programmes: Walking & Trekking
  • Activity Level:

    4 out of 7 - Moderate & Challenging

  • 14 Days: Land Only
  • Ages: 16+
  • Trip Code: TLM
  • Carbon Footprint: 69kg CO2e

Trip Overview

Trek through primeval jungles and up Mount Kinabalu, the highest peak in Southeast Asia

Mount Kinabalu towers over the Sulu Sea and sweeping jungles of Borneo. In the east of the third-largest island on the planet, orangutans populate the trees of Sepilok, while on the Malayan Peninsula rivers gush through Taman Negara, cloud forests share the highlands with tea plantations and strawberry farms, and the modern capital is a melting pot of cultures. We peek behind the green curtain of primeval forests as we don hiking boots to trek Borneo and beyond.

At a Glance

  • Six days of walking, some muddy terrain
  • Altitude maximum: 13,435ft (4,095m); average altitude: 4,920ft (1,500m)
  • Six hotel nights, five guesthouse nights, two nights in a mountain lodge
  • Separate leaders in Borneo and the Peninsula

Highlights

  • Explore the jungles of Taman Nagara
  • Meet the orangutans of Sepilok
  • Summit Mount Kinabalu
  • Enjoy a food tour of Kuala Lumpur

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is graded Activity Level 4 (Moderate & Challenging). For more information on our trip gradings please visit the Activity Level Guidelines page. If you have any queries about the difficulty of the trip please do not hesitate to contact us.  

While most of the trails are flat there are some hilly sections and the walks are often muddy and can be slippery. Paths can be strewn with rocks and roots and there may be times when you need to hold onto trees to help your balance. Some areas do have leeches (you can wear leech socks or long sports socks as protection) and the climate can be hot and humid (though it does get cold on top of Mount Kinabalu and in the Cameron Highlands).

Whilst the ascent of Mount Kinabalu is not technically difficult, the trek is the most demanding section of hiking on the itinerary. The terrain is undulating and most people find this challenging, so you need to be fit and prepared for a tough two days. The path is wide and clear, with some uneven steps in sections, but you can climb at your own walking pace. The altitude makes it tougher the higher you climb, but it really only becomes harder on the summit day.

The trip takes in some of the best walking areas in Malaysia, both on the Malayan Peninsula and in Borneo, and shows the diversity between highlands and lowlands. The walks are complemented with time to explore the vibrant capital city, Kuala Lumpur, go on boat rides and finish with time to relax after the hard push up Mount Kinabalu.

Group

This trip covers two very distinct parts of Malaysia: the Malayan Peninsula and Borneo. Depending on scheduling and the availability of leaders, we use either two separate leaders for each section or a single leader for the entire trip to provide the best leaders for your trip. If we use two leaders, the first leader meets the group in Kuala Lumpur and the second in Sandakan.

Adult min age: 16

Min group size: 4

Max group size: 16

Itinerary

TLM Map

Land Only

  • Start City: Kuala Lumpur
  • End City: Kota Kinabalu

Land Only Itinerary

Day 1
Start in Kuala Lumpur

Welcome to Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia, known by many simply as KL. You can arrive at the hotel at any time today, check in at the hotel is from 15:00. There is a welcome meeting with your tour leader this evening, a good chance to ask any questions you may have and to connect with the group.

Accommodation: Santa Grand Signature Kuala Lumpur (or similar)

Day 2
Discover the culinary delights of Malaysia with a food tour of KL before visiting the Batu Caves

Malaysia is proudly diverse and this is reflected in the capital, KL, 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 the city. We discover different neighbourhoods with distinct sights, sounds, smells and, of course, delicacies.

We start our journey at Masjid Jamek and learn how the city started. What better way to enjoy the day by sampling typical food that Malaysians enjoy at a local eatery? Wandering through small streets, we uncover the cultures of the Chinese and Indian communities who came to KL to make their fame and fortune. We also visit the oldest Chinese and Indian temple in KL to understand more about these communities.

Our visit to Chinatown is rewarded with tasty noodles among the local people. After, we take a short ride on the modern local transport system towards Brickfields – the local Little India. As we walk through, our senses are stimulated by colourful architecture, music and food. We sample delicious Indian dishes served on banana leaves and seek out street vendors for snacks to end our food journey.

This afternoon, we take public transport to the Batu Caves. These limestone caves are a holy Hindu site and are guarded by a giant statue of the Hindu god Lord Murugan. Behind the statue are the 272 steps that lead to the caves and large numbers of monkeys.

If you want a drink with amazing views later this evening, head to one of the many rooftop bars in KL and enjoy the cityscape at night.

Accommodation: Santa Grand Signature Kuala Lumpur (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3
Ketumbar Hill trek; transfer to the Cameron Highlands and visit a tea plantation

We aim to check out of the hotel early this morning to drive about 30 minutes to the start of the trail on Ketumbar Hill, which is part of the Sungei Puteh forest reserve (a popular exercise spot). We follow a loop trail, which starts with a moderate climb up to about 9855ft (300m), where we pause for a packed breakfast before hiking down another trail back to the start (some sections may be a little slippery if it has rained).

We then rejoin our minibus and transfer (five to six hours) to the Cameron Highlands with a lunch stop along the way.

The Cameron Highlands is a British-era hill station and the nights are noticeably cooler here. The area is known for strawberry farms and tea plantations. For those interested, there may be time to visit one of the tea plantations or enjoy tea and scones.

Accommodation: Century Pines (or similar)

Distance covered: 2mi (4km)

Activity hours: 3

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 4
Trek through the montane forests of the Cameron Highlands

Meeting our local guide at the hotel at 8.30am, we embark on a jungle trek through the highlands up to Gunung Jasar. The well-maintained trail gradually takes us up the side of a river valley on an undulating path with a fairly steep final ascent to reach the summit (5,580ft/1,700m). The Jasar range is protected primary forest and the air is generally cooler, though it can get very humid. There’s a lot of birdlife and, thanks to the altitude, lots of mosses and lichen.

Reaching the peak, we can enjoy views of the tea plantations below. We head back along a different route, which can be steep in places and you may need to help your balance by grabbing tree roots.

Accommodation: Century Pines (or similar)

Distance covered: 3mi (5km)

Activity hours: 4

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5
Transfer to Taman Negara; followed by exhilarating boat ride and canopy walk; optional night walk

Leaving the highlands, we drive (about five hours plus stops) to one of the oldest-remaining rainforests in the world. Within in Taman Negara National Park, these 130m-year-old primeval forests are home to rare animals, including Malayan tigers, Indian elephants and crab-eating macaques (though these animals are rarely seen). We should arrive around mid-afternoon.

Later this afternoon, we board motorised canoes to journey along the park’s waterways, navigating several sets of rapids − be ready to get wet! En route, we stop to enjoy a canopy walkway, taking to the treetops on a 985ft (300m) long series of fortified rope bridges that rise 130ft (40m) above the forest floor. After, we get back in the canoe for more rapids.

This evening, you can go on an optional night walk in search of interesting insects and nocturnal animals.

Accommodation: Mutiara Resort (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 6
Teresek Hill and Lata Berkoh

Explore the primary forest of Taman Negara on a four to five-hour trek to Teresek Hill. We take the Bukit Teresek trail, which includes a mix of boardwalks and natural paths, and reaches an elevation of 1,095ft (334m), providing a scenic view of Mount Tahan.

After, we walk back to Lubuk Simpon for a packed lunch. We are then met by boats, which take us along the Tahan River to Lata Berkoh (Cascade Waterfall) some 20 minutes away. En route, we stop by a tualang tree, one of the largest and oldest trees in Taman Negara, and visit the Kelah fish sanctuary.

After visiting Lata Berkoh, we return to our lodge (45 minutes), arriving mid-afternoon. The rest of the day is free to either relax or hike independently along the nearby boardwalks.

Accommodation: Mutiara Resort (or similar)

Distance covered: 4mi (6km)

Activity hours: 4-5

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7
Return to Kuala Lumpur; fly to Sandakan; transfer to Sepilok

Leaving the rainforest, we transfer (four hours) to the urban jungle, KL. Depending on what time we arrive, we may have free time for lunch before we head to the airport to catch our flight to Borneo. Please note, there is a 33lb (15kg) restriction on checked baggage for the domestic flight, but it is possible to pay for excess luggage if you speak with your leader on day one of the tour.

Malaysia is a country of two halves: Malayan Peninsula and Borneo. This afternoon, we leave the Peninsula and our first leader behind and head for the island of Borneo where our next leader waits for us. The flight to Sandakan takes about three hours, arriving in the evening, then we transfer to our lodge in Sepilok.

Accommodation: Sepilok Jungle Resort (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 8
Visit Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Sanctuary

This morning, we visit Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Sanctuary. Created in 1964, the 16.5sqmi (43sqkm) reserve of primary forest is the largest orangutan sanctuary in the world and rehabilitates orphaned or captured orangutans for release back into the wild. We visit the informative park headquarters and look for orangutans during feeding time. As the ticket is valid all day, we can return for the afternoon feeding if you wish. We may also watch young orangutans in the nursery section. There is also the opportunity to visit the nearby Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre and the Rainforest Discovery Centre.

Accommodation: Sepilok Jungle Resort (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 9
Follow the Sepilok Laut Trail through the rainforest

We have an early start and head out on the Sepilok Laut Trail. This walk, of around 5.5mi (9km), starts from the rainforest discovery centre, where we have a chance to do a canopy walk. From here, the trail journeys through primary forest giving us the opportunity to experience flora and fauna of eastern Borneo’s lowlands. The reserve we walk through is home to 350 tree species, 90 mammal species and 200 bird species. The trek itself includes two fairly steep hills plus several smaller hills and can get particularly muddy during the rainy season. We also recommend wearing leech socks (which can be purchased locally) or tuck your trousers into long sports socks.

The trek ends at the Sepilok Laut reception centre, where boardwalks allow us to explore a mangrove area filled with fiddler crabs, macaques and monitor lizards. We later take a boat for around 20 minutes to Sandakan Jetty before catching a 30-minute transfer back to Sepilok.

Accommodation: Sepilok Jungle Resort (or similar)

Distance covered: 7mi (11km)

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10
Transfer to Kinabalu Park with optional visits to Kundasang War Memorial and exploring the Kinabalu Park lower trail

We head towards the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, Mount Kinabalu, at 13,345ft (4,095m). The journey takes five to six hours. Depending on time, we should have the opportunity to visit the Kundasang War Memorial (optional), which commemorates prisoners of war who died during the death marches of the Second World War. The memorial is made of four gardens: the Australian, English, Malaysian and the Contemplation Garden that represent the different nationalities. There are also several self-guided trails through the gardens at the base of the mountain.

This evening, we have a briefing about the two-day Mount Kinabalu trek and need to pack our bags for the trek. Our main packs are left behind. Porters are available to carry bags up to the hut that we are staying at tomorrow night, please ask your leader about this. It is recommended each trekker brings a rain jacket, warm hat, waterproof gloves, fleece, personal first-aid kit, headtorch (head lamp), sunscreen, sunglasses, change of clothes, toiletries, snacks, water and earplugs. Ideally you should have a 30-35 litre backpack.

Tonight, we stay in dorms with shared bathrooms and depending on the gender make-up of the group, couples may have to be split into separate dorms.

Accommodation: Kinabalu Park HQ

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 11
Start climbing Mount Kinabalu towards Laban Rata

Due to its great height, Mount Kinabalu has a several climatic zones. It has an enormous variety of plants and animals and is a naturalist’s paradise. There are rhododendrons, innumerable mosses, fungi and ferns, more than 1,200 orchid species and the largest flowering plant in the world, the rafflesia. Particularly interesting are the carnivorous and insectivorous pitcher plants. There are also many animals including badgers, monkeys, squirrels, flying lemurs and deer. However, the chances of seeing many of these on the mountain climb are rare as the trail is well trodden and frequently visited. We are more likely to encounter the many birds, snakes and insects of the region.

The ascent of Mount Kinabalu is not technically difficult but most people find it challenging so you need to be fit and prepared for a tough two days. The path is wide and clear so you can climb at your own walking pace. The altitude makes it tougher the higher you climb but it really only becomes harder on the summit day. The trek climbs up through a multitude of vegetation zones and cloud forest to reach Laban Rata Resthouse at 10,825ft (3,300m). The temperature is noticeably colder due to the altitude and really feels chilly, especially when it clouds over. There is a very eerie feel to the place with the huge summit cliffs looming up behind the mountain huts.

We stay in dorms in the hut and make the summit climb very early the next morning. Again, couples may be split depending on the gender make-up of the group.

Accommodation: Laban Rata Hut

Distance covered: 4mi (6km)

Activity hours: 5-6

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12
Summit Mount Kinabalu and return to the start; transfer to Kota Kinabalu

We wake around 2am to slowly make our way to the summit. The challenging climb from Laban Rata takes up to five hours, depending on fitness and the impact of altitude. Upon leaving Laban Rata, it is approximately 1,150ft (350m) through the treeline to some viewing decks before a section of wooden steps with handrails all the way to the summit. The path levels out as we pass through a boulder field and join Sayat Sayat, the last checkpoint before the summit, where there are toilets. From Sayat Sayat, a final rope marks the route to the top, a distance of about 1.1mi (1.8km). Waterproof gloves are recommended to protect your hands from rope burn (and to keep them warm). A torch (flashlight), waterproofs and warm layers are essential.

As dawn breaks, we will be close to the summit at Low’s Peak. The momentous summit feeling is matched by the tremendous view stretching across this part of Borneo as the early morning unfolds. On clear days, we can see as far as the southern islands of the Philippines. With a long way to descend and aching legs, we return to the base at Laban Rata to collect any belongings and have breakfast. We continue down the mountain back to the start where there is normally a simple afternoon tea (with fried rice and bread) for trekkers.

Once we have returned to the bottom, we transfer to our hotel in Kota Kinabalu, approximately two to three hours’ drive. The arrival time is determined by when we leave Kinabalu Park, but is in the afternoon or evening.

Accommodation: Grandis Hotel (or similar)

Distance covered: 7mi (11km)

Activity hours: 9-12

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 13
Free day in Kota Kinabalu; optional snorkelling or boat island hopping 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 with excellent snorkelling and diving opportunities. You can never be bored here, whether you are relaxing on the white sand, snorkelling or swimming in the warm South China Sea.

There are good birdwatching opportunities in the wetlands not far from KK and a culturally interesting village in Mari Mari where you can learn about the different cultures of Sabah. Your tour leader can help organise any of these options.

Accommodation: Grandis Hotel (or similar)

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 14
End Kota Kinabalu

The trip ends today after breakfast. We bid a fond farewell and start our return journeys home. If you’d like a bit more time to relax, speak to your sales representative about extending your stay.

Meals included: Breakfast

Ascents, descents and distances: All ascents, descents and distances listed in the daily itinerary have been measured by our local partners or tour leaders, in many cases with satellite-based mapping software. However, different GPS measuring devices can give differing results, particularly on winding paths or in mountainous terrain. Measurements stated throughout these Trips Notes are given to help you understand the types of terrain and distances you will encounter. Timings stated will vary depending on the pace of your group.

Accommodation

Hotels, guesthouses and mountain lodges

There are six nights in hotels, five guesthouse nights and two nights in a mountain lodge. We stay in a range of accommodations on this trip from city hotels (in Kuala Lumpur) to dormitories in mountain huts (on Mount Kinabalu). Most accommodation has private bathrooms and mosquito nets are provided when necessary. The two nights spent on Mount Kinabalu (at the base of the mountain and at Laban Rata) are in dormitory-style accommodation with shared bathrooms. Depending on the gender make-up of the group, couples may need to be split, though we do our utmost to avoid having to do this.

Single supplement from £ 395

Food & Drink

All breakfasts, five lunches and two dinners are included.

You should allow about 910-1,370 Malaysian ringgits (US$200-US$300) 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 similar to Western prices.

Most meals will be basic, based around rice and noodles, although most accommodations offer a Western breakfast of beans, toast and eggs. In the bigger hotels and cities, the full range of Western and local foods is available.

You can generally avoid the spicier food if you wish. In Kuala Lumpur, we enjoy a food tour and have the opportunity to experience the diverse culinary heritage of the country.

Vegetarians can be catered for but the choice may be limited outside the main cities. Please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. In Borneo, the availability of certain products is minimal or non-existent, for example wheat- or dairy-free, please be prepared for this – you may need to bring these from home.

Transport

We use various modes of transport on this trip including private minibuses/coaches, riverboats and one internal flight (from Kuala Lumpur to Sandakan). There are some long drives.

Weather & Seasonality

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 are normally 20C-30C (68F-86F) while the highlands are generally 15C-25C (59F-77F). Temperatures can get very cold on top of Mount Kinabalu where it can even freeze at night.

Joining Instructions

­­Key information

Start hotel: Santa Grand Signature Hotel, No.36 Menara Santa, Jalan Ampang Kuala Lumpur, 50450
Phone: +60 3 2027 1969
Recommended arrival time: You can arrive at any time today. Check in time at the start hotel in Kuala Lumpur is 15:00. There will be a welcome briefing in the evening at 18:00, but if you miss it the leader will update you separately.
Airport: Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL)

Getting to the start hotel

The start hotel is approximately 45 minutes’ drive from the airport. Your options for this journey are:

Take an Exodus transfer

Exodus provides one group arrival transfer from the airport, which is timed to coincide with the arrival of a chosen flight from London, UK. You may join this transfer at no extra cost, provided you can be at the airport before the transfer leaves. Speak to your sales representative for the group arrival transfer times or to arrange a private transfer.

Make your own way

You can reach the start hotel relatively easily using taxis or public transport. A cab from the airport costs approximately 100-125 Malaysian ringgits (US$22-US$27) and should take 45 minutes. Alternatively, you can catch the KLIA Transit train to KL Sentral and then change to the Kelana Jaya line to Dang Wangi station. The hotel is then only a five-minute walk. This option will cost approximately 22-65 ringgits (US$5-US$14) and takes 50 minutes. On arrival at the hotel, please make the reception staff aware that you are part of an Exodus group, and they will have more details on meeting with your leader and group.

If you would like further information on joining this trip, please speak to your sales representative.

Catching your return flight

There’s a group departure transfer to the airport for customers who Exodus booked onto a chosen flight to London, UK. Please speak to your sales representative if you wish to join. If the group departure transfer does not suit your flight time, speak to your sales representative to arrange an alternative transfer.

Full joining instructions including local emergency numbers will be sent to you as part of our Final Joining Instructions. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier please contact our office or your travel agent.

Location start: Kuala Lumpur
Location end: Kota Kinabalu

What To Take

Essential Equipment

It is best to take as little as possible as there is sometimes a lot of moving from one mode of transport to another in remote places. A backpack or soft kitbag is better than a hard suitcase. Plastic bags or waterproof/drybags are recommended for your backpack, particularly for protecting your camera.

  • It is generally hot and humid and casual clothes are recommended, particularly in the towns and cities. There are limited laundry facilities, so bring clothes that wash and dry easily.
  • Dress conservatively so as not to offend Muslim sensibilities. Vests and tight-fitting clothes are frowned upon. In the forest and national parks, T-shirts and long lightweight trousers (pants) are best, especially for the walks.
  • For the Mount Kinabalu climb, you need warm clothes for the summit day and the night in the mountain hut; daytime will be warm. At night, the temperature can get close to freezing. A very warm jacket, trousers (pants), a woolly hat and gloves are essential as is a headtorch (head lamp).
  • Strong walking shoes or boots for Mount Kinabalu and jungle treks
  • Sun and rain protection items
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Swimwear
  • Leech socks
  • Walking poles, though you can hire these at the foot of Mount Kinabalu

The domestic flight from Kuala Lumpur to Sandakan has a weight restriction of 33lb (15kg) but it is possible to pay a supplement for additional luggage once your trip commences. If you would like to pay for additional luggage for the internal flight, speak to your leader on Day 1 who can arrange this in advance – you will then need to pay in cash to your leader. Alternatively, you can purchase additional luggage when checking in at the airport before the domestic flight. Please ensure you take note of your baggage weight when you board your flight from home so you know if purchasing additional luggage for the internal flight is required during the trip.

Water included

Plastic bottles are a big issue in many countries where recycling isn’t yet widely available; they often end up in landfill or get burned. Both processes are harmful to the environment and we would like to reduce our impact here. For your trip, we provide an alternative to single-use plastic bottles to reduce the plastic used. This means that safe drinking water will be available throughout; all you need to do is bring a bottle to refill along the way. Please add this to your packing list.

Optional Equipment

  • Binoculars
  • Old sports shoes or trekking sandals for wading along rivers
  • Small lightweight umbrella for wandering around the towns and for shade on the boat journeys

Practical Information

Visa

Malaysia

Travellers from the UK, US and EU normally do not need a visa to enter Malaysia. Please note, visa requirements often change and it is your responsibility to obtain any required visas for this trip. Therefore, we recommend that you check with the nearest embassy or consulate of your chosen destination(s), including any countries you may be transiting or transferring through.

Some local governments provide guidance on what visas their citizens need. To help, we’ve gathered a selection of useful links below.

Important information

All foreign visitors must now complete and submit the Malaysia Digital Arrival Card (MDAC) within three days (including date of submission) prior to their arrival in Malaysia.

To complete the MDAC form, you need to add your date of arrival/departure in Malaysia, passport details, and accommodation (the start hotel of your tour). To obtain these details, please refer to the Final Joining Instructions, which are sent one to two weeks before your departure.

Once the MDAC form is submitted, you will receive an email with a PIN to check your registration on the MDAC website where you can download a PDF copy of your authorised MDAC. It is advised to also print a copy of your MDAC for immigration. All visitors must then present their printed, completed form and their passport at immigration upon arrival in Malaysia.

Your passport must be valid for at least six months from the date you arrive in Malaysia.

Vaccinations and Health

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 and zika fevers, both spread by mosquitoes, are known risks in places visited. There are currently no vaccines or prophylaxes available; therefore, we recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Local Time

Malaysia's time zone: Asia/Kuala_Lumpur (UTC +08:00)

Electricity

Malaysia's electricity: Plug type G (three rectangular pins) – 240V, 50Hz

Trekking Borneo & Beyond

Money

Malaysia's currency: Malaysian ringgit (MYR)

ATM Availability

ATMs are widely available, especially in towns. Remember to inform your bank that you will be travelling to Malaysia before using your card.

Extra Expenses & Spending Money

It is possible to obtain Malaysian ringgits before arriving in Malaysia. There are also money changers at the airport and in most banks. It is possible to change most major currencies including US dollars, British pounds and euros. As you will probably be carrying much of your money in cash, we strongly recommend using a money belt. All your documents should be kept in waterproof bags: the rain tends to come in very heavy showers. There are fewer opportunities to change money during the Borneo section of the trip but you can change money in Kuala Lumpur before flying to Borneo.

There are some souvenirs and T-shirts available throughout the trip and there is good shopping in Kuala Lumpur. You will be carrying your own gear up Mount Kinabalu but you may be able to hire a porter at an extra cost of roughly US$20 a day.

Optional excursions

Please note, prices listed below are ‘prices from’ and can be subject to change:

Kuala Lumpur (if arriving earlier before the tour commences):

  • Skybridge Petronas towers: 98 ringgits (US$21.50)
  • KL tower: 110 ringgits (US$23)
  • KLCC Aquaria: 69-79 ringgits (US$15-US$17.50)
  • KL Bird Park: 85 ringgits (US$17.80)
  • Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia: 20 ringgits (US$4.20)

Taman Negara

  • Night jungle walk: 50 ringgits (US$10.50)
  • Camera fee for Taman Negara Park: 5 ringgits (US$1.10)

Sepilok

  • Camera fee for Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre: 10 ringgits (US$2.20)
  • Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre: 50 ringgits (US$11)
  • Rainforest Discovery Centre: 15 ringgits (US$3.30)

Kinabalu park

  • Kundasang War Memorial: 10 ringgits (US$2.20)

Kota Kinabalu

  • ARA Dinawan island excursion: 230 ringgits (US$51)
  • Mari Mari cultural village: 215 ringgits (US$48)
  • Kilas river cruise: 200 ringgits (US$44)
  • Snorkelling and island trip costs vary depending on group size

Tipping

Tipping has become customary in Malaysia but is entirely at your own discretion. The trip is divided into two parts, the Malayan Peninsula section and the Borneo section, and we have separate tour leaders for both sections. A recommended amount for tipping the leaders is 14 ringgits (US$3) per person per day. This comes to about 115 ringgits (US$25) per person for each of the two leaders.

The tour leader will collect local currency to contribute to a tipping kitty, which will be used to tip local guides and staff so you don’t need to worry about it. This is not compulsory but just aimed at making it easier for you.

Each leader will collect per person approximately 95 ringgits (US$20) in Kuala Lumpur for the Malayan Peninsula portion of the tour, and 70 ringgits (US$17) in Sandakan for the Borneo portion for this purpose.

People, Places & Planet

We work hard to create trips that improve life for the people and places we visit and look after the planet we explore. Find out more about our sustainable travel ethos and practice here, and find out about the work of the Exodus Travels Foundation here.

Some sustainable travel highlights of this trip include:

People

How this trip helps improve life for local communities.

  • The use of a local guide means our customers will be well informed about local traditions and cultural-social sensitivities.
  • This trip brings income and opportunity to the destination community through the inclusion of locally owned hotels and restaurants, the emphasis on eating locally produced food, and by supporting other local enterprises.
  • We visit food stalls in locations such as Kuala Lumpur, which helps to sustain the local population.
  • In Taman Negara and Kinabalu national parks, local people are employed by the parks, thereby our trip helps to maintain their livelihood and communities.

Places

How this trip helps protect and conserve local landscapes and nature.

  • By travelling in a small group, led by a local guide, we ‘tread lightly’ to minimise our impact on local resources and the environment.
  • We visit and directly support the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Sanctuary, which rehabilitates injured, orphaned and captured orangutans into the wild. Sepilok is the largest sanctuary of its kind in the world.
  • While visiting Sepilok, there is the option to visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, a wildlife conservation and research centre for improving animal welfare and rehabilitation of the Malayan sun bear.
  • Our trips adhere to ABTA’s industry-leading animal welfare guidelines to ensure the best possible practices with regard to working animals and wildlife viewing. Our animal welfare policy can be found here.
  • We work with our partners on the ground to proactively eliminate or reduce waste, for example eliminating all single-use plastic water bottles and instead providing refills for reusable bottles.
  • The Exodus Travels Foundation has launched the Community Kickstart Project to help our destination communities recover and rebuild following the impact of Covid-19. In Malaysia, we’ve contributed to both the Rainwater Harvesting initiative (more details can be found here) and the Jungle Trek Path initiative (more details can be found here).

 Planet

How we seek to keep the carbon footprint of this trip low.

  • Read about Exodus Travels’ Planet Promise here, including our rewilding and carbon compensation commitments for every customer who travels.
  • Accommodation and restaurants in the itinerary use locally sourced food which has not been transported long distances.
  • Vegetarian and vegan options are available at some accommodations and restaurants.
  • This trip favours locally owned and run accommodation.

 Tips for sustainable travel on this trip

  • Leave no trace: We do all we can to ensure we leave no rubbish behind in the wild and beautiful places we visit; we ask that you do the same. If there are no recycling facilities in-country, we’d ask you to consider bringing recyclable materials home with you.
  • Plastic waste reduction: Please bring your own reusable water bottle on this trip; filtered water will be provided where tap water is not drinkable.

Cultural respect:

  • Malaysia is a predominantly Muslim country so modest dress is required on this trip when visiting holy sites such as the National Mosque in Kuala Lumpur (ie legs, shoulders, and upper arms to be covered, as well as a headscarf for women).
  • One should not show the soles of their feet or touch someone’s head, both are considered disrespectful.

Important Information

Water safety

This trip includes time by a lake, river or sea, where there may be opportunities to swim. You should always seek local advice before deciding whether to swim. Open-water or wild swim spots should be treated with extreme caution. Information on how to keep yourself safe while swimming is shown here.

This trip goes near an area deemed unsafe to visit by the UK government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, whose advice we follow when operating our trips. While our itinerary doesn’t go to these areas, you should familiarise yourself with your local government’s advice if you are planning any pre- or post-trip travel. Any independent travel to areas currently against your local government advice is entirely at your own risk and unlikely to be covered by your travel insurance.

Important Information

Your safe participation 

When booking this trip, you should be confident in your ability to participate in all activities described in these Trip Notes. If you have any doubt about your suitability, please call the Exodus office and ask to speak to one of the experts on this itinerary. 

Although our leaders are well trained to deal with different capabilities, if they have any concerns about someone’s ability to safely take part in an activity, or their impact on other people’s enjoyment, we authorise them to take necessary action which, in some circumstances, may involve asking someone to miss that activity. 

By booking this trip you agree to our Booking Conditions which clearly state that our leaders have the authority to do this. In these rare instances we will ensure anyone sitting out is safely provided for and offered alternative options where possible. Refunds will not be provided for activities missed and customers may be liable for additional costs incurred. 

How to Book

  1. Check availability: Go online to check availability, or contact us by phone or email.
  2. Secure your place: You can provisionally hold a place on this trip, usually for between three and seven days.
  3. Complete your booking and payment

When you’re ready to book, go to our website for online bookings, book over the phone or you can complete a booking form (available online or on request by calling us). We accept all major credit and debit cards, or you can pay be cheque.

After booking

You will receive your booking confirmation letter and invoice, which includes extra information and guidance about your travel arrangements.

Full joining instructions, including local emergency numbers and details of how to reach the start point, will be sent to you approximately two to three weeks prior to departure. If you do not receive these at least a week before departure, or require them earlier, please contact our office or your travel agent.

Trip Note validity

These Trip Notes are valid from the “Current as” date on page one. They will occasionally be updated after booking and before departure; if there are any updates that significantly impact the inclusions or itinerary, customers will be written to separately. They will also receive a link to the most up-to-date Trip Notes with their Final Joining Instructions before travelling.

The information in these Trip Notes is given in good faith. Where differences exist between the Trip Notes and our current brochure or website, the Trip Notes supersede the brochure and website. All holidays can be subject to unexpected changes; to enjoy them you should be prepared to be flexible where necessary. Occasionally, it may not be possible to follow the itinerary as planned. This may be for a variety of reasons – climatic, political, physical or other. In these circumstances we will make the best-possible alternative arrangements that maintain the integrity of the original itinerary.

Licensing

Exodus is fully licensed and bonded as a tour operator. We hold Air Traffic Organisers Licence (ATOL) number 2582, issued and bonded with the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are also bonded to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and we are members of the Federation of Tour Operators (FTO) and ABTA – The Travel Association. This means you can book your Exodus holiday with confidence, as all money paid to us for your trip is fully protected.