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Exploring Borneo

Highlights of Sabah

Sabah is known as the Land Below the Wind as it’s sheltered from the monsoons that blow through the area just north of the island. This means tropical weather is on offer throughout the year making it an ideal destination at any time. Sabah is home to wild orangutans, Borneo pygmy elephants, the tallest mountain in Southeast Asia, some of the best diving in the world, and so much more. See the highlights on this 12-day trip that gives you a taste of traditional cultures, a chance to see a wide range of native flora and fauna, time in an ancient rainforest, and days to bask by the clear waters of the South China Sea.

This itinerary is here to inspire you as all of our holidays are tailor-made to suit you. We’re happy to add or subtract days, change hotels, and adjust as you see fit. To learn more about Sabah, give us a call at UK 020 7112 0019 or email to start planning your holiday.

Your Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Kota Kinabalu

You’ll arrive at Kota Kinabalu International Airport this afternoon or evening. Your driver will meet you and transport you to your city hotel where you can walk to the night market for dinner and have a wander around this easily walkable city.

Day 2 - A taste of Sabahan Culture

This morning you’ll visit the Mari Mari Cultural Village to learn about five of Sabah’s native tribes. Visit traditional longhouses, sample local fare, and take in a cultural performance. All visitors to Mari Mari are guided with a group. Enjoy the afternoon at your leisure.


Day 3 - Head for the hills

Your guide will collect you this morning for the drive to Poring and Kinabalu Park. Walk amongst the tropical forests and canopy walkways to see the lowland rainforest. Visit Kipungit Waterfall or the hot springs for a quick dip before heading into Kinabalu Park for the night.


Day 4 - Kinabalu Park

Today you’ll visit the Kundasang War Memorial to learn about Sabah’s WWII history. Your guide will accompany you to the Kinabalu Natural History Gallery and into the Park for a walk along one of the trails. Look for pitcher plants, orchids, and other unique flowers in the Botanical Garden. Afterward you’ll return to Kota Kinabalu for the night.


Day 5 - Travel to Sukau

Board an early morning flight to Sandakan. Upon arrival, you’ll be transferred to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre in time for the morning feeding. If you’re lucky, you’ll see orangutans come for the fruit and young ones playing in the nursery. After a visit to the neighboring Sun Bear Conservation Centre, you’ll begin the journey down the Kinabatangan River to Sukau. Look for proboscis monkeys and crocodiles along the way.


Day 6 - Wildlife Spotting

Rise early for a morning river cruise to look for wildlife and birds with your guide. If you wish, join an easy walk behind the lodge, attend a talk about orangutans, or relax by the pool until your afternoon wildlife-spotting river cruise.


Day 7 - Primary Rainforest

Transfer by van this morning to Lahad Datu and on to Borneo Rainforest Lodge, located within Danum Valley. Explore the nature trail and nearby river within this pristine rainforest. Weather permitting, head out with a guide in the evening to look for nocturnal animals.

Day 8 - Danum Valley

Bring good walking shoes fit for the jungle as today you’ll explore the forest on foot. Look for wildlife, ancient burial coffins, and cool off below a waterfall. In the afternoon, your walk will take you above the rainforest on a canopy walkway.


Day 9 - Return to Kota Kinabalu

There’s time for one more morning walk to look for wildlife in Danum Valley before you’re transferred to Lahad Datu airport and your afternoon flight to Kota Kinabalu. Your driver will collect you and take you to Jesselton Jetty for a 15-minute ferry ride to Gaya Island, your final stop in Sabah.


Days 10-11 - Gaya Island

Relax by the beach, take a guided nature walk, snorkel, or sit on your balcony and look back at Mount Kinabalu. These two days are yours to relax and enjoy the rugged nature of Gaya Island and the luxury of your plush resort. Perhaps a good time to start plotting your next trip to Borneo?

Day 12 - Farewell Sabah

It’s a short ferry ride to Jesselton Jetty where your driver will meet you and transfer you to Kota Kinabalu International Airport for your flight home. Bon voyage!


This itinerary costs from £2,950 per person B&B and is based on two people sharing excluding peak seasons such as July-August, Christmas and New Year, and Chinese New Year. The price includes all transfers and domestic travel but not international flights.

International flights tend to cost between £700 and £900 per person return – do ask us for advice. Alternatively we can book the flights for you but a booking fee may apply.

What's included?

  • Prices start from £2,950 per person
  • Accommodation on B&B basis
  • Full board on days 5-8
  • Transfers in an air-conditioned vehicle or by boat as mentioned
  • Local taxes except Malaysia Tourism Tax (only collected locally)
  • Entrance fees
  • All excursions and activities mentioned in the itinerary
  • Internal flights
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered
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Kota Kinabalu
An easy city to see on foot, Kota Kinabalu is the gateway to Sabah. Hop a ferry to the islands, relax by the beach north of the city, tuck into a meal at the night market, and settle into the easy pace of Sabahan life. More
Tip of Borneo
Empty beaches, clear water, and fantastic villas perfect for those looking to get away from it all. The Tip of Borneo is a quiet place for a self-drive holiday from Kota Kinabalu. A longhouse homestay, traditional villages, and a jungle home to proboscis monkeys are easy day visits. Snorkel, dive, kayak, trek, bicycle, or simply sit by the water. More
Mount Kinabalu
The highest mountain in Southeast Asia offers more than an incredible hike. With multiple mountain environments and climate zones, Kinabalu Park hosts more than 300 bird species and 5,000 flowering plants including the large rafflesia. For those up for the challenge, climbing Mount Kinabalu is an unforgettable overnight hike to see the sunrise at 4,095 meters. More
Considered by many one of the top dive sites in the world, Sipadan Island has coral-covered walls dropping well below recreational limits. Sharks, turtles, and schools of fish that number in the thousands are routinely seen by divers and snorkelers. Only 120 visitors are allowed per day so we recommend staying on nearby Mabul and diving its macro-rich waters on your non-Sipadan days. More
Danum Valley
The largest piece of preserved virgin rainforest in Malaysia sits within the Danum Valley Conservation Area. This remote jungle hosts a magnificent array of wildlife from the largest in the region to some of the smallest. Sun bears, orangutans, clouded leopards, wild cattle, Sumatran rhino, horned frogs, flying frogs, flying squirrels, the list goes on. Previously only accessible to researchers, campers, and those with a very high budget, we've found a lodge that gets you close to the action without the hefty price tag. More
Tabin Wildlife Reserve
Bornean gibbons, pygmy elephants, clouded leopards, proboscis monkeys, orangutans, and a few of the nearly extinct Sumatran rhinoceros are protected within the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. A stay here will have you trekking to a mud volcano and a waterfall, looking for birds and nocturnal creatures on night walks and drives, and if you're lucky, getting a peek at some of Borneo's incredible wildlife. More
Kinabatangan River
A trip down the Kinabatangan River to Sukau is an almost guaranteed way to see proboscis monkeys in the wild. These unique monkeys are endemic to Borneo and line the protected river corridor. Wild orangutans, pygmy elephants, silver leaf langurs, macaques, crocodiles, kingfishers, hornbills, owls, civets, and an array of other wildlife can be spotted in the region. Fireflies light up near Abai and the Gomantong Caves boast a bat population in the millions. Nearby Sepilok is the home to an Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre and Sun Bear Conservation Centre, both worth a visit. More
The nation of Brunei Darussalam sits between the two states of Malaysian Borneo. Its capital city, Bandar Seri Begawan, reveals the country's wealth with lavish mosques, gold towers, and carefully groomed outdoor spaces. People are friendly and when the sun sets the country's name, abode of peace, makes perfect sense. More
Built along the Sarawak River, Kuching makes a lovely base for exploring western Borneo. Architecturally interesting with Malay, Chinese, Indian, Muslim, British, and other influences apparent, the city is pleasant to walk around and easy to navigate. Nearby Bako National Park and Semenggoh Nature Reserve are great places to see wild proboscis monkeys and semi-wild orangutans. Each can be visited on a day trip from Kuching although spending a night in Bako is well worth it. More
Mulu National Park
The caves of Mulu are some of the largest in the world and the only ways to get there are on foot or by plane. This remote rainforest is full of walking trails and caves, the latter of which can only be visited with a guide for safety reasons. For the adventurous, serious trekking options exist and for the comfort-seekers, a lovely little resort sits just outside the National Park. More
Batang Ai
Traditional culture is alive and well in Batang Ai where the Iban people still live in communal longhouses. No longer feared headhunters, the Iban have incorporated touches of modernity into their traditional way of life. Trek through the park in search of wild orangutans, walk through the canopy looking for birds, sit down with an Iban chief to learn about their culture, or just look out over the many waters for which the region is named.
Caves of Niah
With evidence of human habitation dating back more than 40,000 years, the Niah caves are a fascinating and beautiful area that can be explored on a day visit from Miri. See etchings on the wall of Painted Cave, traditional ladders for those collecting the nests of swiftlets, and huge caverns as you walk the boards and visit the small museum.
Maliau Basin
The "lost world" of Sabah, the Maliau Basin is a naturally enclosed basin drained by tributaries of the Maliau River. A multi-day trek in this dense rainforest is a challenging and rewarding way to get up close and personal with an extremely wide array of plants and animals. More

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