Kick off in KK, hang with the rangas in Sepilok (orangutans… red heads too if you’re lucky), spy monkey, elephants and squirrels on a boat trip down Kinabatangan River, stay in nature with billions of butterflies, sleep in a traditional longhouse, trek the headhunters trail, play in Mulu and Bako National Park, and visit pretty Kuchung. NATURE LOVERS PARADISE.
Know your Fanta Pants*:
•Orangutans live in trees and build fancy sleeping nests every night, complete with mattress and pillows.
•They’ve got opposable thumbs, opposable toes and a 360-degree rotating hip joint. Jealous?
•Female orangutans like to flirt while pregnant, making the males confused about which one is their baby mama.
*Written by a Ranga.
Day 1 - Kota Kinabalu
The locals call it ‘KK’ so don’t make a fool of yourself by calling Sabah’s capital ‘Kota Kinabalu’.
- Arrive in KK and get to know the area - there will be a meeting later in the evening, generally around 6pm
- Perhaps visit the Sabah Museum and the State Mosque
- Why not escape the hustle and bustle of Kota Kinabalu and take a walk up Signal Hill, which offers great views over the city
Day 2 - Sandakan - Sepilok
Rangas of the world rejoice. Today we meet their namesake at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.
- Fly to Sandakan, a town situated at the mouth of a picturesque bay
- Visit the the Sandakan Memorial Park, a grim showcase of World War II
- Continue to the nearby Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre
- View rare orangutans swinging freely in the trees, especially around feeding time
- Spend a night at a lodge in Sepilok in dormitory-style accommodation
Day 3-4 - Kinabatangan River
Ride a boat along the river, keep an eye out for proboscis monkeys, elephants, giant squirrels, macaques and orangutans. Stay in a local house for the night.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
- Head overland to an area known as Sukau
- Visit the KOPEL Eco-Tourism initiative to learn more about the project
- Spend a night in an authentic camp hut
- Stay with a local family near the Kinabatangan River
- Observe the variety of wildlife in the area - this is a nature lover’s paradise
- Take a boat ride along the river - the perfect vantage point from which we can marvel at the peaceful wilderness
Day 5 - Mesilau
You’ll smell the Rafflesia flower before you see it. Then again, as the world’s biggest flower it’s pretty hard to miss. Also known as the ‘corpse flower’ it smells like rotting flesh and thankfully only blooms a few days each year.
Breakfast | Dinner
- Drive to Kudasang and the Mesilau Nature Resort
- Take the opportunity to explore the surrounding area - home to an estimated 4,500 species of plants, 289 species of birds and 290 different types of butterflies
Day 6-7 - Mount Kinabalu
It’s a tough hike but if you can handle the long walks and the odd hill you’ll be fine. The epic view from the top makes the sweat and chafing worth it.
- Start the trek and walk five to six hours to a hut on the mountain
- Hike through tropical rainforest into alpine terrain
- Take in the diverse array of plant life long the way, such as orchids, rhododendrons and pitcher plants
- Be lucky to see the Rafflesia - the largest flower in the world
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
- Commence the ascent to the summit very early in the morning (about 2:30am)
- Aim to reach the top before sunrise
- Experience awe-inspiring views from the summit at Low’s Peak - with the jungles of Sabah on one side and the South China Sea on the other
- Return to our mountain hut for a well-earned breakfast before continuing the descent to the base
- Take an optional excursion to the Poring Hot Springs and perhaps take an interesting walk along a canopy walkway, located high in the treetops, or visit to a tropical garden
Day 8-10 - Kota Kinabalu
Head to the waterfront for a celebratory seafood feast or take a day trip to one of the nearby islands for a beer and a swim. Your trek-weary legs will soon be a distant memory.
- Stay on the edge of Kinarut seashore for a few nights
- Enjoy time at your leisure to laze by the pool or perhaps hire a canoe for a paddle on the pristine waters off the South China Sea
- Check out the sea life with an optional scuba diving trip to the near by islands
Reluctantly leave the beach side retreat and return to the hotel in Kota Kinabalu
Prepare for the journey to SarawakBreakfast
Day 11-12 - Limbang - Iban Longhouse
Have a laugh with your local Iban hosts. Sleep in their traditional longhouse (it's as the name suggests, a long single roomed house so snorers beware).
- Board a couple of boats bound for Limbang - a place of much activity during World War II
- Perhaps spent time wandering through the towns before heading into the forested Mulu region
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
- Travel overland while we send our big bags to Miri (don't worry, you'll see them again in four days!)
- Overnight accommodation in a traditional longhouse
- Spend the night as guests of Iban hosts and experience a first-hand taste of how the Iban people's life and customs
Day 13 - Headhunters Trail - Camp 5
Follow the former trail of the Kayan headhunters (breathe easy, we said ‘former’). Prepare to get dirty, it gets pretty wet and muddy here.
Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner
- Farewell your Iban friends and continue by boat
- Trek through a section of lowland forest, known as the Headhunters Trail - a trail was originally used by Kayan warriors,
- Follow the route to the Melinau Gorge and Camp 5
- Stay overnight on the floor in very basic jungle hut accommodation
Day 14-15 - Mulu National Park
Walk a bit more before a longboat down the Melinau River. Stop by Wind and Clearwater Cave as well as Deer Cave, home to 32 million bats. It's Bruce Wayne's worst nightmare.
Breakfast | Lunch
- Catch the longboat down the Melinau River to Mulu
- If the water level is low, you may have to help push the boat! So wear good strong shoes that you don't mind getting wet.
- Explore some of the biggest and most impressive caves in the world - Wind Cave, Clearwater Cave and Deer Cave
- Witness the amazing spectacle of bats emerging from the gaping mouth of Deer Cave at dusk
- Stay overnight in dormitory rooms in Mulu National Park
Day 16 - Kuching
San reckons you should head to Semenggoh Wildlife Rehab Centre for orangutan feeding time at either 9am or 3pm. Then grab a bite at Top Spot Food Court with the locals.
- Fly to Miri, then on to Kuching, one of the most attractive cities in South East Asia
- Enjoy ample time to explore this picturesque city
- Perhaps visit Fort Margherita, the Istana, the famous Sarawak Museum, or take a stroll on the waterfront
Day 17-18 - Bako National Park - Kuching
Check out the macaques, wild boar, proboscis monkeys (the ones with the big noses), giant monitor lizards and more.
- Take a day trip to Bako National Park, the oldest in Sarawak
- Spend the day exploring and observing local flora and wildlife, and perhaps spot the rare proboscis monkey or monitor lizards
- Spend the final evening in Kuching
- Trip ends after breakfast on Day 18
What to Know
An experienced local tour guide, all transportation, accommodation, sightseeing and meals as indicated. The flights from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan, Mulu to Miri and Miri to Kuching are included in your tour and will be provided locally.
- International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
Trip Dates and Prices
Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price 04 Jan 2015 - 21 Jan 2015 This trip has variations Available US $3,130 Book Now 01 Feb 2015 - 18 Feb 2015 This trip has variations Available US $3,015 Book Now 22 Feb 2015 - 11 Mar 2015 This trip has variations Available US $2,900 Book Now 29 Mar 2015 - 15 Apr 2015 This trip has variations Available US $2,900 Book Now 21 Jun 2015 - 08 Jul 2015 This trip has variations Available US $3,090 Book Now 02 Aug 2015 - 19 Aug 2015 This trip has variations Available US $3,090 Book Now 06 Sep 2015 - 23 Sep 2015 This trip has variations Available US $3,090 Book Now 04 Oct 2015 - 21 Oct 2015 This trip has variations Available US $3,090 Book Now 15 Nov 2015 - 02 Dec 2015 This trip has variations Available US $3,215 Book Now 06 Dec 2015 - 23 Dec 2015 This trip has variations Available US $3,335 Book Now 03 Jan 2016 - 20 Jan 2016 This trip has variations Available US $3,335 Book Now 31 Jan 2016 - 17 Feb 2016 This trip has variations Available US $3,335 Book Now 21 Feb 2016 - 09 Mar 2016 This trip has variations Available US $3,215 Book Now 27 Mar 2016 - 13 Apr 2016 This trip has variations Available US $3,090 Book Now 19 Jun 2016 - 06 Jul 2016 This trip has variations Available US $3,090 Book Now 31 Jul 2016 - 17 Aug 2016 This trip has variations Available US $3,090 Book Now 02 Oct 2016 - 19 Oct 2016 This trip has variations Available US $3,090 Book Now 13 Nov 2016 - 30 Nov 2016 This trip has variations Available US $3,215 Book Now 04 Dec 2016 - 21 Dec 2016 This trip has variations Available US $3,335 Book Now
Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments
At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.
Phoebe - Australia, 8 Jul, 2012
Amazing trip. Got to see a lot of Borneo and all different cultures. I advise anyone planning to go on this trip to definitely consider it, but check that there is enough mountain passes before you book, as a few people on our trip missed out and were very upset. All in all I recommend this trip to anyone who wants to see some great culture, wildlife and fauna and especially for people traveling alone.
graeme - New Zealand, 13 May, 2012
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What to know
A good level of fitness is required for the climb. You will trek on hilly terrain, generally on well-defined paths, walking between 3-8 hours per day.