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Important Please Note

For departures after 31 December 2014 this trip has variations.
Please click here for details.

The Greatest Land You've Never Heard Of

Trip Length

Trip Code

10 days GTSC

Countries Visited

Borneo (Malaysia)

Start City

End City

Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
The Greatest Land You've Never Heard Of

You and Borneo meet in Kota Kinabalu – we think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Orangutans! In Sepilok! And elephants – maybes! – along the Kinabatangan River! Get hot and sweaty climbing up Mt. Kinabalu, then hot and wetty soaking in the Poring Hot Springs on the way down.


Try not to indulge in too much ikan panggang (stingray – a local delicacy) because at the end of this trip we’re taking you on a two-day hike to the top of South East Asia.

The Greatest Land You've Never Heard Of

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Kota Kinabalu

The locals have finally settled on calling it KK, after previous name-changes included Deasoka (below the coconut tree), Singgah Mata (pleasing to the eye) and Api-Api (fire!).

Day 2: Sepilok

Meet the rellies today at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. They’ll tug on your heartstrings then spend half an hour picking their noses. They’d fit right in at home.

Day 3-4: Kinabatangan River

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 2 dinners

Stay with a local family for the night. We’ll take a dusk cruise up the Kinabatangan River and if you’re lucky you might spot a wild orangutan or an elephant.

Day 5: Mesilau

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 dinner

Time for a few stats: Mesilau has 4500 species of plants, 289 species of birds and 290 types of butterflies. Numbers are for nerds but that’s pretty darn impressive.

Day 6-7: Mt Kinabalu

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner

No joke – this is a really hard climb. It’ll take a few days to trek up to 4095 metres, but it’s worth it to reach the highest point in South East Asia. Views stretch from the jungles of Sabah on one side to the South China Sea on the other. Soak your bones at the Poring Hot Springs when you get way down.

Day 6

Day 7

Day 8-10: Kota Kinabalu

Meals included: 3 breakfasts

They know their stuff on the KK food front. You pick the biggest, fattest, tastiest looking bit of seafood and they’ll cook it to your liking.

Days 8-9

Take an 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 gardenStay on the edge of Kinarut seashore for a few nights

Day 10

Trip ends after breakfast

Your Trip

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.

Nuts and Bolts

• Gecko’s expert English-speaking local tour guide throughout the tour.

• Visit to Sandakan Memorial Park – the site of a former Japanese POW camp.

• Orang-utan encounter at Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre, including an overnight stay in a dormitory lodge.

• Homestay by Kinabatangan River, including a boat cruise in search of wildlife.

• Visit to Mesilau Nature Resort and ascent of Mount Kinabalu via the Mesilau trail, with overnight accommodation in basic huts (dormitory-style).

• Time at a beach-side retreat on Kinarut’s seashore.

• Free time to explore Kota Kinabalu.

• Local flight from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan.

Summary of accommodation, transport & meals




Not Included

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.

Optional Extras

We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Important Information


Please note for various nationalities in particular Australian, UK, Irish, New Zealand and United States, different increased Government travel warnings are currently in place for Eastern Sabah. We ask all of our travellers to familiarise themselves with their own Government Travel Advisories and to check that these Government warnings do not affect the level of coverage that is offered to them by their Travel Insurance provider.  Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and your insurance must cover you for all activities and areas visited as part of this tour. Please contact your Travel Insurance provider to ensure you have adequate cover for travel to Eastern Sabah.

We ask all of our travellers to monitor their own Government travel advisories, some of these are listed below,

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

US Department of State

New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade

Ireland Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade

The safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a major priority of Geckos. With this in mind we monitor world events very closely. Geckos makes operational decisions based on informed advice from a number of sources including The level of the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) travel advisory. For any Geckos operated trip if this advisory is at Level 4 'Do Not Travel' then Intrepid will either cancel a trip or reroute the itinerary to avoid the areas concerned. We however also acknowledge that many of our travellers come from many different countries whose own Government travel warnings may differ to the Australian Government. We ask you to familiarise yourself with your relevant Government travel advisories at time of booking and continue to monitor these advisories prior to your trip.


Dress Code
Malaysia is liberal Muslim country as many Malaysian women do not wear headscarves. However, Malaysia is very conservative when compared with standards you may be accustomed to at home and you should dress accordingly.
As a general guideline, shoulders, cleavage and knees should be covered when travelling in Borneo except when on the beach. Wearing skimpy clothing is considered disrespectful to local culture at many of the small local communities we visit. It is essential that we 'cover up' for our homestay.

Day Pack for Overnight Trips You need to bring your main piece of luggage as well as a small to medium backpack for overnight trips (30-35 litres/8-9 gallons) for walks to Mount Kinabalu. In this you will need to carry a change of clothes, torch (and/or head torch for trekking), toiletries, warm clothes and any other essentials.
While climbing Mount Kinabalu, it is important to note that temperatures can drop to below freezing, make sure you pack several layers that can be added/removed as you ascend/descend. A water proof jacket is essential. While trekking, we leave our main piece of luggage at a central point and return following the trek.

Other Requirements You will also need to bring strong walking shoes, personal first-aid kit, sun screen and lip-balm, insect repellent, sandals, torch/flashlight (preferably head-torch), binoculars, clothing and toiletries, and strong plastic bags (in which to pack your extra clothing, etc. whilst on trek in case of rain). Warm clothing (including gloves and a warm hat or balaclava) are essential for the Mount Kinabalu climb.
Please remember that our tours are of an adventurous nature. Our style of travelling means that it is more desirable to carry a backpack and a daypack on our tours. A sleeping bag is not required for this trip. We strongly recommend that you bring inner sleeping sheets for this tour. For light sleepers, we strongly recommend that you bring earplugs and eye-patches.
Please note that Borneo is a developing region whose infrastructure, values, customs and standards may differ from what you expect in your homeland. Expect poor road conditions and be prepared for some inconveniences such as restaurants and tourist sites being closed from time to time. Sometimes the transportation may be altered or the itinerary may be changed due to circumstances beyond our control. This is an 'adventure' trip and we hope to expose you to all aspects of the local culture. Please be open-minded. On this trip you may link up with passengers on other Gecko's tours.

Single Supplement A single supplement is available on this trip. On the following nights a single room is not available:
Day 3 Homestay
Day 4 Homestay
Day 5 Basic Hut
Day 6 Mt Kinabalu camp

The maximum luggage allowance for the internal flight is 15kg maximum, Gecko's won't cover the cost of luggage that exceeds this weight.

Local Emergency Contacts
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, the Gecko's local office can be reached on Tel: +66 898 103 722

About this Information

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!

Last Updated

23 October 2014

General Contact Details

Geckos AdventuresPhone: 855-832-4853
Web: Visit Geckos