Wildlife of Borneo

Borneo (Malaysia)

Wildlife

Orangutans, Sumatran rhinos, proboscis monkeys, elephants & bat exodus

15 days £3,145 pp This is the per person group tour price, based on 2 sharing. The price is subject to change with exchange rate and flight cost fluctuations.
Dates & Prices

Intro

Borneo is home to some of the most outstanding natural sights in the world. Explore the rich Bornean jungle canopy, experience pristine wilderness and witness the bat exodus in Mulu National Park. Cruise along the river Kinabatangan, availing of its unique wildlife spotting opportunities. Visit endangered orangutans at Sepilok before searching for their wilder cousins in the Danum Valley and for the rare Sumatran Rhinoceros in Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

Private wildlife extensions, including diving and snorkelling, can also be arranged.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Bat exodus at UNESCO-listed Mulu National Park
  • Meet the rare Malayan sun bear
  • Visit Sepilok Forest Reserve
  • Spot wildlife along the Kinabatangan River
  • Explore the Gomantong Caves
  • Take a safari in Tabin Wildlife Reserve
  • Spot rare species in Danum Valley Field Centre

Places Visited

Kuching - Mulu National Park - Kota Kinabalu - Kinabatangan River - Gomantong Caves - Danum Valley

What's Included

Arrival & departure transfers
Ground transport with driver
Domestic flights
Accommodation
Meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
English-speaking guides
Entrance fees to sites & parks
Itinerary & Map
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Day 1 : Arrival into Kuching

Arrive into Kuching, where you will be met by your Travel the Unknown representative and then transferred to your hotel. You can spend the afternoon relaxing and exploring the city. In the evening, there will be an introductory dinner and briefing for the trip. Overnight stay in Kuching. 

Meal plan: Dinner

The state capital of Sarawak, Kuching, is often described as one of the most attractive cities in Southeast Asia. It is one of the most multiracial cities in Malaysia - north of the Sarawak River being predominantly Malay in character, whilst the south is largely populated by Chinese. The city has become a major food destination, and market stalls sell many varieties of Asian cuisine. Kuching's attractions include a picturesque port, the Rainforest World Music Festival, the historic Fort Marherita and the ornate Sarawak State Museum.

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Day 2 : Satang Island

After breakfast, travel by motor-boat through the mangrove forest looking out for Irrawaddy dolphins. Proceed to the Salak River/Kuching Wetlands National Park for proboscis monkey spotting. Once finished, continue by boat to Satang Island and visit the nursery to see some turtle eggs. At the end of the day, transfer back to Kuching for overnight. 

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

Kuching Wetlands National Park was established in 2002 and is mainly made up of saline mangrove and interlinked marine waterways. The park is home to an abundance of wildlife including proboscis monkeys, long-tailed macaques, monitor lizards and some species of crocodile. 

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Day 3 : Kuching - Mulu National Park

Begin the day with a flight to Mulu National Park. On arrival, head to Deer Cave where you will explore the amazing cave system before watching the famous bat exodus at dusk. The evening will be free for you to spend at your leisure. Overnight stay in Mulu National Park. 

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Mulu National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site made up of mountains and rainforest, yet, its main attraction lies beneath the ground. Mulu’s cave networks have become the subject of much international interest - Deer Cave being the largest single cave passage in the world and the bat exodus from here, where millions of bats fly out of the cave and create swilling patterns in the sky, is a sight to behold. Mulu has become the site for many research projects, including that of the Royal Geographic Society.

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Day 4 : Mulu National Park

Wake early to observe wildlife as you walk along the longest canopy walk in Borneo. Later, travel to a nearby Penan village, where you will experience their vibrant culture and experience their way of life. Admire their beautiful crafts, before returning to Mulu. In the evening you will take a night walk in the park, where you will observe the prehistoric forest's nocturnal inhabitants. 

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

The Penan villagers live a nomadic way of life deep in the heart of the Sawarak rainforest, largely living a life of hunting and gathering meaning that they are reliant on their natural surroundings for survival. The Penan have suffered greatly from the large-scale deforestation and logging which is encroaching on the Sarawak landscape and, in turn, their way of life.

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Day 5 : Mulu - Kota Kinabalu

After breakfast, you will take a flight to Kota Kinabalu. Once you have arrived, you will have the rest of the afternoon free to explore the city at your leisure. Overnight in ​Kota Kinabalu.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 6 : Kota Kinabalu - Sandakan - Sepilok

Begin the day with a flight to Sandakan, where you will be transferred to Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary and witness a morning feeding. Explore the rest of the sanctuary which houses animals such as hornbill birds and grey leaf monkeys. After lunch proceed to Sepilok, stopping at the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and the Sun Bear Centre. Overnight in Sepilok.

Meal plan: Breakfast & lunch

The Semonggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre was established to care for wild animals that have either been found injured or orphaned in the forest. They currently care for over 1,000 endangered mammals, reptiles and birds, most famously the orangutan. The centre aims to rehabilitate these animals in the hope of releasing them back into the wild, whilst also educating visitors about conservation.

The Sun Bear Centre is a rescue and rehabilitation facility in Sabah. Malayan sun bears, only found in Southeast Asia, are suffering from the growing pressures of forest degradation and illegal hunting. This centre aims to preserve the endangered species - creating large forest enclosures to house injured and orphaned sun bears in an effort to replicate the natural environment - facilitating their later rehabilitation back into the wild.
 


At a length of 560 km, the Kinabatangan River is the second longest river in Malaysia. The river and its banks are renowned for its extraordinary wildlife  including macaques, elephants, monitor lizards, and of course the unique proboscis monkeys with their harems of wives. It also boasts a diverse birdlife including rhinoceros hornbills and blue-banded kingfishers.  Furthermore you can find limestone caves, swamp forests and salty mangroves along its vast length. A boatride on the river is a special highlight of Borneo.

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Day 7 : Sepilok - Kinabatangan River

In the morning you will travel on towards the Kinabatangan River, arriving at the lodge. At dusk enjoy an evening river cruise where you can take in your beautiful natural surroundings, before later taking an optional night walk or night drive for more wildlife viewing. Overnight stay at the lodge. 

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

At a length of 560 km, the Kinabatangan River is the second longest river in Malaysia. The river and its banks are renowned for its extraordinary wildlife  including macaques, elephants, monitor lizards, and of course the unique proboscis monkeys with their harems of wives. It also boasts a diverse birdlife including rhinoceros hornbills and blue-banded kingfishers.  Furthermore you can find limestone caves, swamp forests and salty mangroves along its vast length. A boatride on the river is a special highlight of Borneo.

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Day 8 : Kinabatangan River

Rise early, enjoying a river cruise at dawn, before making your way back to the lodge for breakfast. Later, drive to the Gomantang Caves where you will take a short trek into the mouth of the cave. Spend some time exploring the cave opening and its unique wildlife, having the chance to see the native orang utan and red leaf langurs. Return to the lodge to relax for the afternoon, followed by an evening cruise along the river. Overnight stay at the lodge. 

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

The Gomantong Caves are located within Gomantong Hill. The intricate cave system is divided into two parts: the more accessible Simud Hitam (Black cave) and the larger Simud Putih (White cave). The caves are home to bats, raptors and a wide variety of birdlife. They are also renowned for valuable edible swiftlet nests, which are carefully harvested for bird’s nest soup, once the swiftlets have left the nest, a tradition that goes back centuries.

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Day 9 : Kinabatangan River - Lahad Datu - Tabin Wildlife Reserve

After breakfast, make the journey on to Tabin Wildlife Resort. On arrival, embark on a 4x4 wildlife safari in search of elephants, leopards, marbled cats, flying squirrels and the binturong. Overnight stay at the resort. 

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Tabin Wildlife Reserve was established in 1984, primarily in order to protect the largely endangered animal population who inhabit the forests, including the Pygmy Elephant and the Banteng, a species of wild cattle. Tabin is also the site of a rescue project for the Rhino, being home to the highest concentration of Sumatran Rhino in Borneo.

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Day 10 : Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Take an early morning 4x4 safari through the Tabin Wildlife Reserve, where you will see local wildlife as you drive through the untouched rainforests. Spend the rest of the morning relaxing, before heading out to the nearby mud volcano, where salt enriched mud bubbles up and attracts many different animals. There is also an observation tower that you can climb to get even better views of the surrounding rainforest. In the evening, take another wildlife safari in search of more animals.

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 11 : Tabin Wildlife Reserve - Lahad Datu - Danum Valley

In the morning, drive to Danum Valley, known to be one of the best spots for viewing Borneo's wildlife. Spend the afternoon exploring the many nature trails with your guide. In the evening take a guided night hike, where you will have the opportunity to see a different, nocturnal, side to the jungle. Overnight stay in Danum Valley. 

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Danum Valley is made up of 538 square kilometers of Class 1 Virgin Primary Rainforest, which boasts unbeatable conditions for viewing native wildlife due to the lack of human habitation, hunting and logging. The valley is renowned for its rich biodiversity and houses extremely rare species, including the Sumatran Rhino and the Pygmy Elephant but also wild orangutan, gibbon, mousedeer and clouded leopards as well as over 270 bird species. The Danum Valley Field Centre is a world-recognised tropical rainforest research station, located at the heart of this conservation area.

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Day 12 : Danum Valley

Early start for a wildlife walk before you have breakfast. Explore the local forest, looking for native birds and mammals from the tree platforms that stretch out across the landscape. In the evening, take a night safari where you will search for animals that are hunting in the open areas along the roads. Overnight stay in Danum Valley. 

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 13 : Danum Valley

Start the day early, traveling to the GAW tower to see the morning sunrise over Danum Valley - thought to be one of the greatest sunrises in Southeast Asia. Spend the rest of the morning relaxing before an afternoon of more exploring, searching for more unique wildlife. In the evening you will head out for another night walk. Overnight stay in Danum Valley. 

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 14 : Danum Valley - Lahad Datu - Kota Kinabalu

In the morning you will take a wildlife walk in the forest, spending the rest of the morning at your leisure before later flying back to Kota Kinabalu. Here, you will enjoy a final dinner with your guide and stay overnight. 

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Kota Kinabalu, formerly known as Jesselton under British colonial rule, is now the capital of the state of Sabah. It is situated on the north-western coast of Borneo, lying between the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park and Mount Kinabalu. Kota Kinabalu was only granted city status in 2000, but it is fast becoming one of the largest urban regions in Malaysia.
 


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Day 15 : Departure

After breakfast, drive to the airport for your departure flight out of Sabah. 

Meal plan: Breakfast

Accommodation

Accommodation

All accommodation subject to availability. Final accommodation choices will be confirmed after booking.

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Ranee Hotel

The boutique Ranee Hotel is centrally-located in Kuching Old Town and offers beautiful views of the river, the Astana and the State Assembly building. Renovated from traditional 19th-century shop houses, each room has its own unique character that combines the old and the new. There is an all-day dining and bar service.

Visit hotel's site
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Garden Bungalow

The Garden Bungalows lie nestled in the rainforests of Mulu National Park. These wooden lodges are set on stilts in the woodland, offering guests the real wildlife experience whilst also being fitted with air conditioning and hot water to allow for a comfortable stay. The small on-site restaurant serves a selection of local dishes for guests. Guides are on hand for advise and activities at Mulu, which can include trekking, caving and rafting. 

Visit hotel's site
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Royal Mulu Resort

Mulu Resort is built in the style of a traditional Bornean longhouse, which stands on wooden stilts on the banks of the Melinau River. Situated near to Mulu National Park, Mulu Resort is the perfect location from which to explore its rich wildlife. Its spacious interior is fitted with modern fixtures and fittings, including air conditioning. Whilst each room has its own veranda that boasts tranquil views across the surrounding jungle and Melinau River. 

Visit hotel's site
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Borneo Nature Lodge

Borneo Nature Lodge is an eco-friendly resort that lies on the banks of the Kinabatangan River. The lodge has simple furnishings that complement the real wilderness experience of the region. Many of the decorative items displayed within Borneo Nature Lodge have been hand-made by indigenous tribal communities. The lodge also houses a restaurant, with both indoor and al fresco seating, allowing guests to enjoy their natural surroundings.     

Visit hotel's site
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Tabin Wildlife Resort

Tabin Wildlife Resort features a collection of river side and hill side lodges, which can be found nestled within the rainforest. Each lodge has access to modern facilities such as a private bathroom, hot running water and air-conditioning to allow for a comfortable stay - whilst the traditional and simple decor enhance the authentic Malaysian wildlife experience. Guests are free to hike through the surrounding jungles in search of native species, such as the Orang Utan and Probyscis monkeys. 

Visit hotel's site
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Danum Valley Field Centre

The Danum Valley Field Centre is located in the Danum Valley conservation area - one of the largest and best-protected forests remaining in South East Asia. It is a leading rainforest research centre and a member of The South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership (SEARRP). The site offers several types of accommodation, including chalets, a hostel and a campsite, which all provide an ideal base for exploring the surrounding wildlife. All meals served for guests at Danum Valley are prepared in traditional Malaysian style using fresh local ingredients. 

Visit hotel's site
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Jesselton Hotel

The Jesselton Hotel is situated in the heart of the city, making it a good base for exploring the local sights. The spacious rooms have a classic feel, offering a mix of colonial history with modern amenities, including an en-suite and internet access. The restaurant at Jesselton Hotel serves a mixture of western and local dishes. 

Visit hotel's site
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