Wildlife of Borneo

Borneo (Malaysia)

Wildlife

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

15 days £3,695 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
  • Impressive stalagmites and stalactites
  • Meet the rare Malayan sun bear
  • See the native orangutan in Sepilok Forest Reserve
  • 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 - Wind Cave and Clearwater Cave - 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. 

Overnight in Ranee Hotel, 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. 

Overnight in Ranee Hotel, Kuching

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. 

Overnight in Garden Bungalow, Mulu National Park , Deluxe Garden Bungalow

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. Proceed up the Melanau River to experience two more of Mulu’s ‘must-see’ limestone caves, Wind Cave and Clearwater Cave, which form part of the Sarawak Chamber – the largest connected cave system in the world. After the tour, transfer to Mulu Marriott for one night. In the evening, take a night walk in the park to observe the forest’s nocturnal inhabitants. Overnight in Mulu National Park.

Overnight in Mulu Marriott, Mulu National Park , Deluxe Room with breakfast

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.

Situated along the Milinau River, Wind Cave – named so due to the cool breezes that can be felt down its narrow inlets – is part of the Clearwater system. Reachable from a 4km nature trail or long boat down the Melinau River to its opening, it is home to impressive rock calcite formations and a ‘King’s Chamber’, which features striking stalagmites and stalactites. A short 5-minute walk up a wooden path and you will reach Clearwater Cave, Asia’s longest cave. Made up of more than 100km of passages (with many more still yet to explore), it features a subterranean river and a number of plank-walks, paths and small floating bridges, making the cave easy to explore.
 


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Day 5 : Mulu - Kota Kinabalu

After breakfast, you will transfer to the airport to fly to Kota Kinabalu. Once you have arrived, you will have the rest of the afternoon free to explore the city at your leisure. At 5:30pm, you will be picked up by your guide to go on a sunset walking tour of Kota Kinabalu. Finish the day with a traditional Borneo dinner. Overnight in ​Kota Kinabalu.

Overnight in Jesselton Hotel, Kota Kinabalu , Superior Room

Meal plan: Breakfast & dinner

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Day 6 : Kota Kinabalu - Sandakan - Sepilok

Rise early to board your flight to Sandakan, where you will then be transferred to Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary to witness a morning feeding. Take time to explore the rest of the sanctuary, which is also home to hornbill birds and grey leaf monkeys. After lunch travel to Sepilok, stopping at the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and the Sun Bear Centre on the way. Overnight in Sepilok.

Overnight in Sepilok Nature Resort, Sepilok Forest Reserve , Chalet with breakfat

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.
 


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Day 7 : Sepilok - Kinabatangan River

In the morning you will travel on towards the Kinabatangan River, stopping at Gomantong Caves along the way, before arriving at Borneo Nature Lodge. At dusk enjoy an evening river cruise. After dinner, embark on an optional night walk or night drive for more wildlife viewing. Overnight stay at the lodge. 

Overnight in Borneo Nature Lodge, Kinabatangan River , Chalet

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 8 : Kinabatangan River

Rise early, enjoying a river cruise at dawn, before making your way back to the lodge for breakfast. Return to the lodge to relax for the afternoon, followed by an evening cruise along the river. Overnight stay at the lodge. 

Overnight in Borneo Nature Lodge, Kinabatangan River , River 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 9 : Kinabatangan River - Lahad Datu - Tabin Wildlife Reserve

After breakfast, make the journey on to Tabin Wildlife Resort. In the afternoon, meet your nature guide and trek from the Elephant trail to the active Lipad Mud Volcano, which provides a mineral salt lick for wildlife. From the nearby viewing tower, you can watch the animals and birds that frequent the volcano, or join them in a mud bath or facial and benefit from its believed healing and regenerative properties. Trek from the mud volcano back to the main road. After dinner, enjoy a night walk to observe the reserve's nocturnal life and starry skies. Overnight in Tabin Wildlife Reserve. 
Overnight stay at the resort. 

Overnight in Tabin Wildlife Resort, Tabin Wildlife Reserve , River Lodge

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

Join the early morning bird walk to observe some of Tabin’s 300 bird species. After breakfast, drive into the reserve’s 9,000-hectare undisturbed primary forest known as the Core Area. Climb its bird watching tower to spot more of the park’s abundant bird population. Thereafter, trek through the reserve’s verdant jungle to Lipad Waterfall. Take a dip in its waters and explore the surrounding area. After lunch, visit the Tabin Rainforest Foot Soak for a well-deserved massage, before venturing out on a dusk drive to spot the park’s wildlife. After dinner, enjoy an atmospheric night walk in search of more of the park’s animals. Overnight in Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

Overnight in Tabin Wildlife Resort, Tabin Wildlife Reserve , River lodge or Hill lodge

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. Check into your new accommodation – Borneo Rainforest Lodge – and spend the afternoon as you wish. There are wonderful walking trails you can follow, including the 130-metre-tall, 300-metre-long canopy walk. After dinner, hop on an open-top 4 wheel drive car for an exhilarating night spotlighting tour. Look out for samba deer, civet cats and leopards. Afterwards, return to your chalet.

Overnight in Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Danum Valley , Standard Chalet

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

After an early breakfast, journey to the 200-year-old Kadazandusun Burial Site, known as ‘Coffin Cliff’, along the 2.6km Viewpoint Trail. Bask in the spectacular views over the jungle, before making your way back via a number of waterfalls. The afternoon is yours to spend as you wish. However, there are a number of activities available, including private trekking, tubing on the Danum River and specialised guided tours. After dinner, explore the jungle on foot with a local guide to observe its many species of insects and fauna.  

Overnight in Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Danum Valley , Deluxe Chalet

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 13 : Danum Valley

Begin the day with an early start at 04:30 to watch the sunrise over Danum Valley at the Global Atmospheric Watch Tower. Enjoy a light breakfast with tea and coffee while soaking in the first light of dawn, before travelling back 45 minutes by 4 wheel drive (note: you will travel the same way to the tower). Leave for another morning jungle trek in search for more wildlife, before returning to the lodge for lunch. The afternoon can be spent at your leisure. Overnight in Danum Valley.

Overnight in Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Danum Valley , Deluxe Lodge

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. 

Overnight in Jesselton Hotel, Kota Kinabalu , Superior Room

Meal plan: Breakfast & 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

Kuching (2 nights)

The Ranee is an exclusive boutique hotel, formed of two traditional 19th century shophouses. It is situated in the heart of Kuching's picturesque old town and houses 24 spacious suites, all of which are custom-designed with their own unique style and name. They do, however, all feature wide windows and verandas with views onto the bustling bazaar and river below; complimentary WiFi, air conditioning and satellite television. The Ranee also boasts a café, restaurant – offering local and international cuisine – an in-house tour desk and library.

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Garden Bungalow

Mulu National Park (1 night)

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. 

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Mulu Marriott

Mulu National Park (1 night)

Mulu Marriott 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 Marriott 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. 

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Jesselton Hotel

Kota Kinabalu (2 nights)

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. 

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Sepilok Nature Resort

Sepilok Forest Reserve (1 night)

Located between Kota Kinabalu and Sandakan, just a short walk from Sepilok’s Orangutan Sanctuary, the Sepilok Nature Resort offers luxury and an excellent location for those in search of Borneo’s most impressive wildlife. The resort features 23 timber chalets set amongst dense forest and surrounding a tranquil lake, each with traditional local designs, most modern amenities, an en-suite and a private veranda. Guests may dine overlooking the jungle and lake, and they need not leave the resort to witness rare wildlife (though numerous excursions are available), as the resort’s forests are home to many animals including orangutans.

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Borneo Nature Lodge

Kinabatangan River (2 nights)

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.     

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Tabin Wildlife Resort

Tabin Wildlife Reserve (2 nights)

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. 

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Borneo Rainforest Lodge

Danum Valley (3 nights)

Set alongside the Danum River, in the 43,800-hectare Danum Valley Conservation Area, sits Borneo Rainforest Lodge. Comprised of 30 chalets and a spa, it features a restaurant, bar and lounge, complimentary breakfast and WiFi and a laundry service. Due to its location, it is also very environmentally minded, implementing an extensive green initiative that enforces the use of solar energy and recyclable materials.  
 

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