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Explore the remote rivers and dense jungle of Sabah and Sarawak’s interiors in a search for its unique wildlife.

This suggested itinerary has been designed to introduce you to Borneo's top eco-destinations and visit different habitats on foot and by boat. Among the highlights are a visit to the Iban headhunter tribe of Batang Ai, the underground caves in Mulu National Park, and seeing orangutan in Sepilok Reserve and hornbills in Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

Suggested itinerary

  1. Day 1: Depart UK

  2. Day 2: Arrive Kuching, 1-night

  3. Days 3-4 : Drive to Bako, 2-nights. Visit Bako National Park

    After breakfast it's a half-hour drive to Bako village, and then a 25-minute boat ride (depending on the tide) to the park. Your accommodation at Bako is in the park chalets; they provide modest but adequate facilities, and the adjacent canteen, where all meals are taken, serves tasty Malaysian food.   

  4. Day 5: Drive to Kuching, 1-night. Visit Semenggok Orangutan Sanctuary

    Head back to Kuching, stopping for lunch en route. In the afternoon, visit the Semenggoh Wildlife Centre.  This orangutan rehabilitation centre trains orphaned or rescued orangutans how to survive in the wild. Over 20 orangutans live in forest within the nature reserve and often return to the centre at feeding times. After a brief talk from the rangers, take a short walk along a trail to the feeding area to watch the orangutans come down from the trees for a free meal!  Continue to Kuching for overnight.

  5. Days 6-7 : Fly to Gunung Mulu, 2-nights. Visit Mulu Caves

  6. Days 8-9 : Fly to Kota Kinabalu and on to Sandakan. Transfer to Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, 2-nights

    Fly to Sandakan (normally via Miri and Kota Kinabalu), and transfer to your accommodation at Sepilok Nature Lodge. On your second day here you'll get to visit the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary.

  7. Days 10-11 : Boat along Kinabatangan River, 2-nights

    Transfer to the jetty in Sandakan for a boat excursion that brings you to the pristine mangrove forests along the Kinabatangan River delta in search of proboscis monkeys, birds and reptiles. Lunch is provided en route. Continue by boat to Sukau and after checking in to your accommodation go on a river cruise up Kinabatangan River to Menanggul River in search of more wildlife. Accommodation is at the Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge.

  8. Days 12-13 : Drive to Lahad Datu and on to Tabin Wildife Reserve, 2-nights

  9. Day 14: Drive to Lahad Datu, fly to Kota Kinabalu and depart

    After breakfast, there should be time for a last stroll and dip in the nearby rock pool or riverside where groups of macaques and other small mammals can sometimes be seen.  It's then time to say goodbye to Tabin and return to Lahad Datu for an overnight flight back to the UK.

  10. Day 15: Arrive UK

Key info

Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
  • Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 15 days from £3,295 pp
  • Duration and price excluding international flights: 13 days from £2,445 pp
  • Single supplement: From £805
  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Activities available:
    • Photography
Featured locations:

Bako National Park

Bako offers an intoxicating mix of coastal scenery, teeming rainforest and abundant wildlife. It is one of the best places in Borneo to see proboscis monkey, which are regularly encountered, often right beside the raised boardwalk. With such a variety of habitats, the park’s flora is correspondingly rich and diverse.

  • Where: Sarawak State
  • Ideal for viewing: long-tailed macaque, mouse deer, proboscis monkey, silvered langur, slow loris
  • Excellent for: Wildlife festivals

Gunung Mulu National Park

Gunung Mulu National Park in remote northeastern Sarawak, has an exceptional level of biological diversity with over 3,500 species of plants recorded in the park, including highly specialized orchids. Its 300 kilometres of caves provide a spectacular sight and home to millions of cave swiftlets and bats.

  • Where: Sarawak State
  • Ideal for viewing: bearded pig, Bornean tarsier, Malayan sun bear, rhinoceros hornbill, wrinkle-lipped bat

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

This reserve occupies more than 122,500 hectares of a peninsula, surrounded by oil-palm plantations. The lowland forest contains many animals, some of which are highly endangered, as well as over 250 bird species. The mineral-rich mud volcanoes attract wildlife and there are many trails to explore.

  • Where: Sabah State
  • Ideal for viewing: clouded leopard, orangutan, proboscis monkey, pygmy elephant, Sumatran rhino
  • Excellent for: Orangutan watching, Birdwatching

Sepilok Forest Reserve & Orangutan Sanctuary

Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary is renowned for its work in rehabilitating orphaned orangutans, However, set in primary lowland rainforest, the reserve has much more to offer. The forest boardwalks make exploring easy, the birdwatching is superb and there is a tremendous variety of snakes and frogs to see.

  • Where: Sabah State
  • Ideal for viewing: Bornean pygmy elephant, mouse deer, orangutan, slow loris, western tarsier
  • Excellent for: Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Orangutan watching

Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary

The Kinabatangan River snakes through Sabah’s lowlands for 560kms to reach the Sulu Sea. Along its length, a river safari will reveal a mosaic of riparian forest, oxbow lakes, nipah swamp and mangroves which supports a wide variety of mammal and birdlife who have grown surprisingly tolerant of human presence.

  • Where: Sabah State
  • Ideal for viewing: Wallace’s hawk eagle, orangutan, proboscis monkey, pygmy elephant, Sumatran rhino
  • Excellent for: Wildlife festivals, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, River safaris, Orangutan watching, Birdwatching
Suggested accommodation options are shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge

Accessible by boat or road transport, this lodge consists of timber-built chalets connected by walkways. There are various spots around the lodge for viewing the surrounding nature and wildlife, including a bird observation tower, and a jungle trail where red leaf monkey and wild orangutan are often seen.

Sepilok Nature Resort

This simple lodge, situated close to the Sepilok Forest Reserve entrance, is extremely comfortable and convenient for visiting the nearby Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. It offers spacious accommodation in air-conditioned chalets, set in beautiful tropical gardens and connected by boardwalks to the main building.