Borneo Family Wildlife Adventure

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Why You Should Go

We love Borneo because of its rich landscape, boasting lush equatorial rainforests and ancient ecosystems. The northern areas of Malaysia (Sarawak and Sabah) contain a rich variety of flora and fauna — over 1,000 species of flowers and plants with over 58 mountain bird species alone! Among our top family experiences in Sabah was the extraordinary Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. For those who are more physically ambitious, there is always the trek up Mt. Kinabalu. This itinerary combines unparalleled wildlife viewing and outdoor adventure as well as a cultural exploration of this diverse land.

Best Travel Time: Spring Summer

orangutans
Wild orangutans in Borneo

Sample Itinerary

11 Days

Each private luxury tour is custom to the wishes of each client. This itinerary is a sample. Our Sister Company, TRAVNET, may provide assistance with mileage points conversion. Do not hesitate to call Randy to create your custom tour.

1

Day 1

Fly to Kota Kinabalu
Through our sister company, premium air provider TRAVNET, we may assist with your international airfare, as well as with mileage points conversion.

Kinabalu mountain massif in a morning sunrise, Boneo island, Sabah, Malaysia
Kinabalu Mountain
2

Day 2

Arrive Kota Kinabalu
Upon arrival at Kota Kinabalu International Airport, you will be welcomed to Borneo by our local representative and privately transferred to the Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort.

Accommodations: Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort

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Shangri-la Tanjung Asu Resort
3

Day 3

Mari Mari Cultural Village Visit
Following breakfast, you will be met by your private guide and driver and transferred to the village of Mari Mari. During this village visit, you will get a firsthand look at the life of those in Sabah. Upon arrival, you will be able to visit the homes of various residents, each built by descendants of the tribes they represent. As you explore the area, you may stop into various demonstration huts and learn about the making of the blowpipe, starting a fire, and tattoo making, among others. Though slightly touristy, we feel this is a fun stopover for families.

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
Accommodations: Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort

Kadazandusun young girl in traditional costume standing by the window
Kadazandusun girl of Sabah in traditional Murut costume
4

Day 4

Fly Kota Kinabalu/Sandakan
Today, you will take a short flight to Sandakan to visit Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. We feel our experience here was among our most rewarding in Sabah and North Borneo. Founded in 1964, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center covers an area of approximately 10,600 acres on the edge of the Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve. At any given time 60 – 80 orphaned orangutans live freely in the reserve, with about 20 young orphans housed in the nurseries. Feeding time (10:00 a.m. -3:00 p.m.) is the precious time to interact with these amazing creatures. Though you are not allowed to touch them, rest assured you will have up-close opportunities to observe — very amusing!

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Abai Jungle Lodge

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A mother orangutan and her baby
5

Day 5

Pitas Oxbow Lake Private Tour
For the truly intrepid, we suggest a very early wake-up for an excursion to Ox Bow Lake. This is an optimal time to observe the many bird species and monkeys seeking food in the early morning. You will be subsequently transferred back to the lodge for breakfast. Your morning activity will include trekking in the surrounding forests, followed by lunch at the lodge.

In the late afternoon, you will take another Kinabatangan River cruise upstream in search of more flora and fauna. The highlight of the day, following dinner, will be the nighttime river cruise, where you will see the nocturnal wildlife up close. Particularly for bird enthusiasts, the night cruise offers a unique opportunity to see the Borneo birds up close and personal.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Abai Jungle Lodge

Proboscis monkeys in a row
Proboscis monkeys
6

Day 6

Boat Transfer Sandakan/Sukau/Menanggul River Cruise
After a leisurely morning to enjoy breakfast and the surroundings of Kinabatangan, you will have lunch and cruise upriver to Sukau Village, where you might be able to spot wild orangutans, pygmy elephants, birds, and other wildlife. Upon arrival in Sukau, you will be taken to Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge for check-in.

In the late afternoon, you will take another river cruise to Menanggul River, a small tributary of the Kinabatangan. Afterward, you will be privately transferred to the Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge

Borneo Pygmy Elephant seen in Danum Valley, Borneo
Borneo pygmy elephants
7

Day 7

Boat Transfer Sandakan/Lahad Datu/Danum Valley
Following breakfast, you will be met by your private guide and transferred back to Sandakan via boat.

Upon arrival in Sandakan, you will transfer to Lahat Datu. From Lahat Datu, you will be privately driven through the Danum Valley Conservation Area on your way to check-in at Borneo Rainforest Lodge where you will take an introductory trek on the Nature Trail & Canopy Walk.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Borneo Rainforest Lodge

Danum Valley Canopy Walkway Borneo
Danum Valley canopy walkway
8

Day 8

Danum Valley Private Tour
Following breakfast, you will start your day with a guided trek to Coffin Cliff, an ancient burial site of the Kadazandusun tribe.

Coffin Cliff Trail Option
An approximately three-kilometer/1.9-mile upward hike to its highest point, the Coffin Cliff Trail ends where the remains of some Kadazandusun-Dusan native coffins can be seen. The wooden coffins are embedded in the face of the cliffs, a reminder of the natural importance of the surrounding valley. About 100 meters/330 feet from this point, the top of the cliff provides striking views across the endless rainforest.

After a refreshing dip in a natural pool, you will return to the Borneo Rainforest Lodge for lunch. Then, you may choose from various afternoon activities, such as a guided jungle trek or water tubing down the Danum River. Following dinner, you will be taken on a guided safari night drive.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner
Accommodations: Borneo Rainforest Lodge

Tropical rainforest scenery in Danum Valley, Sabah Borneo
Tropical rainforest scenery in Danum Valley
9

Day 9

Fly Danum Valley/Kota Kinabalu + Connect to Kuching
After a leisurely morning and following lunch at the Lodge, you will be transferred to Lahad Datu Airport for your flight to Kota Kinabalu and connection to Kuching.

Upon Arrival in Kuching, you will be met by your private driver and transferred to The Ranee.

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodation: The Ranee Boutique Suites

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Jungle view from Borneo Rainforest Lodge
10

Day 10

Half-Day Kuching City Private Tour
Following breakfast at The Ranee, you will be met by your private guide for a half day tour of Kuching. Borneo’s most sophisticated city brings together a number of cultures, crafts, and cuisines. As you walk through the city, you will pass through busy streets, some with a more modern feel and others that appear more colonial. You will see Chinese temples decorated with dragons, as well as a South Indian mosque and street vendors selling various Asian dishes. Another nice walk is along the landscaped riverfront park — great for families!

Meals: Breakfast
Accommodations: The Ranee Boutique Suites

Sunset over the town of Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia
Sunset over Kuching
11

Day 11

Fly Kuching/Home OR Optional Excursion to Kuala Lumpur or Langkawi Island
Following breakfast at The Ranee, you will be met by your private driver and transferred to Kuching Airport for your onward flight.

Meals: Breakfast

Aerial View of Kuala Lumpur Skyline
Kuala Lumpur skyline

Hotels

This beachfront property is minutes away from Kota Kinabalu city center and a great stopover point before continuing on to the jungle. Split into two wings, the Kinabalu wing has a more traditional design offering views of Mount Kinabalu or the ocean. The Tanjung offers a more modern feel with views of the South China Sea. Amenities include an extensive range of dining options, tennis courts, a spa, and a large pool with both family-friendly and adults-only sections.

Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort

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This beachfront property is minutes away from Kota Kinabalu city center and a great stopover point before continuing on to the jungle. Split into two wings, the Kinabalu wing has a more traditional design offering views of Mount Kinabalu or the ocean. The Tanjung offers a more modern feel with views of the South China Sea. Amenities include an extensive range of dining options, tennis courts, a spa, and a large pool with both family-friendly and adults-only sections.

Based on its remote jungle location, accessible only by boat, the 18-room Abai Jungle Lodge provides clean, controlled accommodations. Though, it is important to note that the rooms are quite small. Though certainly not luxury compared to the various Africa safari lodges, the biggest plus for staying here is the location’s rich wildlife experience. Your river cruise and trail walks will provide ample opportunities to see orangutans, langur monkeys, otters, pygmy elephants, and many colorful, wild bird species. Each of the Abai’s stilted water villas provide overhead fans, but there is no air conditioning. The open-air restaurant offers basic Malaysian food choices with large local prawns as a specialty!

Abai Jungle Lodge

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Based on its remote jungle location, accessible only by boat, the 18-room Abai Jungle Lodge provides clean, controlled accommodations. Though, it is important to note that the rooms are quite small. Though certainly not luxury compared to the various Africa safari lodges, the biggest plus for staying here is the location’s rich wildlife experience. Your river cruise and trail walks will provide ample opportunities to see orangutans, langur monkeys, otters, pygmy elephants, and many colorful, wild bird species. Each of the Abai’s stilted water villas provide overhead fans, but there is no air conditioning. The open-air restaurant offers basic Malaysian food choices with large local prawns as a specialty!

Though not quite as remote as Abai Jungle Lodge, the eco-friendly, 33-room Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge is set along the Kinabatangan River with a premium setting for abundant wildlife views! We consider the Riverside Lodge to be a model for sustainable tourism, with rainwater filtering, biodegradable building materials, and various projects to support the locals. All 33 rooms include overhead fans with only 10 rooms providing air conditioning (in addition to the dining area). The Kinabatangan Lodge’s rooms are noticeably more spacious than the small rooms of Abai Jungle Lodge. We particularly like the interesting jungle trail behind the lodge, with chances to see red leaf monkeys and wild orangutans on your hike! Much of the wildlife you will see near the Riverside Lodge will complement the flora and fauna you see at Abai Jungle Lodge. The dinners here include fresh river fish as a daily staple!

Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge

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Though not quite as remote as Abai Jungle Lodge, the eco-friendly, 33-room Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge is set along the Kinabatangan River with a premium setting for abundant wildlife views! We consider the Riverside Lodge to be a model for sustainable tourism, with rainwater filtering, biodegradable building materials, and various projects to support the locals. All 33 rooms include overhead fans with only 10 rooms providing air conditioning (in addition to the dining area). The Kinabatangan Lodge’s rooms are noticeably more spacious than the small rooms of Abai Jungle Lodge. We particularly like the interesting jungle trail behind the lodge, with chances to see red leaf monkeys and wild orangutans on your hike! Much of the wildlife you will see near the Riverside Lodge will complement the flora and fauna you see at Abai Jungle Lodge. The dinners here include fresh river fish as a daily staple!

In contrast to the more spartan accommodations of the Abai Jungle Lodge, the upper 4-star Borneo Rainforest Lodge provides a more high-touch quality jungle lodge, overnight experience. Located 2.5 hours away via a bumpy road from the nearest town, the lodge is set in the flora and fauna of the Danum Valley Conservation Area. This area is the largest protected lowland rainforest, comprised of 108,000 acres and offering nature walks, night walks, and riverboat trips. These experiences provide opportunities to see 124 mammal species, 72 reptile species, 56 different amphibians, and an array of 340 colorful bird species! Among the lodge’s 31 wooden chalets, our favorite is the Premium Deluxe Chalet with a private infinity pool. The spacious dining area and veranda, plus the lodge’s high-quality naturalist guides, compare favorably with our Botswana safari experiences.

Borneo Rainforest Lodge

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In contrast to the more spartan accommodations of the Abai Jungle Lodge, the upper 4-star Borneo Rainforest Lodge provides a more high-touch quality jungle lodge, overnight experience. Located 2.5 hours away via a bumpy road from the nearest town, the lodge is set in the flora and fauna of the Danum Valley Conservation Area. This area is the largest protected lowland rainforest, comprised of 108,000 acres and offering nature walks, night walks, and riverboat trips. These experiences provide opportunities to see 124 mammal species, 72 reptile species, 56 different amphibians, and an array of 340 colorful bird species! Among the lodge’s 31 wooden chalets, our favorite is the Premium Deluxe Chalet with a private infinity pool. The spacious dining area and veranda, plus the lodge’s high-quality naturalist guides, compare favorably with our Botswana safari experiences.

Located in Kuching’s Old Town, this 24-suite, boutique hotel is a great base for exploring the best street food and shopping areas. Originally, two 19th-century shophouses, The Ranee’s décor is contemporary and each room is individually designed. Most rooms feature en-suite bathrooms and balconies or terraces. The two dining options, the M Bar & Bistro and the Café Trio, offer a range of both international dishes and local specialties.

The Ranee Boutique Suites

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Located in Kuching’s Old Town, this 24-suite, boutique hotel is a great base for exploring the best street food and shopping areas. Originally, two 19th-century shophouses, The Ranee’s décor is contemporary and each room is individually designed. Most rooms feature en-suite bathrooms and balconies or terraces. The two dining options, the M Bar & Bistro and the Café Trio, offer a range of both international dishes and local specialties.

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Location

Overview

Malaysia
Temperature
Highs: Low 90’s
Lows: Low 70’s
Area
329,847 SQ KM
127,355 SQ MILES
Capital
Kuala Lumpur
Population
31.6 Million
Language
Bahasa Malaysia, English, Chinese dialects & Tamil
Currency
Ringgit

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