Indonesia, Borneo - Young Orangutan sitting on the tree, Malaysia

Borneo Wildlife Family Holiday

12 days
from
$2,135 USD
View Trips
Loading...
Traveller ratings
4.8 / 5 from 5 reviews >
Moderate
Learn more
Trip code: 
FIB
Way to Travel:
Family Group
Activity:
Family
Min age:
9
Group size:
7–16

A tropical adventure combining jungles, wildlife, beaches and adventure

Borneo is an amazing tropical paradise. Get up close to the island's 'wild-men' at Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Project and to the big-nosed Proboscis monkeys at Labuk Bay Sanctuary. Enjoy an idyllic island getaway and snorkel among colourful fish and sea turtles. From a jungle lodge we head out by longboat and on foot in search of wild macaques and crocodiles. There’s time too for exploring the trails in Kinabalu National Park, and for relaxing in the thermal pools of Poring Hot Springs.

Highlights

  • Stay at a Kinabatangan jungle lodge - jungle walks and wildlife river cruises
  • Visit Kota Kinabalu National Park - trekking and bathing in hotsprings
  • See orang-utans of Sepilok and Proboscis monkeys of Labuk Bay
  • Relax on a tropical island with white sand beaches and spectacular snorkelling

Key information

  • 8 nights hotels/lodges (mostly en suite), 1 night homestay and 2 nights longhouse
  • Travel by minibus, speedboat, longboat, local bus and 1 internal flight

What's included

  • All accommodation
  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas & vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Orang-utans in Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, Borneo, Malaysia

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

    Start Kota Kinabalu

    The group flight is an overnight flight departing the day before. Those travelling on the group flights will be met on arrival at the airport this morning and transferred to our hotel, where the rest of the group will join throughout the day. Today is a free day but there will be a welcome meeting in the evening with your tour leader; details of where and when this will take place will have been left with the hotel's reception. The hotel check-in time is from 2pm.

    Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, is an intriguing city that was born between the Borneo jungle and the South China Sea. Having recovered from World War II bombings, 'KK' now possesses a gateway charm that can only be found in a frontier town. If you have enough free time, why not immerse yourself in local history at the Sabah State Museum or visit the Mari Mari cultural village for a fun and interactive learning experience.
    Dreamtel Hotel or similar

  • Day 2

    Hike through rubber and fruit plantation; spend the night in a homestay in Tanak Nabulu village

    Leaving the city behind we head towards Mt. Kinabalu. After about 2-2.5hrs we arrive at the Dusun village of Tanak Nabalu (please note that at time of writing the roads to the village are quite bad so we may have to use smaller minibuses for this journey). The Dusun people are the largest ethnic group in Sabah, the province of Borneo where we find ourselves.

    In the village we are separated into different homestays and will spend the rest of the day hiking through orchards and rubber plantations, going for a swim in the river, exploring the village and, possibly, if anyone is feeling energetic, playing football on the village pitch.

    This evening we all gather together for a cultural show which helps the Dusun preserve their ancient, traditional dances. As not all families speak English, our tour leader will hand out language sheets and will be on hand to assist with communication.

    Tanak Nabalu Homestay or similar 

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 3

    To Kinabalu Park exploring the lower trails and botanical gardens; on to Sabah Tea gardens

    This morning we visit the Mini Mount Kinabalu, a natural rock formation that looks exactly like the summit of Mt. Kinabalu. We continue into Kinabalu National Park (approx. 30 minutes). Here we will go for a 1-2 hour hike along some of the lower trails and the Mountain Botanical Gardens with an excellent showcase of the mountain’s diverse plant life.

    There is an option to visit the Kundasang War Memorial which commemorates Prisoners of War who died during the infamous death marches of World War II. The memorial is made up of four gardens, the Australian, English, Malaysian and the Contemplation Garden that represent the different nationalities.

    We later drive 1 hour, to the Sabah Tea Gardens where we will spend the night in a traditional reconstructed longhouse with shared bathrooms.
    Sabah Tea Longhouse

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Visit tea factory; soak in Poring Hot Springs and take to the trees with a Canopy walk.

    Waking to the spectacular views overlooking the mountain, we start with a visit to the tea plantation, learning about the process of tea production.

    From here it’s only a short drive to the Poring Hot Spring. We have plenty of time to enjoy the cool pools and hot-tubs (into which the steaming hot water is piped) as well as the well maintained, self-guided walking trails to a nearby waterfall. The hot springs can get quite popular with locals especially during school and public holidays and you may wish to pay the additional charge to enjoy a private bath if you want a good soak.

    We later take to the trees as we head on a canopy walkway which follows a trail including a number of suspension bridges hanging from the trees at canopy level, some up to 40m above the ground.

    There is also a butterfly and orchid garden within the complex. We later return to the Sabah Tea Gardens.
    Sabah Tea Longhouse

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Days 5-6

    Enjoy morning and afternoon river cruises;explore the jungle on foot

    We leave early this morning as the drive to Kinabatangan is approximately 5-6 hours and we aim to get there for lunch.

    The Kinabatangan River is the longest in Sabah and its lower reaches are recognised as one of the best places in South East Asia for wildlife viewing. The surrounding forests are home to ten species of primate, including orang-utans, Proboscis monkeys and gibbons as well as hornbills, crocodiles and the elusive Pygmy elephants which come down to the river to drink, amongst others.

    We spend the next day and a half exploring the surrounding jungle. We go on river cruises, jungle hikes, a night walk, and plant trees.
    Bilit Adventure Lodge or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Days 7-8

    Visit Sepilok Orangutan sanctuary and optional visit to the rainforest discovery centre and Sun bear sanctuary

    The next two days are spent in and around Sepilok.

    The drive to Labuk Bay and the Proboscis monkey sanctuary takes about 3-4 hours. These monkeys, only found in Borneo, are very distinctive with their large noses and can often be seen jumping from tree to tree with tremendous leaps through the air.

    After visiting the sanctuary we continue towards Sepilok, about 40 minutes away where we will be staying just 5 minutes from the famous Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre in a guesthouse with a pool.

    The Kabili Sepilok Reserve, established in the 1960s, is home to between 60 and 80 rehabilitated orang-utans which roam freely in the forest. In addition to this, the rehabilitation centre was established to care for the apes and is home to a further 25 young orphaned orang-utans who live in a nursery. The rehabilitation centre provides medical care for the orphaned and confiscated apes as well as various other wild animals.

    Whilst the semi-wild orang-utans roam free in the reserve and forage for food, their diet is supplemented by milk and banana. There are two feedings a day, at 10am and 3pm, and we have the opportunity to witness both.

    There is also the opportunity to visit the nearby Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre. The smallest of all bears, Sun bears were once widely found across much of Asia but have drastically decreased in numbers. The Centre aims to protect and promote conservation to return these bears to the forest.

    The nearby Rainforest Discovery Centre is a centre for environmental education situated within the famous Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve. Its primary function is to create public awareness and appreciation of the importance of conserving forests, as well as the sustainable use of forest resources. The 147m long, 28m high steel canopy walkway gives spectacular views of beautiful rainforest giants like the Mengaris tree, and there are also 250 species of bird to look out for - experience forest life high in the canopy.
    Sepilok Jungle Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Fly back to Kota Kinabalu and transfer to Manukan Island

    Leaving early we head to Sandakan Airport (about 25 minutes) for our flight back to Kota Kinabalu (40 minutes). From here we travel by boat to Manukan Island, part of the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park. Manukan Island is the second biggest island in the national park and is covered in thick forest with a nice beach and some good corals for snorkelling. There is also a network of easy walking trails around the island.

    We spend the next two nights in the lovely Manukan Island Resort with its Balinese style villas facing the South China Sea.

    The rest of the day is free to relax and enjoy the pool and the beach.
    Manukan Island Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Spend the day snorkelling in Tunku Abdul Marine Park

    Today we head out exploring the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Park on a snorkelling trip to some of the best sites with vibrant coral and schools of colourful fish. The more intrepid can also zip-line from one island to another.
    Manukan Island Resort or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 11

    Free day before transferring back to Kota Kinabalu

    We have a leisurely morning to enjoy the beach before heading back to Kota Kinabalu. Please note that on some departures the flight schedules may require us to catch the evening flight to Kuala Lumpur connecting to the overnight flight back, in such cases, those on the group flights will be taken to the airport in time for their flight. Otherwise we have time in Kota Kinabalu for some last minute shopping and our final night in Borneo.
    Dreamtel Hotel or similar

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    End Kota Kinabalu

    For land only passengers, the trip ends after breakfast this morning in Kota Kinabalu.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Malaysia

A visa is not required for most nationalities including British, EU, US, Canada, Australia and NZ nationals. If you are unsure of the requirements please check with your nearest Malaysian embassy.

Vaccinations

Malaysia

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 3 dinners are included.

Malaysia is renowned for its culinary excellence, however, food can often be relatively unexciting and limited in the lodges and for hotel breakfasts. Meals will be more varied for everyone in cities and seafood is widely available on the coast. 

Most meals will be basic based around rice and noodles although most accommodation does offer a western breakfast of beans, toast and eggs. In the bigger hotels and cities the full range of Western and local foods are available. You can generally avoid the spicier food if you wish. You should allow at least GBP 10-20 (USD 15-30) per day for lunch and dinner. You can eat out very cheaply in Borneo, but if you go to the more expensive restaurants most of the time, you will spend more than the suggested amount.

Dinner at Manukan Resort is currently buffet style only (no a la carte menu) and costs approximately MYR 65 per dinner.

Vegetarians can be catered for but will find the food choice limited. Please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests.

Please note that in Borneo the availability of certain products is minimal or non-existent, for example wheat or dairy-free, please be prepared for this and you may need to bring such items from home. 

Weather

Borneo has an equatorial monsoon climate with the weather remaining similar throughout the year. It is hot and humid; temperatures range from 23-33ºC during the day and rarely drop below 20ºC at night. The rainy season is from November to January/February and the dry season is from May to September, though really it can rain at any time. A Borneo rain shower is quite an event!

Kota Kinabalu

Kota Kinabalu

Is this trip for you?

This holiday is designed so that you can see the best parts of Borneo using a mixture of private buses, boats and flights.

Anyone in good health should be able to go on this trip as there is no real physical difficulty involved, although you will be doing a fair amount of walking in some places and the heat and humidity can be tiring. Travel time is kept to a minimum wherever possible, although there are some long travel days and as we use some local transport at times, it may sometimes be quite cramped and without air conditioning. On some long travel days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time at our next destination.

Some of the accommodation along the way is very basic, staying in local guesthouses and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold water only. Much of the accommodation is comfortable with air-conditioning and private bathrooms.

Borneo has an equatorial monsoon climate with the weather remaining similar throughout the year. Only in the mountains does it get cooler.

Locals and other Asian tourists may want to take photos of themselves with your children particularly if they are young, blond and have blue eyes, you shouldn't be surprised if they do this without asking permission first. 

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels/Lodges, Homestay & Longhouse

8 nights hotels and lodges (all en suite), 1 night homestay and 2 nights longhouse (shared bathroom facilities).

We use a range of accommodation on this trip from basic longhouse to comfortable jungle lodge. In Kota Kinabalu we stay in a comfortable hotel with en suite facilities. In the Mt. Kinabalu region we experience rural life first with a night in a homestay in a village followed by two nights in a traditional longhouse at Sabah Tea Gardens with spectacular views. Both are basic and have shared bathrooms. In Kinabatangan and Sepilok we stay in jungle lodges with air-conditioning and private bathrooms. Whilst on Manukan Island we stay in a nice resort, also with air conditioning and private bathrooms. Triple share accommodation is rare in Borneo, so in these instances fold out beds are commonly used.

Call for general departures:
1 844 227 9087
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed March 2018
    (E) Pat Arlette

    Borneo Wildlife

    This was an absolutely fabulous holiday. It had been very well thought out to give us as much exposure as possible to as many aspects as possible of the wildlife of Borneo. The accommodation was good and we saw an amazing variety of animals, birds, plants and insects. The local guides were excellent at spotting things of interest and Sheila, our leader, was one of the best I have ever had, all done with a lovely sense of humour. I'd thoroughly recommend it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Probably seeing the giant flying squirrels as I wasn't expecting them. The orang-utans in the sanctuary and in the wild were just lovely.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Excellent! A grand sense of humour, always patient, interested in us all personally, very knowledgable and very good at spotting the wildlife

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you are interested in wildlife, go for it
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Gina Eckersley

    FIB: Borneo Wildlife Adventure

    A fantastic trip featuring an incredible amount of wildlife, some stunning scenery, and many once-in-a-lifetime experiences!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me I think it was seeing Pygmy Elephants crossing the Kinabatangan river. We had overheard that there were elephants in the area, but I don't think any of us truly believed that we would see a herd of at least fifty swimming across the river right in front of us!! We also loved seeing the flying squirrel in Sepilok, and we managed to catch two flying lizards at the Sun Bear sanctuary! I also loved the truly magical sunsets encountered on this trip - I think the Sabah Tea Gardens Longhouse was a highlight, with the mighty Mount Kinabalu in the distance.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Manuel was absolutely brilliant. His knowledge of the wildlife and of Borneo is encyclopedic, and he is truly passionate about his country and conserving the natural resources. We all learnt so much and I think Manuel's enthusiasm was shared by each and every member of the group. I especially enjoyed the various food recommendations (Asam fish - delicious!!)

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It is super hot! Bring quick dry clothing (especially t-shirts) as anything too thick or heavy will struggle to dry. Bring an individual water bottle so you can refill from the main bottle daily, rather than buying smaller bottles. Leech socks can be hired at Kinabatangan along with wellington boots, which were really necessary because of the mud! Take plenty of insect repellent (not that it stops the mozzies). A camera with a good zoom and/or binoculars is a really good thing to take - especially for your time at Kinabatangan.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We thought that the 2 nights spend on Manukan Island at the end of the trip were absolutely perfect - we fell in love with our hillside villa (so luxurious!) and it was a real struggle to leave the island!
  • Reviewed October 2014
    Anonymous

    Borneo Family Adventure

    This is a great trip if you want to experience Sabah, Borneo. It is well organised and you see a lot, the orangutans are amazing. It is a good mixture of wildlife and culture and my son thoroughly enjoyed the trip at age 8. The people in Borneo are really friendly and it feels a safe place.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The orangutans

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The tour leader Roxanne was great with the children teaching them the language and imparting her knowledge at the right level for them, She is fun so the kids really take to her. She does the majority of the family trips .

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    My son had a great time on this trip at age 8 , personally I think the trip would be hard for a lot of 5 year olds as there are as few early morning starts and the trip is busy. However, this would depend on the individual child. My son is a seasoned traveller and would have managed it well at age 5. My son and I travel a lot independently but this trip was good for him as he was able to make friends with the other children on the trip. The kids on the trip got on well and it was great for him to travel with children from other countries. Try and give yourself a couple of days before or after the trip so you can take the short boat trip across to one or two of the islands off Kota Kinabalu.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would not hesitate in recommending this trip to anyone it is great. My son and I also went to the Kuching, Sarawak on our own after the trip and then hired a Klotok in Tanjung Puting National Park, Indonesia Borneo after. I would also recommend doing both of these if you have the time. Internal flights in the region are cheap find them on skyscanner. Get yourself on this Exodus trip you will have a super time.
  • Reviewed August 2013
    Anonymous

    BORNEO FAMILY ADVENTURE

    Wow...what an adventure!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    On the river canoe trip, watching the elephants crossing the river and struggling to get up the muddy bank on the far side. This was a rare event and we watched for ages as the baby struggled up the  bank with the help of the adult herd. Truly amazing! Spending the night in the jungle camp was an experience. No electricity, and only a roof and a mossie net to protect us from the thunder storm is something I'll never forget.  The boat trip back from the island in rough seas, I was dreading, but absolutely loved it...thrilling!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was excellent. Very patient and understanding of our needs. She was ready to spring into action at any point and did so with a smile on her face the whole time!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    This is an adventurous holiday and can be quite challenging at times.you need to be prepared for basic accommodation, which is described in the brochure and web site as such, but "showers" were often a barrel of rainwater and a scoop, and toileting was somewhat of an adventure..especially when you find a frog in the toilet! It really makes you appreciate the comforts of life, though, like toilet paper and hot running water! There are a lot of "beasties", most of which love to bite or sting so take some antihistemines just in case! I'd advise breaking up the jouney there with a stopover as the time difference can be difficult. We had a great time in out homestay, the house was clean and comfortable and we played with the children for hours ( learn some good hand clapping games!), so not speaking the language wasnt a problem.  Other families were not so lucky though, so our group had a mixed response to this aspect of the trip. You just need to go with the flow on this part.   We booked the trip so that we could visit Sepilok, but I was disappointed that there were so few orangutans to see and they were quite far away...its so much better to see them in the wild!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you are looking for something out of the ordinary, then Borneo is for you. I am so pleased we had this adventure, it challenged me several times, but looking back on it now I realise how lucky I am to have been there to experience it.
  • Reviewed August 2013
    Anonymous

    BORNEO FAMILY ADVENTURE

    A fantastic introduction to Sabah in Borneo. The trip (run by Intrepid) was varied, pacey, full of fun and led by Bibiana who added a huge amount to the whole experience. Jungle, tropical beaches, homestay and local food and culture combined to provide a spicy introduction to Malaysian Borneo.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Watching the real life drama of a two week old pygmy elephant fighting to get out of the river. Initially supported just by Mum but later others of the herd arrived to ensure a positive outcome. The on the boat back seeing a big orang-utan high in the trees in that almost cartoon like pose they keep.Lying in  a mosi net on a platform in the jungle listening to the sounds through the night - I only wish I had taken a tape recorder!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Fantastic - she had a big responsibility taking a family group into the East of Sabah just a week or so after it reopened to travellers. Her sense of humour, love of snacks and knowledge of people, food and wildlife combined to make her a perfect family group leader.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do it! But be flexible and aware that some parts eg homestay will be variable within the group.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Just a great trip - we are used to travelling independently but the value added from this trip was well worth the cost.

Dates & Prices

Trips you might also like

Call us on 1 844 227 9087