Watch the swift nest harvesting in the Gomantong Caves
Kota Kinabalu, , Kinabatangan, Sandakan
Includes return economy airfares
12 days priced at £2269pp flight and hotel inclusive
Jet off to exotic Borneo and discover its verdant jungles, peaceful rivers and diverse wildlife.
Gaze up at the towering peak of Mount Kinabalu, relax in steaming hot springs and enter the forests to spot the magnificent orangutan. Finish off your Journey with a few days relaxing on paradise beaches, with a touch of snorkelling thrown in for good measure.
Some of the highlights included are:
- Discover Kinabalu National Park’s exotic wildlife
- Indulge in a relaxing soak in Poring Hot Springs
- Watch the frolicking orangutans in Sepilok
- Watch the swift nest harvesting in the Gomantong Caves
- Snorkel in crystal clear waters
- Relax on the soft white beaches near Kota Kinabalu
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- Small Group Journey with maximum group size 16
- All authentic local experiences mentioned except where specified optional
- All international & internal flights
- 9 nights in 4* hotels & hand-picked local gems
- 9 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 3 dinners
- Arrival transfers & all internal transport
Need to know+
- Arrives: Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI)
- Time difference: GMT+8
- Visa requirements: British passport holders do not require visa for stays of less than 90 days
- Language: Standard Malay
- Flying time from UK: around 17 hours
- Plug type: Same as UK
- Voltage: 220V
Fly from UK to Kota Kinabalu
Meet the rest of your group in Kota Kinabalu, known as KK, the capital of Sabah. The city is conveniently located within easy distance of mountains, rainforest and tropical beaches, so it’s a great place to start your Borneo adventure. If you like, you can head to the Sabah Museum (additional cost) to learn more about the history, art, architecture and zoology of this region, then spend the evening getting to know the group at your welcome meeting in your hotel.
Check out the mountain views and walk along the rainforest canopy in Mount Kinabalu National Park, home to the 4095-metre peak of Mount Kinabalu. This World Heritage-listed park is one of the most important biological sites in the world, and is filled with animal and plant life, including over 800 orchid species and the intriguing pitcher plant, which eats insects. Take a walk along the park trails, then head on to Poring Hot Springs for a soak.
Visit a tea plantation and take a tour of the tea factory, sampling the different brews along the way. Afterwards, head to Malaysia’s second longest river, the Kinabatangan, keeping a look out for crocodiles, macaques, orang-utans and proboscis monkeys. If you are really lucky, you might even spot wild elephants. Trek to Kinabatangan’s oxbow lakes, and look out for hornbills and kingfishers.
Continue to lively Sandakan, with its bustling markets and Chinese temples. Explore the intricacies of the Gomantong Caves, where the swift nests are harvested for bird’s nest soup. Take a look at the Sandakan War memorial, located on the site of a former prisoner of war camp. The site was the starting point of the Death Marches, where 2400 POWs were forced to walk through the jungle – only six survived. There is a strong Cantonese influence in Sandakan, so be sure to try the tasty cuisine.
Head to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and observe the orangutans as they are taught the skills needed to be introduced to the wild. It’s a magical experience to see these magnificent creatures interacting, so don’t forget your camera. Keep a look out for proboscis monkeys at the Labuk Bay Sanctuary too. Wildlife enthusiasts can catch a glimpse of the Bornean sun bear at the conservation centre where they are rescued, rehabilitated and released back into the wild (extra cost).
Fly back to Kota Kinabalu, then take the boat across to Manukan Island, located within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine National Park. Here, you’ll don your fins and snorkel and dive into the warm waters, keeping a look out for the many multi-coloured fish – you can even scuba dive, if you wish (extra cost). The beach here is gorgeous, with white sands and aquamarine seas, and lends itself well to swimming or just doing nothing for a couple of days. Bliss!
<p>Return to Kota Kinabalu by boat. Culture buffs can visit Mari Mari Village and gain an insight into Borneo’s indigenous groups (optional activity, extra cost).</p>
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