Our private custom tours of Borneo explore the astounding bauty and biodoversity unparalled on Earth. Our private trips on the rich natural highlights of the most picturesque final frontier of Asia. If you have a longer amount of time, Borneo also combines well with Penang or further adventure on Sumatra, the islands of volcanoes and the only other places than Borneo to view wild Orangutans.
Example Borneo Itinerary
Day 1 | Arrive Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Arrive after midnight Kuala Lumpur, capital city of Malaysia. After clearing immigration (no visa required) and customs, meet driver escort for transfer to central hotel. Afternoon at leisure after the long journey or enjoying a massage at the fine spa. Dinner at hotel or nearby with recommendations provided. Please see dining recommendations on our Kuala Lumpur page.
During February, Kuala Lumpur sees low rainfall (if any, is limited to afternoon tropical showers) with cooler temperatures averaging high-60s at night and warming into the low 80s during the day.
This chic sanctuary in Kuala Lumpur's green embassy district, Villa Samadhi hotel – whose name means 'journey' in Sanskrit – is a tempting boutique retreat replete with Thai influences. Expect lantern-lit paths and a serpentine pool that winds its way around the lush gardens at this intimate hideaway that feels far from the bustling streets of Malaysia’s capital city.
Come sunset, the rooftop Bumbung Bar opens for a short-and-sweet service of free cocktails and canapés. Don't miss the 6–7:00 pm nightly session, when the bartender shakes up specialties such as the Travel to Japamala of roasted apple, cinnamon and vodka, or a punch-packing Eliya Grapefruit cocktail of gin, tea and grapefruit jam. .
Facilities Gardens, laundry, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, DVD player, iPod dock, minibar, wine fridge, Samadhi toiletries. Luxe Cribs and above feature private plunge pools or Jacuzzis, and Sarang's also have kitchenettes. More details Poolside Surrounded by cabanas and tropical gardens, the blue-tiled, lagoon-shaped pool weaves through the heart of the hotel. Ladders from ground-floor terraces allow guests to swim out from their rooms.
Luxe Sarang 15 is the best of the 21 rooms with its oversized bathroom, complete with an open-to-the-elements Jacuzzi, soothing water feature and double rainwater shower. For even more space, book the top-tier Loft, which features a striking sloped timber ceiling in the bedroom, expansive living area and sun-drenched deck with plunge pool (skinny dippers take note: the rooftop bar overlooks this inviting space).
Day 2 | Kuala Lumpur to Sepilok
After leisurely morning, return to airport for flight from the capital to remote Sandakan in Malaysia's far east on Sabah in Borneo. Sandakan is a sliver of a port town, merely an arrival point to visit the stunning landscapes of the area and, of course, visiting the famous Orang Utans.
After arrival in Sandakan, meet drive and transfer directly to the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Center and after freshening up, enjoy a short hike on your own through the rainforest (on wooden boardwalks) and spending time at the visitor's center watching a short video show of the rehabilitation process and learning about the work done here with the gentle primates.
In the afternoon, enjoying another short trek through the jungle canopy surrounding the center. (B)
Borneo and its lush jungles are typically wet and steamy throughout the year. Expect periods of rain every other day, with low temperatures averaging mid 70s at night and warming into the mid 80s during the day. Always carry a light rain slick for afternoon showers.
Sepilok provides simple bungalows in a dramatic rainforest setting. Twin bed chalets border the protected area (it is actually not uncommon to have Orang Utans or pythons wandering around among the chalets) and perfectly integrated with the surrounding forest
The resort is set in beautiful tropical gardens, and delicious meals and drinks are available in a stunning setting overlooking the lake and forest. Each chalet features beautiful lake or jungle view verandas and private bathrooms with hot water; the sprawling surrounding garden, which would take half a day to explore, offers and amazing array of tropical plants and grasses and a collection of more than one hundred and fifty different Asian orchid species.
Day 3 | Sepilok Orang-Utan Sanctuary & Reserve
A full day at the Sepilok Orang-Utan Sanctuary and Nature Reserve. This morning, venturing into the jungle canopy for prime time bird watching, followed by witnessing the Orang-Utans arriving for their morning feeding.
In the afternoon, relaxing, or continued exploration of the park by preference. In the evening, enjoy a night time canopy walk spying wildlife as they emerge for the evening. (B,L)
The reserve covers over 40 square kilometers of lush, dense, protected rainforest, and exists for the rehabilitation of orphaned and injured Orang-Utans. Apart from feeding times when you are almost guaranteed a sighting of at least a few Orang-Utans, there is a multitude of flora and fauna in the grounds and surrounding forests. There is also an excellent visitor center and video presentation to be enjoyed.
Day 4 | Sepilok to Selingan Island
Today, return to Sandakan after breakfast, transferring to Sandakan jetty where to board a speedboat for the hour-long journey to Selingan Island, known as "Turtle Island." After checking in to one of the protected island’s chalets, spending the afternoon at leisure enjoying the ocean views, bird watching or going into the Sulu Sea to enjoy some of Borneo's best snorkeling.
In the evening a park ranger will escort you to observe the turtles as they come ashore to lay their eggs. Through the expertise of the experienced rangers you can learn about the essential conservation efforts being made by the state of Sabah to protect these wonderful creatures. Dinner at the lodge. (B,L,D)
Selingan, one of five islands within the protected Turtle Park, is the only habitable island due to regulations put in place by T.I.H.P.A authorities (Turtle Island Heritage Protective Area) to protect the many hawksbill and green turtles that have chosen the archipelago as a favored location to come ashore and lay their eggs almost year round. Along with the park chalets, the island is also home to a hatchery; set up to protect the eggs from the many predators that help to ensure that only 1% of baby turtles survive to maturity.
Sandakan Yacht Club jetty to Lankayan Island, depart 10:00 am (Fixed Time)
Selingan Park Bungalows
Day 5 | Selingan Island
At leisure on Selingan Island. (B)
Day 6 | Selingan to Kinabatangan River
This morning, return from Selingan to Sandakan Jetty (about 90 minutes) for river cruise to the famed Sukau Rainforest Lodge along Sabah's longest river, Kinabatangan (about 2.5 hours). Along the way, viewing exotic bird and wildlife in virgin mangroves, wetlands, and rainforest.
Following arrival and afternoon refreshments, board another river cruise in search of some of the several primate species in the area (Sukau is home to Borneo pygmy elephants, Orang-Utans, proboscis monkeys and all eight species of hornbill in Borneo).
Return to the lodge for a warm, solar-heated shower, followed by a candle light dinner overlooking the riverbank. In the evening, enjoy a slide show by naturalist guide. (B,L,D)
Sukau Rainforest Lodge
The award-winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge nestles on the banks of one of Borneo's most important waterways, the Kinabatangan River, home to many of Borneo's magnificent wildlife.
The Lodge is simple but provides an ideal location immerse yourself in the tranquility of the rainforest and the cacophony of its inhabitants, its majestic birds, all seven species of Borneo Primates including Borneo's iconic Proboscis Monkey, Orangutans in their natural habitat as well as herds of Borneo Pygmy Elephants.
Day 7 | Kelenanap Oxbow Lake
After awaking at sunrise to the loud calls of gibbons and hornbills, and some warm tea, board a morning river cruise up the Kinabatangan River to Kelenanap Oxbow Lake to view the birds and wildlife.
After returning to the lodge breakfast, proceed for a stroll along the Hornbill Boardwalk located behind the lodge, lead by a naturalist.
After lunch, cruising further up river, the waterways providing the best opportunity to watch for wildlife, primarily bird life and primates at this time of day. Our base for the remainder of the day is a lodge near the village of Sukau, a popular location for wildlife enthusiasts looking to all but guarantee a wealth of spotting. In the afternoon, enjoying more time at leisure at the lodge before a late afternoon cruise along the Kinabatangan River and on to the Menanggul River in search of yet more primates, birds and other wildlife. Return to the lodge as darkness falls for dinner. (B,L,D)
Day 8 | Menanggol River
This morning, we will cruise along the Menanggol River by silent electric motor in search of wildlife enjoying the tranquility of the rainforest along this smaller river way. After we return to the lodge for lunch, in the afternoon, traveling overland journey to the vicinity of Gomantong Caves.
The cave is surrounded by primary rainforest which makes it an ideal place for hiking and spotting Orang Utans in the wild. We will trek deep into the canopied forest along selected trails in search of the 'man of the jungle.'
Once at the cave, we can witness the amazing exodus of approximately over two million bats at dusk and watch as raptors, such as the rare bat hawk, scoop down to feast on the bats. In the afternoon, return to resort for dinner and a lecture on the biodiversity in the area. (B,L,D)
Day 9 | Depart to Kuala Lumpur
Return to the capital for international connection home. (B)
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