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Tour Overview

Wildlife, rainforests, and tropical beaches– make your way through the wonders of Borneo led by renowned explorer, filmmaker, photographer, RCGS Explorer-in-Residence, and Chapter Chair of the Explorers Club, George Kourounis. Whether it’s swapping travel and expedition stories from across the globe, learning about Kourounis’ work with National Geographic, or providing tips and training on photography techniques this epic adventurer will be there every step of the journey to share his expertise. Borneo is home to some of the most diverse and beautiful wildlife in the whole of South East Asia. Starting with a visit to majestic Mt Kinabalu, we then continue to one of the trip highlights - the pristine Danum Valley. A nature lover's paradise, whose beauty and animals are equaled only by Sarawak and the World Heritage Mulu National Park with its immense cave system and the oldest rainforest in the world. We come face to face with orangutans at the Sepilok sanctuary, stay at a bamboo longhouse in Sabah on a tea plantation, and finish the trip in the historic port town of Sandakan.

Highlights

  • iconHead into the rainforest in Bako National Park in search of proboscis monkeys
  • iconVisit the largest cave passage in the world, Deer Cave, and watch the impressive bat exodus.
  • iconMeet members of the local nomadic Penan tribe in MuluNational Park.
  • iconWatch playful orangutans at the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary.
  • iconSpot wildlife on the Kinabatangan River during river cruises.
  • iconDiscover Borneo's sites with renowned explorer, filmmaker, photographer, and National Geographic Explorer, George Kourounis.
  • iconOrang-utan spotting
  • iconMulu N.P. with the impressive Deer Cave bat exodus
  • iconRiver cruising in Kinabatangan
  • iconLuxury jungle lodge in Danum Valley
Show all

Places You'll See

Itinerary

icon Day 1 : Start Kuching

The capital of Sarawak, Kuching, is a vibrant riverside city full of
different ethnic groups who have migrated from the surrounding forests. With
a great museum and a well preserved colonial centre there is much to do in
this fascinating cultural hot spot. You are free to arrive anytime this
afternoon. There will be a group briefing this evening at 6pm with your tour
leader after which we can have dinner at the hawkers stalls on the
waterfront.Hotel Lime Tree or similar

icon Day trip to Bako N.P. famous for Proboscis monkeys

Meals: breakfast

Our first foray into Borneo’s amazing nature as we head to nearby Bako
National Park famous for its Proboscis monkeys. This is where the rainforest
meets the sea and the only way to get to the park is by boat (after a 1hr
drive out of the city). It has abundant wildlife, jungle streams, waterfalls,
interesting plant life, secluded beaches and trekking trails. Despite being
the smallest National Park in Sarawak, Bako contains almost every type of
vegetation found in Borneo. Please note that as Bako NP is only accessible
by boat, our time there is often dictated by tides and weather conditions.
Our leader will inform us of the details the previous day. We return to
Kuching for the night.Hotel Lime Tree or similar

icon Day 3 : Fly to Mulu N.P.; sunset walk to Deer Cave for bat exodus

Meals: breakfast

We leave the city behind and fly to Mulu National park (schedules for this
flight often vary). After checking-in at the Park HQ, we will be introduced
to the park guides and head through the forest to Deer Cave. Some of the
caves have been mapped by occasional expeditions; they have their own
ecosystems with plants and animals living in the cave chambers.Deer Cave, the
largest cave passage in the world, is home to millions of bats and swifts
that live side by side on the roof of the cave. The cave floor has a raised
platform, though that is no escape from the smell of the 'guano' – the
excrement from millions of birds and bats. Close-by is Lang's Cave, which
though much smaller, has some excellent stalactites and stalagmites and other
cave formations. The forest around the caves is spectacular and there is
plenty of time to examine it closely. The walk to Deer Cave is 3kms (each
way) along boardwalks and there are wooden steps leading to different viewing
platforms inside the show caves. We will arrive at Deer Cave in time for
dusk which is when the bats leave the comfort of the cave to feed on insects
(as long as it is not raining). This is a sight to behold with the bats
leaving the cave in a long line snaking across the sky for quite some time.
Dependent on the timings of the day we may visit the caves tomorrow instead.
Please note that due to flight schedules there isn’t much time for lunch
between the time we arrive at Mulu NP and the time we depart for the caves.
You should buy something at the airport to have later.Mulu National Park
Garden Cottages or similar

icon Day 4 : Full day exploring Mulu N.P.

Meals: breakfast

Today is a day for exploring this stunning park with a local guide. In the
morning we visit two of the 'show caves' including Clearwater where a picnic
(not included) lunch can be had in the gorgeous riverside location. The park
has some incredible statistics; It has over 3,500 plant species, 8,000
different types of fungi and 170 species of orchid. Over 100 new plant
species were discovered between 1960 and 1973, and many are still being
added. There are 262 species of bird, almost 300 species of butterflies and
many reptiles and mammals.Members of the Penan tribe live within the park.
They are a small population of nomadic forest dwellers who live as
hunter-gatherers. There has been fierce international opposition to the
Malaysian government who tried to settle them in permanent longhouses and
indeed the Penan themselves have also resisted. In 1994 they were granted an
area of the forest where they could continue their traditional lifestyle.
Although you are unlikely to meet these elusive people, you occasionally see
their fishing shelters or areas in the forest where they have recently
visited.This afternoon simply relax in the park and listen to the weird and
wonderful creatures that call it home or explore self-guided trails within
the park.Those with a head for heights can try the optional canopy walkway.
This 480-metre skywalk takes approximately 2 hours to complete. Along the
way, visitors may be able to see macaque monkeys, hornbills, flying lizards,
squirrels and a variety of rainforest birds. However, time slots to do the
canopy walk can be limited and may subject to availability during busy
periods.In the evening there is an optional night walk or we can try the
local Mulu 'firewater', Tuak.Mulu National Park Garden Cottages or similar

icon Day 5 : Early rise for dawn chorus in Mulu; fly to Kota Kinabalu

Meals: breakfast

We aim to catch the morning flight out of Mulu and on to Kota Kinabalu via
Miri though delays are not uncommon. Depending on what time we fly out of
Mulu there may be some time to walk along self-guided trails or at the
visitor’s centre. Known as KK to the locals, the capital of Sabah is a now
a modern multi-cultural city. The evening is free to relax, explore the
bustling Filipino markets or enjoy a sundowner on the waterfront.Hotel
Dreamtel or similar

icon Day 6 : Free day; optional snorkelling and island trip, wetland birdwatching or cultural village

Meals: breakfast

Today you are free to enjoy some of the many activities Kota Kinabalu has to
offer. A popular option is to visit one of the tropical islands in the marine
park, a 15 minute boat journey from the city and offering excellent
snorkelling and diving opportunities. Here you can never be bored whether you
are relaxing on the white sand, snorkelling or just swimming in the warm
South China Sea. There is some good birdwatching opportunities in the
wetlands not far from KK as well as a cultural village in Mari Mari for an
insight into the different cultures of Sabah. Your tour leader can help
organise any of these options.Hotel Dreamtel or similar

icon Day 7 : To Kinabalu N.P.; visit Sabah Tea Plantation

Meals: breakfast

Transfer about 2 hours and explore World Heritage Site; Mount Kinabalu
National Park, home to the highest mountain in South East Asia, Mount
Kinabalu at 4,095m. This impressive peak of huge granite walls can be viewed
from the Crocker mountain range which we pass over, with panoramic views of
the countryside and soaring hills. The lower mountain slopes are covered in
thick vegetation and it is well known for its diverse botanical and
biological species. En route, we stop at Nabalu market where villagers come
to sell their produce and handicraft. It’s possible to walk through the
plantation on your own if you want this afternoon. Tea, medicinal herbs,
fruit and vegetables are just some of the things produced locally. From the
plantation, the sunrise with a view of Mount Kinabalu is often spectacular.
If we are lucky it may be possible to view the spectacular rafflesia in
flower nearby or en route to the plantation.Sabah Tea Gardens Longhouse

icon Day 8 : Visit Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary en route to Sepilok

Meals: breakfast

We visit the tea factory before we leave the plantation behind and continue
our journey to Eastern Sabah. Our destination is Sepilok, a well-known
destination for its Orang-utan Sanctuary. The journey time is about 5 hours
and we will make a stop at the Labuk Bay Proboscis monkey sanctuary. Here you
can get an up close look at this extraordinary animal which is only found in
Borneo. We continue on to our lodge in Sepilok. This evening, as dusk
approaches we will head to the nearby Rainforest Discovery Centre. The centre
can have fantastic bird watching opportunities (though luck does play a role)
as hornbills and the Borneo bristlehead are often seen and there is an array
of displays which highlights the island’s diverse flora. Orang-utans can
also be spotted during the fruiting season and there is an impressive canopy
walkway as well as some easy walking trails.Sepilok Jungle Resort

icon Day 9 : Visit Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary; optional visit to Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Meals: breakfast

Up early we return to the Rainforest Discovery Centre for some more bird and
wildlife viewing before returning to our lodge for breakfast. We then visit
Sepilok Orang-utan Centre, the largest orang-utan sanctuary in the world.
Here rehabilitated orphans and captured orang-utans are cared for until they
are ready to be released into the wild. We get the opportunity to see these
incredible relations of ours close-up and learn about the very real threats
to their continued existence. You will have the chance to visit both morning
and afternoon feedings. There is also an orang-utan nursery where youngsters
are trained in climbing skills with the aim of reintroduction to the wild. We
will have the chance to view the youngsters from a special viewing platform
that sits behind one-way glass so as not to disturb or influence them. There
is the option of visiting the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre which
works with rescuing and rehabilitating captured bears as well as research and
providing education to the community.Sepilok Jungle Resort

icon Day 10 : To Gomantong Caves; onto Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

This morning we journey (2-3 hours) to the Kinabatangan River, stopping at
the bizarre Gomantong caves along the way.The caves are a major source of the
swiftlet bird nests that are a Chinese delicacy. Every day, when in season,
workers climb large ladders up to 400 feet up to the roof of the caves to
collect the valuable nests. It is also a good place for bird watching and
spotting wild Orang-utans.Our river lodge is located on the mighty
Kinabatangan River, the 3rd longest river in Borneo. The area is home to an
astonishing array of wildlife including ten species of primates, four of
which are endemic to Borneo. It has one of the highest concentrations of
proboscis monkeys and orang-utans in Malaysian Borneo. Other wildlife
includes Bornean gibbon, long tailed macaques, sun bears, and barking deer.
The Asian pygmy elephant and clouded leopard also inhabit this area, but
sightings can be rare. There are also over 200 species of birds including
hornbills, eagles, herons, kingfishers, oriental darters, night jars,
flowerpeckers and spider hunters. Later this afternoon we take our first
river cruise.Nature Lodge Kinabatangan or similar

icon Day 11 : Wildlife cruises on Kinabatangan River and forest walks

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

We are up with the animals for a dawn wildlife cruise followed by a trek. In
the afternoon, we will once again take a river cruise to spot wildlife and if
we are lucky a crocodile or two.Nature Lodge Kinabatangan or similar

icon Day 12 : To Danum Valley Conservation Centre; jungle walk and nocturnal safari

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

We drive to Lahad Datu approximately 2-3 hours where we change vehicles and
drive off road into Danum Valley conservation area (approx. 3 hours), the
largest protected lowland dipterocarp forest in Borneo. It is one of the last
remaining pockets of primary lowland rainforest in Asia. Danum Valley is at
the forefront of tropical rainforest research, and home to many rare and
endangered species of mammals and birds – it is a real privilege to spend 2
nights here in the comforts of the Borneo Rainforest Lodge.Danum Valley is
probably the very best place in Malaysia to see wild orang-utans in their
pristine habitat. Apart from orang-utans, it has just about the complete
range of Bornean wildlife and great trails. After settling in, there is an
afternoon jungle nature trek to try and spot the elusive orang-utan, and
after dinner a night drive is possible to spot many of the shy and retiring
creatures of the forest. We will spend our time here with very experienced
guides who accompany us on all our walks. One night drive and one night walk
is included during our stay.Borneo Rainforest Lodge

icon Day 13 : Full day guided walk in Danum Valley

Meals: breakfast, lunch, dinner

We will spend a full day with our very experienced guides. We will have an
opportunity to explore the trails, the canopy walkway and waterfalls whilst
searching for wildlife in this remarkable place. The trek to a look out point
over the Danum Valley takes approximately 1.5 hours each way. Danum is home
to over 275 bird species, 110 species of mammals including orang-utans, five
species of deer, giant flying squirrels, gibbons, bearded wild boars, flying
frogs and the Asian elephant. Borneo Rainforest Lodge

icon Day 14 : Transfer to Sandakan

Meals: breakfast

Today we will journey to Sandakan (approx. 5-6 hours). En-route we stop at
Sandakan War Memorial. Sandakan was once a huge logging centre (it first
exported wood in the late 1880s to supply the building of the Temple of
Heaven in Beijing) and is home to many Chinese and Filipinos. The waterfront
is a good place to take an evening walk and the roof top restaurant at the
Nak hotel is a great place to sip a cocktail or two.Sabah Hotel or similar

icon Day 15 : End Sandakan

Meals: breakfast

The trip ends this morning after breakfast. There will be 1 group departure
transfer offered to the airport for those who are able to join, please advise
Exodus 1 month before departure. Otherwise, private transfers to the airport
can be arranged with Exodus before your trip commences also.  

What's Included

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinners

  • icon
    All accommodation

  • icon
    All transport and listed activities

  • icon
    Group Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus at least 1 month before departure)

  • icon
    Special host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughout

  • icon
    Meals

    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 4 dinners.

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

  • icon
    14 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinnersAll accommodationAll transport and listed activitiesSpecial host, George Kourounis & Local Tour leader throughoutGroup Arrival & departure transfer (available for clients able to join and must be requested with Exodus

What's Not Included

  • icon
    Travel insurance

  • icon
    Single accommodation (available on request)

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    Visas or vaccinations

  • icon
    Travel insuranceSingle accommodation (available on request)Visas or vaccinations

Food

All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinners are included.You should allow about  CAD 175- 265 /USD 140-210/GBP 100-150 for food not included. If you fancy a few drinks then you may want to bring a little more as beer and other alcoholic drinks are expensive and you should expect to pay western prices.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. In the bigger hotels and cities the full range of Western and local foods are available. We also suggest you take snack food with you, as it is not freely available. Most meals will be basic based around rice and noodles although most accommodation does offer a western breakfast of beans, toast and eggs. You can generally avoid the spicier food if you wish.Vegetarians will find the food choice limited but are well catered for. 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 these from home.

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Dates & Availability

Jan 23, 2022

Sunday

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Feb 06, 2022

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Feb 06, 2022

Sunday

5 +

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