Borneo Wildlife Highlights

Borneo Wildlife Highlights

10 Days



Borneo Wildlife Highlights

10 Days Starting and ending in Kota Kinabalu

Visiting: Kota Kinabalu, Kinabalu National Park, Poring Hot Spring, Sepilok, Sukau, Tabin Wildlife Resort

Tour operator:


Tour code:


Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

10 - 16

Physical rating:

Medium, Moderate

Age range:


Special diets catered:


Tour operated in:
Trip Styles:

Adventure Tours


Sightseeing, Walking

$3404 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $96
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Tour Overview

This 10 day adventure through the jungles of Sabah provides ample opportunity to spot the incredible endemic wildlife found on the island of Borneo. Along the way we search for wildlife from a boat along winding waterways, sample a natural fish spa and take a night walk to look for endangered species in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve.

Sepilok - Visit the famous Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary and witness the excellent rehabilitation work

Kinabatangan River - Cruise through the steamy waterways spotting proboscis monkeys and hornbills

Tabin Wildlife Reserve- Trek to a mud volcano and search for clouded leopard, pygmy elephant and gibbons


  • Sepilok - Visit the famous Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary and witness the excellent rehabilitation work

  • Kinabatangan River - Cruise through the steamy waterways spotting proboscis monkeys and hornbills

  • Tabin Wildlife Reserve - Trek to a mud volcano and search for clouded leopard, pygmy elephant and gibbons


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Day 1 : Join Trip In Kota Kinabalu, The Capital Of The Sabah Region Of Borneo
Location: Kota Kinabalu
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Jesselton Hotel (or similar)
Meals Included: No Meals

Arrive in Kota Kinabalu; KK as it is affectionately known by the locals. The small capital is a cultural melting pot and its inhabitants are a mix of Chinese, Indonesian, Filipino, Indian and of course Malay. This blend of influences makes KK a foodie's dream, with fusion restaurants popping up all over town and street-food stalls serving up classics like Nasi Goreng (fried rice with spices) and satay alongside curries and kimchi. Tonight has been left free to explore the city's vibrant foodie scene.

For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Kota Kinabalu at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI), which is 30 minutes from the hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information over breakfast on day 2.

If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to visit the waterfront for a bite to eat and a visit to the fruit market.

Day 2: Explore The City's Great Mosque And Markets. Optional Afternoon Visit To Mari Mari Village
Location: Kota Kinabalu
Accommodation: Hotel, Jesselton
Meals Included: Breakfast

We set off this morning to explore the sights of KK. Having been bombed extensively during World War II, KK's architecture is awash with modernity, occasionally interspersed with the remaining historical buildings, mosques and ramshackle markets. We first visit Tun Musthapha tower, the tallest building in the city that encapsulates the city's new and modern feel. Next we get a feel for the cultural diversity of the city when visiting the beautiful Chinese temple of Puh Toh Tze followed by the impressive State Mosque. This much-photographed mosque features intricate examples of Islamic architecture with gold motifs decorating its grand dome. We end at Signal Hill, where the observation platform offers great views over the city skyline.

This afternoon has been left free to relax or to further explore the city, perhaps visiting the handicraft market. Alternatively there is an optional trip to the nearby Mari Mari village, a traditional settlement that celebrates and preserves the indigenous tribes of Borneo.

Day 3: Drive Into Kinabalu National Park, Lunch With The Dusan Tribe In The Shadow Of Mount Kinabalu
Location: Kinabalu National Park
Accommodation: Hotel, Perkasa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After a leisurely breakfast we leave the city limits and after approximately two and a half hours reach the Crocker Mountain Range, home to the highest mountain in South East Asia - Mount Kinabalu (4095m). En route we stop at the World War Two Memorial Park, which commemorates the thousands of Allied forces, including British and Australian, that lost their lives at the hands of the Japanese empire. We will then travel to the small village of Tanak Nabalu where we share lunch with the local villagers. The people here are from the ethnic Dusan tribe, most of which now offer their services as guides and porters up to Mount Kinabalu's summit. We spend time with them learning about their ancient cultures and customs over a hearty lunch of Hinava. Similar to the Peruvian dish ceviche, Hinava is a raw fish dish which originates from Sabah's Kadazan Dusun tribes. Mackerel is the traditional fish used in Sabah, and this is marinated in lime and served with red chilli, ginger, shallots, Bambangan seeds, and prawns.

After lunch we enjoy a gentle stroll through the Botanical Gardens taking in some exotic species of flora such as slipper orchids, a variety of pitcher plants, yellow rhododendron and much more. We then make the short drive onto the town of Kundasang, our rest stop for the night.

Day 4: Experience A Fish Spa And Visit Poring Hot Springs. Drive Onto Sepilok
Location: Poring Hot Spring
Accommodation: Resort, ResortSepilok Jungle Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

This morning we visit nearby Sungai Moroli Fish Spa. This community-run project is led by the enterprising villagers of the Luanti village. Legislation was passed to ban any fishing activities in the nearby Moroli River to preserve the environment and ecosystem of the area. The villagers were reliant on fishing as a livelihood, so had to look elsewhere for a source of income. The idea of the fish spa was born and now guests are welcomed to receive a unique spa experience including a dip in the river whilst the fish gently provide their natural treatment.

Feeling refreshed we continue our journey east, and sticking with the spa theme we next visit Poring Hot Springs, an incredible collection of natural geothermal pools dotted throughout the forest. Here we can take a dip in the natural mineral-rich waters and spot monkeys and birds on the canopy walk that traverses the springs. From here we drive onto Sepilok, approximately a four hour drive where we plan to arrive in the late afternoon.

Day 5: Witness A Feeding At Sepilok Orang-Utan Sanctuary, Then Continue Onto Sukau For A Jungle Night Walk
Location: Sepilok, Sukau
Accommodation: Lodge, LodgeLodgeBilit Rainforest Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

This morning we set off on foot to the Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary. A highlight for many of Borneo's visitors, Sepilok is home to the largest of the three orang-utan rehabilitation centres in the world. Covering over 4,000 hectares of forest, the centre was established in 1964 to rehabilitate captured, injured or abandoned apes. So far about 100 'wild men of the forest' have been brought to the centre, and there has been a remarkable success rate with up to 75% having returned to the jungle. The animals are taught how to make nests and how to survive in their natural habitat. We plan to visit the centre in time for feeding when, along with the resident apes, females who normally live in the jungle, come to supplement their diet after the birth of their young.

After lunch we will drive to Sukau, located along Sabah's longest river, the Kinabatangan. After some rest time we will set off for our first river cruise, hoping to spot some of the endemic wildlife dotted among Sukau's myriad waterways.

For those feeling energetic, tonight we have the opportunity for a night walk in the jungle for a chance to spot nocturnal animals like the civet cat, tarsier, slow lloris as well as owls, frogs and a variety of insects.

Day 6: Cruise Along The Kinabatangan River Searching For Wildlife On Its Banks
Location: Sukau
Accommodation: Lodge, LodgeLodgeBilit Rainforest Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Waking to the distant calls of gibbons and hornbills, we rise for breakfast before joining a morning river cruise to Kelenanap Oxbow Lake. The Kinabatangan River area plays host to an incredible array of wildlife - a total of 10 primate species including proboscis monkeys, langur moneys, wild orang-utans, gibbons and macaques are all common sightings here. The area is also known for pygmy elephants, Malay sun bears, clouded leopards, crocodiles and the Sumatran rhino. Birdlife is just as prolific, with all eight species of hornbill present, not to mention kingfishers, ospreys, storks and eagles.

We embark on another river cruise this afternoon where we hope to be able to spot some more of this varied wildlife from our boat with the help of our expert guide.

After dinner this evening there will be the chance to go back out for a night cruise - an excellent opportunity to see the water lit up by fluorescent light, hoping to see the shine of a pair of eyes staring back at us.

Day 7: Drive Onto The Wildlife Reserve Of Tabin; Afternoon Nature Walk To The Lipad Mud Volcano
Location: Tabin Wildlife Resort
Accommodation: Resort, Tabin Wildlife Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We head deeper into the rainforest today on our three and a half hour drive to the Reserve of Tabin. On the route this morning we see many reminders of man's interference with nature. Much of the route to the conservation area has been de-forested and replaced with vast swathes of palm oil plantations. Malaysian Borneo and Indonesia account for over 90% of the world's production of palm oil, and the drive today gives first-hand experience of the problem it causes by displacing endemic and endangered wildlife and flora. The guide will add some extra insight into the palm-oil industry, a complex issue that isn't pleasant to witness, but is very much a reality in modern-day Borneo. Fortunately the Tabin Wildlife Reserve has long been kept as a conservation area, meaning the rainforest here has remained entirely intact.

The Tabin Wildlife Reserve was created in 1984 to preserve some of Sabah's most endangered species, and covering an area of some 122,000 hectares it the largest in Malaysia. Tabin is home to the Bornean rhinoceros, the Sunda Clouded Leopard and the Borneo Elephant, as well as seven of Sabah's primates and a huge array of bird species.

In the afternoon we head out for our first walk, along the Elephant trail to the Lipad Mud Volcano. This small active volcano provides a mineral salt lick and thus attracts a multitude of wildlife which we hope to spot. A variety of animal footprints are usually visible across the mud, and the adventurous can try out the effects of the mud which is said to be excellent for skin care.

Our accommodation for the next two nights is the Tabin Wildlife Resort, a charming collection of wooden chalets built on stilts that look out over the river and surrounding hills. The chalets are comfortably appointed with en-suite facilities and a ceiling fan, and the resort also has a restaurant and bar.

Day 8: In Tabin Wildlife Reserve: Bird Watch From The Observation Tower And Take A Dip Beside A Waterfall. Optional Night Walk
Location: Tabin Wildlife Resort
Accommodation: Resort, ResortResortTabin Wildlife Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We rise early this morning amongst the birdsong and gibbon calls to travel to the core of the reserve, climbing the observation tower to discover some of Tabin's near 300 species of birds. Here we hope to spot species such as the Bronzed Drongo, Blue-crowned Hanging Parrot and Purple-throated Sunbird, to name but a few. We then move onto Orang-utan Release Centre and learn about the important work the centre plays in the final step of releasing rehabilitated Orang-utans back into wild. From here we continue on foot, through the lush steamy rainforest to Lipad Waterfall, where it's possible to take a dip in the natural pools and brave a refreshing shower under the falls.

The afternoon has been left free to relax in the natural surroundings, or perhaps try out the Tabin Rainforest Foot Soak - a mixture comprised from a natural blend of locals herbs to ease those weary feet.

After dinner there will be the option to head out on a night walk, to keep an ear and eye out for some of the nocturnal wildlife found nearby the resort.

Day 9: Morning Nature Walk In Tabin Wildlife Reserve. Afternoon Flight To Kota Kinabalu
Location: Kota Kinabalu
Accommodation: Hotel, Jesselton
Meals Included: Breakfast

There is a final chance for another nature walk this morning before we leave our accommodation behind at lunch time and drive to Lahad Datu, the region's nearest city and provincial airport. We fly back to Kota Kinabalu, where the last evening is free, perhaps to pick up souvenirs at the city's night market, or to get your last fix of the flavoursome Malaysian cuisine.

Day 10: Trip Ends In Kota Kinabalu
Location: Kota Kinabalu
Meals Included: Breakfast

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Kota Kinabalu.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Kota Kinabalu at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI), which is 30 minutes from the hotel.

What's Included

  • Accommodation

    4 nights comfortable hotel, 1 nights simple lodge, 4 nights comfortable lodge

  • Airport Transfers at Destination

    Complimentary airport transfer to Kota Kinabalu International Airport (BKI) on first and last day of tour.

  • Meals

    As detailed within the itinerary

  • Fully Guided

  • All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

What's Not Included

  • International Travel

Check out our Q&As

  • What is the maximum group size?


  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?


  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Yes, complimentary airport transfer is provided on the first and last day of tour.

  • Will passengers from another country be participating in the tour?


  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?


  • Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    Yes, as detail within the itinerary

  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?


  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    Yes, minimum age 10 years or above.

  • What is the standard of the hotels on this tour?

    4 nights comfortable hotel, 1 nights simple lodge, 4 nights comfortable lodge

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    International flights are not included however domestic flights are included

  • Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?

    7 nights comfortable hotel, 2 nights premium hotel

  • I'm going on a walking/cycling trip-do I need to train?

    It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life.

  • Should I get travel insurance?

    Yes–it is a condition of booking that you are fully insured when travelling with us

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Today, Explore is one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 500 trips to more than 120 countries.

  • Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Yes, but there are no concessions for doing so, and we must have a record in your booking advising as such before the trip departs.

  • Am I contributing to any charity by booking the tour?

    Being a responsible company is a large statement, something that has to be entwined within the very fibre of a company. Discover the charities and partnerships we support as part of this at

  • What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    We want to be as clear as and as honest as possible about what happens if you decide to that you no longer wish to travel on your trip. Our booking conditions have details of the costs you’ll incur when you cancel-these charges depend on how long it is before your planned departure.

  • What is the accommodation like?

    We choose comfortable accommodation in the best locations possible. We opt for small, local and family-run accommodation where we can, as opposed to large chain hotels. We typically use hotels that are the equivalent of European 3-star, and you’ll usually have an en suite room. Occasionally, where we want to get off the beaten trail we may stay in more basic accommodation.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Sustainability is embedded within the fibre of Explore, it emanates from the inside out. But as we enter a new decade it is clearer than ever that our world needs help, and Explore has created a sustainability strategy based on the 2015 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

  • What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Our flexible booking and safety policies mean you're protected before and during your travels with us. Receive a full refund if your trip is cancelled, transfer your trip free of charge up to 10 days before departure minus any irrocoverable costs.

  • Do I need to be very fit to book with you?

    All our trips require some level of active participation. This could be on a cultural trip, trek, safari, expedition or voyage. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen trip.

  • What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Final documents will include a comprehensive trip itinerary, climate and country information, budgeting and packing advice visa and passport information and details on optional activities available.

  • Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes on most of our trips. Most trips are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book a group trip as an individual, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, on many trips we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room, known as our single room option. On some trips a single room will be provided every night, on others it will be provided o

  • Do we have to be vaccinated against Covid-19 to travel

    It’s now a condition of booking a trip with us that customers should have one of the following before they travel - — Be vaccinated against COVID, having received the full recommended course, and allowing enough time for immunity to take effect. Full vaccination includes any booster required to keep the vaccine valid. — Have taken a negative test (rapid antigen or PCR) within 72hrs of departure.

  • Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Explore will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines. We will ensure these measures include; enhanced room cleaning, ventilation, social distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff re-training and minimising contact within the properties.

Reviews of this Operator

Feefo Rated Customer  

Cycle Hadrian's Wall - Coast to Coast


' Excellent trip with a mixture of easy riding days, mixed with great scenary ' The trip was excellently organised by the group leader. The accommodation was very good throughout the trip. The bikes were ideal for this trip.

Gemma Jackson  

Peru Encompassed - spectacular trip


I booked for my husband and I to go on the Peru Encompassed trip with the 3 day Amazon extension trip tagged on the end, we also booked to go to Lima few days early to get over the jetlag and see something of Lima before setting off on the group trip. Everything was booked for us by Explore! with seamless ease and without any hitches. This was the first time I had booked onto an organised trip so I was a bit concerned it might not be for us. How wrong I was. We were a group of 9, ranging from 30s to 60s, and a mixture of couples and singles and different nationalities. As a group we gelled really well and chose to spend most of our free time together which made the trip great fun. As for the trip itself, it surpassed all expectations. The Peru Encompassed trip was superb. I don't think any other country offers so much culture, wildlife, specular scenery and amazing food, all of which we experienced in abundance on the trip. We had a local tour guide for the whole trip who was fantastic and then expert guides joined us on different legs of the journey. We learned so much as a result. The highlights for me were visiting the local market in Arequipa with our guide and sampling lots of different fruit and street foods, the day on Lake Titicaca and of course Machu Picchu itself. We booked an additional trip to go back ourselves the second morning which was great as we could do a different route around the ruins and get different views from the afternoon before. Our final highlight was the additional 3 day trip to the Amazon staying at the Hacienda Conception. The lodges were immersed in the jungle which was wonderful if noisy! the food was fab and the daily trips provided were excellent. It was a great relaxing way to end the trip although it did rain quite a bit. Both my husband and I said our trip to Peru was one of the best trips we have ever done.

Ms D Brown  

Excellent company


Excellent company, there are so many trips, you really get looked after. Everything is dealt with by your Tour Leader, all logistics are taken care of and usually things go smoothly, I only use explore because I know what to expect each time, that makes me happy, with a stress free holiday


Azores Island Hopping


Very well organised tour. Brilliant Tour Leader who went out of her way to make sure everyone was happy and enjoyed the trip. The Azores are an incredible location with amazing scenery and good food.

Barbara in Beckenham  

Iceland Northern Lights Adventure


' Steina was a great guide - full of information made the trip so interesting ' Everything was just perfect - just as I had hoped - except the Northern lights were a no show!

Dates & Availability

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Sunday - Tuesday

Jul 21, 2024 - Jul 30, 2024
$3500 $3404 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $96 (USD)

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Tuesday - Thursday

Aug 27, 2024 - Sep 05, 2024
$5370 $5222 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $148 (USD)

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Tuesday - Thursday

Sep 10, 2024 - Sep 19, 2024
$5370 $5222 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $148 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Thursday

Oct 08, 2024 - Oct 17, 2024
$5370 $5222 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $148 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Tuesday - Thursday

Nov 05, 2024 - Nov 14, 2024
$5370 $5222 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: $148 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Explore! allows you to make 1 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 60 days before the start of the tour.

  • Low Deposit

    Explore! requires a minimum deposit of 10% or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 60 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of explore! charges.

    Up to 60 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 59 days before tour starts: Forfeit 30% of booking price.

    At 41 days before tour starts: Forfeit 60% of booking price.

    At 27 days before tour starts: Forfeit 90% of booking price.

    At 13 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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