ITINERARY BY DAY
Day 1: Kota Kinabalu
Arrive at Kota Kinabalu airport and meet with your driver before making your way to the hotel. Spend the rest of the day relaxing at your hotel or exploring the nearby nature reserves.
Day 2: Mamutik Island – Manukan Island
After breakfast, make your way to Mamutik Island by boat. Unwind on its beautiful sandy beaches, swim or explore the island by foot. Tuck into a delicious lunch before making your way to Manukan Island for an afternoon of more swimming and relaxing by the beach. Take a stroll along its beachside jetties and spot the different kinds of brightly coloured fish before returning to the mainland for the evening. Spend the night in Kota Kinabalu
Day 3: Selingan ‘Turtle’ Island
After breakfast, make an early start to the airport for a flight to Sandakan. Arrive in Sandakan and meet with your guide before heading to Sandakan jetty for a two-hour boat ride to Turtle Island, around 40km north of Sandakan. Perched in the Sulu Sea off Sabah’s east coast, the Selingan Island remains a key nesting area for native green turtles. Watch them glide through the ocean as you take a relaxing dip in the gentle surf or snorkel your way around the coral reefs.
After dinner, accompany a park ranger to witness turtles laying their eggs in the sand. Learn about their relocation to a nearby hatching site, where hundreds of baby turtles make their maiden pilgrimage across the sand to the ocean every year. Spend the night on Selingan Island.
Day 4: Sukau
Start the day early and make your way back to Sandakan for a transfer to Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, located in the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve. Learn about the centre’s rehabilitation program before taking a stroll along the boardwalk to the feeding platform used to feed baby, orphaned orang utans.
Continue on a drive through rustic countryside to the village of Sukau, perched on the banks of the majestic Kinabatangan River. Travel by boat to the Borneo Nature Lodge for your orientation and check in. Enjoy a lazy afternoon aboard a river cruise as your guide points out the rare proboscis monkey and other wildlife congregating along the riverbank and in the treetops. Spend the night at the Borneo Nature Reserve.
Day 5: Sukau
Wake up to the call of native birds and other animals welcoming the dawn from the surrounding wilderness. Make an early start up the Kinabatangan River to Kenlenanap Ox-Bow Lake by boat for some bird watching and to snap some photos of the local wildlife. Then, take a stroll through the breathtaking wilderness of Borneo before returning to the lodge for breakfast.
Spend the afternoon at your leisure, with the option to explore surrounding areas or visit some of the nearby villages.
In the evening, get up close with local wildlife and fauna on a boat cruise along the river to a separate stretch of the Borneo rainforest. Explore lush stretches of untouched wildness before heading back to the lodge.
Day 6: Sandakan
In the morning, make your way to Gomantong Cave, famous for its sustainable harvesting of edible bird nests, fashioned by a local species of swiftlet and sold for up to $1000 per kilo. Then, hike the boardwalk to the mouth of Semut Hitam cave before exploring its deep caverns.
Back in Sandakan, settle down for a hearty lunch before embarking on your afternoon city tour, stopping at the Sim Sim water village, the central market and the Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple, known for its use of reverse Swastika symbols – signifying of good luck in Buddhism - embedded into its exquisitely groomed gardens.
Head back to Sandakan for a leisurely evening off.
Day 7: Kinabalu Park
After breakfast, embark on a five hour journey across the ridges of the Crocker Mountain Range to Kinabalu Park, home to one of Asia’s tallest peaks. Take in spectacular views of Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site and UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Spend the night at the park’s headquarters, 1,500m above sea level.
Day 8: Laban Rata
After breakfast, proceed to the park registration office to meet your mountain guide. Then, make your way to Timpohon Gate to begin your trek to Laban Rata Resthouse, located 3,300m above sea level.
Day 9: Kinabalu Park
Begin your quest to the summit of Mount Kinabalu at dawn to witness a breathtaking sunrise across the Crocker Mountain Range. Snap some photos at the peak before returning to Laban Rata Resthouse for a hearty breakfast.
Later, begin your descent to Timpohon Gate before making your way to the park’s headquarters for lunch before returning to Kota Kinabalu village to spend the night at a luxury beachside resort.
Day 10: Kota Kinabalu
After breakfast, embark on a full day of exploring the Kota Kinabalu countryside, starting with a drive through picturesque rice fields. See traditional houses on stilts used by local farmers before visiting a Kadazandusun village, home to one of Sabah’s largest ethnic population.
Immerse yourself in local life as you learn their fearless hunting traditions and see the skull trophies that hark back to a gruesome period of “head hunting”. Witness authentic cultural dance performances and try your hand at making local handicrafts before snapping some photos of friendly local performers in traditional dress.
Back at the resort, enjoy a relaxing night in or head out to feast on tasty street food.
Day 11: Kota Kinabalu
Enjoy a hearty breakfast at your resort before setting off for the airport for your return flight home.