Borneo Family Adventure
Take the kids on a magical journey to explore the natural wonders of tropical Borneo. Be enchanted by the ancient legends and traditions of Sabah, enjoy a relaxing soak in Poring Hot Springs, make local friends on a village homestay, experience a night in the wild on a jungle camp, get up close to gentle orangutans, explore an incredible underwater world in Pulau Tiga National Park. Round up the family and jump on board this excellent family holiday into the heart of Borneo.
When booking a private departure please contact us if you want to amend any aspects of your trip. We believe the below itinerary is the best way to spend time in the country but are able to adjust the itinerary, accommodation and inclusions to suit your own individual needs.
After your overnight flight, you'll be met on arrival at the airport and taken to your hotel. You will then have some free time to relax and freshen up after your flight, before the welcome meeting in the evening.
Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, is an intriguing city that was born between the Borneo jungle and the South China Sea. Having recovered from World War II bombings, 'KK' now possesses a gateway charm that can only be found in a frontier town. If you have enough free time, why not immerse yourself in local history at the Sabah State Museum, visit the Monsopiad Cultural Village (once home to a notorious headhunter), or explore the islands off Kota Kinabalu - excellent for swimming or snorkelling (all at additional charge).
Leaving Kota Kinabalu behind, you'll head for the hills and the beautiful Kinabalu National Park. Arriving in time for lunch you have the afternoon to stretch your legs and take in the mountain views on many of the numerous walking trails - keeping an eye out for birds, snakes and the odd little leech. There is plenty to see and do here. The Mountain Botanic Garden is an excellent showcase of the diverse plant life on the mountain, as flora from all over the Park has been replanted here.
The afternoon is free for you to relax here. The next day you'll get up early to catch glimpses of this mighty monolith before the cloud rises for the day, before you take a day trip to Poring Hot Springs (approx. 1 hr), where you have time to soak in the famous thermal pools, take in the trails that abound within the reserve, or have a refreshing swim in a nearby waterfall. You can spend time exploring the self guided trails or the orchid garden. We will be taking to the tree tops on the canopy walkway where you can view the jungle as the birds and monkeys do.
Sabah Tea Gardens - Longhouse - Breakfast included
Kinabatangan Jungle Camp/Homestay
Today you'll journey by private bus (approx. 5 hrs) to Kinabatangan. Your hosts for the next 2 nights are the local ecological organisation, MESCOT, who's aim is to provide villagers with environmental education and the means of making a living from their forests, without the need for its destruction. Part of the program is to develop an ecologically sound wildlife and ecotourism centre, owned and operated by the villagers themselves.
After you arrive in the afternoon, you head by boat (approx. 30 minutes) into the jungle where you'll stay by the beautiful Oxbow Lake - the best way to experience untamed Borneo. Wild elephants are rarely seen but you will hopefully find crocodiles, macaques, wild orangutan and the freaky looking proboscis monkeys, as hornbills fly in the skies overhead. Be prepared for an adventure!
Your stay in the jungle is in simple huts where sleeping and bathing facilities are basic, with only cold bathing available. You will pack an overnight bag for the jungle camp and leave your main luggage at the MESCOT office.
On the following day you return to a local Malay village where you will be invited into the lives and homes of the local people. This is an amazing privilege and your leader will explain local cultural expectations to ensure that we get the most out of your stay.
Your accommodation tonight is a home stay experience where you'll be split into different homes throughout the village with different families. Accommodation is traditional but simple and you should expect Asian toilets and cold water bucket showers.
Please note that the order of the above days may be occasionally reversed depending on seasonal variations and if the weather is bad, we may not be able to visit the jungle stay. Out of respect for your Muslim hosts, alcohol is not to be consumed.
Jungle huts - Breakfast and dinner included
Homestay - Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Sepilok Orangutan Reserve
We head to Sepilok, a 2 hour drive by minivan, where you will have some free time to settle in to your guesthouse to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings. This afternoon, you will visit the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, where you will have an opportunity to see these famous monkeys – found only on the island of Borneo – feeding with their different family or bachelor groups. If you are lucky we might also see a hornbill or two...
You will visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre - a reserve set up to help re-introduce these wonderful creatures back into the wild after a life of domestication or having been orphaned. To aid the orangutans adaptation to the wild, a supplementary diet of bananas and milk is laid out on feeding platforms twice a day. From the viewing platform, visitors may watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view on ropes and vines. You are not permitted to hinder the orangutans as human contact must be kept to a minimum.
There is also a short film to watch in the reserve's interpretation centre about the orangutan rehabilitation process.
Your afternoon is free to relax or return to the reserve for the 2nd feeding of the day. There is also the opportunity to visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre, a centre for environmental education situated within the famous Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve. Its primary function is to create public awareness and appreciation of the importance of conserving forests, as well as the sustainable use of forest resources. The 147m long, 28m high steel canopy walkway enables spectacular views of beautiful rainforest giants like the Mengaris tree, there are also 250 species of bird to look out for - experience forest life high in the canopy.
For these 2 nights you will stay in family multishare accommodation with private amenities. The guesthouse is located in Taman Jilil, a local recreation area.
Please note due to limited space on transport to Pulau Tiga tomorrow, you will take overnight bags only, dropping your main luggage off at your mainland accommodation on the way. You will need to pack tonight for your beach trip.
Sepilok Jungle Resort - Swimming Pool - Breakfast included
Pulau Tiga National Park
Your early morning transfer takes you to Sandakan Airport where you'll catch your flight to Kota Kinabalu (please refer to the 'baggage' information for details on flight luggage restrictions). From here you will drive approximately 2.5 hrs, dropping off your extra luggage on the way, to Kuala Penyu, from where you will travel by speedboat (approx. 30 mins) to your secluded, rustic hideaway on 'Survivor Island'.
Pulau Tiga played host to the first-ever series of 'Survivor' - an American television program that was filmed on the island in 2000. The island is full of mud volcanoes, great jungle walking tracks and is surrounded by beautiful beaches and amazing snorkelling opportunities. The waters surrounding the island are home to over 132 species of fish, as well as sea turtles, whilst the island wildlife consists of proboscis and macaque monkeys, flying foxes, bats and monitor lizards. Keep an eye out for the hornbills overhead on their flight for the day's food.
Arriving in the afternoon we will spend the night on the island. After settling into your accommodation, you can take a walk through the jungle to visit one of the mud pools where we can wallow in the mud like buffaloes, then walk back to the beach for a swim in the sea. Weather permitting, you will take a boat for a trip to Snake Island, home to the yellow-lipped sea krait who use the island as their breeding ground.
Tonight you will stay in very basic family twin share accommodation with private cold water amenities. The resort offers the opportunity to sight the morning hornbills on their flight for the day's food.
Pula Tiga Resort - Breakfast and dinner included
Today you say goodbye to your patch of paradise and head back to Kuala Penyu and on to our seaside guesthouse on the mainland where you will spend the next night. You travel via speedboat (approx. 30 mins) to the mainland where you transfer to a minivan (approx. 2 hrs) to take you to your final destination.
Langkah Syabas - Swimming pool - Breakfast included
The tour ends today. Those on our group flights will be transferred to the airport for your flight home.
Visit Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary to witness these big-nosed creatures up to their usual monkey business before traveling to Sepilok, home of the orangutan rehabilitation project to see Borneo’s ‘wild men’ up close.
Pulau Tiga National Park
Enjoy an entire day of beachside bliss at an idyllic island getaway. Swim in the clear, turquoise waters or snorkel among colourful fish and sea turtles. Visit one of the nearby bubbling mud volcanoes or simply relax on the white-sand beaches.
Kinabatangan Jungle Camp
Spend a night camping in the Jungle where you will head out in a longboat or creep out on foot to try and spot Borneo’s most famous wildlife from macaques, proboscis monkeys, crocodiles & perhaps even wild orangutans.
Kinabalu National Park
Get a taste of mountain life heading into Kinabalu NP, home to Borneo’s highest peak, Mt Kinabalu. Hit walking trails, explore waterfalls and enjoy a relaxing soak in thermal pools at Poring Hot Springs.
Our Borneo Family Adventure trip is just one of our many Asia Family tours. To find out more visit our Asia holidays page.
Transport - In country flight, private charter vehicle, boat, local bus
Accommodation - Hotel/guesthouse (8nts), Jungle eco-camp (1nts), Homestay (1nt)
Meals - 10 breakfasts, 2 lunches & 3 dinners