Simply Sabah

11 days
FROM £ 2886
Countries Visited: Malaysian Borneo

Simply Sabah

If you’ve always dreamt of whiling away the hours spotting wildlife in its natural habitat, then the state of Sabah in Borneo should be right at the top of your travel wish list. As always, there are no guarantees as to exactly where and when wild animals will make an appearance, but there’s a high chance you’ll be spellbound by orangutans large and small as they feed and frolic just a few metres away, thanks to the tireless conservation work of the renowned Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. From Sepilok, drift down the Kinabatangan River in a longboat, keeping your eyes on the banks for glimpses of Borneo’s other superstar species, including pygmy elephants and proboscis monkeys.

Explorers Against Extinction works to raise awareness as well as funds for specific conservation projects. By enquiring and booking through this site you will be supporting conservation. On behalf of all confirmed clients, Explorers Against Extinction receives a donation.

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Holiday Itinerary

DAY 1 - 2

Sepilok is an area of protected primary rainforest and mangrove on mainland Borneo. On arrival you'll be met and transferred to your lodge where you have time to settle in and relax or explore the boardwalk. The following day visit the excellent Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC) - a wildlife and rainforest education project located within the nearby Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve - just a walk away from the lodge. Their tropical gardens are home to a staggering diversity of flora, boasting more than 250 varieties of native orchids,slipper orchids, pitcher plants, arid land plants and aquatic plants, alongside many other spectacular tropical species. Step out onto the 147-metre-long steel canopy walk, which sits 28 metres above the ground and offers fantastic views of the Sepilok Rainforest, for the chance to spot the resident Bornean bristlehead: one of the rarest birds in Sabah. Return to the centre at dusk for a chance to see the giant red flying squirrels!


Kinabatagan River - Abai
Today you'll visit the orangutan centre in Sepilok for feeding time - the orangutan rehabilitation centre is known across the world for exceptional conservation work. The reserve protects 19 square miles of dense rainforest, and exists for the rehabilitation of orphaned and injured orang-utans. You'll also visit the Sun Bear Conservation Centre founded by the inspiring Dr Wong - this is a project supported by Explorers Against Extinction. Later in the day, a short drive takes you to Sandakan's jetty where you’ll board a boat to transfer to the Abai region of the wild and beautiful Kinabatagan river. The Kinabatangan River is the longest river in Sabah, and its densely forested banks are known for the highest concentration of primates in northern Borneo. With tributaries spreading through much of Borneo’s north eastern tip, the Kinabatangan flows through diverse habitats including freshwater swamp forest, lowland rainforest,mangroves and oxbow lakes, with a wealth of thriving fauna and flora to be seen along its banks. The river’s far-reaching network allows for easy exploration and enables quiet viewing of orangutans, pygmy elephants, Sumatran rhinos, proboscis monkeys, various langar subspecies, and even the Borneo river shark, along with hundreds of other fascinating species .River safaris here in the Lower Kinabatangan Segama Wetlands waterways offers visitors a quieter, less interrupted experience than its upriver counterpart at Sukau.


Kinabatangan River - Sukau
Further explore the waterways around Abai in search of wildlife, or just enjoy a relaxed morning, before cruising up river to the village of Sukau where the quiet waters give way to busier tributaries and abundant wildlife. Whilst there is an uptick in traffic in this part of the Kinabatangan, you’re there for a good reason - this is arguably one of the best spots in the region for wildlife, including Borneo’s famous orangutans. The orangutan may be the star wildlife attraction in the region, but there are also great opportunities to go in search of proboscis monkeys and Borneo pygmy elephants, with Sukau being home to the densest population of this latter endangered species. Bird life is abundant too, with over 300 species sighted in the area, including hornbills, kingfishers, and magnificent eagles. There are plenty opportunities to immerse yourself further in the surroundings of the Kinabatangan during your stay. Boat trips from your lodge make the most of the region's beautiful flora and fauna, with a couple of trips out onto the river included daily. Whilst early mornings aren't ideal for everyone, they can be one of the best times for wildlife viewings, so if you’re game we’d suggest starting your days at dawn! The following day head out from Sukau in the morning to drive to Batu Puteh village and the reception centre for KOPEL - a community-based ecotourism cooperative. Meet your guide and cruise along the river by boat to the project's current tree planting site.

DAY 5-6

Tabin Wildlife Reserve
Depart by road for the journey to Lahad Datu. Once in Lahad Datu, meet up with the Tabin Wildlife Resort team and set out for the Tabin Wildlife Reserve. The Tabin Wildlife Resort, deep inside the reserve, offers comfortable accommodation with superb access to some of Borneo's most extraordinary wildlife. The resort’s local team are on hand to arrange all sorts of activities, including expert-led forest treks, nocturnal safaris, bird watching and wildlife spotting. Early-risers can take a pre-breakfast walk to see some of Tabin’s diverse and colourful bird species. Wander to one of the resort's key locations, the Lipad Mud Volcano and observation tower, for a bird's-eye view of the wildlife that use the volcano to get their mineral fix, as well as the perspective to appreciate the contrast between the bare mud and the dense forest that surrounds it. As well as watching life unfold in the rainforest, there are opportunities to wild swim, including at the Lipad Waterfall, and plenty of time to find a favourite spot in the resort to relax and enjoy the ambiance of the rainforest.

DAY 8 - 10

Gaya Island
Depart by road for Lahad Datu after lunch, arriving in time for your flight to Kota Kinabalu where you will be transferred to the jetty for a boat transfer to Gaya Island. Gaya Island lies within Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park - 19 square miles of protected ocean just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu. The Park's unique coral reefs support a multitude of marine species, and its five tropical islands are home to birds, mammals and reptiles. Gaya's beaches are amongst the best in Borneo, and the island’s nature trails are a fine opportunity to stretch your legs in the jungle - spend a blissful couple of days at leisure.

DAY 11

Depart by shared speedboat to the mainland where you will be met and driven to the airport.
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  • All accommodation listed
  • Transfers as listed
  • All meals listed
Not Included: Flights to/from Asia, Entry visas, International airport departure taxes, Any meals not listed in the itinerary, Drinks (other than water on activity days), Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip etc.), Travel insurance, Any Covid testing or certification required for travel and/or quarantine costs.

Price Guide


Price per person from £2,886 based on two people sharing.

This is PRICE GUIDE for travel in 2022 based on the accommodation and tour as listed. Prices depend on the season of travel and availability at the time of booking. For an exact quotation and tailormade itinerary for the dates you require, please do get in touch.

International Flights   We can easily arrange international flights for you as required. Please contact us so we can provide an accurate tailor-made costing based on your travel dates, availability, cabin/route/airline preferences and special offers.

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