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Wild Borneo: Kota Kinabalu to the Danum Valley

Escape the busy world and immerse yourself in nature when you embark on this seven-day Wild Borneo adventure. The itinerary takes you to lively Kota Kinabalu, natural Sandakan, lush Sukau and the jungle-covered Danum Valley. Experience a rare, untouched area exploding with exciting flora and fauna.

Highlights   Pricing
  • Observe orangutan babies being fed
  • Cruise down the Sukau river and look for wild elephants gallivanting along the shore
  • See gigantic monitor lizards as you lounge on a balcony nestled amongst the treetops
  • Stroll through the rainforest and discover over 300 different species of trees
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

The adventure starts in beautiful Kota Kinabalu - formerly known as Jesselton. The city rests on the picturesque tropical island of Borneo. The harbor is characterized by colorful boats, clear waters and soft, white sand. Explore your surroundings after your journey to stretch your legs a bit. Sleep in luxury at the high-end Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru.

Day 2

Explore Borneo’s lush nature as you travel to Sandakan. The area is known for its orangutan rehabilitation center. This is a fantastic spot to catch baby orangutans being fed. Spend the morning observing these fascinating creatures at play. In the afternoon, visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre. This is ranked first and foremost in environmental education centers in the region. Walk amongst the treetops in a canopy tour. Look for lizards and birds scattered across the forest’s ground and skies. Spend the evening relaxing at either Sepilok Nature Resort or Sabah Hotel.

Day 3

Leave Sandakan and travel to Sukau, an approximate three-hour drive away. Step aboard and leave the land for a bit as you take an afternoon cruise through Sukau on its stunning river. The surrounding forest pulses with wildlife. Take a night cruise to spot an entirely different slew of species, as the nocturnal animals poke their heads out into the fresh air. Spend the night at the multi-award winning eco-lodge, Sukau Rainforest Lodge.

Day 4

Start the morning with another cruise - this time to the beautiful Oxbow Lake. Look for elephants, orangutans and other exotic species frolicking through the forest lining the lake. If time allows, spend some time this afternoon planting trees to help protect and enhance the local environment. Return to the Sukau Rainforest Lodge to relax in a natural setting.

Day 5

Take either a 4.5-hour-long drive through Lahad Datu - a beautiful, rustic environmental area - or a helicopter ride to reach the Danum Valley. This valley is a massive conservation area with relatively untouched forest areas. There are over 320 different species of trees in the area. Rest up at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge, after exploring your vibrant surroundings.

Day 6

A wildlife-lover’s haven - step into the rainforest and explore as you stroll through the Danum Valley. Pay the Danum Valley Field Center a visit, where you’ll have the opportunity to sit on a balcony to observe gibbons, orangutans and other monkeys in their natural habitat. Look for the Monitor Lizards - you may see the massive creature crawling around the forest floor. Return to the Borneo Rainforest Lodge for your final night before your journey home.

Day 7

Travel to Kota Kinabalu, where you will begin your journey home. As you step out of the rainforest, take with you the memories of a time spent in an area of the world very few get to see. Either extend your stay in Malaysia, or begin your onward journey.


Suggested Accommodations

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru

Shangri-La Tanjung Aru

Located just 10 minutes from the center of Kota Kinabalu, the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort’s 492 rooms are divided between two wings – the Kinabalu Wing, with views of the ocean and Mt. Kinabalu, and the Tanjung Wing, with views of the South China Sea. All rooms come with complimentary broadband Internet access and satellite television. Dining options include Café Tatu for breakfast and dinner, where a variety of open cooking stations offer Mongolian, Tandoori, Asian noodles, dim sum, pasta, and more; Coco Joe’s Bar & Grill, a beach barbecue restaurant; Peppino for Italian and Mediterranean in a chic setting; and Shang Palace for gourmet, traditional Chinese. There are also three bar/lounge options. The property’s CHI Spa comprises five individual Island Villas, three Couples’ Villas and an open Yoga Pavilion, all located on Pulau Bayu, the resort’s private island, and there is also a state-of-the-art health club with juice bar and sauna. The Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort is a 10-minute drive from Kota Kinabalu Airport.

Sukau Rainforest Lodge

Sukau Rainforest Lodge

With colorful and exoctic wildlife on the doorstep, a stay at the Sukau Rainforest Lodge on the Kinabatangan River is an escape into Borneo’s verdant jungle, where the ecological balance is respected and sustained. Intrepid guests will enjoy early morning and late night boat tours on the river, looking out for the local inhabitants including pygmy elephants, monkeys and tropical birds. During the day, the 1,500-foot-long Hornbill Boardwalk is the place to spot friendly orangutans. For guests seeking a little relaxation, massages are available at the foot spa or Gomantong Hall is a cozy spot to curl up with a book from the mini-library, or a board game with a refreshing cup of tea, inside or out on the sundeck. For those feeling industrious, there are batik painting workshops and engaging slideshow presentations. The spacious twin and double bedrooms are clad with warm wood and decorated with simple, elegant local charm. After a day of unwinding or exploring nature, the lodge’s on-site restaurant - The Melapi - serves up delicious local fare, accompanied by an extensive wine list.

Borneo Rainforest Lodge

Borneo Rainforest Lodge

Situated in ultimate seclusion, 60 miles from the nearest town, the beautifully-designed Borneo Rainforest Lodge denotes understated elegance. The hotel’s 31 eco-friendly chalets feature high ceilings, dark wood panels and incandescent draping lights, all made from locally-sourced, recyclable material. The chalets use ceiling fans rather than air conditioners and have outdoor tubs, decks and patios boasting panoramic views of the million-year-old rainforest: drenched in the vivacity of the surrounding tropics, there is perhaps no better place to experience undisturbed nature. Guests will be living amongst nature’s finest trees and flora which douse the rainforest in exotic, vibrant color: the Danum Valley provides a home to many rare and endangered animals including the Clouded Leopard, Orangutan, the Proboscis Monkey and around 300 species of bird. Further, the lodge provides an outstanding spa with luxurious treatments which guests may enjoy after an exhilarating jungle trek.

Meet An Asia Expert
From Travelogues
Our General Manager Victoria Hilley lived in Malaysia for many years, and loved the wildlife, particularly orangutans and pygmy elephants.
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