Example Itinerary

Classic Malaysian Borneo

Duration
8 days / 7 nights
Price Per Person
Interests
Wildlife
Destinations
Malaysia

Plush white beaches, meandering rivers, heavily-forested jungles, staggering peaks, and lush rainforests await you when you leave the beaten path and travel to the island of Malaysian Borneo. Borneo has a unique indigenous culture, as do the remote parts of Sarawak and Sabah, which have yet to become tourist Meccas. It is also one of the only places on Earth where tigers, rhinos, orangutans, and elephants live together. Its incredible biodiveresity makes it the premier wildlife destination in Asia. Dive into the untamed wilderness on this 8-day classic itinerary.

This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.

Highlights

  • Kinabalu National Park: Declared Malaysia’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kinabalu Park boasts one of the richest collections of biodiversity in the world and warrants a visit for those passing through Kota Kinabalu. There are plentiful hiking trails along the base that showcase beds of brightly colored flowers and plentiful animal-life. 
  • Orangutans: The Orangutan, with its distinctive orange fur and gentle broad face, is the star of the Bornean jungles. These great apes can be seen in the wild and at rehabilitation centers which serve to care for, treat, and protect them.
  • Kinabatangan River: The Kinabatangan river, the second longest river in Malaysia, is dense with remarkable wildlife: Orangutans, proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants, langurs, wild cats, crocodiles, amazing birdlife and much more. Accompanied by eagle-eyed nature guides, go on river safaris and jungle treks to spot these critters.
  • Primeval Ancient Rainforest: Danum Valley is one of the world’s most biodiverse and ecologically important regions. The 130-million-year-old primeval rainforest is a dream destination for any nature enthusiast, equipped with trails to vantage points, canopy walks, and a field center with a world-class research facility. 

Day-by-Day

Day 1

Kota Kinabalu

Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is shared by Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. Fly into the capital of Malaysian-Borneo, Kota Kinabalu, the main gateway into the island. This growing city is home to about half a million residents and has been an inportant transportation hub since it was known as Jesselton under British colonial rule. Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport and privately transferred to your luxury beach-side hotel, Shangri-La Rasa Ria. Situated just out of the city, the resort is a haven with a 1.8-mile long stretch of private beach, 64-acre forest reserve, and 18-hole golf course. Spend the rest of your day settling in and enjoying your resort.

Hotel Options
Why We Love This Hotel

Location: The resort overlooks Pantai Dalit beach, 30 minutes north of Kota Kinabalu, which is blessed with unparalleled privacy and the softest white sand.

History: Through their Orangutan Care project, the Shangri-La, Rasa Ria aims to rehabilitate one of Sabah’s most ancient and iconic species.

Service: The Shangri-La offers its guests a stunning array of generous services, from 24-hour room service, to express check-in, and even complimentary shoe shines.

Read More
Shangri-La Rasa Ria Preferred Hotel

Day 2

Kota Kinabalu

After an early breakfast, travel 2 hours to the Kinabalu National Park. The scenic road passes through changing elevation and terrain, offering beautiful views of the valley below. Stop at various lookout points along the way and capture a picture of Mt. Kinabalu from afar. Upon arrival around the base of the mountain, take to the trails. This rugged island is primarily mountainous with dense swathes of rainforest. Stop by the handicraft markets in nearby Kundasang, made by local tribes, on your way to lunch in a local village. Continue onward to Poring to take to the treetops on a swaying Canopy Walk. Spot waterfalls, rare birds, and if you're lucky, the even rarer rafflesia flower. Those who want to maximize their experience at Mt. Kinabalu can opt for a scenic helicopter flight to watch the sun rise over the mountain.

Kota Kinabalu
Kota Kinabalu

Day 3

Kinabatangan River

Take an early flight to the historical city of Sandakan. Drive out to the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary where captive orangutans are reintroduced into the wild. There are only as few as 54,000 Bornean Orangutans, a species endemic to the island, left in the wild. Observe these great primates at their feeding stations in the rainforest and learn more about the important rehabilitation efforts. Head next door to the Sun Bear Conservation Center for a private tour of the facility prior to public hours with Dr. Wong, the founder of the center. Over 30 sun bears live within the facility. Have lunch back in Sandakan before taking to the Kinabatangan River by boat. A 2.5 hour shared cruise on the meandering river takes you through a corridor of lush forests and wetlands. Your lodge is perched on a bend in the river between two protected areas. In this hub of biodiversity lives over 50 types of mammals including the Borneo pygmy elephant, the bearded pig, proboscis monkeys, and orangutans, as well as over 200 types of birds. After settling in, go on an afternoon river safari led by the lodge’s expert naturalist guide.

Hotel Options
About

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.

This accommodation has been personally vetted by the Remote Lands team and is the best available in the area. More information on this property is available on the “Hotels” tab at the top of the page.

Kinabatangan River
Kinabatangan River

Day 4

Kinabatangan River

Rise and shine for the morning shared river cruise up the Kinabatangan River to Kelenanap Oxbow Lake to view more birds and wildlife. After breakfast, join in the nature walk along the lodge’s Hornbill Boardwalk with the in-house naturalist. After lunch, enjoy some free time at your leisure. In the afternoon, board your boat for another river cruise for more wildlife spotting.

Day 5

Danum Valley

Leave the Kinabatangan River region and travel four hours overland to Lahad Datu. After lunch in town, continue to the Danum Valley Conservation Area. This very special forest is considered one of the world's most complex ecosystems, a Class-1 Forest Reserve, and boasts all ten of Sabah's primate species, making it the premier wildlife destination on Borneo. Rare animals include the pygmy elephant, Sumatran rhino, clouded leopard, marbled cats, sun bears, and orangutans. Settle into your chalet at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge situated within the reserve on the banks of the Danum River. This award-winning lodge compromises on neither luxury and comfort nor wildlife experience. Your guide will give you an introduction to the rainforest and the trails surrounding the lodge which you can explore at your leisure or with a naturalist. After dinner, go on a guided night safari or walk.

Hotel Options
About

Location: Luxurious accommodation in the heart of the Danum Valley Conservation Area – the Sabah’s largest protected Lowland Rainforest – means 43,800 hectares of tropical bliss.

Service: This accommodation has achieved numerous excellency awards thanks to its exceptionally high rankings on customer feedback forums. Notably, guests repeatedly commend staff for their attention to detail, which transcends the service standard norm.

History: Magnificently nestled in the center of a tropical paradise, guests can immerse themselves in the beauty of untouched nature.

This accommodation has been personally vetted by the Remote Lands team and is the best available in the area. More information on this property is available on the “Hotels” tab at the top of the page.

Borneo Rainforest Lodge
Danum Valley
Danum Valley

Day 6

Danum Valley

Spend this morning at the Danum Valley Field Center and FACE Foundation and meet the researchers. You will also have the opportunity to plant a tree. In the afternoon, go for a walk on the Canopy Bridge, suspended above the treetops. From this vantage point, you can more easily spot colorful birds, lizards, and if you are lucky, orangutans swinging by. There are multiple viewing platforms, all designed and engineered to be 'tree-friendly.'

Day 7

Danum Valley

Wake up early for a morning walk before breakfast. If you are feeling active, trek to Fairy Falls & Serpent Falls before returning to the lodge for lunch. After lunch, spend the rest of the day at leisure or go on a guided hike along the Segama River.

Day 8

Departure

After breakfast, say goodbye to the animals and forest as you drive back to Lahad Datu. Take a flight to Kota Kinabalu where you can connect to your flight onward.

Why Remote Lands?

Exclusively Asia

With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.

Travelogues

An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands - a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.

What Others Say

Here is a small selection of the kind words our clients have said about us recently.