The Responsible
Adventure Travel Company

Overview

The Borneo rainforest is legendary for its rich flora and fauna. On this trip we take you into the heart of the Sabah region to get up close to the jungle habitats and the creatures that inhabit it. Amongst the wealth of insects we hope to find Orangutan, Pygmy Elephant and Proboscis Monkeys. We will see a range of habitats including the deep forest, the river arteries that snake though the trees and the beautiful white sand and azure sea of the coast.

We spend time walking amongst the jungle, staying amongst the trees in the Lupa Masa eco-camp, winding through the forest on a river cruise, visiting the orangutans at the Rainforest Discovery Center at Sepilok, immersing ourselves in the world famous Danum Valley and glamping on a tropical island off the beautiful coastline.

More Information

We have been running trips to Borneo for many years and our trips are designed with unique adventure in mind. We have brought together the highlights of the Sabah region to give you a superbly mixed experience whilst providing a personal, authentic and up-close experience of this extraordinary area.

The state of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo is densely populated with wildlife and is a jungle trekker's paradise. Primates such as orangutans, gibbons, tarsiers, long-tailed and pigtailed macaques, along with porcupines, bears, civet cats, marbled cats, and wild pigs roam freely. Hornbills, pheasants and partridges can also be seen, as well as the renowned Rafflesia, the world's largest flower. Mt Kinabalu National Park consists mostly of dipterocarps forest with a small percentage of montane forest.

Staff

We have our own company and guides in Borneo who can be trusted to not only give you a fascinating and fun insight into the various locations where we visit but also ensure that you are safe and well looked after. We also use various local guides who speak excellent English and who provide specific knowledge in certain areas.

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Dates and Itinerary

Broad Itinerary
Day  Location
1 Arrive. Kota Kinabalu. [Itinerary Starts]
2 Kota Kinabalu
3 Lupa Masa Eco Camp, Poring
4 Lupa Masa Eco Camp, Poring
5 Sepilok Rainforest Centre, Nr Sandakan
6 Sepilok Rainforest Centre, Nr Sandakan
7 Turtle Island Park, Off Sandakan
8 Abai Village, Kinabatangan
9 Abai Lodge/Village, Kinabatangan/Ramsar Wetlands
10 Danum Valley Field Centre
11 Danum Valley Field Centre
12 Kota Kinabalu
13 Kota Kinabalu [Itinerary Ends]
Detailed Itinerary
Day Elevation Travel Time Info
1 Arrival will be into Kota Kinabalu airport (BKI), probably via Kuala Lumpur. Here you will be met by our Adventure Alternative leader for a transfer to our 3* city hotel.
2 A chance for a look at Kota Kinabalu city and time for any last minute shopping for supplies. We will have a slow, flexible and relaxed schedule as we may be feeling a bit jet-lagged. If you are feeling full of energy then optional kayaking, cycling or rafting trips can also be booked for today. [B inc]
3 Transfer 2 hours by road to Poring Hot Springs passing the magnificent Mt Kinabalu. Poring is a biological hot spot in Sabah for butterflies, moths and literally thousands of bizarre forest creatures, big and small. There is a good chance that nearby the giant Rafflesia will be in bloom! Our base for the next two nights is the Lupa Masa eco camp sitting serenely amongst the forest. There is no road to the camp so expect an easy 30 minute trek in. [B,D inc]
4 We will start with a short introduction to the diverse flora and fauna that we can expect to see in the area. We then trek for around one hour to a private 30m waterfall. In the afternoon we simply relax and soak up the sights and sounds of the rainforest. At night we will head down to the river and watch the fire-flies dance in their search for a partner. We will also take a night hike in search of the nocturnal creatures such as cats, frogs, snakes, slow loris and western tarsier. [B,L,D inc]
5 After a leisurely breakfast and final dip in the river, we have an interesting day of overland travel as we make the journey East, across Sabah to our boutique accommodation near Sepilok. As we pass through the varying scenery you will get the chance to see, first-hand, the effect that palm-oil farming has on the landscape as we move from dense tropical forest, past the plantations and then back into the jungle. [B inc]
6 We head first to the the morning feeding of the rehabilitating orang-utans. Following this a visit to the fabulous new sun bear centre. After lunch a return to the orangutans and then head to the nearby Rainforest Discovery Center where there is time to traverse the impressive canopy walkways and look for the giant flying squirrels and hornbills as the day cools down.[B inc]
7 Today we travel out from the coastal town of Sandakan to the Turtle Island Park and arrive at the Sea Turtle project at Libaran Island. We will be briefed by the conservation rangers and will have time to enjoy the beautiful tropical island setting in a unique ‘glamping’ experience. In the afternoon we will walk through the mangroves to visit the small island village. In the evening we will return to the beach to look for sea turtle hatchlings and watch them make their way out into the ocean to begin their life afloat. Note: Whilst there are very good chances of turtles nesting and hatching this cannot be 100% guaranteed. [B,L,D inc]
8 After breakfast we head back to the town jetty and change boats via a quick visit to the fascinating wet and dry market. Then begin our 3 day boat based adventure. A two hour journey through the mangrove and nipa palm forests of the bay brings us to the mouth of the mighty Kinabatangan and our small village home stay. After meeting our local hosts we will head back out onto the river for a wildlife safari. We hope to spot the Borneo Pygmy Elephant, Orang-utan, the endemic Proboscis Monkey and rare bird species such as the Storm's Stork and Oriental Darter to name but a few. [B,L,D inc]
9 Today we travel even deeper into the Ramsar wetlands reserve, going where few visitors ever go. Our route will take us briefly out to the Sulu Sea before we head upriver to our riverside lodge. (Alternatively, and subject to the preferences of the group we can instead stay in a homestay with another different tribe.) This is a trip that the original Chinese traders made in the 13th century and little has changed as we step back through time. Note that is there is particularly bad weather on the coast we may not be able to get out into the Sulu Sea and will instead do further river exploration from Abai village. [B,L,D inc]
10 Today we say farewell to our hosts and travel onwards via road to the sensational Danum Valley. We will stay at the world renowned Danum Valley Field Centre where many scientists from around the world base themselves for study of the rainforest eco-systems. This is true Borneo lowland forest. We will also take an evening night drive and safari in 4x4. [B,D inc]
11 An early start and we head to the lookout for the dawn calls of the gibbons as the forest starts a new day, an unforgettable experience that will echo in your memory for years to come. After breakfast we will strike out on one of the numerous Danum Valley trails including a cooling waterfall walk. [B,L,D inc]
12 We have a full morning in the reserve and then after lunch a short road transfer to the small town of Lahad Datu; quite a shock after our time in the wilderness. From here it is a 50 minute flight back to Kota Kinabalu city. We will have time in the afternoon to head down to the beach for relaxing or snorkeling or stay in the city. In the cooler evening we can also explore the spectacle of the city’s night markets. [B,L,D inc]
13 With the end of our main itinerary, we will either take you on the short transfer to the airport for departure home. Or we can help you to arrange a few more days in Borneo with a host of optional add-ons available including more time on the beach, a climb of the spectacular Mount Kinabalu or heading back out into the jungle. Do talk to us about your options. [B inc]

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Cost

Borneo Wildlife Adventure cost: £1,995.00

Includes
  • Accommodation throughout expedition
  • All meals listed in detailed itinerary [B,L,D]
  • Jeep or coach transport throughout expedition
  • Park fees, camping fees and park rescue fees
  • Park certified guides and assistant guides/company reps
  • Expedition administrator (Tom Hewitt)
  • Meals throughout expedition - fresh food, 3 meals per day (excluding lunches and dinners in Kota Kinabalu)
  • UK administration and organisation of your trip
  • A proportion of your trip cost will go directly to Moving Mountains to help cover the costs of our projects in Borneo, which includes our tree planting project in the Sarawak jungle.
Excludes
  • International Flights to Kota Kinabalu (~£800 LHR-BKI)
  • Lunches and Dinners not listed in Detailed Itinerary (~£25-50 Total depending on choices)
  • Additional drinks & Snacks (~£5-25 depending on choices)
  • Vaccinations/Anti-Malarials (£varies)
  • Personal Travel Insurance (~£30-60)
  • Personal Spending Money (£varies)
  • Visa (Not req.d for UK citizens)
Cost of Add-Ons and Some Optional Extras
  • Mount Kinabalu Climb: £395.00
    This is an indicative all-inclusive price per person for a 3 day climb based on 2 people sharing. Please talk to us for a specific price based on your needs.
  • Extra Nights at Lupa Masa: £20.00
    This is a basic all inclusive price per person per night for extra time at the jungle camp. Please talk to us for a price including transport to/from Kota Kinabalu.
  • Kudat Beach Add-On: £100.00
    This is an indicative all-inclusive price per person for a 3-day, 2 night home-stay based on 2 sharing at the beautiful Kudat coastal area at the far north of Borneo. Perfect for some extra time on the tropical beaches or for snorkelling and diving. Please talk to us for a specific price for the number of days and people that suits you.
Not all about money

Our prices are competitive and good value, and we offer quality, service, security and an ethical stance on tourism in a developing country. We don’t want to be so expensive to run fewer trips and have our staff idle, but on the other hand we believe that running  cheap trips that promote the practise of skimming budgets would result in local staff getting next to nothing, which is something we cannot consider.


Profit Share

Adventure Alternative shares it's profit margin with our local company in Borneo, Adventure Alternative Borneo, which provides training and development opportunities for local people and communities. The profit share scheme ensures that our local company can run a good company and provide proper wages and training, which is an unusual thing to find in a tourist company in a developing country.

Every place you visit also has a share in the profit, and we always make sure that we bring clients to the same places over many years so that they can develop and compete against the bigger corporate places.

Places which are supported by Moving Mountains where you stay, for example the homestays in Sabah, also share in the profits. This is a highly successful way of using tourism to fund some of our developmental work.

Local Providers

Our local provider is Adventure Alternative Borneo. Adventure Alternative Borneo complies with UK tourism standards.

Where we do use providers such as hostel and guesthouse owners and homestays these are people our Adventure Alternative Borneo staff have known for years, and spent time with to build up the trust between both parties.

Discounts

Our per-person prices here are based on very small, personal group expeditions. There are discounts available if you have a group of 4 or more. Speak to us for more details and a specific quote.

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Fitness

This is not a particularly physically demanding trip in terms of the activities that we undertake. The focus is on enjoying the environments and surroundings in an adventurous but comfortable way. As with all adventure travel, you do need to be of reasonable basic fitness and to be healthy and well. Do include details of any underlying health issues on the booking form and speak to your doctor if you have any concerns.

The climate in Borneo is hot and humid and it will take a day or two to adjust. We therefore take it wasy for the first day in Kota Kinabalu to sleep off any jet lag and get used to the conditions.

Type of Terrain

Rainforest:

The rainforest is actually a very clean and pure place to visit. The canopy offers excellent shade from the intense sun and traps moisture however it can be very humid and you will need to continually drink water. We travel using trails which have been the jungle arteries for the local native residents for thousands of years. It is unlikely that we will be off the beaten track with a machete. Sometimes the paths can be muddy and slippery, there are logs to clamber over, and the terrain is up and down, but movement is never fast.

We will carry little, and there will be lots of stops for drinking and cooling off in the streams. Travel in the jungle is up and down, a lot of hills and often not much to see except the canopy above you and the impenetrable forest around you. Stand still for a moment and the animals will easily be seen and heard. The trails are wide enough for one person and it is important to stick together.

Camps Used

Kota Kinabalu

We stay in a comfortable western-style 3* city hotel in air conditioned twin or double rooms. You have the choice of a number of city restaurants to eat in.

Lupa Masa Jungle Lodge

Accommodation at Lupa Masa is basic but comfortable; nights are spent in stretcher-type hammocks in traditional “sulaps”, tented long-houses or for an even more unique adventure you can take an expedition hammock and guide and spend the night sleeping in the jungle under the forest canopy. In the bathrooms there are bucket showers, or an option which many guests prefer is to shower in one of the beautiful waterfalls or streams surrounding the lodge. Toilets have both squat and Western style fittings, which you pour water into to flush. Food is freshly prepared at the camp and is healthy and wholesome. It will be a mixture of local and western-style dishes, some of which you can even eat off a giant leaf if you so choose!

Sepilok

At Sepilok we share two each to a twin air-conditioned cabin. There are en-suite toilets and hot/cold running water. There is local and western style food a la carte.

Turtle island

Here we stay in comfortable twin 'Glamping' tents with toilets and hot and cold water nearby. Food is a local-style buffet. 

Jungle longhouses and homestays

These are normally wooden structures built on stilts in a village area, with a large open space inside for laying out our matresses and suspending our mosquito nets. They are comfortable and dry with a communal family feel to them. There will be a squat toilet within the building and water to wash with. The food will be fresh and traditional local meals.

Danum Valley Field centre

We sleep in twin en-suite rooms, which have a ceiling fan and hot and cold water. Electricity runs until midnight. Food is a traditional local-style buffet.

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Gear

Kit List
  • Strong, rugged duffle bag or rucksack for your main gear, either waterproof fabric or waterproof stuff-sacks or a liner inside are a good idea.
  • Waterproof day sack of about 15-25 litres for carrying your daily needs
  • Full length closed cell sleeping mat/therm-a-rest
  • Sleeping liner (silk/cotton) or lightweight sleeping bag (1 season)
  • Lightweight trekking boots with ankle support, and a sole that does not bend too easily
  • Waterproof windbreaker top, preferably breathable
  • Pair of lycra style cycling shorts to wear whilst trekking (keeps leeches out!)
  • Trekking-type clothes - lightweight, sythetic-material trousers and shorts, shirts and T-shirts, jumper or midlayer fleece, underwear and several pairs of hiking socks, trainers or sandals
  • Clothing for travel, dining in restaurants, and the heat and humidity of the coast
  • Sun hat, sun lotion, SPF lip screen and sunglasses
  • Swimming costume/shorts and small trek towel
  • Sarongs x 2 (Kota Kinabalu – ideal style and cheaper)
  • 2 x Water bottles and/or camelback (take a protective cover for the mouthpiece) and water purification tablets as back-up
  • Head torch with spare batteries
  • Camera with spare batteries
  • Personal wash kit – include a nail brush, moisturising cream, a small towel, tweezers, soap, nail clippers and wet wipes
  • Personal first aid – include aspirin, Nurofen, plasters, Germolene, Immodium, strepsils and prescription medicines for possible gastric problems
  • Passport, insurance papers, spending money, air tickets, reading books, diary, pen
Additional Kit Info

Notes:  Travel very light and compact in the jungle. In addition to the information below, this page will provide you with extra kit tips for trekking in the jungle.

Mosquito nets will be provided throughout the expedition and you may prefer to wait until reaching Kota Kinabalu before buying Sarongs, they are a better style and much cheaper.

Sandals are useful for camps but if you don't bring them with you then you'll be able to pick up a pair of local Adidas Kampung shoes on arrival.

Note that anything delicate, absorbant or electronic is likely to suffer from the damp atmosphere, all such items should be housed in a good quality waterproof stuff sack or pouch. Ruptable maunfacturers include Sea to Summit, Ortlieb and Overboard.

There are many brands/types of water purification bottles and you can get them in good outdoor/travel shops and online shops. The Aquapure Traveller Bottle or something similar works very well in Borneo.

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Why Us

  • Our itinerary has been carefully designed by our own in-country staff to give a superb mixture of experiences and habitats to help you to see the best of what Borneo has to offer but also in a personal and authentic way.
  • We have our own company, offices and very experienced western and local staff out in Borneo. You will therefore benefit from easy and efficient contact with our company throughout the lead-up to the trip and throughout the itinerary.
  • Our staff have huge experience with Borneo, its attractions, logistics in the country and looking after visitors. They will use all this to make sure the trip runs smoothly and that you get the most out of your stay.
  • Adventure Alternative have responsible and fair methods of working and employment embedded within the company ethos. This extends throughout all aspects of operation and is not a gimmicky add-on marketing tool.
  • Adventure Alternative are fully registered with AITO and financially bonded through ABTOT so that your trip fees are protected.
  • Ventures provided by Adventure Alternative are independently assessed to conform to British Standard 8848, Specification for the provision of visits, fieldwork, expeditions, and adventurous activities outside the United Kingdom.
  • We are members of Interhealth which gives you access to pre-trip health information and on-site assistance by phone in the event of an emergency.
  • Adventure Alternative financially supports a tree-planting and re-forestation project funded by the Moving Mountains Trust. The programme currently provides over 40,000 MYR per year to employ members of the indiginous Penan tribe to collect seeds, nurture seedlings and plant and look after saplings in their native area of Sarawak. Please see MovingMountainsTrust.og for more information.

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