Bespoke wildlife safaris, private trips and family holidays in Borneo

We offer a personalised service creating tailor made holidays to Borneo for families, individuals, wildlife enthusiasts and anyone looking to create a really special experience in this part of the world. We have offices in Sabah and Sarawak and an excellent staff of wildlife guides. We try hard not to go to the 'usual' places or parks, but to offer something different and unique.

We have various treks in Borneo to look at and some excellent safaris, especially the Borneo Wildlife Tour which visits the famous Deramakot Reserve.

We specialise in the more remote wildlife reserves including the famous Danum Valley and Maliau Basin, as well as Deramakot Forest Reserve and the Imbak Canyon. The Kinabatangan River and flood plains come high on many a traveller's plans and for good reason; offering some of the most accessible wildlife viewing opportunities in Borneo, travel is by boat rather than foot on these sunrise river safaris. 

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Diving and snorkelling in Borneo

The Sipadan archipelago is a must-see destination for all dive enthusiasts, while many islands offer world class snorkelling too. Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park, situated just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu is a tranquil getaway from the city, and Bako National Park offers secluded sandy bays to visitors from nearby Kuching. It's perfect too for family holidays in Borneo.

Still a little-known gem of Borneo, the northern 'Tip of Borneo' area called Kudat offers village homestays or private beach chalets. These secluded bays are perfect for unwinding after an adventurous Borneo trek. 

Trekking on Mount Kinabalu and other peaks

For the active and adventurous, a wealth of treks and climbs await exploration. As the highest peak between the Himalayas and Papua, Mount Kinabalu is a challenging but popular climb, giving travellers sunrise views as far as the ocean from the top if its granite peak. With fascinating flora, Borneo's second highest peak Trus Madi is a scenic yet less visited alternative to Mount Kinabalu in the Crocker Range National park. Sarawak's Gunung Mulu is another challenging yet accessible peak. Rising from the forest canopy, this mountain dominates the landscape with a sheer rock face across a sea of impenetrable trees.

Trekking in the rainforest and meeting indigenous tribes

A rainforest trek should feature on any visitors trip to Borneo; from Mulu National Park to the lost world of Sabah's Maliau Basin, Borneo is home to awe-inspiring rainforests. As experts in adventure travel, our staff and local guides have spent years leading guests through the forests and can recommend the best reserves and trails to visit. From the easy trails of Lupa Masa Jungle Camp to the challenging multi-day treks, delving deep into the hearth of Borneo with the Penan Tribe, those looking for an alternative jungle adventure will find the trip for them.

Experiencing an ancient culture in heart of Borneo

The cultural diversity of Sabah and Sarawak is unrivalled; a mixture of religious and ethnic communities thrive together to make up Borneo's distinct cultural heritage. The gateway cities of Kota Kinabalu and Kuching themselves offer a myriad of crafts, cuisine and cultural experiences. As a responsible travel company, we pride ourselves on working with several local communities in Sabah and Sarawak, supporting sustainable tourism initiatives where visitors hire local guides and stay in family homestays. Sleeping in a longhouse with the famed headhunters of the Iban tribe, exploring rivers and rapids with the Murut people of Orou Sapulot, trekking to hidden waterfalls and caves with the Penan Tribe or seeking wildlife on he banks of the Kinabatangan River with the Abai villagers; few travellers ever forget the generous hospitably and captivating experience of staying with their host families. 

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What Should I Pack for My Bespoke Trip?

Since these trips are all unique, a kit list will be different for each. However, here is a general overlook at what to pack for a trip to Borneo.

When is the best time to visit Borneo (click here for details)?

Ideas for Borneo holidays

For keen birders and Borneo wildlife enthusiasts

1 day arrive Kota Kinabalu, overnight in the Hotel 63, sightseeing
3 days in Mt Kinabalu National Park staying in the park lodge. Guided walks to see the pitcher plants and forest and visits to Lupa Masa Jungle Camp. 
4 days in Deramokot Reserve on a private wildlife safari using our 4x4 vehicle and private guide (see video of clouded leopard)
2 days in Sepilok staying in a cloudforest lodge, visiting the orangutan centre and sun bear sanctuary
3 days on a river safari on the Kinabatangan river and staying in a riverside lodge - http://kwrborneo.com/
4 days in the Danum Valley Borneo Rainforest Lodge on a wildlife safari
1 day transfer to Kota Kinabalu and depart.

Luxury Borneo family holiday

  • 1 day arriving in Kota Kinabalu and staying in the 5 star Hyatt Hotel
  • 4 days at Sapulot for wildlife safari, followed by a day rafting and overnight at the Hyatt
  • 3 days on Mount Kinabalu trekking to the summit for the adventurous, others to the Rasa Ria top resort
  • 2 days at Lupa Masa Jungle camp with waterfalls, hot springs and bug safaris at night
  • 3 days private wildlife safari at Deramokot Forest reserve, finishing at the Four Seasons hotel in Sepilok
  • 3 days on Lankayan Island for either a PADI dive course or relaxing in the exclusive resort
  • 2 days back to Sandakan for seeing orangutans and sun bears and heading home


Before or after your trip there are also a number of optional Add-on trips / activities, or hotels that you may like to take advantage of to extend your holiday, or just to cover accommodation before or after joining us. Some of the options are shortened versions of some of our main Borneo trips, others are adventure or relaxng wind downs in their own right. These can be found on the 'More Information' tab on this trip page and the options include:

  • A 3D2N ascent of Mount Kinabalu.
  • 4D3N trek / climb of Mount Mulu, which is one of Borneo’s toughest - harder and more adventurous than Mt Kinabalu.
  • 3D2N visit to some luxury in the Kawag Nature Lodge in Danum Conservation Area for relaxation and wildlife viewing. 
  • A visit to the tropical islands off the coast of Sandakan including glamping on Turtle Island or Libaran (or a bespoke diving trip to Sipadan Island).
  • 2D2N visit to the Hibiscus Beach Resort, which is a stunning and idyllic boutique beach chalet set in a secluded cove on the Kudat peninsula on the northern tip of Borneo.
  • 3D2N Big Fin Beach resort for snorkelling, diving, paddle boarding or relaxing at this private and secluded beach resort, just off the coast of Kota Belud, near Kota Kinabalu.
  • 3D2N add-on trip to the Danum Valley Conservation Area, staying at the Danum Valley Field Centre, with guided treks through primary rainforest.
  • 4D3N trek into the interior of Sarawak to live with the last nomadic tribe in Borneo, the Penan.
  • 4D3N add-on with visits to the Sepilok Orangutan Centre and the Kinabatangan River for stunning wildlife safaris.
  • 3D2N treat with a night at the prestigious and award-winning Borneo Rainforest Lodge in Danum Valley Reserve.
  • Additional nights accommodation in Kota Kinabalu or for sightseeing and visiting the islands, staying in the Hotel Sixty 3.

Why choose us for your bespoke trip to Borneo?

Our staff have years of experience living and working in Borneo so know first hand the best places to visit on your Bespoke Borneo holiday.We never outsource to other travel providers and our local staff in Kuching and Kota Kinabalu will manage all your in-country logistics.

Adventure Alternative has won the World Responsible Travel Awards twice and also received accreditation by Sustainable Travel International for our sustainable business model. We know that at a local level, tourism can really improve peoples lives. We work closely with local people and help them develop adventurous, high quality holidays that provide unique and rewarding experiences for our visitors. 

Our ethos is to make a profit with a sustainable tourism model that delivers positive social, economic and environmental benefits to the communities and areas where we work, so our travellers can be assured that their trip will contribute to growing community of responsible travellers.

In Borneo we have offices in Kuching and in Kota Kinabalu and over the years we have gained a strong reputation for providing trips that are not the run-of-the-mill wildlife trips and adventure holidays in this part of the world. We set up the company in order to offer something different, and we have a great wealth of experience and knowledge to draw on. Typically our clients come to us with a set of dates, a budget and a general idea of what they would like to see and experience; over a number of emails we gradually help to build something that is unique and special to that individual or group.

Bespoke Dates
Private Itineraries
Start Date
End Date
Group Name
£1bn dollars
Start Date
End Date
Group Name
John Birch Photography
Route Details
Trip Route: Sepilok - Deramakot - Kinabatangan - Tabin
A special two week trip with acclaimed wildlife photographer John Birch to visit and explore and capture some amazing photographs of the wildlife of Borneo in Sepilok, Deramakot Reserve, Kinabatangan River and Tabin Reserve.
Start Date
End Date
Group Name
John Birch Photography
Route Details
Trip Route: Sepilok - Deramakot - Kinabatangan - Tabin
A special two week trip with acclaimed wildlife photographer John Birch to visit and explore and capture some amazing photographs of the wildlife of Borneo in Sepilok, Deramakot Reserve, Kinabatangan River and Tabin Reserve.
Start Date
End Date
Group Name
Sally and Tony Yeshin
Route Details
Trip Route: Deramakot - Sukau - Tawau
June 24th transfer to Deramakot. June 25th - 27th at Deramakot. 28th transfer to Sukau (Kinabatangan river). 29th - 30th at Tawau Hills. 1st July transfer to Tawau airport for onward flight.

Jungles of Borneo - John Birch Photography

This is a special trip we are offering with acclaimed wildlife photographer John Birch to visit and explore and capture some amazing photographs of the wildlife of Borneo in Sepilok, Deramakot Reserve, Kinabatangan River and Tabin Reserve.

This is a small group tour for two weeks staying at four locations in the tropical jungles and meandering waterways of Sabah and offers abundant opportunity to see and photograph extraordinary exotic wildlife including primates; cats; elephants; birds and much more.

You will be accompanied throughout by professional, English speaking, wildlife guides and multi-award-winning wildlife photographer John Birch who will be on hand to provide whatever photographic advice and assistance you may need.


  • See and photograph unique tropical wildlife.

  • Small group of guests.

  • Four fabulous locations in Sabah, Borneo.

  • 13 nights in Borneo.

  • Expert local wildlife guides.

  • Hands-on tuition in wildlife photography.

The link on John Birch's website is here - www.johnbirchphoto.com/jungles-of-borneo - and you can book your place by going to the bookings tab on this page and clicking the John Birch private tour.

The cost is £4190.00 per person with £100.00 deposit on booking and balance six weeks prior to travel.

Included in the cost:

  • 13 nights accommodation and food (unless excluded in the itinerary).

  • All transfers.

  • 4x4 vehicle; walks and boat safaris listed in the itineraries.

  • Fees for visitor centres

  • Wildlife guiding.

  • Photography tuition. 

Excluded from the cost:

  • International flights

  • Single supplement (£ 700pp)

  • Meals not listed in the itinerary.

  • Personal expenses.

  • Photographic equipment.

  • Drinks

  • Gratuities.

  • Personal travel, medical and equipment insurance (essential)