This eight day wildlife tour in Borneo visits the world famous Sepilok orangutan centre, the Kinabatangan river for a wildlife safari and Deramakot Reserve which has become famous in recent years for sightings of the clouded leopard.

The trip offers shared safari facilities in Deramakot in the 4x4 vehicle, twin / double room accommodation in the lodges and professional wildlife guiding. Adventure Alternative Borneo has been operating wildlife tours in this region for ten years now and has a high level of reputation and respect for the animals and the environment.


  • Hanging out with the Orangutans
  • Elephants playing on the banks of the Kinabatangan
  • Searching for the elusive Clouded Leopard and many other rare animals
  • Wildlife cruises on the river and sunset over Borneo rainforest


Of course this is the wild, but some of the animals that you may encounter on this trip are:

Orangutan - Pygmy Elephant - Clouded Leopard - Tarsier - Slow Loris - Leopard Cat - Marbled Cat - Sun Bear - Rhinoceros Hornbill (and the other 7 species) - Proboscis Monkey - Bornean Gibbon - Civet Cats - Flying Squirrels - Estuarine Crocodiles - Sunda Skunk - Maroon Langur - Grey Langur and a variety of spectacular birds and reptiles.

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

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Day 1 & 2: Arrive Sandakan airport (east Sabah), two nights staying in nearby lodge. Visit the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, Sun Bear Centre and Rainforest Discovery Center.

Days 3 - 5: Wildlife safari in Deramakot Forest Reserve in our 4WD. Shared vehicle with up to seven people and the guide, dawn and evening drives with shared accommodation in the forest lodge. Deramokot is widely regarded as the best wildlife destination in Sabah. The wildlife count for our clients has been remarkable, but without a doubt a sighting of the rare clouded leopard stands as one of the great highlights of the holiday. The twin en-suite air con rooms have a ceiling fan and hot / cold water. Electricity runs until midnight to charge cameras etc. and food is served in a traditional hall.

Days 6 - 7: Safari on the Kinabatangan River. Cruises early morning and at dusk, forest walks during the day and accommodation in riverside lodge.

Day 8: Travel back to the coast and depart Sandakan airport or further trip options such as Danum Valley, Imbak Canyon, Tabin Wildlife Reserve and tropical islands (further details follow).


 Wild Borneo Orangutan (1)


Day 1: Sepilok

Upon arrival at Sandakan airport we make a short 30 minute transfer to Sepilok Forest Edge, situated next to the world famous wildlife centres.​ After checking in, it will be time for lunch or a visit to the Rainforest Discovery Centre or possibly visit to the 3 p.m Orangutan feeding, which are both located a short walk away.

After dinner we enjoy a night walk in the nearby forest. With luck you may spot the Western Tarsier and sleeping birds and frogs and snakes. Sepilok is one of the better locations to spot the endemic and iconic Borneo Bristlehead. A good nights’ sleep awaits…

Meals: Dinner only

Day 2: Sepilok

After breakfast we visit the nearby Sepilok orangutan rehabilitation centre where you have an opportunity to enjoy these iconic primates at close quarters and learn more about the rehabilitation and conservation work that takes place here. Next, you visit the Sun Bear Conservation Centre, a relatively new centre established in 2008, which provides care and rehabilitation for orphaned and captive Borneo Sun bears with the long-term goal of releasing them to the wild and raising awareness of their plight.

Spare time can be spent looking for wildlife around the resort where hornbills and orangutans are sometimes seen.

After dinner a second night walk.

Meals: Full board

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Day 3: Deramakot Forest Reserve

For those keen dawn birding is on offer, otherwise a relaxing morning before check out at 11.00 a.m and continuing 2 hours to Telupid town where you will take lunch at a local restaurant. Then proceed a further 2 hours to Deramakot forest reserve through oil palm plantations and forest reserves. The road can be wet and muddy.

Deramakot is the jewel in the Sabah Forestry Departments crown and spans an area of over 100,00 hectares with its adjacent Tangkulap reserve. It was the first tropical forest reserve to be recognised by the Forest Stewardship Council for good forest governance and since AA Borneo pioneered nature tourism in the reserve 4 years it has rapidly become justifiably famous for its astonishing mammal and bird diversity. The best in South East Asia?

The exact program at Deramakot will depend on weather and recent animal sightings. Your guide will discuss fully with you after check in.

Deramakot has simple rooms split into two chalets on a small hill of 3 bedrooms in each. Although they have air con and hot water ensuite bathrooms these are by no means considered ‘luxury’. Meals are cooked by in-house cooks so can be varied to suit requirements, and these are served in the restaurant area, consisting of local Asian dishes and fruits.

Meals: Full board

Day 4 - 5: Deramakot Forest Reserve

Two full days in the reserve. The exact itinerary will be discussed with you at the time by your guide as it depends on weather, group and latest sightings, but you will have dawn and night walks* and 4x4 safaris each day, 2 hours are included each evening which can be extended for an extra 125 myr per hour, cash payment. An optional trip via 4x4 drive to a safe swimming area in a clean river with picnic facilities is included.

*Guided walks can not guaranteed as there are not any well kept / maintained trails. Self exploring the HQ grounds is great for birding.

Meals: Full board

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Day 6: Kinabatangan River

We have time for some morning birding before breakfast and our check out by 9am. We then return to the main highway and travel approximately 2 hours to the river village of Sukau. Sukau was the first village on the mighty Kinabatangan River to develop nature tourism and is now a busy hub of lodges and homestays.  Enroute to the lodge we’ll stop by Gomantong caves. This large cave chamber is famous for its swiftlets and bats plus the surrounding jungle is home to maroon langurs and orangutan.

We then check into Last Frontier, a unique lodge set on a hill with views over the river and floodplain. The lodge is famous for its food and hospitality.. Lunch will be taken en-route. Our first boat safari begins at 4.00pm.

Please note reaching the lodge requires a 100 step walk up the hill. Other lodges along the river itself are available upon request.

Dinner @ 19.00 before a night-walk in search of nocturnal critters.

Meals: Full board

Day 7: Kinabatangan River

Wake up to the calls of birds, insects and animals as the pre-dawn chorus begins. After breakfast we'll enjoy a jungle walk along the serene ridge with stunning views over the Kinabatangan River. Back for lunch, then two hours free time before a second river cruise at 4.00 p.m

Meals: Full board

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Day 8: Depart or next destination

Following breakfast, transfer 2 hours to Sandakan airport or onward travel to your next destination

Meals: Breakfast only


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.


  • Duffle bag
  • Daybag
  • Camera bags, tripods etc
  • Lightweight trekking or walking boots
  • Lightweight clothes, synthetic-material trousers and shorts, shirts and T-shirts, jumper or mid layer fleece, socks, trainers or sandals.
  • Sun hat, sun lotion, SPF lip screen and sunglasses
  • Reusable water bottles
  • Head torch
  • Camera kit, chargers, electronics
  • Personal wash kit - eco-soap recommended
  • Personal first aid - headache tablets, oral rehydration and plasters are useful
  • Passport, insurance papers, spending money, air tickets, reading books, diary.

Travel very light and compact in the jungle. In addition to the information listed here do check out our 'More Information' section for tips for trekking in the jungle.

Please note that anything delicate, absorbent or electronic is likely to suffer from the humid atmosphere, all such items should be housed in a good quality waterproof stuff sack or pouch.

Borneo_Trekking along edge of river in rainforest.jpg


This is not a physically demanding trip in terms of the activities that you undertake. The focus is on enjoying the environment and surroundings in an adventurous but comfortable way.

The rainforest is a clean and pure place to visit. The canopy offers excellent shade from the intense sun keeping temperatures cooler than in the cities. However, it is very humid and you will need to continually drink water. We travel using tracks and trails which are used by vehicles - it is unlikely that we will be off the beaten track with a machete on this trip. Sometimes the paths around lodges can be muddy and slippery and the terrain is up and down, but trekking pace is never fast. You will only carry daypacks when jungle trekking and there will be lots of stops for drinking and cooling off in the streams and rivers.


  • We have our own company, offices and very experienced western and local staff based in Borneo with years of experience living, working and travelling in Borneo, exploring its attractions, managing logistics in-country and looking after visitors.
  • Adventure Alternative is fully bonded, insured and registered in the UK, and Adventure Alternative Borneo is a registered operator in Malaysia.
  • Our staff are highly knowledgeable, experienced and have a deep love and concern for the protection of the environment and flora and fauna in the areas we visit.
  • We have always tried to avoid the mainstream destinations and itineraries for holidays to Borneo and researched places that are more remote and special, and we are always looking for new and authentic places to explore.
  • All Borneo trips include a donation made to a fig tree planting project. Fig Ecology Research indicates that figs provide an essential staple diet to much wildlife in Borneo and the population of many of Borneo’s mammals e.g. orangutans, gibbons, hornbills, civets and mouse deer is closely correlated with the density of fig trees. Planting figs in degraded habitats is a relative low cost and natural process to restore local ecosystems.                               

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Our advertised price is based on 3 people on the trip, however the price does vary depending on the numbers (maximum 6 people) as follows:

2 people: £1775pp
3 people: £1695pp
4 - 6 people: £1550pp

Single supplement: £395pp


  • Accommodation throughout the trip based on twin/double same sharing. If you are a solo traveller we will allocate rooms on a sharing, same sex basis, or you have the option of a single room which would attract the single supplement charge. In Sepilok we use the Sepilok Forest Edge, Chalet rooms at Deramakot and the Last Frontier at Kinabatangan.
  • All meals listed in the itinerary (B,L,D)
  • All activities as per the itinerary - Sepilok Rainforest Discovery Centre and Wildlife centres and night walks. Deramakot - safari walks and 4x4 safari vehicle for up to six people for up to seven hours per 24hrs. Kinabatangan - boat safaris and walks.
  • Minibus or car transport for transfers between reserves
  • Park permits as per the itinerary
  • Professional wildlife guide
  • 6% service tax paid only for hotel accommodation
  • 6% sales tax for all holiday expenses


  • International flights or transfers
  • Meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Visa - please check regulations here
  • Additional visits or activities outside of the itinerary
  • Tips 
  • Hotel tax of 10RM (~£2.50) per night paid in cash at check in (only for hotel and lodge accommodation)

All of our Borneo trips include a donation, made on your behalf, to a fig tree planting project. Fig Ecology Research indicates that figs provide an essential staple diet to much wildlife in Borneo and the population of many of Borneo’s mammals e.g. orangutans, gibbons, hornbills, civets and mouse deer is closely correlated with the density of fig trees. Planting figs in degraded habitats is a relative low cost and natural process to restore local ecosystems.       

There are a number of optional additional tours to extend your stay which you can find on the Extras tab and will be offered during the booking process. Adventure Alternative Borneo has its office in Kota Kinabalu and a full complement of staff to manage all our Borneo holidays. 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.