Borneo Wildlife Tour

Discover famous wildlife and rainforests on the Borneo Wildlife Tour

Famous for its fascinating wildlife, Borneo has long been a destination for travellers looking to explore the rainforest and rivers in search of the elusive orang utan, nesting sea turtles, tribes of proboscis monkeys and the distinguished hornbill.

We will venture into the heart of Sabah to some of the best wildlife spotting destinations on this 10 day Borneo adventure. We will sail, trek and drive off-road to explore the remote Deramakot rainforest reserve, explore Borneo's longest river, the Sungai Kinabatangan, and sleep open air nearby pristine waterfalls in Lupa Masa Jungle Camp. Starting at the world famous Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, you will have a chance to see these great apes up close in a semi-wild environment, before embarking cross-county to see what opportunities we have of viewing them in the wild.

We have been running Borneo wildlife holidays for years and our trips are designed with unique adventure in mind. We have a local office so you will always be looked after on the ground by our office staff and local trip leader. This trip combines the highlights of Sabah to give you a taste of rainforest, wildlife and culture, whilst providing a personal, authentic and up-close experience of this extraordinary area. This trip is designed to cover a range of wildlife hotspots while allowing travellers to enjoy optional activities before or after the trip if they wish.

Starting in Sandakan, you can add on trip to the nearby Turtle Island Marine Park for a chance to see nesting turtles. While finishing in Kota Kinabalu, you can fly to Sarawak to continue your Borneo adventure visiting the World Heritage Mulu Caves or trek to the indigenous Penan communities. Options in Sabah include climbing Mount Kinabalu, or enjoying your final days on white sand tropical beaches. Please do get in touch for details on optional trip extensions.



Dates & Bookings

Bespoke Dates


Borneo Wildlife Tour Itinerary


Day  Location
1 Arrive. Sandakan 
2 Visit Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre
3 Abai Homestay, Kinabatangan River

Ox Bow Lake, Kinabatangan River

5 & 6 Deramakot Forest Reserve
7 Lupa Masa Jungle Camp
8 Mountain Lodge
9 Kota Kinabalu
10 Depart & trip end

Borneo Wildlife Tour Detailed Itinerary




Travel Time





Arrival will be into Sandakan Airport, probably via Kuala Lumpur. Here you will be met by our Adventure Alternative leader for a transfer to the Paganakan Dii Lodge near Sepilok Orang Utan Centre for a trip briefing and your first evening on the trip.




After a leisurely breakfast and the chance to recover from any jetlag, you’ll spend the day visiting Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre. Founded in 1964, the centre houses confiscated and orphaned Orang Utans until they are old enough to be released into the wild. From here, you’ll visit the newly opened Sun Bear Conservation centre for a chance to see these incredible bears up close. After lunch, you’ll head to the nearby Rainforest Discovery Centre where there is time to traverse the impressive canopy walkways and look for the giant flying squirrels and hornbills as the day cools down.





From Sandakan, you will sail into the mouth of the Kinabatangan River for a 2 hour journey that few tourist make. The Kinabatangan River is famous for it’s concentration of wildlife and rich ecosystem. As the longest river in Sabah, the Kinabatangan stretches 560km from the Crocker Range right out to the Sulu Sea on the east coast. Common sightings include the Proboscis Monkey, Long and Short Tail Macaques, Crocodiles, Horbills, as well as the more elusive Orang Utan and Bornean Pigmy Elephant.

Abai is at the very bottom of the giant Kinabatangan River and is quite isolated with only one lodge nearby. Upon arrival you will meet your host family and the simple sleeping arrangements consist of mattress and mosquito net. After light lunch you will go on river safari to look for the many wild animals that live in the floodplain. 

Expect to be back by sunset and then dinner with your family. A chance to talk a while before it is usually early to bed!





After breakfast, you’ll head back to the jetty to sail further down river to the a small lodge on the bank of the river. After settling in to your rooms, you will have an activity pack day of wildlife river safaris and a jungle trek. After dinner, you will explore the surrounding rainforest on foot with the guided night walk for a chance to see some of the rare nocturnal wildlife.





Don’t be surprised to be woken by the sound of gibbons or hornbills this morning! You’ll take an early morning wildlife safari and watch the mist rise from the river while the monkeys begin to stir in the trees. Returning to the lodge, you will pack up and travel overland to the little visited Deramakot Forest Reserve.

At 55,000 hectares, Deramakot is the Sabah Forestry Department’s flagship project. It is South East Asia’s only SFC certified logging concession and the presence of very high numbers of mammal species is testament to the success of reduced logging techniques practiced here. This evening you’ll have a chance to see much of the wildlife on a 4x4 night safari.





You will have all day to explore Deramakot Forest Reserve with your wildlife guide on 4X4 wildlife safaris and jungle trekking.





After breakfast, you’ll leave Deramakot behind and begin your journey to Lupa Masa Jungle Camp. Lupa Masa is a simple jungle camp with rustic facilities and is set in a truly wonderful location next to the boundary of World Heritage site, Kinabalu National Park. Surrounded by crystal clear rivers and waterfalls, it has proven to be packed full of smaller wildlife too, including snakes, insects, birds and rare mammals such as the Tarsier. Sleeping open air on covered bamboo lodgings, you’ll be immersed in the sounds and sights of the rainforest.

Tonight you’ll take an evening night walk to discover some of the intriguing nocturnal wildlife, including the luminous frog & fungi!





You will have almost the full day to explore and relax in the natural ‘jacuzzi pools’ of the rivers and waterfalls and to Lupa Masa (‘forget time’ in Malay)- bring a book, nap in a hammock, or enjoy birdwatching on the deck.

After lunch, we trek out from camp to Poring village and drive a short journey to the base of Mount Kinabalu where we check into a seclude lodge. Our location here attracts a huge amount of Borneo's varied moths at dusk, so you can relax and let the incredible wildlife come to you!





After breakfast, we'll travel to the state capital, Kota Kinabalu. After a group lunch at a local street market or Kedai Kopi, you will have a free afternoon to explore the cities waterfront, shop for souveneirs and watch a stunning sunset over the South China Sea.





Checking out of your hotel, you will have the option to head straight to the airport after the trip finishes or we can help you to arrange a climb of the spectacular Mount Kinabalu, a range of day trip activities near Kota Kinabalu or join onward travel to our additional adventures in Sarawak.
















Borneo Wildlife Tour cost £1,345.00


  • Accommodation throughout the trip
  • All meals listed in detailed itinerary (B,L,D)
  • 4x4 or coach transport throughout the trip
  • Park fees, permits & camping fees 
  • Park certified guides and trip leader
  • Local staff costs in Borneo
  • UK administration and organisation of your trip


  • International flights to Sandakan, and from Kota Kinabalu 
  • Lunches and Dinners not listed in the detailed itinerary
  • Additional drinks & snacks
  • Vaccinations/Anti-Malarials
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Personal Spending Money
  • Visa - please check regulations here


We make payments as flexible as possible and give you control over what you pay and when you pay it. A deposit of £250 is required on booking to secure your place and we ask that the remaining balance (trip price minus the deposit) is paid in full 4 weeks prior to your departure. When you book with us you're given your own secure online account which you can access 24/7. Through this account you can edit your booking, add flight, health, insurance and dietary details and also make interim payments. Therefore you can choose, if you wish, to pay a bit off your trip fee whenever it suits you.


Our prices are competitive and good value, and we offer quality service, visit unique destinations and have 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.


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.


Borneo Wildlife Tour

Borneo Wildlife Tour- fitness and terrain

This is not a particularly physically demanding trip in terms of the activities that you will undertake. The focus is on enjoying the environment 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.

Borneo Wildlife Tour- Rainforest

The rainforest is a surprisingly clean and pure place to visit. The canopy offers excellent shade from the intense sun keeping temperatures cooler than in the cities. 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 residents for thousands of years- it is unlikely that we will be off the beaten track with a machete on this trip. Sometimes the paths can be muddy and slippery and the terrain is up and down, but trekking pace is never fast. You will only carry day packs when jungle trekking and there will be lots of stops for drinking and cooling off in the streams and rivers.

Borneo Wildlife Tour- Accommodation

Kota Kinabalu

You stay in a comfortable western-style city hotel in air conditioned twin or double rooms and there is the choice of numerous city restaurants to eat in.

Lupa Masa Jungle Camp

Accommodation at Lupa Masa is basic but comfortable; you will sleep on slim mattresses on raised bamboo platforms. 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 (eco-soap only).There are western-style toilets, which you pour water into to flush.

Food is freshly prepared at the camp and is healthy, wholesome and vegetarian. It will be a mixture of local and western-style dishes, some of which you can even eat off a giant banana leaf if you so choose!

Sepilok Orangutan Centre

At Sepilok, you will stay in twin or double air-conditioned wooden cabins. There are en-suite toilets and hot/cold running water, and meals are served a la carte at the on site restaurant.


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

Deramakot Forest Reserve 

You will sleep in twin en-suite rooms, which have a ceiling fan and hot and cold water. Electricity runs until midnight so you can charge cameras and food is served in a traditional local-style buffet.

Kit List

Borneo Wildlife Tour 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 daybag of about 15-25 litres for carrying your daily needs
  • Sleeping liner (silk/cotton) or lightweight sleeping bag
  • Lightweight trekking boots with ankle support, and a sole that does not bend too easily
  • Waterproof windbreaker top, preferably breathable
  • Trekking-type clothes - lightweight, synthetic-material trousers and shorts, shirts and T-shirts, jumper or mid layer 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
  • Sarong for covering up at the homestay or on the beach
  • Reusable water bottles and/or camelback (Aquapure Traveller Bottle or something similar works very well in Borneo)
  • Head torch
  • Sandals or flip flops are useful for in the cities or around camp 
  • Camera with spare batteries or charger
  • Personal wash kit - eco-soap recommended, tampons/sanitary pads.
  • Personal first aid -  include aspirin, Ibuprofen, plasters, Germolene, Imodium, strepsils and prescription medicines for possible gastric problems
  • Passport, insurance papers, spending money, air tickets, reading books, diary.

Travel very light and compact in the jungle. In addition to the information below, look here for extra kit tips for trekking in the jungle.

Note that anything delicate, absorbent 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. 


Why Us

Why Choose Adventure Alternative for Your Borneo Wildlife Tour?

  • We have our own company, offices and very experienced western and local staff based in Borneo so we never outsource to other companies. They have years of experience living, working and travelling in Borneo, exploring its attractions, managing logistics in-country and looking after visitors.

  • Our staff spend time researching new locations and activities to ensure that you will visit the most exciting and adventurous destinations, far from any hordes of other travellers. Our trips are unique and often we are the only company visiting some of our more remote wildlife and trekking areas.
  • Adventure Alternative have responsible and fair methods of working and employment embedded within the company ethos. This extends throughout all aspects of the operation and is not a gimmicky add-on marketing tool.
  • Adventure Alternative are fully 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 in Sarawak through it's clientele and asking people who go to Borneo to raise some money for this Moving Mountains programme. The programme currently provides £8000.00 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 Moving Mountains in Borneo for more information). We currently fund the planting of about 15,000 saplings per year in logged areas.



Staff Review

From river wildlife safaris, to remote jungle camping and treks, to white sand beaches and snorkelling, this trip includes the best of Borneo packed into 14 days.