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 our 4x4 vehicle for up to seven hours per day or night, twin/double room accommodation with air con and electricity 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.

Please contact us first to check availability on your dates before booking.


  • 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
  • 7 hours use per day/night of the 4x4 in Deramakot

Some of wild animals of Borneo you may encounter

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.

Brief itinerary

Day 1-2: Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, Sun Bear Centre and Rainforest Discovery Centre. Arrive Sandakan airport (east Sabah), two nights staying in the Sepilok Forest Edge resort. Transfer from airport included, self organised visits to the centres where they have their guides.

Day 3-5: Wildlife safari in Deramakot Forest Reserve in our 4WD. Shared vehicle with up to seven people and our guide, dawn and evening drives with shared accommodation in a forest chalet. Deramokot has been much talked about 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. Some of our trip advisor feedback has been great. The twin en-suite aircon rooms and hot and cold water. There is electricity which runs 24/7 and food is served in a traditional hall. We provide some palm oil based soap but do bring your own biodegradable toiletries.

Day 6-7: Safari on the Kinabatangan River. Check out of Deramakot and say farewell to the AA Borneo guide at Deramakot, and transfer to Sukau for the next part of the holiday on the river. Wildlife boat journeys are early morning and at dusk and they are shared, with forest walks during the day and accommodation in the Borneo Nature Lodge. Sometimes due to availability we need to move to another lodge on the river. Guides are in-house.

Day 8: Travel back to the coast and depart from Sandakan airport.

Note that sometimes the lodges are booked up, depending on when the booking is made, and we can offer a similar lodge of the same standard.

Chalet at Deramakot Forest Reserve, the rooms are air conditioned with 24/7 electricity and are based on double/twin sharing. We provide our own cooks for preparing the meals.Guests are provided with a bar of palm oil based soap at check in but please do also bring your own biodegradable shampoo and soap.

4x4 Deramakot.jpeg
Our 4x4 safari vehicle at Deramakot takes up to seven people and we provide up to seven hours per day/night for safaris, much more than the standard 2 hours at other reserves. The trip is based on a shared vehicle, if you would like private use of the car then it is on a first come first served basis so please contact us in advance. Our guides spend weeks in the reserve so they are very familiar with the movements of the wildlife, especially the big cats.

Map of Borneo Wildlife tour

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Map showing the main points of the tour. Arriving at Sandakan on the east coast with flights direct from Kuala Lumpur or from Kota Kinabalu, the Sepilok centres and lodges are nearby. The drive to Deramakot takes around four hours. The Kinabatangan river runs between the two.
Also on the map is Lahad Datu, a short flight from Sandakan if you would like to extend your stay with a visit to one of the lodges in Danum Conservation area, and Kudat which is the northern tip of Borneo where you can enjoy beautiful secluded beaches.

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

Wildlife videos from Deramakot and Kinabatangan


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.

What's it like visiting the rainforest?

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.

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 day packs when jungle trekking and there will be lots of stops for drinking and cooling off in the streams and rivers.

Packing List

  • 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 below, check out extra kit tips and survival tips for trekking in the jungle. You can also read more on these pages about preparing for your Borneo holiday and about health and comfort, and something about the culture in Borneo.

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. 

Why Adventure Alternative for this Borneo Wildlife Tour?

  • This package combines some of the best of Sabah for wildlife and you are totally financially protected with the UK company and the Malaysian company rather than booking the individual elements. We also provide all the 'in-between' elements like transfers and people to meet you and guide you. We also know all the owners of the lodges and have a long history of collaboration with the park authorities. We can also offer the best advice for extra places to visit and all the questions you may have preparing for your holiday.

  • We were the first company to be allowed to take people into Deramakot Reserve and our wildlife guides are the best, they have spent years there and they know the best places to go and they are very good at working with real wildlife experts and enthusiasts. This trip includes a much longer time with the 4x4 vehicle on safari too, up to seven hours per day/night.

  • 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.


Fixed Itineraries
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Borneo Wildlife Tour Itinerary

Day 1: Sepilok - orangutans and sunbears

Arriving at Sandakan airport, a 30 minute transfer to Sepilok Forest Edge, situated next to the world famous wildlife centres.​ Most flights into Sandakan tend to arrive after lunch so the rest of the day can be spent resting after the flight and visiting the environs of the lodge and acclimatising to the heat and humidity.

Accommodation in the Sepilok Forest Edge Resort. Note sometimes due to availability we have to choose other lodges but they will always be in the Sandakan area and of the same high quality.

Meals: Dinner only

Sepilok Forest Edge Resort Standard chalet.jpg
Standard twin chalet at the Forest Edge Resort

 Day 2: Sepilok - orangutans and sun bears

After breakfast the guide will come to meet you for a full day visiting the Sepilok orangutan rehabilitation centre to see these iconic primates at close quarters and learn more about the rehabilitation and conservation work that takes place here. Next, visit the Sun Bear Conservation Center, established in 2008, which provides care and rehabilitation for orphaned and captive Bornean sunbears with the long-term goal of releasing them to the wild. Spare time can be spent looking for wildlife around the resort where hornbills and orangutans are sometimes seen. Then there is the Rainforest Discovery centre and in the evening a night walk.

Meals: Full board

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Sun Bear


Day 3 - 5: Deramakot Forest Reserve

After checkout a drive of 2 hours to Telupid town for lunch and then a further 2 hours drive through palm oil plantations and forest to Deramokot Forest Reserve

Deramakot is the jewel in the crown of the Sabah Forestry Department. It covers an area of over 100,000 hectares along with the adjacent Tangkulap Reserve. It was the first tropical forest reserve to be recognised by the Forest Stewardship Council for good forest governance and since our company in Borneo pioneered nature tourism in the reserve it has become famous for its astonishing mammal and bird diversity.

The exact program at Deramakot will depend on weather and recent animal sightings. Your wildlife guide will discuss the options with you but as a rule there are 4x4 safaris and walking safaris every day. Each safari is shared and we offer seven hours per 24 which is much more than the usual two hours in other reserves. There is also an optional 4x4 drive to a safe swimming area in a clean river which is good for picnics. The vehicle can be booked privately but on a first come first served basis so do contact us in advance.

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 with 24/7 electricity these rooms are not considered ‘luxury’. They are perfectly clean and comfortable though. 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. We provide a bar of palm oil based soap but do bring your own biodegradable toiletries as well.

Meals: Full board

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Clouded Leopard, Deramokot Reserve

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Deramokot Reserve with accommodation aerial view

Day 6 - 7: Kinabatangan River

Time for morning birding before breakfast and check out by 9am. You will say farewell to the AA Borneo guide who stays at Deramakot all the time and then there is a 2 hour drive to the river village of Sukau,

Sukau was the first village on the Kinabatangan River to develop nature tourism and is now a busy hub of lodges and homestays. We will be using the Borneo Nature Lodge on the river for accommodation and they also provide in-house wildlife guides.

The afternoon boat safaris begins at 4.30pm with dinner at 7.00pm. The dawn chorus of birds and insects and animals is the start of the morning boat safari at around 6.30am. During the day and at night time there are walks in the jungle. Longer river trips are possible, especially to try and view the rare Borneo pygmy elephants, please contact us for more information about this.

Meals: Full board

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Maroon Langur


Day 8: Depart or next destination

Following breakfast, transfer 2 hours to Sandakan airport for departure. The transfer is normally after breakfast and a nature walk, so expect to be back in Sandakan for late morning if you are booking outbound flights.

We have a number of other add-on options to this holiday including a visit to the nearby islands or staying at another lodge like the Kawag Nature Lodge (pictured below) in Danum Conservation Area or a visit to the Tabin Nature Reserve. These can be seen on the Extras tab on this page and are on offer when you book your trip.

Meals: Breakfast only

Kawag Nature Lodge view.jpg
Kawag Nature Lodge in Danum Valley is accessible from Lahad Datu so you would need to take a short flight from Sandakan to meet up with the minibus and the 2 hr transfer to the lodge.

Borneo Wildlife Tour cost £1775.00

This price is based on a minimum of 2 people travelling. Single person supplement for the main tour is £345.00 and there is a discounted rate for more than 4 people of £1575.00 per person.

Please do email us first before booking so we can check availability, especially if you are booking as an individual and would want to join a group.

There are a number of additional tours to extend your stay which you can find on the Extras tab and will be offered during the booking process.


  • Accommodation throughout the trip based on twin/double sharing:
  • All meals listed in the itinerary (B,L,D)
  • 4x4 safari vehicle for up to seven people in Deramakot for up to seven hours per day/night
  • Minibus or car transport for transfers
  • Park permits
  • Trip leader for each section of the trip (note the leader will be different for each section of the trip, if you would like a single trip leader throughout then this will be an additional cost). note that there is no wildlife guide provided on the first night in Sandakan.
  • Professional wildlife guide for visiting Deramokot Reserve on the basis of sharing a guide with other people.
  • 6% service tax paid only for hotel accommodation
  • 6% sales tax for all holiday expenses


  • Flights to Sandakan, east Sabah (start and end of trip)
  • Lunches and dinners not listed in the itinerary
  • Personal Travel Insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Visa - please check regulations here. (UK nationals do not need a visa to travel to Malaysia)
  • Hotel tax of 10RM (~£2.50) per night paid in cash at check in (only for hotel and lodge accommodation)

Adventure Alternative Borneo has offices in Kota Kinabalu and in Kuching and a full complement of eighteen 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.