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.


  • 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.

Day 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 a forest lodge. 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 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 hall.

Day 6-7: Safari on the Kinabatangan River. Cruises early morning and at dusk, forest walks during the day and accommodation in the Last Frontier Boutique Lodge.

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

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.

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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 please contact us.

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.


Bespoke Dates

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.​ After lunch a visit to the Rainforest Discovery Centre or possibly the 3 pm Orangutan feeding, which are both a short walk away.

After dinner 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.

Accommodation in the Sepilok Forest Edge Resort.

Meals: Dinner only

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Standard twin chalet at the Forest Edge Resort


Day 2: Sepilok - orangutans and sun bears

After breakfast visit 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.

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 four years 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 around two hours but these can be extended for 125 ringgit per hour paid in cash. There is also an optional 4x4 drive to a safe swimming area in a clean river which is good for picnics.

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’. 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

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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 and then a 2 hour drive to the river village of Sukau, with a visit to the Gomantong caves enroute. This large cave chamber is famous for its swiftlets and bats and the surrounding jungle is home to  maroon langurs and orangutan.

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 Last Frontier Lodge which has become well known for its cuisine or occasionally Borneo Nature Lodge if availability is tight.

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 and a visit to the nearby village to learn about the local way of life. Longer river trips are possible, especially to try and view the rare Borneo pygmy elephants.

Meals: Full board

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Last Frontier Lodge

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Maroon Langur


Day 8: Depart or next destination

Following breakfast, transfer 2 hours to Sandakan airport for departure. 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

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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 £1645.00

This price is based on a minimum of 2 people travelling. Single person supplement for the main tour is £300.00 and there is a discounted rate for more than 4 people.

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) 
  • Professional wildlife guide for visiting Deramokot Reserve on the basis of sharing a guide with other people.


  • 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


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.