Primeval Rainforests, Endangered Orangutans, Snorkeling on a Tropical Island


From lush primary rainforest and misty mountains to pristine coral reefs and mangrove forests at the edge of the sea, Borneo is a land of incredible biodiversity. On this fascinating expedition, we’ll journey through extraordinary ecosystems that shelter more than 1,200 species of orchids and 400 species of birds, and search for unique wildlife including orangutans, pygmy elephants, and cloud leopards. Daily activities bring us deep into limestone caves, high in the treetop canopies, and along the Kinabatangan River. We’ll also enjoy visits with conservation experts to learn about their work with orangutans and meet some of Borneo’s fascinating indigenous people. At journey’s end, we cap off our adventure with world-class snorkeling right from our beachfront chalets.

Itinerary at a Glance

Days 1-2
Kota Kinabalu / Sepilok Forest Reserve

From Kota Kinabalu, we head to Sepilok Forest Reserve, habitat of the endangered orangutan. We’ll visit with the experts who are reintroducing injured and orphaned orangutans back into the wild, and then set out at sunset for a canopy boardwalk high in the trees. Our lodge is nestled deep in the forest reserve, granting us fantastic access to this amazing bounty of wildlife.

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Days 3-6
Kinabatangan Wetlands / Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Journeying upriver on the 350-mile-long Kinabatangan River, we’ll keep an eye out for pygmy elephants, silver leaf langurs, and other tree-dwelling rainforest animals during river cruises at dawn and dusk. Our explorations in Tabin Wildlife Reserve find us on fascinating forest walks, with a stop at the limestone Gomantong caves and one of Tabin’s “mud volcanoes,” where a vast array of species can be spotted.

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Days 7-13
Danum Valley Conservation Area / Mataking Island

In the Danum Valley, we’ll enjoy forest canopy walks and guided night hikes amid bioluminescent fungi. Resident species include the Sumatran rhino, endemic spectacled flowerpecker, and Borneo’s beloved mouse deer. The snorkeling is out of this world on Mataking Island, and we’ll have the opportunity to explore the teeming reefs, pristine islands, and the Bajau Laut sea gypsies of Tun Sakaran Marine Park, with their rainbow-colored boats. Fly to Kota Kinabalu for a final overnight, and depart on Day 13.

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See Borneo’s extravagant wildlife including the endangered Bornean orangutan
Explore the Danum Valley’s primary rainforest
Visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and the remote Tabin Wildlife Reserve
Cruise the Kinabatangan River by boat at dawn and dusk, on the lookout for riverine birds and wild proboscis monkeys
Snorkel the fabulous coral reefs at Mataking Island


Length: 13 days
Cost From: $8195  
Arrive: Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia
Depart: Kota Kinabalu, Borneo, Malaysia
Lodging: 8 nights lodges, 2 nights beachfront chalet, 2 nights hotel
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Cultural Adventures, Wildlife & Natural History
Trip Level:

Easy nature walks and light hikes, river excursions by boat, optional snorkeling

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