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Best Of Borneo

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highlights
  • One of the last remaining truly wild places on earth, Borneo offers rare treats for the nature lover – see Orangutans at the Semenggoh Sanctuary and the quirky proboscis monkeys in Bako National Park
  • Discover the colourful history of the Iban people and spend the night in a traditional longhouse with a local family
  • Explore one of the world’s largest cave networks and witness a sunset hunting exodus of millions of bats, twisting through the sky like a plume of black smoke in Gunung Mulu National Park
  • Follow in the infamous footsteps of tribal warriors on a trek through wild, dense jungle on the Headhunters’ Trail
The Best of Borneo tour starts in Kuching and ends in Kota Kinabalu. The Best of Borneo is a Wildlife tour that takes 21 days taking you from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu and through other destinations in Asia.

Imagine a place that is spiritual and wild, colourful and mysterious, and full of tantalising secrets - this is beautiful Borneo. From the steamy jungles of Mulu National Park and the secluded beaches of Turtle Island, to the graceful orangutans at Sepilok and small villages nestled in the shadow of Mt Kinabalu, Borneo is a true gem of South East Asia. Experience captivating sunsets, be welcomed on homestays, travel along scenic trails, laze on tropical beaches and see an abundance of wildlife - this is a tour to remember forever.
Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia. Kuching, meaning 'cat' in Malay, is arguably the most pleasant city in Malaysian Borneo. It was home to the infamous White Raja of Sarawak, whose mysterious rule in this remote corner of the world sparked the imagination of many people who dreamt of becoming royalty. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm, which you can find details about at the hotel’s reception. In any free time before the meeting, check out this cosmopolitan city rich in architecture, where the waterfront houses a wealth of curious shops and local vegetable, spice and fish markets. This city of skyscrapers sitting near lush green jungle is easily walked around, so maybe relish the mellow vibe and head out with your new travel companions to try some local dishes like Sarawak Laksa and Kolok mee.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Kuching - Sarawak Cultural Village
Hop in a private van to the fishing village of Kampung Bako (approximately 1 hour), then a local boat up the coast to Bako National Park (approximately 20 minutes). Bako is the oldest national park in Sarawak and features rainforest, abundant wildlife, jungle streams, waterfalls, interesting plant life, secluded beaches and trekking trails. Millions of years of erosion formed a coastline of steep cliffs, rocky headlands and stretches of white, sandy bays. Waves have carved the cliffs into fantastically shaped sea arches and sea-stacks, with coloured patterns formed by iron deposits. The many jungle trails in Bako offer an insight into the island's botanical diversity. Weather permitting, you’ll take a leader-led walk to the beautiful beach at Telok Pandan Kecil (5 kilometres, approximately 3 hours return). The trail climbs through the forest before emerging onto an open plateau covered in scrub, from where curious pitcher plants can sometimes be seen. It can be a hot, but always rewarding hike. For those looking for a longer (or shorter) hike, you are free to explore as many of the 18 different trails as you like. Whatever your plan, check with the ranger for the best time to spy the quirky proboscis monkeys up in the trees. In the evening, you’ll take a night walk, a rare chance to experience the jungle in a different light.

Notes: You’ll stay in basic National Park lodgings – fan cooled, multi shared rooms. Most visitors will only come to Bako on a day trip, so after 4pm you’ll have the beach to yourselves at a prime time for wildlife spotting and spectacular sunsets. This is the best time to be at Bako National Park, and why we prefer to stay overnight. Even if the accommodation is basic, it's worth it for this experience!
Accommodation
  • Dormitory
Optional Activities
  • Dusun Museum in Tanak Nabalu
After an optional, invigorating morning hike, farewell the jungle and return to Bako Village by boat (it may be necessary to depart the park earlier or later subject to weather conditions). Then travel by private minivan back to Kuching (approximately 1 hour). Later you will transfer to the Semenggoh Orangutan Sanctuary – a government-funded rehabilitation centre set in lush surrounds – on the way. The centre was set up to help re-introduce these wonderful creatures back into the wild after a life of domestication or having been orphaned. Head into the jungle via a walkway, where from a viewing platform you can watch and photograph the orangutans as they swing into view and eat the supplementary diet of bananas and milk that is laid out for them twice a day. Take some time to savour the special moments in these animals’ company. Human contact must be kept to a minimum and it's essential that you follow your leader's instructions. Afterwards, return to Kuching and the hotel, where you can freshen up from the heat. This evening perhaps mosey down to the riverbank and watch tambang ferries glide by, visit Sarawak Museum (one of the most popular attractions here), or head out to one of the many Chinese-influenced hawker markets for dinner and experience the range of local seafood.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Urang Sarawak Exhibition - Free
Fly to Mulu via Miri, sending your large bag on to Limbang and packing a day bag with the essentials for the next four days. When you arrive in Mulu, head into the heart of one of the most spectacular national parks in Asia – Gunung Mulu National Park. Transfer the short distance to Mulu HQ (2 kilometres) where you’ll stay for the next 2 nights. Your leader will go through some of the options for your free time here. You can take to the some of the self-guided trails around the park, or to the treetops on the world’s longest tree based canopy walkway. Or maybe simply kick back with a book and enjoy the sounds of the nearby jungle. Later there is the chance of an optional night walk to search for some weird and wonderful insects and reptiles. Tonight you’ll stay in the park headquarters, which has its own restaurant and Information Centre. Accommodation is multishare rooms with private bathroom.
Accommodation
  • Cabin (multishare)
Today you have a free morning to explore or have a sleep in. Spend the afternoon strolling the walkways of this 180-million-year-old rainforest, and then catch the sunset flight of the bats at Deer Cave. The World Heritage-listed park has absolutely spectacular limestone geology, with enormous caves, vast cave networks, rock pinnacles, cliffs and gorges. In fact, its system of caves is the largest known in the world, formed when surface water worked its way through the rock, carving gigantic passages through the bedrock. Deer Cave has one of the single largest cave passages in the world, 2.2 kilometres long and 220 metres tall at its highest point. Before it was part of the park the cave was a well-known hunting ground for deer, who were attracted to the pools of salty water running off the heaps of guano. The guano comes from the millions of bats who call the cave home, and at dusk there’s a mass exodus as they emerge for their nightly feeding, like a seemingly endless black plume of smoke twisting across the sky. In nearby Lang cave you can appreciate the work that the water does on the limestone, sculpting waves on the ceiling, drawing stalagmites, columns and stalactites.
Accommodation
  • Cabin (multishare)
Leave Park HQ behind and head into the jungle. Take boats for around 30 minutes downriver to the amazing Clearwater and Wind caves, which contain Asia’s longest underwater river. The Clearwater cave system runs for 107 kilometres, 75 of which have been explored. The system gets its name from the bright jungle pool at the base of the steps that lead up to the cave mouth. Wind Cave draws a cooling breeze through its lengths and features some of Gunung Mulu’s best cave formations, while Clearwater is covered in a species of bright green plant that is unique to the park and offers a real opportunity to see the water at work on the rock. Afterwards, take a longboat downriver before disembarking to hike through undisturbed jungle to Camp 5, nestled at the end of Melinau Gorge (approximately 8.5 kilometres). During dry season, the boats may need to be pushed over certain sections of the river, so it is advisable to wear strap on sandals or shoes that can get wet. At Camp 5 you will sleep in these wonderful surrounds, on mats on raised open-air platforms in a mixed gender dormitory, with shared bathroom facilities and cold water showers. Bedding is not provided so bring your own sleeping sheet and a warm layer for cool nights. Mosquito nets are available to rent for a small charge. Please be aware that at certain times of the year there can be many bees around Camp 5.
Accommodation
  • Dormitory
Today you’ll tackle the infamous Headhunters' trail. Located in an isolated area of the Bornean jungle, this 11.3 kilometre (approximately 5 hour) trail takes its name from its historical role as the route taken by warring parties between the Tutoh and Limbang rivers. The trek is through dense jungle along a well-defined, mainly flat track, although the way can be muddy during the rainy season. You'll also have to cross some streams by rope bridges, wooden walkways, logs or by getting your feet wet as you wade through. You’ll be surrounded by stunningly diverse flora, massive bird-filled trees, and the magical sounds of the forest – a hornbill flapping its wings, the cries of monkeys, and the pulse of cicadas and crickets. Then you’ll take a boat from Kuala Trekian to Kuala Medamit, a journey of around 4 hours. Depending on how much rainfall there’s been, you may be required to help push the boat over shallow parts of the river and there will be a stop at a ranger station for lunch along the way. It’s a long, challenging and rewarding day. Spend the evening at a longhouse right beside the river, where you’ll reunite with your luggage. Freshen up on arrival and enjoy dinner with the host family as well as a cultural performance once the meal is over.
Accommodation
  • Homestay
Farewell your hosts and depart the longhouse to travel by private vehicle to Limbang (approx. one hour). From here, catch a ferry to Labuan Island (approx. 2-2.5 hours) where you’ll have a free afternoon and evening at a beach resort. Relax and recover after yesterday’s trek, chilling out with a cold drink and a good book. Maybe head to Layang-layang beach for a swim and the sunset.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Labuan was occupied by Japanese forces during WWII and this morning you’ll have time to visit the Labuan War Memorial, where British, Australian, New Zealand, Indian, Malay and local soldiers are buried. Take some free time to wonder around town then catch the afternoon ferry to Kota Kinabalu (approx. 2.5 to 3 hours), the capital of Sabah and a modern metropolis that rebounded from multiple bombings during WWII. Kota Kinabalu has interesting museums to explore (the Sabah State Museum is a great place to immerse yourself in its backstory), markets to browse, and the surrounding beaches and islands are perfect for swimming or snorkelling. Tonight, perhaps head out to the night market for a grilled fresh seafood.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Spend a free day in Kota Kinabalu. You could visit the Mari Mari Cultural Village, or perhaps explore the islands off Kota Kinabalu, excellent for swimming and snorkelling. There are plenty of ferries heading out and each island has a different vibe, many with small hikes and some with restaurants and resorts on them. As this is a combination trip, you may be joined today by new travellers, who will have a welcome meeting at 6 pm as you did on your first night.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Kota Kinabalu - Sabah Museum entrance fee - MYR 15
  • Kota Kinabalu - Tunku Abdul National Marine Park Snorkeling Trip from Jesselton Jetty - MYR 155
Today you will travel by minivan to a Dusun village, nestled amid picturesque hills in the shadow of imposing Mt Kinabalu, the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea (approximately 2 hours). The Dusun people, the ethnic group of our guides on Mt Kinabalu, are wonderfully warm and friendly people, and while here you'll have the opportunity to learn about their way of life and spend a night in a village. Depending on the weather, you will then take a trek through the surrounding fruit and rubber plantations. Then your leader can point you in the direction of a local river for a great way to cool off. To ensure we do not disrupt the homestay community we split up our groups to stay in a couple of different family homes. All the homes are in waking distance from each other and you usually have a couple of group members with you at each home. Tonight you'll also get to watch a cultural performance in the village.
Accommodation
  • Homestay
This morning say goodbye to your new friends from the village and travel into the unspoiled wilderness of the World Heritage-listed Kinabalu National Park (approximately 1 hour). Take some time to enjoy the surroundings and prepare for the climb. There are nature trails through the lowland tropical forest and a Botanic Garden to explore. Otherwise, just relax in the afternoon and take in the cooler clime. Before you depart, your leader will provide a safety briefing about the climb and assist with any last minute questions. Stay overnight at Kinabalu Park in a lodge with shared bathroom. Nestled among the lowland forests, this is the perfect place to chill-out before the climb.
Accommodation
  • Lodge
Optional Activities
  • Kundasang - War Memorial
Rise early the next day to begin the climb up Mt Kinabalu. It's not an easy walk, uphill all the way, and you’ll need to be prepared to tackle a trail made up of steep steps that vary considerably in size. Altitude can also affect you, regardless of your fitness level, and it will certainly slow you down a fair bit (it's important that you educate yourself about the dangers of altitude sickness and its symptoms). Ensure you have warm layers, waterproof gloves, hat, head torch, waterproof jacket and good walking shoes/boots. The top of the mountain can be deceptively cold. However, there's absolutely no rush so take your time and enjoy the pristine environment - this is an area that boasts a remarkable variety of plant life, including some 1,000 species of orchid and the extraordinary carnivorous pitcher plant. You will cover 6 kilometres on the first day (approximately 4-6 hours) and stop at a resthouse near Laban Rata (3,272 metres) for the night. The resthouses have very basic, mixed gender, multishare bunk rooms, and additional blankets can be hired from the park office. Go to bed early, so you're ready for the final climb in the morning.
Accommodation
  • Hostel
Rise around 2am in order to catch the sunrise at the summit of Mt Kinabalu (4,095 metres). It's difficult walking, but you'll feel a huge sense of achievement. Also, the view from the summit is incredible - the jungles of Borneo in one direction, the South China Sea in the other, making every inch of the climb worthwhile. Be warned though, the temperature can change very quickly up on the mountain, so bring clothes for all weather conditions. The climb from Laban Rata to the summit takes 2-4 hours and, due to the altitude, can be hard going even for the fit. The first section from Laban Rata is along man made steps passing through vegetation. Once clear of the treeline you will be walking up a series of wooden steps all the way to the final check point at Sayat Sayat. The window for climbing the summit trail is quite narrow so Climbers need to reach Sayat Sayat check point by 6am to continue and must listen to the instructions of the mountain guide and leader - their decision is final when it comes to safety on the mountain. After Sayat Sayat there is a rope marking the trail all the way to the summit Peak. Waterproof gloves are recommended to protect your hands from rope burn (as well as to keep them warm). After witnessing the morning sunrise, return to Laban Rata for a well-earned breakfast, and then descend the mountain (approximately 3-6 hours) to enjoy a rewarding lunch at the bottom. Once everyone is down from the mountain you will continue on to Poring Hot Springs by bus (approximately 1 hour). Tomorrow you will be able to soothe your mountain-weary limbs in pools developed by the Japanese during World War II, where warm sulphur water - believed to have healing properties for the skin - is piped into several open-air baths. Depending on the time of year it might be possible to see the Raffelsia flower nearby. Rafflesia’s are the world’s largest flower and can grow up to 1 metre in size! Tonight you will stay at a hostel located right inside the springs complex itself, with a light and airy lounge room for you to relax in. The hostel has bunk beds, multiple beds and the bathroom is shared, there are no double beds.
Accommodation
  • Hostel
Poring Hot Springs is an ideal place to kick back for a day to recuperate after the Mountain climb. There are a number of optional activities from which to choose. There are graded paths leading through rich lowland forest to mountain rivers, waterfalls and bat caves - with birds and other wildlife often seen along the trail. A walkway in the tree canopy provides magnificent views or there's a visit the enchanting butterfly farm. You can choose to trek to the lovely Laganan Falls or just laze about in the hot and cold pools.
Accommodation
  • Hostel
Optional Activities
  • Poring Hot Springs - Butterfly Farm - MYR 5
  • Poring Hot Springs - Canopy Walk - MYR 5
  • Poring Hot Springs - Orchid Conservation Centre - MYR 15
Today, journey by private bus into the steamy rainforest to Bilit, a small village on the banks of the Kinabatangan River (approximately 5 hours). Take a short boat tide to the comfortable jungle lodge where you’ll spend the night. The lodge is located directly on the river and is a good place to spot wildlife. In the early evening as the sun sets, head out by motorised boat in search of wildlife such as macaques, Orangutan, proboscis monkeys and, if you’re lucky, spot some pygmy elephants. In the evening take a night walk in search of the western tarsier. Rubber boots and leech socks are available to hire. The lodge tonight is comfortable with private bathrooms.
Accommodation
  • Jungle Lodge
Today take an early morning cruise in search of wildlife. After breakfast, say goodbye to the Jungle Lodge and hit the road in a private mini van to the coastal city of Sandakan (approximately 3 hours). Along the way there’s the option to stop at the Gomantong caves (additional entrance fee). The caves are renowned for their valuable swiftlet nests, which are edible and harvested for bird's nest soup. Birds' nest collection is an ancient tradition, but nowadays locals must have licenses to climb to the roof of the caves and collect the nests, and penalties are imposed on unlicensed collectors. The nests are particularly prized in Chinese culture due to their rarity, and supposedly high nutritional value and exquisite flavour. This stop is also a great chance to spot orangutans swinging among the trees. Arrive in the busy city of Sandakan and see the strong Cantonese influence, evident in the lively harbourside market, the many Chinese temples and the local cuisine. Here there is free time to catch up on laundry and banking as well as to explore the city.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Optional Activities
  • Sukau - Gomantong Caves - MYR 30
  • Sandakan - Agnes Keith House - MYR 15
  • Sandakan - St Micheals and All Angels Church - MYR 10
  • Sandakan - Puu Jih Shih Chinese Temple - Free - MYR 10
This morning, leave your large bags at the hotel and walk 15 minutes to a nearby jetty. Travel by speedboat, past small fishing villages and bamboo fish traps, to Turtle Island Marine Park (approximately 1 hour), where green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs every night of the year. In the afternoon, there's time for swimming, snorkelling or some quality time lazing about on the beach of this tropical island. Snorkelling gear is available for hire. In the evening, be touched by the sight of giant green turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs under the moonlight, and watch the researchers as they release protected hatchlings and guide them in their frantic dash to the ocean. It's a moving experience that makes you think more than twice about trying illegally traded turtle egg delicacies. Beware that this is a very delicate environment and you must follow instructions from your leader and the local rangers to ensure minimal impact on the turtles. You will spend the night on the island.
Accommodation
  • Chalet
Optional Activities
  • Turtle Island - snorkel hire
After breakfast, return to the mainland (approximately 1 hours), collect your bags, and continue by minibus to a guesthouse located near the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (approximately 45 minutes). The centre was set up to help re-introduce these wonderful creatures back into the wild after a life of domestication or having been orphaned. From the viewing platform, you can watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view and eat the supplementary diet of bananas and milk that is laid out for them twice a day. Human contact must be kept to a minimum and it's essential that you follow the instructions of the park, as directed by your leader. Also included is a new nursery where you can view young orangutans as they learn how to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym. The viewing area is behind one-way glass so as to not disturb the animals. To see more of Borneo’s creatures there’s the option to visit the newly opened Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center. Here rescued Sun Bears that have spent many years mistreated and locked away in cages are cared for, with hopes of rehabilitation and reintroduction into the wild. There’s also the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary where you can watch up close the amazing bachelor proboscis lazing and feeding - an experience that can only be found in Borneo. A five minutes walk from your guesthouse is the Rainforest Discovery Centre, which also has a 147-metre long, 28-metre high canopy walkway with spectacular views of rainforest giants. Your guesthouse is located about 10 minutes walk from the rehabilitation centre.
Accommodation
  • Resort
Optional Activities
  • Labuk Bay - Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary (including transport) - MYR 120
  • Sepilok - Rainforest Discovery Centre - MYR 15
  • Sepilok - Bornean Sun Bear Centre - MYR 30
  • Sepilok - Night walk - MYR 50
In the morning get some insight into the city's past at the emotive War Memorial, built on the site of a Japanese POW camp. This site also marks the starting point of the tragic Sandakan Death Marches, on which 2,400 POWs were forced to walk through the jungles of Borneo. By the end of the march, only 6 Australians survived, and only because they had escaped. We then transfer to Sandakan airport and fly to Kota Kinabalu (approximately 1 hour). The flight usually gets back in the afternoon, so the rest of the day is free for your own activities. Do some last minute shopping at the large shopping centres or take a wander down to the night market to pick up something more local. You’ll end this colourful Sabah Adventure with an optional final group meal.
Accommodation
  • Hotel
Your Sabah adventure comes to an end today. There are no activities planned and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. If you are staying in Kota Kinabalu longer, then there are some additional activities that your leader can assist with booking. It’s best to pre book these activities with your leader on Day 1. There’s a scuba dive trip from Manukan Island to see the wonderful underwater world of Borneo, or an optional fun, interactive and educational visit to Mari Mari Cultural Village to see how indigenous ethnic groups of Borneo used to live.

Please also remember Most Scuba Diving companies would recommend you don't fly for at least 24 hours after your last scuba dive.
Optional Activities
  • Kota Kinabalu - Mari Mari Cultural Village - MYR 180
  • Kota Kinabalu - Tunku Abdul Marine Park Scuba diving 2 dives - MYR 335
  • Kota Kinabalu - Tunku Abdul National Marine Park Snorkeling Trip from Jesselton Jetty - MYR 155
  • Kota Kinabalu - Cycling day trip (min 2 passengers) - MYR 180
what’s included
Accommodation
  • Hotel (7 nights), Dormitory/multi share (7 nights), Homestay (2 nights), Chalet (3 nights), Lodge (1 night)
Meals
  • 17 Breakfast, 7 Lunch, 7 Dinner
Transport
  • 4x4 , Speed boat , Private Mini van , Ferry , Longtail boat , Plane , Taxi
Included Activities
  • Bako National Park
  • Bako NP - Night walk
  • Kuching - Semengohh Orangutan Sanctuary
  • Mulu National Park
  • Mulu NP - Deer & Lang Caves
  • Mulu NP - Wind & Clearwater Caves
  • Mulu NP - Guided trek along Headhunters' Trails
  • Mulu NP - Longboat ride along the Melinau & Terikan Rivers
  • Dusun Village - Guided village walk
  • Dusun Village - Cultural performance
  • Mt Kinabalu climb
  • Kinabatangan River - Night jungle walk
  • Kinabatangan River - Sunset wildlife boat trip
  • Kinabatangan River - Dawn wildlife cruise
  • Turtle Island - National Park
  • Sepilok - Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
  • Sandakan - War Memorial
what’s excluded
  • International Flights
  • Any international flights to Kuching and from Kota Kinabalu are not included in this price. We always recommend that you arrive 1 day prior to your tour starting date.
  • Travel Insurance
  • Travel insurance is not included in this Best of Borneo tour. Travel insurance is mandatory to buy. We recommend purchasing it from World Nomads.
Tour details
Booking Type Instant Booking  
Duration 21 days
Tour Type Group Tour - Max 16 participants
guiding method Live guide/instructor
Guide Language English
Starts/Ends Kuching/ Kota Kinabalu
Get a PDF file with detailed trip information: Download Trip Notes for Best of Borneo
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Good to know
Payment

A deposit of 400 USD is required to confirm this tour. The remaining balance will be charged 57 days before departure. For any departures within 22 July 2019 full payment is required.

Travel Insurance

The Best of Borneo tour requires that you have adequate and valid travel insurance covering medical and personal accidents, including repatriation costs and emergency evacuation. We recommend using World Nomads' travel insurance.

Visa

For this Best of Borneo tour getting the required visa(s) is the responsibility for each individual traveller, as visa requirements vary depending on your nationality. We recommend to check with your local embassies representing the countries that you are travelling to, as part of this itinerary.

CancellationNo additional cancellation fees apply for this Best of Borneo tour. You can cancel the tour up to 58 days prior departure and avoid paying the full amount, but your deposit paid is non-refundable. No refund applies for cancellations within 57 days of departure.
Trip Details
  • Last modified (date)

    22 May 2019

  • Trip title

    Best of Borneo

  • Trip code

    TMSXC

  • Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019

  • Introduction

    Imagine a place that is spiritual and wild, colourful and mysterious, and full of tantalising secrets - this is beautiful Borneo. From the steamy jungles of Mulu National Park and the secluded beaches of Turtle Island, to the graceful orangutans at Sepilok and small villages nestled in the shadow of Mt Kinabalu, Borneo is a true gem of South East Asia. Experience captivating sunsets, be welcomed on homestays, travel along scenic trails, laze on tropical beaches and see an abundance of wildlife - this is a tour to remember forever.

  • Style

    Original

  • Themes

    Explorer,Wildlife

  • Transport

    4x4,Speed boat,Private Mini van,Ferry,Longtail boat,Plane,Taxi

  • Physical Rating

    4

  • Joining point description

    The Lime tree hotel is in a great location right in the city center, close to China town and less than a 10 minute walk to the Riverside waterfront. There is plenty of restaurants, cafes and shopping centers all within walking distance. The hotel offers a cafe, rooftop lounge, 24 hour reception and all rooms have private bathrooms, TV's and Internet access.

  • Joining point instructions

    An arrival transfer is available to pre book - please let us know at least 14 days prior to departure if you wish to have this service provided.

    On arrival in Kuching airport if you cannot locate your arrival transfer please call our local operator Stanley on +62 19-819-4464, +62 019-8888-214
    If your flight number has changed or your flight is delayed please can you call Stanley to let him know that your new flight number/arrival time

    Alternatively you can catch a taxi approx USD17 and takes roughly 15 minutes depending on traffic.

  • Finish point description

    Centrally located in down-town Kota Kinabalu, rooms are equipped with private en suite, TV, AC, phone, in room safe, tea/coffee making facilities, the hotel also provides a restaurant, free wi-fi internet access & 24 hour front desk.

  • Finish point instructions

    If you have a transfer to the Kota Kinabalu Airport your transfer driver will collect you from your Guesthouse 3 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the hotel / guesthouse reception to call our transfer operator Vision Transport on their 24 hour number on +60 16 818 6890 or +60 13 8819 883. Your group leader will reconfirm this with you before departing

  • Group leader

    All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

    Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

  • Visas

    As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required.
    Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

    MALAYSIA:
    Most nationalities do not need visas to visit Malaysia as a tourist for up to three months. Please check with your relevant Malaysian embassy or consulate.

  • Is this trip right for you

    It’s best to pack light for this trip. There is a strict 15 kg maximum luggage limit on the included internal flights. Excess luggage will incur extra fees to the traveller.

    A small to medium size day backpack is required for the time in Mulu NP and on the Headhunters Trail. Your main pack will be forwarded on, so there will be days when you don’t have access to it. Pack light and smart.

    This trip includes a number of wonderful long walks through forest and jungle, especially the 11.5 kilometre Headhunters’ Trail, so a good level of fitness is required.

    The Mt Kinabalu trek is very challenging, including an altitude of more than 2,800 metres and an early morning to summit in the dark, so we recommend a good level of fitness to be able to enjoy this unforgettable climb.

    We recommend packing specific items for this trip so please take a look at the ‘what to take’ section of the trip notes.

    You will get to experience a wide range of accommodation types on this trip – some dormitory rooms in hostels, a homestay, guesthouses, jungle lodge and hotels. Some may be a little more basic than our standard hotels, but their unique location and close proximity to wildlife is what makes them special.

  • Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

  • Money matters

    SPENDING MONEY:
    When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

    We recommend USD530 for meals not included.

    MALAYSIA
    The official currency of Malaysia is the Ringgit (MYR).The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency is by ATM. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, clean bills in small denominations are most useful.

    DEPARTURE TAX
    All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

    CONTINGENCY FUNDS:
    We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

    TIPPING
    If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.

    Optional Tipping Kitty:
    On Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips for drivers, local guides, and hotel staff (excludes restaurant tips). The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent which can be checked at any time, and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty at your own discretion, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader.

    As this trip is a combination trip the optional tipping kitty will be divided into 2 parts.
    In Sarawak the optional tipping kitty is: MYR65 per person
    In Sabah the optional tipping kitty is: MYR60 per person

    Your Tour Leader:
    You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.
    Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult

  • Climate and seasonal

    Please note occasionally the summit trail will be closed due to strong winds or heavy rainfall. When this happens no trekkers will be able to summit. This is a safety measure and is enforced by Sabah Parks staff and is beyond Intrepid's control. This can happen at any time of the year including outside of the wet season.

    RAMADAN:
    The month-long Ramadan Festival will start on 5th May 2019-4th June 2020/23rd April 2020 - 23rd May 2020 This is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at all popular tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you definitely need to expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month of Ramadan is a fantastic month to travel in Muslim countries as it offers a chance to witness this fascinating Islamic event and the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken.

    CHINESE NEW YEAR:
    An important 15-day festival for the Malaysian Chinese, based on the lunar calendar in January or February. In 2019, the Year of the Pig is scheduled to be held from 5th of February. In 2020, the Year of the Rat begins from 25th January. This can be a busy time and some transport delays, shop closures and reduced opening hours at some sites may be expected, but there are also many fabulous festivals and rituals to observe during this time, so it's a great time to travel. Although we make all reasonable efforts to avoid disruption a flexible approach from travellers is appreciated if choosing to travel during this time in Malaysia.

  • A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden.

    Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption.

    The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips.

    By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund.

    If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

  • Accommodation notes

    OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

    TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
    Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on our different trips than your own.

    CHECK-IN TIME
    Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

    PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
    If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

  • Transport notes

    TRANSPORT CHANGES
    Please note when the ferry is not operating from Limbang to Labuan we will take a Public bus from Limbang through Brunei to Kota Kinabalu. It will take approx.7 - 8 hours. This includes a lunch stop in Lawas. This is a rare occurrence and your leader will advise you during your trip if there is any changes to your transportation.

  • Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

    SINGLE TRAVELLERS:
    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

  • Accommodation

    Hotel (7 nights),Dormitory/multi share (7 nights),Homestay (2 nights),Chalet (3 nights),Lodge (1 night)

  • Physical preparation

    The Mt Kinabalu climb is quite challenging so the fitter you are the more enjoyable the experience will be. We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trek to its fullest. Please note for those that do not wish to climb Mt Kinabalu you are not obliged to, it is an option to have accommodation arranged and stay at the base of Kinabalu at Park Headquarters. Please advise your agent at the time of booking if you do not wish to climb Mt Kinabalu so that the appropriate arrangements can be made. Please note due to limited availability there may be an additional charge to book this alternative accommodation. The additional charge will be confirmed to you upon your booking request being confirmed and will be collected locally by your leader on day one.

  • Important information

    1. Please provide passport details at time of booking, as these are essential for booking services on this trip.
    2. Strict luggage limits apply. See under the Important notes section of Trip Notes for more information.
    3. A Single Supplement is available on some nights of this trip, please contact your sales agent if you would like to book a single supplement. Due to the type of accommodation we use on this trip, a single supplement is only available on the following nights, Day 1 Kuching, Day 3 Kuching, Day 8 Labuan and Day 9 & 10 Kota Kinabalu, Day 16 Kinabatangan River, Day 17 Sandakan, Day 19 Sepilok and Day 20 Kota Kinabalu.

    Please note for various nationalities in particular Australian, UK, Irish, New Zealand and United States different increased Government travel warnings are currently in place for Eastern Sabah. Please read the Important Notes section of your trip notes for further information.

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