Borneo and the Malaysian and Thai Islands by Land and Sea – Phuket to Kota Kinabalu

Borneo and the Malaysian and Thai Islands by Land and Sea – Phuket to Kota Kinabalu

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Enjoy the stunning west coast of Malaysia and Thailand on a new small-ship adventure cruise. Between the more popular holiday destinations of Phuket and Penang, there’s a medley of smaller islands and villages to explore, each with their own charms – and often far fewer travellers to contend with. Live it up in postcard-perfect Langkawi, choose from leisure and adventure activities in beachside Ao Nang, join in the relaxed pace of local life in Koi Yao Yai, visit waterfalls hidden in the jungle, and use the Andaman Sea as your swimming pool. Then travel to Borneo. With its dense rainforests, tropical coastal islands and mysterious jungle valleys, Borneo is a rare destination these days. It’s a place where you can still encounter nature in its truest form, with a rich variety of colourful and endangered wildlife amidst amazing natural scenery. This trip to the Malaysian state of Sabah and Sarawak takes you face to face with many unique species, including orangutans, proboscis monkeys and hornbills.

Trip Name
Borneo and the Malaysian and Thai Islands by Land and Sea - Phuket to Kota Kinabalu
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  • Wake up each morning to the clear azure waters of the Andaman Sea, which you’re free to swim in right off the back of the boat
  • Spend an evening at an authentic Thai homestay, enjoying home cooked specialties of the region
  • Visit the iconic holiday islands of Penang, Langkawi and Phuket, but also enjoy the natural beauty of Turatao National Park and Koh Yao Yai
  • See Krabi's bizarre and beautiful limestone karst formations from the comfort of your small cruise ship
  • One of the last remaining wild places on earth, Borneo offers a rare treat for the nature lover. It's one of the world's last two remaining homes to the orangutan
  • This year Peregrine adds a new destination to its Borneo adventures, Mulu National Park. Here you can hike through spectacular untouched jungle and visit Asia's longest cave
  • The Kinabatangan River is a bird-lover's paradise. All eight of Borneo's hornbill varieties are commonly spotted here
  • As well visiting the unique endangered sun bears, gain insight into the rehabilitation of primates at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
  • With three internal flights, spend less time travelling and more time taking in the wildlife and natural beauty of your destinations
  • Your 2 night feature stay on the Kinabatangan River is in an eco-resort that doesn't sacrifice the environment or comfort and allows you to wake to the sounds of the jungle


Travelling by sea is a fantastic way to explore, but it brings some challenges when weather conditions are not ideal. The itinerary may be subject to change, based on winds and sea conditions which may render anchorage and landing at some stops difficult. We reserve the right to change the itinerary for the safety of passengers and the ship. Shore excursions are subject to shore and weather conditions and are based on a minimum participation. Each days' schedule will be posted by the cruise co-ordinator listing necessary information such as arrival/departure times, meal times, days activities and other information. This is given as a guideline and is subject to change.

Day 1 - Embarkation in Phuket
Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand. Embarkation takes place between 2 and 4 pm. After meeting your leader and attending a welcome meeting and safety briefing on board, set sail at 5 pm. Enjoy dinner on arrival in Ko Yao Yai, relaxing and taking in the sunset.
Day 2 - Koh Yao Yai to Ao Nang
Climb aboard a songtheaw for a tour with a local guide. Ko Yao Yoi is known for beautiful beaches, friendly Muslim fisherman and diverse birdlife, not to mention some delicious local seafood. We set off in the early afternoon for the short sail to Ao Nang, a lively beachside town in the Krabi province. The night is yours to enjoy – perhaps kick back with a cold drink in one of the local bars. This evening, half of the group will head to Bung Ae House Homestay for an authentic, home-cooked Thai dinner.
Day 3 - Ao Nang
With a full day in Ao Nang, you're free to partake in a range of optional activities. Whip up some local specialties in a Thai cooking class, spot colourful tropical fish on a snorkelling trip, take the adventure to the next level with some diving or rock climbing, unwind with a traditional Thai massage, or make tracks on two wheels to a local waterfall. Another great option is to take a longtail boat to Railay Beach. Alternatively, simply stay on the Panorama II, which can take you around Phang Na bay for some snorkelling and swimming. Tonight, the second group will enjoy the hospitality and delicious Thai food at Bung Ae House.
Day 4 - Koh Rok Noi
Arrive at around 7 am in beautiful Koh Rok Noi, one of many beautiful islands with white sands and blue-green waters against a jungle backdrop. You'll transfer to the island by Zodiac (a motorised inflatable boat). A full day of beach time is on the agenda, so enjoy some snorkelling, kayaking or paddleboarding. Otherwise, relax on shore and take in the postcard-perfect scene. Late tonight, set sail overnight for Tarutao National Park.
Day 5 - Tarutao National Park to Langawi
Head over to Adang Island for some swimming and snorkelling. Set sail in the afternoon for Langkawi. You'll see this is a town that has retained its everyday local life and spectacular natural beauty despite it popularity among travellers. The evening is yours to explore the town as you please, so perhaps dabble in the nightlife.
Day 6 - Langkawi
Join a local guide for a tour of idyllic Langkawi. This includes a visit to the beautiful Telaga Tujuh Waterfalls – a lovely spot to relax and take in the jungle ambience. In the evening, set sail overnight for Penang.
Day 7 - Penang
A leisurely sail brings you to Penang at around midday. Enjoy a delicious and fresh local Malaysian lunch at the market, and split up into smaller groups to join local guides for a walking tour around Penang's old town, taking in the historic shophouses, narrow streets and unique atmosphere of the island. Take a rickshaw back to the ship and enjoy a farewell dinner onboard with fellow travellers.
Day 8 - Penang
Disembark as the adventure comes to an end after breakfast.
Day 9 - Kota Kinabalu
Welcome to Kota Kinabalu, the capital city of Sabah. An arrival airport transfer is included. Please advise your flight details at time of booking so as we can book this transfer for you. There is an important welcome meeting at 6 pm today, which you can find details about at the hotel’s reception. If you have any free time beforehand, perhaps explore this intriguing city that was born between the Borneo jungle and the South China Sea. Modern-day 'KK' is a lively modern metropolis, having recovered from World War II bombings. The Sabah State Museum is a great place to immerse yourself in its backstory.
Day 10 - Mulu National Park
Fly from Kota Kinabalu to Mulu, travelling via Kota Kinabalu. In the late afternoon, visit Deer Cave and Lang Cave, which are reached by following a scenic jungle walk that follows a three-kilometre plank walk which passes through peat swamp, alluvial flats and limestone outcrops. At sunset you will watch the millions of bats fly out of Deer Cave and see the large ring shaped formations they make as they circle higher and higher up the cliff face before moving out across the rain forest in spiraling ribbons. You will want to have your camera handy for this magnificent sight.
Day 11 - Mulu National Park
Spend the day exploring the stalagmites and columns of Clearwater Cave and Wind Cave. Located along the Melinau River, Wind Cave is named for the cool breeze that blows through it- so make sure you pack a jacket. Later, explore the caverns and crags of Clearwater Cave, one of the longest caves in Asia. For lunch, enjoy a simple picnic with your fellow travellers.
Day 12 - Kota Kinabalu
Travel from Mulu to Kota Kinabalu, arriving in KK at 4:30 pm. Enjoy dinner in a local family home, before returning to the Mercure Hotel. 
Day 13 - Kinabatangan River
Fly from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan (approx 50 minute flight) and travel by private mini bus to Kinabatangan River (approx 2 hour road journey) . Your jungle lodge, located beside the river, is ideal for taking in the lush surrounds. At 560 kilometres, the Kinabatangan River is the second longest river in Malaysia. It's also a protected forest reserve, containing some of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Borneo. Later in the afternoon you take a river cruise, hopefully spotting some of the more exotic local creatures. Wild elephants seldom reveal themselves, but crocodiles, macaques, wild orangutan, proboscis monkeys, hornbills and kingfishers are more easily seen. After this short adventure, head back to the lodge to enjoy dinner.
Day 14 - Kinabatangan River
You might awake to the call of a Bornean gibbon, or perhaps a hornbill. Enjoy an early morning cruise through the morning fog as the sun rises, searching for more birds and wildlife. Keep an eye out for long tail macaques and pig tail macaques – ask your leader about the difference. When it's all over, a second river cruise, in the afternoon, will be your last chance to photograph or simply marvel at your surrounds. Dinner tonight will be a BBQ in the open air, beside the river (weather permitting) followed by a Cultural performance by the local Orang Sungai people. Orang Sungai (Malay word for "River people") are a group of indigenous people native to the state of Sabah. There is 32 official tribes in Sabah and the Orang Sungai people live along the banks for the Kinabatangan River.
Day 15 - Sandakan
Travel by private minivan to Sandakan (approx 2 hours). Once the capital of British North Borneo, Sandakan traditionally had strong trading ties with Hong Kong. The Cantonese influence is palpable in the lively harbour-side market, the many Chinese temples and the local cuisine. In the evening travel to the Rainforest Discovery Centre to observe the beautiful red flying squirrels there. These fascinating creatures do not technically fly in the sense birds do, but rather glide from tree to tree with the help of their unique anatomy. With long tails to provide stability, they cover some impressive distances. Afterwards, journey back to your hotel in Sandakan for the evening.
Day 16 - Sandakan
In the morning, visit the orangutans at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view on ropes and vines. It is important not to interrupt the orangutans, so as to aid in their successful re-introduction. A popular section at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, is the outdoor nursery where young orangutans are cared for if born in captivity or when their mothers have been killed. Entry here is included in your admittance. Take the chance to view these young orangutans as they learn how to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym. You also see the unique Sun Bears nearby today. Afterwards, visit the Sandakan War Memorial. Here you will learn about the city's past as you stand on the same ground of the former Japanese POW camp. This site also marks the starting point of the tragic Sandakan Death Marches.
Day 17 - Kota Kinabalu
Catch an early flight to Kota Kinabalu, arriving at 9:25 am. Travel by private bus to visit the intriguing Mari Mari Cultural Village, nestled deep in the countryside. Here you will see how indigenous ethnic groups of Borneo used to live. The trip there should take less than an hour. This is a rare opportunity to see what the culture and lifestyle was like here in a bygone era. Witness first hand how the tribes would cook their meals, ignite flame with bamboo, and use a blowpipe to hunt. It's a fun, interactive and educational experience. Later, enjoy a farewell dinner with the group.
Day 18 - Kota Kinabalu
Say goodbye to your new companions as your trip ends after breakfast today.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type


Small cruise ship (7 nights),Comfortable Hotel (5 nights),Feature stay in Kinabatanhan River Jungle Lodge (2 nights),Resort (2 nights)


Small cruise ship,zodiac,songtheaw,rickshaw,bus,Plane,Private minibus,4WD vehicle,Longtail boat