Real Borneo

Real Borneo

From $ 1,310 AUD


Travel across the biodiverse Sabah region, immersing yourself in nature and learning about the island’s Indigenous cultures on a 10-day journey through the seldom-travelled-to Borneo. From orangutan encounters and bamboo hut homestays to village trekking and sea snorkelling, you’ll find a nature lover’s paradise! Where else can you spot pygmy elephants on a riverbank one day and see proboscis monkeys the next (not to mention slow lorises, flying foxes and rescued sun bears). Treat yourself to this incredible trip in the shadow of rainforest-clad mountains, on the warm sands of islands and in the middle of the serene jungle.

Trip Name
Real Borneo
Last Updated
  • Get the opportunity to meet our closest redheaded relatives at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and watch these gentle giants as they go about their day.
  • Hike to and from the rural village of Ratau, where you’ll mingle with the locals, take part in a cooking class, learn how to play the Gong and sleep in a traditional bamboo hut.
  • Take not one, not two but three river cruises on the Kinabatangan River to spot local wildlife – look out for pygmy elephants, slow lorises, flying foxes and proboscis monkeys among the teeming birdlife.
  • Take a snorkelling excursion to Pandan Pandan Island, where you’ll have multiple opportunities to dive under the clear waters and look for sea turtles, fish life, colourful corals and rays. Then, kick back on the warm sands and lap up the sun!
  • Meet the rescued sun bears at the Sun Bear Conservation Centre in Sepilok and learn about how this organisation works to rescue, protect, rehabilitate and hopefully reintroduce the sun bears back into the wild after they were mistreated.
  • By travelling on this trip, you’ll directly support our Intrepid Foundation partner, RESPonsible Elephant Conservation Trust (RESPECT). Donations help them educate and engage local communities on the importance of conserving local habits for Borneo Pygmy Elephants.


ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It's important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, political unrest or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. Your group leader or local representative will keep you up to date with any such changes once your trip is underway. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance fees only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your group leader or local representative know you are interested at the Welcome Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and group leader or local representative are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Day 1 - Kota Kinabalu
Selamat datang! Welcome to Borneo. You’ll kick things off in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah’s state capital, with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. If you arrive with time to spare, spend the day exploring this busy city’s bustling markets and learning about the region’s Indigenous cultures at the Sabah Museum. Kota Kinabalu has a great food scene, too, so tonight, maybe grab your new travel companions and eat dinner together at a local restaurant to get better acquainted – your leader will have the best recommendations.
Day 2 - Kiulu Village Trek
This morning after breakfast, you’ll drive to Pukak in Kiulu Valley – a small area in Kiulu named after the bamboo that grows on the riverbanks. This will be the starting point of your trek to Kampung Ratau (Ratau Village), where you’ll spend the night among the locals. After your hike this afternoon, you’ll have the opportunity to participate in cultural activities – learn how to work with beads, join the group for some traditional fishing, take a cooking class to learn how to prepare the local food (which you’ll enjoy later for dinner) and take a Gong (musical instrument) class. In your traditional bamboo hut, you’ll fall asleep to the peaceful sounds of the village and its natural surroundings.
Day 3 - Kiulu Village Trek - Kundasang
This morning, you’ll have breakfast in the village before continuing your trek through rural Kiulu, winding your way towards Lokub. When you arrive, you’ll be treated to a traditional cultural dance and Dusun martial art show over lunch. After, continue by private vehicle to Kundasang, which sits in the shadow of Mount Kinabalu. When you arrive, settle in for a well-deserved rest after your two-day trek or wander the peaceful town to explore the mountain views before dinner.
Day 4 - Sepilok
After breakfast, you’ll drive to Sepilok, on the border of a conserved rainforest and mangrove area known for the orangutan rehabilitation centre. This afternoon, you’ll visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre, Malaysia’s most educational nature park, which features a 620 m long, 28 m high canopy walkway with spectacular views of the giant rainforest trees. At dusk, you’ll meet up with a local ranger and take a guided walk around the grounds – this place comes alive after dark, and you’ll spot plenty of nocturnal birds overhead. Look out for slow lorises, tarsiers and flying squirrels, too! Tonight, you’ll stay in a jungle lodge among lush greenery and untouched nature.
Day 5 - Kinabatangan River
This morning, you'll visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and meet the world’s cutest redheads. These beautiful, quirky creatures will tug on your heartstrings as you watch them going about their daily business (eating bananas and hanging upside down). Swing by the nursery where young orangutans learn to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym and grab a selfie with them if you can! Later, spend some time at the Sun Bear Conservation Centre, where staff rescue and take care of the once-mistreated sun bears with the hopes of rehabilitating and reintroducing them into the wild. Refuel with some lunch and then make the journey to tonight’s jungle lodge near the banks of the Kinabatangan River. When you’ve settled into your lodge, you’ll hit the water for a river cruise. Keep an eye out for wild orangutans, proboscis monkeys and maybe even a few pygmy elephants.
Day 6 - Kinabatangan River
This morning, wake up to the sounds of the jungle and have some breakfast before setting out for your first of two included river cruises today. Keep your eyes peeled, and you might be lucky enough to spot short and long-tail macaques, a variety of birds, including hornbills and kingfishers, crocodiles or reptiles like snakes and frogs. After a spot of lunch, you’ll hit the water again and continue your search along the river’s waters for wildlife and jungle scenery. Tonight, take a night walk with your leader, looking for nocturnal birds, insects and other wildlife that come alive after sunset. You’ll have dinner together at your lodge.
Day 7 - Usukan Cove
After breakfast this morning, leave your jungle oasis and embark on the overland journey to the West Coast of Sabah. This is a long drive, so have your favourite book or travel games ready. Arrive at Usukan Cove – a bay area on the coast of Kota Belud. You’ll spend the night in a lodge, nestled on one of the eight beaches within the cove. Maybe catch the sunset before tonight’s group dinner.
Day 8 - Usukan Cove
This morning, fuel up on breakfast and embark on a day trip to Pandan Pandan Island for a day of snorkelling. When you arrive on the small island, head out on your first snorkelling adventure from the beach and spot colourful fish, sea turtles and sting rays. Your second snorkel will be from the pontoon to get another chance to spot the gorgeous corals and diverse marine wildlife under the water’s edge. Stop at another beach for a group lunch to refuel and then this afternoon, you can relax at the beach and soak in the sun. If you like, you can also head out for another beach snorkelling adventure, before travelling back to your guesthouse in the late afternoon.
Day 9 - Kota Kinabalu
Drag yourself away from the island this morning and make the drive back to Kota Kinabalu. The afternoon's free for you to check out some optional activities – maybe take an interactive and educational visit to Koisaan Cultural Village to see how Indigenous ethnic groups of Borneo used to live. Tonight, maybe head out with your new mates and mark the end of your adventure with a group dinner. Your leader will have some great recommendations for where to go on the waterfront. The nightlife here is also worth exploring, so maybe after dinner go bar hopping and soak up the city after dusk.
Day 10 - Kota Kinabalu
There are no activities today and your Borneo adventure will come to an end. If you’d like to stay longer, just speak to your booking agent.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
14-07-202423-07-2024AUD $ 1,570-
04-08-202413-08-2024AUD $ 1,530-
01-09-202410-09-2024AUD $ 1,545-
18-09-202427-09-2024AUD $ 1,405-
06-10-202415-10-2024AUD $ 1,380-
03-11-202412-11-2024AUD $ 1,355-
29-11-202408-12-2024AUD $ 1,355-
22-12-202431-12-2024AUD $ 1,370-
05-01-202514-01-2025AUD $ 1,395-
09-02-202518-02-2025AUD $ 1,395-
09-03-202518-03-2025AUD $ 1,505-
19-04-202528-04-2025AUD $ 1,505-
17-05-202526-05-2025AUD $ 1,450-
31-05-202509-06-2025AUD $ 1,450-
15-06-202524-06-2025AUD $ 1,450-
29-06-202508-07-2025AUD $ 1,450-
06-07-202515-07-2025AUD $ 1,505-
13-07-202522-07-2025AUD $ 1,505-
20-07-202529-07-2025AUD $ 1,505-
03-08-202512-08-2025AUD $ 1,505-
17-08-202526-08-2025AUD $ 1,505-
31-08-202509-09-2025AUD $ 1,450-
14-09-202523-09-2025AUD $ 1,450-
28-09-202507-10-2025AUD $ 1,450-
19-10-202528-10-2025AUD $ 1,395-
02-11-202511-11-2025AUD $ 1,395-
16-11-202525-11-2025AUD $ 1,395-
30-11-202509-12-2025AUD $ 1,395-
21-12-202530-12-2025AUD $ 1,395-
08-02-202617-02-2026AUD $ 1,310-
08-03-202617-03-2026AUD $ 1,310-
18-04-202627-04-2026AUD $ 1,310-
16-05-202625-05-2026AUD $ 1,310-
14-06-202623-06-2026AUD $ 1,310-
05-07-202614-07-2026AUD $ 1,310-
19-07-202628-07-2026AUD $ 1,310-
16-08-202625-08-2026AUD $ 1,310-
13-09-202622-09-2026AUD $ 1,310-
18-10-202627-10-2026AUD $ 1,310-
20-12-202629-12-2026AUD $ 1,310-


Hotel (2 nights),Hotel (Multi-share) (1 night),Bamboo Hut (1 night),Jungle Lodge (dormitory room) (3 nights),Guesthouse (Multi-share) (2 nights)


Private vehicle,Boat