Sabah Discovery

Sabah Discovery

From $ 2,660 AUD


Plunge into a realm full of verdant forests, rambling rivers and endangered wildlife on a trip through Sabah, Borneo’s jungle dreamland. Full of exotic beasts, ancient traditions, tribal villages, wide-eyed orangutans and scruffy sun bears, Sabah is the kind of destination where adventure is hard to miss. Trek through an evergreen plot of Borneo as you climb Mt Kinabalu, learn more about animal rehabilitation at forest sanctuaries and swap stories with village locals – it’s the forest adventure of a lifetime.

Trip Name
Sabah Discovery
Last Updated
  • Experience next-level vistas from the top of Mt Kinabalu climb on a two-day climb that will really get the heart pumping
  • Visits the Orangutan sanctuary to spend some special time in the company of these 'men of the forest'
  • Spend two nights on the Kinabatangan river in a Jungle Lodge and search for wildlife on 3 boat cruises in this rich and unique ecosystem
  • Visit Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary and Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre to see all of Borneos furry creatures.
  • Experience a night in a traditional longhouse amongst the Sabah Tea Plantations
  • This trip is for all animal lovers - Borneo’s tropical rainforests and climate provide the ideal conditions for a wide variety of wildlife to thrive, much of it found nowhere else


Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Essential Trip Information a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. MT KINABALU ALTERNATIVE If you do not wish to climb Mt Kinabalu you can opt to stay the night at the base of the mountain in dormitory accommodation and meet the group the following day when they descend. Please ensure you advise your sales agent at time of booking if you wish to opt out of the climb. 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. Please note any additional activities you choose to do during this time will be at your own expense and can be organised locally, Some include: 1. Guide hire - approx 100MYR - You can hire a guide and walk some of the many trails located at the base of the mountain. 2. Sabah Tea Plantation - approx 80MYR - Visit a tea plantation (approx 20 mins drive), cost only included transfers to and from the plantation www.sabahtea.net 3. Mt Kinabalu Garden - approx 15MYR entry fee - Free guided tour of the gardens 4. War Memorials - approx 40MYR - visit the surrounding war memorials, cost only includes transport. PASSPORT DETAILS Please provide passport details at the time of booking. If we have not received these details at least a 45 days before the departure date of your tour, there is a risk the internal flight (if included on your tour) cannot be booked, and we will not be able to request permits to climb Mt Kinabalu.

Day 1 - Kota Kinabalu
Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. If you arrive early, you can immerse yourself in history of this intriguing city at the Sabah State Museum. You can also visit the Mari Mari Cultural Village, or perhaps explore the islands off Kota Kinabalu, excellent for swimming and snorkelling. Notes: This trip visits places that are at high altitude, and as a result some people can suffer from altitude sickness, regardless of age or physical health. Please see the ‘Health’ section of the trip notes for more important information on this.
Day 2 - Dusun Village
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 traditional accommodation. 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. Your leader will discuss the type of homestay experience with at your group meeting on Day 1. Homestays are a great way to experience local life and we are very fortunate to be able to offer this type of accommodation. Tonight you'll also get to watch a cultural performance in the village.
Day 3 - Mt Kinabalu National Park
This morning say goodbye to your new friends from the village and travel into the unspoilt 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 the park's headquarters in dormitory accommodation with shared facilities. Nestled amongst the lowland forests, this is the perfect place to chill-out before the climb. Notes: We consider the Mt Kinabalu trek to be a huge highlight of the trip. Porters are also available (at extra cost) and are recommended, but if you decide the trek is just not for you, we can provide alternative arrangements if advised at time of booking. Please note that if you decide not to climb the only meal included is breakfast. For more information on the trekking alternative please see the 'Itinerary Disclaimer' section in the trip notes.
Day 4 - Mt Kinabalu National Park
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.
Day 5 - Mt Kinabalu National Park - Ranau
Rise around 2 am 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 Sabah Tea Plantation where we will stay in traditional longhouses for the night.
Day 6 - Kinabatangan River
Today, journey by private bus into the steamy rainforest to Bilet, 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.
Day 7 - Kinabatangan River
Wake up in the lodge to lovely morning views of the Kinabatangan. Today’s adventures put you back along this winding river as you embark on a morning and an afternoon boat cruise to spot more of the region’s chattering wildlife. There’ll be time to take a proper trek through the jungle as well, so make sure you have your camera charged and stay close to your guide as they spot small wildlife around your surrounding lodge.
Day 8 - Sepilok
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. If you aren’t lucky enough to spot any of these playful primates while here, don’t worry! You will stop off at 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. Tonight’s overnight stay in the lush forests of Sepilok puts you next to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre – listen for their calls as the sun dips behind the horizon.
Day 9 - Sepilok
Today’s adventures gets you up, close and personal with some of Sabah’s exciting wildlife as you visit rehabilitation centres for orangutans and the Bornean sun bear. The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre stretches over 43 square kilometres of protected jungle and serves as home to around 80 of these animals – along with the occasional rhino, elephant, gibbon and more. This sanctuary serves as an excellent place to learn more about the orangutan’s plight without interfering with the rehabilitation process, covering such topics as the damage that deforestation, the illegal pet trade and poaching has on their population. A subsequent journey to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre gets you closer to the smallest bear in the world. These fuzzy beasts, characterised by the golden ring of hair that sits under their neck, remain under threat from deforestation and poaching much in the same way that the orangutan does. Wander along a series of viewing platforms to try and spot bears as they climb up trees for food. Keep an eye out for their unusually long tongue, which they use to slurp honey out of beehives. As the evening rolls in, consider taking a guided night walk through Sepilok for more chances to spot orangutans playing in the forest. Otherwise, a journey to the Rainforest Discovery Centre grants a better insight to the environmental education practices of Sabah.
Day 10 - Kota Kinabalu
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). You will stay in a centrally located hotel in Kota Kinabalu. 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.
Day 11 - Kota Kinabalu
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.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type
10-04-201920-04-2019AUD $ 2,660-
17-04-201927-04-2019AUD $ 2,660-
15-05-201925-05-2019AUD $ 2,660-
19-06-201929-06-2019AUD $ 2,660-
17-07-201927-07-2019AUD $ 2,660-
31-07-201910-08-2019AUD $ 2,660-
04-09-201914-09-2019AUD $ 2,660-
18-09-201928-09-2019AUD $ 2,660-
08-04-202018-04-2020AUD $ 2,660-
15-04-202025-04-2020AUD $ 2,660-
13-05-202023-05-2020AUD $ 2,660-
17-06-202027-06-2020AUD $ 2,660-
15-07-202025-07-2020AUD $ 2,660-
29-07-202008-08-2020AUD $ 2,660-
02-09-202012-09-2020AUD $ 2,660-
16-09-202026-09-2020AUD $ 2,660-


Homestay (1 night),Hostel (2 nights),Hotel (2 nights),Jungle Lodge (2 nights),Resort (2 nights),Longhouse (1 night)


Private Mini van,Longtail boat,Plane