Itinerary in brief:
- 2 nights Sandakan
- 2 nights Kinabatangan
- 2 nights Danum Valley
Day 1: Arrive Sandakan
On arrival in Sandakan you will be met at the airport and taken to your hotel where you’ll check in for two nights.
Day 2: Sepilok
Enjoy an early breakfast before visiting the central market to see the local produce and fresh seafood being sold. After exploring the market you’ll continue to the Sepilok Orangutan Reserve and at 10am the first feeding of the day occurs, so make sure you have a front row spot to get the best views of these magnificent animals. Later you’ll visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre where you can learn about the plight of these endemic creatures and meet some of the resident bears.
After lunch, you will visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre where you can embark on the Plant Discovery Walk to find out about the medicinal and traditional uses of herbs and leaves. Next, you can stroll along the 87-metre-high canopy walkway, where you can spot colourful birds and maybe even a wild orangutan amongst the rainforest tree line.
Return to your hotel to spend the afternoon at leisure.
Day 3: Sepilok to Kinabatangan
After breakfast, you’ll leave the lodge and travel back into Sandakan. You’ll visit the Labuk Bay Proboscis Sanctuary for the morning feed, a fantastic opportunity to view a troop of these endemic monkeys up close. In Sandakan, you’ll visit the Puu Jih Shih Buddhist Temple which sits atop a steep hill with magnificent views overlooking Sandakan Bay.
In the afternoon, you’ll begin the 2.5-hour journey down the Kinabatangan River. Eight species of hornbills, Bornean pygmy elephants, orangutans and proboscis monkeys make their home on the river, making it one of the most diverse habitats on the planet. On arrival at the river lodge you’ll check in for two nights. Later in the evening you can go with a local guide along the Kinabatangan looking for nocturnal activity.
Day 4: Kinabatangan
The dawn chorus will wake you early today in time to take a cruise to Kelenanap oxbow lake, a haven for animals and plants away from the river ecosystem. After returning to the lodge for breakfast you’ll take a guided tour along the Hornbill boardwalk, learning about the plants around you and looking out for the swooping colourful birds.
Spend your day at leisure enjoying the lodge before heading out on the river later in the day to look for primates – the afternoon is the best time to find them and the light makes for great photos!
Day 5: Kinabatangan to Danum Valley
After breakfast, you’ll travel to the Gomantong Caves. This intricate limestone system is surrounded by a thick rainforest where you might spot a wild orangutan and the two main caves – Black and White Caves – are home to around two million bats as well as a few opportunistic bat-hawks.
Continuing on you’ll begin your journey into the virgin rainforest area of Danum Valley, one of the world’s most complex ecosystems. Around 30km of this 85km journey is on sealed roads, and the last two hours is along a gravel road – it is bumpy but worth the effort!
On arrival at the lodge you’ll check into your hotel for two nights before enjoying a late afternoon walk along the trails and up to the canopy walk, 130 metres up in the trees where you can hear the jungle humming with life. After dinner, you’ll board of the open top 4WD vehicles for an exhilarating night spotlighting tour – you can look out for nocturnal animals including samba deer, civets, leopards and a dizzying array of insects and frogs.
Day 6: Danum Valley
A symphony of sound will wake you today - gibbons calling, birds chirruping and insects buzzing. Taking a packed breakfast, you’ll travel to a 200 year old burial site, known as “Coffin Cliff” where you will see the hanging coffins that the tribes hung from the cliffside to get their loved ones closer to heaven. The end of the trail results in spectacular views over the million year old jungle and on the return walk you can take a refreshing dip in the waterfalls.
This afternoon is at leisure; however, there is a range of optional activities available, such as private trekking, tubing on the Danum River and specialized guided tours. There is also a series of tracks leading around the Canopy Walk that you are free to discover at your leisure. This evening you’ll enter the forest on foot with a guide who will help you identify some tiny species of insects and frogs that usually go unnoticed in the jungle.
Day 7: Depart Borneo
After breakfast you’ll spend your morning at leisure before being transferred to the airport in time for your onwards flight.