Luxury Borneo tour and Kinabatangan River cruise

Trip ideas
Duration (in days): 7

From: Sandakan

To: Lahad Datu



Exc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing) 
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Explore some Borneo highlights and take a Kinabatangan River cruise, whilst staying in luxury lodges nestled deep in the jungle. Starting in the small town of Sandakan you’ll visit several sanctuaries that protect sun bears, proboscis monkeys and the famous orangutans. Moving further into the forest you’ll cruise down the Kinabatangan River, where hornbills swoop through the skies and rare pygmy elephants play on the riverbanks. Walk through the canopy in the Danum Valley before hiking through this virgin rainforest on the lookout for colourful birds, tiny frogs and if you’re lucky, maybe even a wild orangutan gorging on some fruit. This trip will help you discover the best of Borneo’s wildlife in just a week.

This Borneo itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.


  • Watch orangutans and proboscis monkeys at feeding time
  • Spot hornbills in the thick Bornean jungle
  • Cruise the Kinabatangan River on the lookout for pygmy elephants
  • Hike through virgin forest in the Danum Valley
  • Learn about the plants and trees that make up the rainforest



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.



Borneo is wet between November and February but the temperatures remain pretty constant year-round. From May to September the days are generally dry and warm but rain still isn’t unheard of – this is a tropical island after all!

This itinerary is purely a suggestion, and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you

What's included: 

  • Accommodation
  • Transfers and touring as mentioned
  • 6 x breakfasts, 4 x lunches, 4 x dinners

Not included: 

  • Meals not mentioned above
  • Tips and personal expenses


6 nights in luxury standard accommodation.

Hotels in this category include:

  • Sepilok Nature Resort

  • Sukau Rainforest Lodge

  • Borneo Rainforest Lodge


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