A Taste of Sabah

11-Day Sabah Holiday Itinerary - Sandakan to Gaya Island - Borneo

Prices from £1,898 pp

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View day-by-day

Duration12 days / 11 nights (flexible)

ItinerarySandakan - Sepilok - Kinabatangan - Sukau - Tabin NP - Kota Kinabalu - Mount Kinabalu NP - Gaya Island

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Bustling city markets, a wealth of wildlife, lush jungles and sandy shores all await in Sabah. This itinerary covers some of the most famous highlights of East Borneo, to give you a nature-filled two weeks. Starting in Sandakan. You’ll sail down the Kinabatangan, spot orangutans in Sepilok and then hop over to Tabin Nature Reserve for jungle treks to spot monkeys high above in the canopy. Your trip will end on Gaya Island, boasting white sandy beaches, a dense jungle interior and an underwater world filled with colourful fish.

What's included

  • Accommodation – price based on 2 people sharing
  • Breakfast
  • Transport as described
  • Excursions as described
  • Gourmet picnic on Gaya Island
  • Permits

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Location map

Your day-by-day itinerary

Arrival in Sepilok

You’ll start your trip with a flight to Sandakan and as you step into the airport arrivals hall you’ll see your driver carrying a sign with your name on it. He’ll take you on the 30-minute drive to your jungle hotel in Sepilok. This is the starting point for your trip to see the orangutans, and you’ve got a couple of nights here to acclimatise, and if you have the energy, then get your walking shoes on and check out the surrounding jungle.

Arrival in Sepilok

Orangutans and Jungle Boats

Borneo is the land of orangutans, and the very best place to see them and learn all about them is at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. This morning you’ll join a small group and will travel to Sepilok, where a guide will answer any questions you may have about the park’s hairy inhabitants. At feeding time you’ll find yourself at a safe distance, yet incredibly close to the endearing primates. You’ll also stop in at a Sunbear Sanctuary nearby, where you can see these unique, endangered bears. After your visit to Sepilok you’ll climb into a boat and you’ll travel deeper into the jungle, where you’ll spend 2 nights in a wooden lodge on the riverbank.

Visiting the Orangutan Centre

No other spot in Borneo features such a wide variety of wild animals: monkeys, monitor lizards, crocodiles, sunbears, hundreds of species of tropical birds, and if you’re lucky you may even see wild pygmy elephants! During your time here you’ll have the opportunity to go on morning and evening boat cruises, where a local guide will help you spot whichever amazing creatures happen to be about. You’ll sleep with the sounds of the jungle all around you, before heading back along the river to Sandakan, where you’ll arrive around lunchtime/early afternoon.

Tabin Wildlife Expedition

You’ll be picked up by a local guide in a 4×4, and will say goodbye to civilization as you travel deep into the wilderness, along uneven, gravelly jungle roads. You’ll be staying in a remote lodge, with your own air-conditioned bungalow, and all of your meals are included – cooked by a good quality on-site restaurant – so you don’t need to worry about a thing for the next couple of days.

Borneo sabah tabin black backed kingfisher

Over the next couple of days you’ll set out by jeep and on foot to see monkeys, bats, monitor lizards and tropical birds in a rainbow of colours, amongst a variety of other creatures. Your local guide will take you to a nearby mud volcano, and if you’re lucky you might even catch a glimpse of an elephant or an orangutan during your Borneo jungle trek, so keep your eyes peeled. On the third morning, you’ll head back to Lahad Datu.



Kota Kinabalu: Gateway to Sabah

This bustling coastal city at the foot of the immense Mount Kinabalu is the starting point for your journey through Sabah. On arrival, you’ll be transferred to your central hotel close to the restaurants and colourful markets of the city. Kota Kinabalu is a relatively modern city with many western influences and a whole host of delicious local food to try. The next day you’ll head to Kinabalu National Park with a guide to discover the wildlife and plants which call this place home, getting a different perspective as you explore from the canopy walks high above the forest floor.

Borneo Sabah Kinabalu National Park

Gaya Island Getaway

The next three days will be spent relaxing on Gaya island, a 15 minute speedboat ride from Kota Kinabalu. This island is the largest in the Tunku Abdul National Park and is vastly covered by jungle and dotted with tropical beaches. During your stay here we’ll provide you with a gourmet picnic basket and you can find your own personal slice of paradise on which to sit and enjoy it.

Gaya Island View Sabah Malaysia

Speak to our Borneo specialist, Miles

“I loved my first trip to Borneo so much that I recently returned to explore more! Best known for its orangutan, the island is full of adventure and variety. My customers often wow me with their wildlife photos, which makes me want to go back again and again!”

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