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Essential Borneo

Malaysia

Essential Borneo

Hiking
·
Start: Kota Kinabalu
·
End: Kota Kinabalu

Check out brilliant Borneo's mountains and rainforest

Activity
Hiking
LocationMalaysia
Duration11 days
Start / EndKota Kinabalu / Kota Kinabalu
Tour operatorIntrepid Travel

Malaysia

Essential Borneo

Hiking·
11 days·Intrepid Travel
Start: Kota Kinabalu
·
End: Kota Kinabalu

Description

You and Borneo meet in Kota Kinabalu – we think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Orangutans! In Sepilok! And elephants – maybe! – along the Kinabatangan River! Get hot and sweaty climbing up Mt Kinabalu, then hot and wet-ty soaking in the Poring Hot Springs on the way down. Try not to indulge in too much ikan panggang (stingray – a local delicacy) because at the end of thi...

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Itinerary

Day 1Kota Kinabalu
Kick things off in KK, Kota Kinabalu. The locals finally settled on a name meaning ‘City of the Revered Place of the Dead’. Earlier choices were Deasoka (below the coconut tree), Singgah Mata (pleasing to the eye) and Api-Api (fire!). You’ve got the whole day free to explore this capital of Sabah state (depending on when you get here of course) before you join up with your crew at a 6 pm welcome meeting tonight (make sure you’ve got all your important docs and deets on you). Take some time to explore this balmy city between the jungle and the South China Sea and perhaps visit the Sabah Museum and the State Mosque. Why not escape the hustle and bustle of Kota Kinabalu and take a walk up Signal Hill, which offers great views over the city.
Day 2Kinabatangan River
This morning you’ll head over to the airport for a flight to Sandakan (40 minutes). When you touch down, you’ll hop on a private minibus and head to Sandakan 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 2400 POWs were forced to walk through the jungles of Borneo. By the end of the march, just 6 Australians survived, and only because they had escaped. You then continue on for a drive through the steamy rainforest to your homestay for the night (approximately 2 hours). This afternoon you’ll have the option to visit Batu Tulug burial caves, where more than a 100 wooden coffins (estimated at 250 years old) were discovered in the limestone hill. Speculate about who they belonged to and just how they got them up there while you admire their beautiful carvings. If you’re still feeling active then maybe challenge the locals to a game of volleyball or a football match. You’ll spend the night in a family homestay and enjoy a local meal cooked by your hosts followed by a cultural performance. 
Day 3Kinabatangan River
After breakfast you will say goodbye to your hosts and make the short journey by minivan and boat to an eco-lodge on the banks of the Kinabatangan River (approximately 40 minutes). The lodge is right in the heart of a nature lover's wilderness paradise. This morning there’s loads of stuff planned to keep you busy. Kick things off with a walk through the jungle to work on your wildlife spotting skills, then head over to a community based reforestation project. One of the very few uncool things about Borneo is that half of the world’s timber comes from here. In 1975, 73.7 per cent of the country was covered in rainforest, now it’s only 50.5 per cent. You can do your part to put the trees back where they belong by getting your hands dirty and planting some yourself. Later, get to know the local cuisine with an included cooking lesson. In the early evening as the sun sets, climb aboard a boat to get down with the local wildlife on a dusk cruise up the river. Keep an eye out for wild orangutans, Proboscis monkeys and maybe even pygmy elephants if you’re the lucky one. Tonight you’ll snuggle down for a sleepover in an authentic community-run eco camp bush hut (pillow fights optional).
Day 4Sepilok
Wake up early if you want to check out more of the jungle creatures with the option to do another river cruise this morning – just tell your leader if you're all about your wildlife. Later in the morning, you will leave your jungle eco-lodge and drive in a private minivan to Sepilok (approximately 2 hours). From there you’ll swing by the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and meet the world’s cutest red heads. These distant relatives will tug on your heartstrings and then spend half an hour picking their noses. Watch them eating bananas while hanging upside down like it ain’t no thang. Feel immensely jealous. If you thought things couldn’t get any cuter then you'd be wrong – you’ll also check out the nursery where young orangutans learn how to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym. You’ll spend the night in dorm rooms at a jungle lodge in Sepilok. If you want, there’s the option to take a night wildlife walk this evening.
Day 5Sepilok
Today, what to do is up to you! You're pretty close to the Rainforest Discovery Centre. Here you can feel like your red-headed mates from yesterday by getting high up into the trees. The RDC has a 147-metre long, 28-metre high canopy walkway with downright spectacular views of the giant rainforest trees. Look out for all the birds overhead, and maybe even a few flying squirrels. There’s also the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey (them funny fellas with the big noses) Sanctuary where you can watch up close the amazing bachelor proboscis lazing and feeding – an experience that can only be found right here in Borneo. If you can’t get enough wildlife there’s also the chance to see more of Borneo’s creatures at the newly opened Sun Bear Conservation Center. Here they’ve rescued mistreated Sun Bears and hope to rehabilitate and reintroduce them into the wild. You'll spend another night in the dorm rooms at the jungle lodge in Sepilok.
Day 6Kinabalu National Park
This morning travel via Kudasang by minibus into the unspoilt wilderness of the World Heritage-listed Kinabalu National Park (approximately 5 hours total). Take some time to hang out, enjoy the surroundings and do your stretches for the climb. There are some beautiful nature trails you can follow through the lowland tropical forest and a Botanic Garden to explore – this 5-acre garden is an excellent showcase of the diverse plant life on the mountain, as flora from all over the park has been replanted here. It’s home to 4500 species of plants, 289 species of birds and 290 of butterfly. Numbers can be boring, but that’s pretty cool. Otherwise, just relax in the afternoon and take in the cooler climate. Before you depart your leader will give a safety briefing about the climb and answer any questions you might just have thought of. 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.
Day 7Mt Kinabalu
Rise early the next day to begin the climb up Mt Kinabalu, South East Asia’s highest point at 4,095 metres (13435 feet) (compared to Everest’s 8,848 metres) and you’ll remember – sometimes for the effort, mostly for the scenery – every single step. For real, this is not an easy walk – it’s 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 affect anyone, regardless of 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, a hat, a head torch (for the final part of the climb), waterproof jacket, good walking shoes or boots and extra socks! The top of the mountain can be deceptively cold. Pack a light overnight bag for the climb as you’ll stay overnight on the mountain. There’s absolutely no rush so take your time and enjoy the pristine environment – this is an area which boasts a remarkable variety of plant life, including some 1000 species of orchid and the extraordinary carnivorous pitcher plant. You’ll cover 6 kilometres on the first day (approximately 4-6 hours) and stop at a resthouse near Laban Rata (3,272m/10734ft) for the night. The resthouses have very basic, mixed gender, multishare bunk rooms, and additional blankets can be hired from the park office. Make sure to get some shut-eye early as you’ll be getting up at 2 am to hit the trails again, making for the peak.
Day 8Poring Hot Springs
Rise around 2 am in order to catch the sunrise at the summit of Mt Kinabalu (4,095m/13435 ft). It's difficult walking, but you'll feel a huge sense of achievement. And yes, 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. 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 section up to the summit consists of man-made wooden steps, sections where climbers need to hold onto a rope with both hands and a path through a boulder field. The new trail is about 400 metres longer than the old route. Waterproof gloves are recommended to protect your hands from rope burn (as well as to keep them warm). After witnessing the epic 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 Poring Hot Springs by bus (approximately 1 hour). Tonight you will stay at a hostel located right inside the springs complex itself, with a light and airy lounge room for you to relax in. The hostel is on a twin share basis. Some rooms have bunk beds, multiple beds and the bathroom is shared, there are no double beds.
Day 9Poring Hot Springs
Poring Hot Springs is an ideal place to kick back for a day to recuperate after the mountain climb. Maybe soothe your peak-weary limbs in warm sulphur water pools, believed to have healing properties for the skin. Otherwise there are graded paths leading through rich lowland forest to mountain rivers, waterfalls and bat caves, with birds and other wildlife often seen along the trail. A walkway in the tree canopy provides magnificent views or there's a tropical garden to visit. Depending on the time of year it might be possible to see the Raffelsia flower nearby. Rafflesia’s are the world’s largest flower and can grow up to 1 metre in size! Spend another night here in the hot springs complex.
Day 10Kota Kinabalu
Drag yourself away from the Hot Springs and drive around 2.5 hours back to Kota Kinabalu. The afternoon's free for you to check out some optional activities – if you’re feeling all cultural then maybe take an interactive and educational visit to Mari Mari Cultural Village to see how indigenous ethnic groups of Borneo used to live. If you are after something even more active, like a scuba diving trip to nearby islands or a day of mountain biking, then maybe stay on a couple of days longer in KK. This evening it'll be time to say bye to all your new mates – maybe do it over one final delicious optional dinner.
Day 11Kota Kinabalu
That's all folks, your Sabah adventure comes to an end today. There are no activities planned and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time after you check out.

More info

Trip title

Essential Borneo

Trip code

TMYS

Validity

Validity: 01 Oct 2018 to 31 Dec 2019

Introduction

You and Borneo meet in Kota Kinabalu – we think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Orangutans! In Sepilok! And elephants – maybe! – along the Kinabatangan River! Get hot and sweaty climbing up Mt Kinabalu, then hot and wet-ty soaking in the Poring Hot Springs on the way down. Try not to indulge in too much ikan panggang (stingray – a local delicacy) because at the end of this t... Read more

Style

Basix

Themes

18 to 29s

Transport

Boat,Private vehicle,Plane

Physical Rating

4

Physical preparation

The Mt Kinabalu climb is quite challenging so the fitter you are the more enjoyable the experience will be. We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trek to its... Read more

Joining point

Cititel Express

Joining point description

Cititel Express Kota Kinabalu is located in the heart of Kota Kinabalu City Centre, it's within walking distance to the commercial district, banks, local eateries, bars and various tourist sites such as the Handicraft Market and the waterfront. Each room includes complimentary wifi, air conditioning, private bathrooms, and an electronic safe. Cititel Express is a smoke free hotel which includes th... Read more

Joining point instructions

An arrival transfer can be purchased for this trip. Please advise your flight arrival details to your agent at least 14 days prior to your trip departure if you wish to have this provided. Once you exit customs, our representative will be holding a sign with your name on it. At Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA)if you have any problems and cannot locate our transfer representative on arri... Read more

Finish point

Cititel Express

Finish point description

Cititel Express Kota Kinabalu is located in the heart of Kota Kinabalu City Centre, it's within walking distance to the commercial district, banks, local eateries, bars and various tourist sites such as the Handicraft Market and the waterfront. Each room includes complimentary wifi, air conditioning, private bathrooms, and an electronic safe. Cititel Express is a smoke free hotel which includes th... Read more

Finish point instructions

If you wish to pre book a departure transfer, please contact your sales agent and book this service at least 2 weeks prior to your trip departure. If you have a transfer to the Kota Kinabalu Airport your transfer driver will collect you from your hotel 3 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the hotel / guesthouse ... Read more

Important information

1. A Single Supplement to have your own room is bookable on this trip, subject to availability, and includes hotel accommodation in Kota Kinabalu on Day 1 & Day 10 only. 2. The maximum luggage allowance on the internal flight flight is 15kg. Any additional baggage will be at your own expense, payable to the airline directly. 3. Please provide passport details at time of booking at at least 35 da... Read more

Group leader

All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leade... Read more

Safety

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and upd... Read more

Visas

As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and l... Read more

Why we love it

This is one of only two places in the world you can see wild orangutans – meet these friendly fellas swinging around, climbing up trees and just generally living their jungle life in the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre

Is this trip right for you

You’ll get the chance to stay in variety of accommodation on this trip, a mixture of guesthouses, homestays, hostels, hotel and eco camp. It can be basic, but it’s always comfortable. A single supplement is only available on the hotel nights in Kota Kinabalu on this trip. All other nights will be based on twin or dormitory accommodation. The Mt Kinabalu trek is definitely challenging, including ... Read more

Health

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/o... Read more

Food and dietary requirements

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat to... Read more

Money matters

SPENDING MONEY: When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so ... Read more

What to take

What you need to bring will vary according to when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances. As well as your underwear, toothbrush and other items you always need to pack for travel, below are some items that you specifically need for this trip.

Climate and seasonal

Please note occasionally the summit trail will be closed due to strong winds or heavy rainfall. When this happens no trekkers will be able to summit. This is a safety measure and is enforced by Sabah Parks staff and is beyond Intrepid's control. This can happen at any time of the year including outside of the wet season. RAMADAN: The month-long Ramadan Festival will start on 5th May 2019-4th June... Read more

A couple of rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who... Read more

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential nega... Read more

Responsible travel

We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsible... Read more

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed mo... Read more

Accommodation notes

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multisha... Read more

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and th... Read more

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit... Read more

Itinerary disclaimer

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 is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weat... Read more

Accommodation

Jungle resort (2 nights),Homestay (1 night),Hostel (4 nights),Hotel (2 night),Eco Camp (1 night)
11days
€1,246per person
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Apr 21
Kota Kinabalu
May 1
Kota Kinabalu
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May 26
Kota Kinabalu
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Kota Kinabalu
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Kota Kinabalu
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Kota Kinabalu
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Kota Kinabalu
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Kota Kinabalu
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