Malaysia's Ultimate Adventure Malaysia

Malaysia's Ultimate Adventure

Malaysia

Hiking
Snorkeling

Overview

Take the ultimate adventure through Malaysia, from the sun-kissed Perhentian Islands to Mt Kinabalu's unmistakable peak. Whether it's soaking up Penang's sun or soaking in Poring's hot springs, this trip will tickle all your fancies, especially when it comes to food and fauna. Discover the gastronomical delights of Penang's street-food stalls then meet Sabah's orangutans and turtles, all while learning the fascinating history of this country during this 26-day adventure.

Map

Itinerary

Day 1Kuala Lumpur
Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early, get out and get a taste for Kuala Lumpur, the cosmopolitan capital of Malaysia (affectionately known as 'KL'). Grab a map and talk to the hotel staff about things to do. The markets of Chinatown, exceptional Indian food and traditional Malay arts make up a large part of the city's essence. Your evening is best spent at the night market sampling the many different cuisines on offer and bargain hunting at the many stalls.
Day 2Melaka
This morning walk to your shuttle bus (approximately 10 mins), and transfer to the local bus station (approximately 30 mins). Board a local bus to the old port town of Melaka (approximately 2.5 hours). On arrival into Melaka take a minibus to your hotel in downtown Malaka (20 mins). A former colonial outpost, this town retains a distinctive old-world charm that makes it a delight to visit. Travelling by trishaw in the local style, you will take a tour of the town, cruising through the narrow, winding streets to get a taste of old Melaka and learn about the ancient spice trade the town is known for. Along the way you will pay a visit to Harmony Street, an aptly named strip of mosques and temples that exudes a tranquil air. You will also check out a mosque, a variety of Chinese Buddhist temples and a traditional Muslim house-museum.
Day 3Taman Negara National Park
Early this morning you will embark on a full day's travel by private minibus to the ancient rainforest of Taman Negara National Park (approximately 6 hours). This vast natural beauty is believed to be the oldest rainforest in the world, dating back some 130 million years. It's home to an incredible variety of wildlife, from elephants and monkeys to exotic birds such as the elusive Malaysian rail-babbler and the easily recognisable hornbill. The park also boasts one of the highest diversities of trees on the planet.
Day 4Taman Negara National Park
Experience the jungle from a monkey's point of view on a canopy walk that will take you high up in the trees. Following the walk, those seeking additional challenges can take the time to explore Bukit Teresek. This trail is rigorous but rewarding, offering some world-class birdwatching and some amazing panoramic views from the top. Afterwards you will head upstream (approximately 1 hour) on a longtail boat on the low-level rapids. There will be plenty of time to relax by the river amid the lush jungle surrounds before returning to the accommodation for the evening.
Day 5Taman Negara National Park
Meet your local guide and head off into the jungle for a challenging but rewarding trek (approximately 2 hours). This is the ultimate way to experience this pristine rainforest. As well as spotting wildlife, you'll be able to learn more about the plants and flowers and some of their traditional medicinal uses. While your journey only lasts a few hours, you'll be walking through primary and secondary jungle, so be prepared to sweat! The walk can be challenging, with some time spent on boardwalks and some time spent on trails that can get quite slippery and muddy. You will need to navigate over many tree roots that cross the trail and we recommend bringing leech socks as leeches are very common on this trail. The humidity can also affect even the fittest trekker so take plenty of water with you on this day. At the end of your trek you will arrive at the Tahan River where there's plenty of time to relax by the river. After lunch, the adventurous can continue walking 30 minutes to the cascades further upstream before it's time to head back down the Tahan River in a small dugout canoe.
Day 6Perhentian Islands
Take a private bus to Kuala Besut (approximately 6–7 hours). Here you will take a fun boat ride over crystal-clear waters to the sun-kissed beaches of the Perhentian Islands (approximately 45 minutes). Located off the east coast of Malaysia, the Perhentians are some of the most beautiful islands in the world, with unspoiled reefs and pure white sand. This will be well worth the long drive today!
Day 7Perhentian Islands
Enjoy a leisurely half-day snorkelling trip in these turquoise waters. You'll be among beautiful coral and an impressive array of tropical fish. See how many different varieties you can spot. It's worth keeping an eye open for the rarer beauties too – green turtles and, if you are lucky, maybe even a reef shark or two.
Day 8Perhentian Islands
Indulge in this divine coastal spot in your free time today. You can do some more snorkelling, laze and swim in the water near the shore, trek into the inland jungle, explore the nearby islands or simply lie in a hammock with a good book. And don't miss one of the delicious feasts of barbequed seafood on offer. 
Day 9Kota Bharu
Take a speed boat to Kuala Besut and then a minibus to Kota Bharu (approximately 1hour). Epitomising traditional Malay culture at its best, Kota Bharu is home to several cultural and historical museums. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk stopping by the Siamese Buddha Temple and perhaps visiting a Batik workshop. The night market of Kota Bharu is a popular local hawker style market. Don't miss this chance to sample some delicious northern Malay delicacies you won't find anywhere else.
Day 10Malay Homestay
A long bus journey (approximately 8 hours) and a short minibus ride takes you to the west coast. Arrive at your home away from home – Kota Aur. In this small traditional Malay village set amongst the rice paddies, you'll stay with a local family. Enjoy a cooking demonstration then home-cooked dinner on arrival. Afterwards you will meet your hosts and be billeted out to one of the various home lodgings found throughout the village. Tonight there is the opportunity to learn about the Malay game of congkak and enjoy a taste of family life in Malaysia. Relax and make yourself at home.
Day 11Penang
Awake to the sounds of village life. This morning you will take a tour of the village and rice fields by bike and learn about how the local coconuts are harvested. Experience a home cooked lunch together with the group and one of our hosts. Continue to Penang this afternoon (approximately 1 hour), Malaysia's prized island. Discover an exotic blend of cultures, and of course its signature foods which you can sample at one of the many street-side stalls. Try a sweet ice kacang (crushed ice, syrup and a mixture of jellies, nuts and sweet beans), or a hearty nasi kandar (steamed rice with curry, fried chicken, seafood or vegetables).
Day 12Penang
This morning take an orientation walk with your leader around your hotel and the Georgetown area of Penang that is best explored on foot. Take in the historic shophouses, narrow streets, and street art that give Georgetown it's unique atmosphere. Pass the Goddess of Mercy Chinese temple, Sri Mahamariamman Hindu temple and Kapitan Kling Mosque. The rest of the day is free to explore the many different sides of Penang at your leisure. Georgetown is a particularly great area to delve deeper into. You will have discovered by now some of its impressive architecture, but this eclectic cultural arena seems to offer a new surprise at every turn. In the evening, perhaps head to the street food hot spot that is Lg Baru. Here you can indulge in a Assam Laksa, char koay teow, or maybe some spicy fish curry for dinner.
Day 13Penang
Today venture out to explore some city sites by private vehicle. See the historic Clan Jetties, and learn the history behind those that inhabit them, and perhaps spot some more of Penang's famous street artworks. Also visit Kek Lok Si Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia. This afternoon enjoy some more time to explore the island. Perhaps venture on to Penang Hill and take the funicular to the top to take in the views around the island. Those looking to relax and cool off, on the other hand, might like to venture further afield to one of the superb local beaches. Perhaps even go for a short trek in Penang National Park on the North West tip of the island or explore a tropical spice garden.
Day 14Kuala Lumpur
Set off in the morning for Malaysia’s capital today catching a public coach bus to Kuala Lumpur (approximately 5 hours). You will arrive in the afternoon and you will be staying right amongst the night markets and hawker stalls of the famous Petaling Street in Chinatown. This is where you will find, among other things, all kinds of excellent local cuisine, from spicy Kin Kin with noodles to the popular Chinese-style soup Bak Kut Teh. You may want to gather the group and have a meal together before saying goodbye to Peninsula Malaysia and hello to Borneo tomorrow.
Day 15Kota Kinabalu
Fly unescorted from Kuala Lumpar to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah. Transfers to and from the airport are provided, and on arrival in KK you can immerse yourself in the history of this intriguing city located between the Bornean jungle and the South China Sea. Visit the Sabah State Museum, the Mari Mari Cultural Village, or perhaps explore the islands off Kota Kinabalu, which are excellent for swimming and snorkelling. This is a combination trip, so your leader and some members of your group will change today for the remainder of the trip.
Day 16Dusun 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 a village. 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. Tonight you'll also get to watch a cultural performance in the village.
Day 17Mt Kinabalu National Park
This morning say goodbye to your new friends from the village and travel into the unspoiled 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 among the lowland forests, this is the perfect place to chill-out before the climb.
Day 18Mt 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 19Mt Kinabalu - Poring Hot Springs
Rise around 2am 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 Poring Hot Springs by bus (approximately 1 hour). Tomorrow you will be able to soothe your mountain-weary limbs in pools developed by the Japanese during World War II, where warm sulphur water - believed to have healing properties for the skin - is piped into several open-air baths. 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! 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 has bunk beds, multiple beds and the bathroom is shared, there are no double beds.
Day 20Poring Hot Springs
Poring Hot Springs is an ideal place to kick back for a day to recuperate after the Mountain climb. There are a number of optional activities from which to choose. 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 visit the enchanting butterfly farm. You can choose to trek to the lovely Laganan Falls or just laze about in the hot and cold pools. There is a jungle camp located in primary rainforest about 30 minutes’ walk from the springs called Lupa Masa (which means forget time), and for those with more energy its possible to arrange a trek up here to bathe in a cool and refreshing river and take lunch. This must be arranged in advance through your group leader at the group meeting on Day 1.
Day 21Kinabatangan River
Today, journey by private bus into the steamy rainforest to Bilit, 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 22Sandakan
Today take an early morning cruise in search of wildlife. 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. Arrive in the busy city of Sandakan and see the strong Cantonese influence, evident in the lively harbourside market, the many Chinese temples and the local cuisine. Here there is free time to catch up on laundry and banking as well as to explore the city.
Day 23Turtle Island
This morning, leave your large bags at the hotel and walk 15 minutes to a nearby jetty. Travel by speedboat, past small fishing villages and bamboo fish traps, to Turtle Island Marine Park (approximately 1 hour), where green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs every night of the year. In the afternoon, there's time for swimming, snorkelling or some quality time lazing about on the beach of this tropical island. Snorkelling gear is available for hire. In the evening, be touched by the sight of giant green turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs under the moonlight, and watch the researchers as they release protected hatchlings and guide them in their frantic dash to the ocean. It's a moving experience that makes you think more than twice about trying illegally traded turtle egg delicacies. Beware that this is a very delicate environment and you must follow instructions from your leader and the local rangers to ensure minimal impact on the turtles. You will spend the night on the island.
Day 24Sepilok
After breakfast, return to the mainland (approximately 1 hours), collect your bags, and continue by minibus to a guesthouse located near the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (approximately 45 minutes). The centre was set up to help re-introduce these wonderful creatures back into the wild after a life of domestication or having been orphaned. From the viewing platform, you can watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view and eat the supplementary diet of bananas and milk that is laid out for them twice a day. Human contact must be kept to a minimum and it's essential that you follow the instructions of the park, as directed by your leader. Also included is a new nursery where you can view young orangutans as they learn how to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym. The viewing area is behind one-way glass so as to not disturb the animals. To see more of Borneo’s creatures there’s the option to visit the newly opened Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center. Here rescued Sun Bears that have spent many years mistreated and locked away in cages are cared for, with hopes of rehabilitation and reintroduction into the wild. There’s also the 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. A five minutes walk from your guesthouse is the Rainforest Discovery Centre, which also has a 147-metre long, 28-metre high canopy walkway with spectacular views of rainforest giants. Your guesthouse is located about 10 minutes walk from the rehabilitation centre.
Day 25Kota 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). 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 26Kota 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 title

Malaysia's Ultimate Adventure

Trip code

TMSPC

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019

Introduction

Take the ultimate adventure through Malaysia, from the sun-kissed Perhentian Islands to Mt Kinabalu's unmistakable peak. Whether it's soaking up Penang's sun or soaking in Poring's hot springs, this trip will tickle all your fancies, especially when it comes to food and fauna. Discover the gastronomical delights of Penang's street-food stalls then meet Sabah's orangutans and turtles, all while learning the fascinating history of this country during this 26-day adventure.

Style

Original

Themes

Explorer,Wildlife

Transport

Boat,Public Bus,Ferry,Longtail boat,Private minibus,Speed boat,Taxi,Train,Trishaw,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 fullest. Please note for those that do not wish to climb Mt Kinabalu you are not obliged to, it is an option to have accommodation arranged and stay at the base of Kinabalu at Park Headquarters. Please advise your agent at the time of booking if you do not wish to climb Mt Kinabalu so that the appropriate arrangements can be made. 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.

Joining point

Travelodge Bukit Bintang

Joining point description

Travelodge Bukit Bintang offers free Wi-Fi in all rooms, 24-hour front desk, Wi-Fi in public areas and 24-hour check-in. All contemporary design rooms have private ensuite, coffee/tea making facilities and Satellite TV. Located in the Bukit Bintang area and close to the famous street food of Jalan Alor which is only a 10 minute walk away.

Joining point instructions

Intrepid can assist with pre-booking an arrival transfer from the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer, please make your way to the main Terminal arrival hall and your driver will be holding a sign bearing your name. Please do not believe touts in suits who tell you there is an 'issue' with your arrival transfer. If you cannot find your pre-booked transfer, or you have any concerns about your transfer, please call transfer hotline at +6012 6388382. Alternatively both airport terminals offer public transport and taxis to the city. A taxi to the joining point hotel will cost approximately MYR80-MYR110. Taxi counters in the arrivals hall will offer set fares. The KLIA Express train stops at both terminals, travelling directly to KL Sentral, approximately MYR55. From KL Sentral change to the LRT train to Pasar Seni (MYR1.60). It is a 10 minute walk or short taxi to the hotel. Public buses are also available to the city. Normal check in time at the hotel is after 14:00.

Finish point

Dreamtel Hotel - Kota Kinabalu

Finish point description

Centrally located in down-town Kota Kinabalu, rooms are equipped with private en suite, TV, AC, phone, in room safe, tea/coffee making facilities, the hotel also provides a restaurant, free wi-fi internet access & 24 hour front desk.

Finish point instructions

If you have a transfer to the Kota Kinabalu Airport your transfer driver will collect you from your Guesthouse 3 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the hotel / guesthouse reception to call our transfer operator Vision Transport on their 24 hour number on +60 16 818 6890 or +60 13 8819 883. Your group leader will reconfirm this with you before departing

Important information

1. Please provide passport details at time of booking, as these are essential for booking services on this trip. 2. Strict luggage limits apply. See under the Important notes section of Trip Notes for more information. 3. A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please contact your booking agent if you would like to book a single supplement. Due to the many hostels we use on the trip please note the following nights are excluded from the single supplement, Day 10 & 16 Homestay, Day 17 & 18 Mt KInabalu National Park, Day 19 & 20 Poring Hot Springs, Day 23 Turtle Island. Please note for various nationalities in particular Australian, UK, Irish, New Zealand and United States different increased Government travel warnings are currently in place for Eastern Sabah. Please read the Important Notes section of your trip notes for further information.

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 leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

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 updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

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 leave another copy at home with family or friends. Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. MALAYSIA: Most nationalities do not need visas to visit Malaysia as a tourist for up to three months. Please check with your relevant Malaysian embassy or consulate.

Why we love it

Spend time with a local family at a homestay, an authentic local experience that gives a real insight into village culture

Is this trip right for you

It’s best to pack light for this trip. There is a strict 15 kg maximum luggage limit on the included internal flights. Excess luggage will incur extra fees to the traveller. The Mt Kinabalu trek is very challenging, including an altitude of more than 2,800 metres and an early morning to summit in the dark, so we recommend a good level of fitness to be able to enjoy this unforgettable climb. We recommend packing specific items for this trip so please take a look at the ‘what to take’ section of the trip notes. You will get to experience a wide range of accommodation types on this trip – some dormitory rooms in hostels, a homestay, guesthouses, jungle lodge and hotels. Some may be a little more basic than our standard hotels, but their unique location and close proximity to wildlife is what makes them special. The conditions at your homestay will be more basic than in other places. Bathroom facilities are shared, and some will only have cold showers. Most only have fan cooling systems. However, the experience with a local family is a real highlight. There are some long days of travel by bus. You will be pleased to know that public buses in Malaysia are quite comfortable. Stock up on snacks and drinks ready for the journeys. The climate in Malaysia is generally hot and humid, so be prepared for some balmy days no matter when you visit. It tends to be wetter and more humid from May to October, but the temperature remains fairly constant throughout the year.

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/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared. ALTITUDE SICKNESS: Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary! Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor. During your trip. While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/altitude-sickness DENGUE FEVER: Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. AIR POLLUTION From June to October, Malaysia can experience air pollution from forest fires in Indonesia. The persistent hot and dry weather conditions also causes dust to remain suspended in the air and accumulate, causing haze. Please be aware of this if you suffer from any medical conditions exasperated by air pollution. ZIKA VIRUS: There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip. TAMAN NEGARA NATIONAL PARK Malaysia Ministry of Health has issued a health warning advising travellers to not swim in the rivers inside Taman Negara National Park due to potential bacteria, viruses and parasites in the water. Untill the water is deemed safe again to swim we will not be including any swimming activities on this itinerary while at the Taman Negara National Park.

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 together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

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 you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document). We recommend USD600 for meals not included. MALAYSIA The official currency of Malaysia is the Ringgit (MYR).The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency is by ATM. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, clean bills in small denominations are most useful. DEPARTURE TAX All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket. CONTINGENCY FUNDS: We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved. TIPPING If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Optional Tipping Kitty: On Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips for drivers, local guides, and hotel staff (excludes restaurant tips). The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent which can be checked at any time, and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty at your own discretion, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader. As this trip is a combination trip the optional tipping kitty will be divided into 2 parts. In Peninsula Malaysia the optional tipping kitty is: MYR80 per person In Sabah the optional tipping kitty is: MYR60 per person Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult

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 2020/23rd April 2020 - 23rd May 2020 This is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at all popular tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you definitely need to expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month of Ramadan is a fantastic month to travel in Muslim countries as it offers a chance to witness this fascinating Islamic event and the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. CHINESE NEW YEAR: An important 15-day festival for the Malaysian Chinese, based on the lunar calendar in January or February. In 2019, the Year of the Pig is scheduled to be held from 5th of February. In 2020, the Year of the Rat begins from 25th January. This can be a busy time and some transport delays, shop closures and reduced opening hours at some sites may be expected, but there are also many fabulous festivals and rituals to observe during this time, so it's a great time to travel. Although we make all reasonable efforts to avoid disruption a flexible approach from travellers is appreciated if choosing to travel during this time in Malaysia.

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

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 negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below. Intrepid's Malaysia Office: +60 13 881 5813

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/responsibletraveller When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in predominantly hot Asian climates. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets and tank tops for daily wear are not unusual attire. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong. BIRDS NEST SOUP Birds nest collection is an ancient tradition dating back to 500AD which is used to make bird nest soup. Today birds nest collection is a regulated practice with locals requiring a government harvesting licence to climb to the roofs of caves to collect the birds nest. The first collection takes place early in the breeding season before the swiftlets lay their eggs. The birds then make another nest in which they lay their eggs. After the young have left the nest a second collection is made. Care must be taken to assure that the nests are collected only after the young swiftlets have abandoned these nests. Edible birds nests are protected under the Birds Nest Ordinance and the Forest Enactment of 1968. There are heavy fines and penalties imposed on unlicensed collectors and Intrepid Travel asks our passengers to refrain from consuming birds nest soup or products to discourage unlicensed collection. PALM OIL While travelling through Eastern Sabah, you will likely notice that much of the land is covered in palm oil plantations. Check out our Boeneo Destnation page for more information about this hot topic: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/borneo

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 more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Malaysia-Borneo include: HUTAN Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Program HUTAN Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Program is committed to protecting endangered Bornean orangutans through conservation, research and advocacy. www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/hutan/

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/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on our different trips than your own. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. Please note that at our homestay we stay in shared A-frame huts which have cold water and no fans. Some of our guesthouses may not have windows which is typical in Malaysia.

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 the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

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 of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SINGLE TRAVELLERS: Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

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 weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, 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. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. 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. If you do not wish to climb Mt Kinabalu you can opt to stay the night at the base of the mountain 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.

Accommodation

Guesthouse (3 nights),Homestay (2 nights),Hotel (13 nights) Chalet (1 night),Hostel (4 nights),Jungle Lodge (1 night),Resort (1 night)

Map

Itinerary

Day 1Kuala Lumpur
Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you arrive early, get out and get a taste for Kuala Lumpur, the cosmopolitan capital of Malaysia (affectionately known as 'KL'). Grab a map and talk to the hotel staff about things to do. The markets of Chinatown, exceptional Indian food and traditional Malay arts make up a large part of the city's essence. Your evening is best spent at the night market sampling the many different cuisines on offer and bargain hunting at the many stalls.
Day 2Melaka
This morning walk to your shuttle bus (approximately 10 mins), and transfer to the local bus station (approximately 30 mins). Board a local bus to the old port town of Melaka (approximately 2.5 hours). On arrival into Melaka take a minibus to your hotel in downtown Malaka (20 mins). A former colonial outpost, this town retains a distinctive old-world charm that makes it a delight to visit. Travelling by trishaw in the local style, you will take a tour of the town, cruising through the narrow, winding streets to get a taste of old Melaka and learn about the ancient spice trade the town is known for. Along the way you will pay a visit to Harmony Street, an aptly named strip of mosques and temples that exudes a tranquil air. You will also check out a mosque, a variety of Chinese Buddhist temples and a traditional Muslim house-museum.
Day 3Taman Negara National Park
Early this morning you will embark on a full day's travel by private minibus to the ancient rainforest of Taman Negara National Park (approximately 6 hours). This vast natural beauty is believed to be the oldest rainforest in the world, dating back some 130 million years. It's home to an incredible variety of wildlife, from elephants and monkeys to exotic birds such as the elusive Malaysian rail-babbler and the easily recognisable hornbill. The park also boasts one of the highest diversities of trees on the planet.
Day 4Taman Negara National Park
Experience the jungle from a monkey's point of view on a canopy walk that will take you high up in the trees. Following the walk, those seeking additional challenges can take the time to explore Bukit Teresek. This trail is rigorous but rewarding, offering some world-class birdwatching and some amazing panoramic views from the top. Afterwards you will head upstream (approximately 1 hour) on a longtail boat on the low-level rapids. There will be plenty of time to relax by the river amid the lush jungle surrounds before returning to the accommodation for the evening.
Day 5Taman Negara National Park
Meet your local guide and head off into the jungle for a challenging but rewarding trek (approximately 2 hours). This is the ultimate way to experience this pristine rainforest. As well as spotting wildlife, you'll be able to learn more about the plants and flowers and some of their traditional medicinal uses. While your journey only lasts a few hours, you'll be walking through primary and secondary jungle, so be prepared to sweat! The walk can be challenging, with some time spent on boardwalks and some time spent on trails that can get quite slippery and muddy. You will need to navigate over many tree roots that cross the trail and we recommend bringing leech socks as leeches are very common on this trail. The humidity can also affect even the fittest trekker so take plenty of water with you on this day. At the end of your trek you will arrive at the Tahan River where there's plenty of time to relax by the river. After lunch, the adventurous can continue walking 30 minutes to the cascades further upstream before it's time to head back down the Tahan River in a small dugout canoe.
Day 6Perhentian Islands
Take a private bus to Kuala Besut (approximately 6–7 hours). Here you will take a fun boat ride over crystal-clear waters to the sun-kissed beaches of the Perhentian Islands (approximately 45 minutes). Located off the east coast of Malaysia, the Perhentians are some of the most beautiful islands in the world, with unspoiled reefs and pure white sand. This will be well worth the long drive today!
Day 7Perhentian Islands
Enjoy a leisurely half-day snorkelling trip in these turquoise waters. You'll be among beautiful coral and an impressive array of tropical fish. See how many different varieties you can spot. It's worth keeping an eye open for the rarer beauties too – green turtles and, if you are lucky, maybe even a reef shark or two.
Day 8Perhentian Islands
Indulge in this divine coastal spot in your free time today. You can do some more snorkelling, laze and swim in the water near the shore, trek into the inland jungle, explore the nearby islands or simply lie in a hammock with a good book. And don't miss one of the delicious feasts of barbequed seafood on offer. 
Day 9Kota Bharu
Take a speed boat to Kuala Besut and then a minibus to Kota Bharu (approximately 1hour). Epitomising traditional Malay culture at its best, Kota Bharu is home to several cultural and historical museums. Your leader will take you on an orientation walk stopping by the Siamese Buddha Temple and perhaps visiting a Batik workshop. The night market of Kota Bharu is a popular local hawker style market. Don't miss this chance to sample some delicious northern Malay delicacies you won't find anywhere else.
Day 10Malay Homestay
A long bus journey (approximately 8 hours) and a short minibus ride takes you to the west coast. Arrive at your home away from home – Kota Aur. In this small traditional Malay village set amongst the rice paddies, you'll stay with a local family. Enjoy a cooking demonstration then home-cooked dinner on arrival. Afterwards you will meet your hosts and be billeted out to one of the various home lodgings found throughout the village. Tonight there is the opportunity to learn about the Malay game of congkak and enjoy a taste of family life in Malaysia. Relax and make yourself at home.
Day 11Penang
Awake to the sounds of village life. This morning you will take a tour of the village and rice fields by bike and learn about how the local coconuts are harvested. Experience a home cooked lunch together with the group and one of our hosts. Continue to Penang this afternoon (approximately 1 hour), Malaysia's prized island. Discover an exotic blend of cultures, and of course its signature foods which you can sample at one of the many street-side stalls. Try a sweet ice kacang (crushed ice, syrup and a mixture of jellies, nuts and sweet beans), or a hearty nasi kandar (steamed rice with curry, fried chicken, seafood or vegetables).
Day 12Penang
This morning take an orientation walk with your leader around your hotel and the Georgetown area of Penang that is best explored on foot. Take in the historic shophouses, narrow streets, and street art that give Georgetown it's unique atmosphere. Pass the Goddess of Mercy Chinese temple, Sri Mahamariamman Hindu temple and Kapitan Kling Mosque. The rest of the day is free to explore the many different sides of Penang at your leisure. Georgetown is a particularly great area to delve deeper into. You will have discovered by now some of its impressive architecture, but this eclectic cultural arena seems to offer a new surprise at every turn. In the evening, perhaps head to the street food hot spot that is Lg Baru. Here you can indulge in a Assam Laksa, char koay teow, or maybe some spicy fish curry for dinner.
Day 13Penang
Today venture out to explore some city sites by private vehicle. See the historic Clan Jetties, and learn the history behind those that inhabit them, and perhaps spot some more of Penang's famous street artworks. Also visit Kek Lok Si Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in South East Asia. This afternoon enjoy some more time to explore the island. Perhaps venture on to Penang Hill and take the funicular to the top to take in the views around the island. Those looking to relax and cool off, on the other hand, might like to venture further afield to one of the superb local beaches. Perhaps even go for a short trek in Penang National Park on the North West tip of the island or explore a tropical spice garden.
Day 14Kuala Lumpur
Set off in the morning for Malaysia’s capital today catching a public coach bus to Kuala Lumpur (approximately 5 hours). You will arrive in the afternoon and you will be staying right amongst the night markets and hawker stalls of the famous Petaling Street in Chinatown. This is where you will find, among other things, all kinds of excellent local cuisine, from spicy Kin Kin with noodles to the popular Chinese-style soup Bak Kut Teh. You may want to gather the group and have a meal together before saying goodbye to Peninsula Malaysia and hello to Borneo tomorrow.
Day 15Kota Kinabalu
Fly unescorted from Kuala Lumpar to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah. Transfers to and from the airport are provided, and on arrival in KK you can immerse yourself in the history of this intriguing city located between the Bornean jungle and the South China Sea. Visit the Sabah State Museum, the Mari Mari Cultural Village, or perhaps explore the islands off Kota Kinabalu, which are excellent for swimming and snorkelling. This is a combination trip, so your leader and some members of your group will change today for the remainder of the trip.
Day 16Dusun 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 a village. 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. Tonight you'll also get to watch a cultural performance in the village.
Day 17Mt Kinabalu National Park
This morning say goodbye to your new friends from the village and travel into the unspoiled 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 among the lowland forests, this is the perfect place to chill-out before the climb.
Day 18Mt 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 19Mt Kinabalu - Poring Hot Springs
Rise around 2am 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 Poring Hot Springs by bus (approximately 1 hour). Tomorrow you will be able to soothe your mountain-weary limbs in pools developed by the Japanese during World War II, where warm sulphur water - believed to have healing properties for the skin - is piped into several open-air baths. 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! 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 has bunk beds, multiple beds and the bathroom is shared, there are no double beds.
Day 20Poring Hot Springs
Poring Hot Springs is an ideal place to kick back for a day to recuperate after the Mountain climb. There are a number of optional activities from which to choose. 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 visit the enchanting butterfly farm. You can choose to trek to the lovely Laganan Falls or just laze about in the hot and cold pools. There is a jungle camp located in primary rainforest about 30 minutes’ walk from the springs called Lupa Masa (which means forget time), and for those with more energy its possible to arrange a trek up here to bathe in a cool and refreshing river and take lunch. This must be arranged in advance through your group leader at the group meeting on Day 1.
Day 21Kinabatangan River
Today, journey by private bus into the steamy rainforest to Bilit, 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 22Sandakan
Today take an early morning cruise in search of wildlife. 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. Arrive in the busy city of Sandakan and see the strong Cantonese influence, evident in the lively harbourside market, the many Chinese temples and the local cuisine. Here there is free time to catch up on laundry and banking as well as to explore the city.
Day 23Turtle Island
This morning, leave your large bags at the hotel and walk 15 minutes to a nearby jetty. Travel by speedboat, past small fishing villages and bamboo fish traps, to Turtle Island Marine Park (approximately 1 hour), where green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs every night of the year. In the afternoon, there's time for swimming, snorkelling or some quality time lazing about on the beach of this tropical island. Snorkelling gear is available for hire. In the evening, be touched by the sight of giant green turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs under the moonlight, and watch the researchers as they release protected hatchlings and guide them in their frantic dash to the ocean. It's a moving experience that makes you think more than twice about trying illegally traded turtle egg delicacies. Beware that this is a very delicate environment and you must follow instructions from your leader and the local rangers to ensure minimal impact on the turtles. You will spend the night on the island.
Day 24Sepilok
After breakfast, return to the mainland (approximately 1 hours), collect your bags, and continue by minibus to a guesthouse located near the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (approximately 45 minutes). The centre was set up to help re-introduce these wonderful creatures back into the wild after a life of domestication or having been orphaned. From the viewing platform, you can watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view and eat the supplementary diet of bananas and milk that is laid out for them twice a day. Human contact must be kept to a minimum and it's essential that you follow the instructions of the park, as directed by your leader. Also included is a new nursery where you can view young orangutans as they learn how to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym. The viewing area is behind one-way glass so as to not disturb the animals. To see more of Borneo’s creatures there’s the option to visit the newly opened Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center. Here rescued Sun Bears that have spent many years mistreated and locked away in cages are cared for, with hopes of rehabilitation and reintroduction into the wild. There’s also the 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. A five minutes walk from your guesthouse is the Rainforest Discovery Centre, which also has a 147-metre long, 28-metre high canopy walkway with spectacular views of rainforest giants. Your guesthouse is located about 10 minutes walk from the rehabilitation centre.
Day 25Kota 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). 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 26Kota 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 title

Malaysia's Ultimate Adventure

Trip code

TMSPC

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2019 to 31 Dec 2019

Introduction

Take the ultimate adventure through Malaysia, from the sun-kissed Perhentian Islands to Mt Kinabalu's unmistakable peak. Whether it's soaking up Penang's sun or soaking in Poring's hot springs, this trip will tickle all your fancies, especially when it comes to food and fauna. Discover the gastronomical delights of Penang's street-food stalls then meet Sabah's orangutans and turtles, all while learning the fascinating history of this country during this 26-day adventure.

Style

Original

Themes

Explorer,Wildlife

Transport

Boat,Public Bus,Ferry,Longtail boat,Private minibus,Speed boat,Taxi,Train,Trishaw,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 fullest. Please note for those that do not wish to climb Mt Kinabalu you are not obliged to, it is an option to have accommodation arranged and stay at the base of Kinabalu at Park Headquarters. Please advise your agent at the time of booking if you do not wish to climb Mt Kinabalu so that the appropriate arrangements can be made. 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.

Joining point

Travelodge Bukit Bintang

Joining point description

Travelodge Bukit Bintang offers free Wi-Fi in all rooms, 24-hour front desk, Wi-Fi in public areas and 24-hour check-in. All contemporary design rooms have private ensuite, coffee/tea making facilities and Satellite TV. Located in the Bukit Bintang area and close to the famous street food of Jalan Alor which is only a 10 minute walk away.

Joining point instructions

Intrepid can assist with pre-booking an arrival transfer from the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. If you have pre-booked an airport transfer, please make your way to the main Terminal arrival hall and your driver will be holding a sign bearing your name. Please do not believe touts in suits who tell you there is an 'issue' with your arrival transfer. If you cannot find your pre-booked transfer, or you have any concerns about your transfer, please call transfer hotline at +6012 6388382. Alternatively both airport terminals offer public transport and taxis to the city. A taxi to the joining point hotel will cost approximately MYR80-MYR110. Taxi counters in the arrivals hall will offer set fares. The KLIA Express train stops at both terminals, travelling directly to KL Sentral, approximately MYR55. From KL Sentral change to the LRT train to Pasar Seni (MYR1.60). It is a 10 minute walk or short taxi to the hotel. Public buses are also available to the city. Normal check in time at the hotel is after 14:00.

Finish point

Dreamtel Hotel - Kota Kinabalu

Finish point description

Centrally located in down-town Kota Kinabalu, rooms are equipped with private en suite, TV, AC, phone, in room safe, tea/coffee making facilities, the hotel also provides a restaurant, free wi-fi internet access & 24 hour front desk.

Finish point instructions

If you have a transfer to the Kota Kinabalu Airport your transfer driver will collect you from your Guesthouse 3 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the hotel / guesthouse reception to call our transfer operator Vision Transport on their 24 hour number on +60 16 818 6890 or +60 13 8819 883. Your group leader will reconfirm this with you before departing

Important information

1. Please provide passport details at time of booking, as these are essential for booking services on this trip. 2. Strict luggage limits apply. See under the Important notes section of Trip Notes for more information. 3. A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please contact your booking agent if you would like to book a single supplement. Due to the many hostels we use on the trip please note the following nights are excluded from the single supplement, Day 10 & 16 Homestay, Day 17 & 18 Mt KInabalu National Park, Day 19 & 20 Poring Hot Springs, Day 23 Turtle Island. Please note for various nationalities in particular Australian, UK, Irish, New Zealand and United States different increased Government travel warnings are currently in place for Eastern Sabah. Please read the Important Notes section of your trip notes for further information.

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 leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

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 updates on safety issues affecting our trip. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

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 leave another copy at home with family or friends. Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time. MALAYSIA: Most nationalities do not need visas to visit Malaysia as a tourist for up to three months. Please check with your relevant Malaysian embassy or consulate.

Why we love it

Spend time with a local family at a homestay, an authentic local experience that gives a real insight into village culture

Is this trip right for you

It’s best to pack light for this trip. There is a strict 15 kg maximum luggage limit on the included internal flights. Excess luggage will incur extra fees to the traveller. The Mt Kinabalu trek is very challenging, including an altitude of more than 2,800 metres and an early morning to summit in the dark, so we recommend a good level of fitness to be able to enjoy this unforgettable climb. We recommend packing specific items for this trip so please take a look at the ‘what to take’ section of the trip notes. You will get to experience a wide range of accommodation types on this trip – some dormitory rooms in hostels, a homestay, guesthouses, jungle lodge and hotels. Some may be a little more basic than our standard hotels, but their unique location and close proximity to wildlife is what makes them special. The conditions at your homestay will be more basic than in other places. Bathroom facilities are shared, and some will only have cold showers. Most only have fan cooling systems. However, the experience with a local family is a real highlight. There are some long days of travel by bus. You will be pleased to know that public buses in Malaysia are quite comfortable. Stock up on snacks and drinks ready for the journeys. The climate in Malaysia is generally hot and humid, so be prepared for some balmy days no matter when you visit. It tends to be wetter and more humid from May to October, but the temperature remains fairly constant throughout the year.

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/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared. ALTITUDE SICKNESS: Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary! Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor. During your trip. While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/altitude-sickness DENGUE FEVER: Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. AIR POLLUTION From June to October, Malaysia can experience air pollution from forest fires in Indonesia. The persistent hot and dry weather conditions also causes dust to remain suspended in the air and accumulate, causing haze. Please be aware of this if you suffer from any medical conditions exasperated by air pollution. ZIKA VIRUS: There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip. TAMAN NEGARA NATIONAL PARK Malaysia Ministry of Health has issued a health warning advising travellers to not swim in the rivers inside Taman Negara National Park due to potential bacteria, viruses and parasites in the water. Untill the water is deemed safe again to swim we will not be including any swimming activities on this itinerary while at the Taman Negara National Park.

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 together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

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 you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document). We recommend USD600 for meals not included. MALAYSIA The official currency of Malaysia is the Ringgit (MYR).The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency is by ATM. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, clean bills in small denominations are most useful. DEPARTURE TAX All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket. CONTINGENCY FUNDS: We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved. TIPPING If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Optional Tipping Kitty: On Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips for drivers, local guides, and hotel staff (excludes restaurant tips). The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent which can be checked at any time, and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty at your own discretion, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader. As this trip is a combination trip the optional tipping kitty will be divided into 2 parts. In Peninsula Malaysia the optional tipping kitty is: MYR80 per person In Sabah the optional tipping kitty is: MYR60 per person Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult

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 2020/23rd April 2020 - 23rd May 2020 This is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at all popular tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you definitely need to expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month of Ramadan is a fantastic month to travel in Muslim countries as it offers a chance to witness this fascinating Islamic event and the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. CHINESE NEW YEAR: An important 15-day festival for the Malaysian Chinese, based on the lunar calendar in January or February. In 2019, the Year of the Pig is scheduled to be held from 5th of February. In 2020, the Year of the Rat begins from 25th January. This can be a busy time and some transport delays, shop closures and reduced opening hours at some sites may be expected, but there are also many fabulous festivals and rituals to observe during this time, so it's a great time to travel. Although we make all reasonable efforts to avoid disruption a flexible approach from travellers is appreciated if choosing to travel during this time in Malaysia.

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking, and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. Your group leader has the right to remove any member of the group for breaking any of these rules, with no right of refund. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information.

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 negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below. Intrepid's Malaysia Office: +60 13 881 5813

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/responsibletraveller When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in predominantly hot Asian climates. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets and tank tops for daily wear are not unusual attire. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong. BIRDS NEST SOUP Birds nest collection is an ancient tradition dating back to 500AD which is used to make bird nest soup. Today birds nest collection is a regulated practice with locals requiring a government harvesting licence to climb to the roofs of caves to collect the birds nest. The first collection takes place early in the breeding season before the swiftlets lay their eggs. The birds then make another nest in which they lay their eggs. After the young have left the nest a second collection is made. Care must be taken to assure that the nests are collected only after the young swiftlets have abandoned these nests. Edible birds nests are protected under the Birds Nest Ordinance and the Forest Enactment of 1968. There are heavy fines and penalties imposed on unlicensed collectors and Intrepid Travel asks our passengers to refrain from consuming birds nest soup or products to discourage unlicensed collection. PALM OIL While travelling through Eastern Sabah, you will likely notice that much of the land is covered in palm oil plantations. Check out our Boeneo Destnation page for more information about this hot topic: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/borneo

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 more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation are matched by Intrepid Group dollar for dollar (up to AU$10,000 per donor and AU$500,000 in total each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And because Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/ Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Malaysia-Borneo include: HUTAN Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Program HUTAN Kinabatangan Orangutan Conservation Program is committed to protecting endangered Bornean orangutans through conservation, research and advocacy. www.theintrepidfoundation.org/projects/hutan/

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/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on our different trips than your own. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. Please note that at our homestay we stay in shared A-frame huts which have cold water and no fans. Some of our guesthouses may not have windows which is typical in Malaysia.

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 the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

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 of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SINGLE TRAVELLERS: Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

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 weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES: A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, 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. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. 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. If you do not wish to climb Mt Kinabalu you can opt to stay the night at the base of the mountain 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.

Accommodation

Guesthouse (3 nights),Homestay (2 nights),Hotel (13 nights) Chalet (1 night),Hostel (4 nights),Jungle Lodge (1 night),Resort (1 night)
Overview
Itinerary
Trip title
Trip code
Validity
Introduction
Style
Themes
Transport
Physical Rating
Physical preparation
Joining point
Joining point description
Joining point instructions
Finish point
Finish point description
Finish point instructions
Important information
Group leader
Safety
Visas
Why we love it
Is this trip right for you
Health
Food and dietary requirements
Money matters
What to take
Climate and seasonal
A couple of rules
Feedback
Emergency contact
Responsible travel
The Intrepid Foundation
Accommodation notes
Travel insurance
Your fellow travellers
Itinerary disclaimer
Accommodation