Borneo Family Adventure Trip Notes
Trip code: FFBA
Trip length: 11 days
- Enjoy idyllic beaches in Pulau Tiga National Park
- Explore Borneo_s wild side with a night at a jungle camp
- Idyllic beaches in Pulau Tiga National Park
- See playful orang-utans at Sepilok
Take the kids on a magical journey to explore the natural wonders of tropical Sabah. Learn how orphaned orangutans are rehabilitated back into the wild, swim among colourful fish and spot wildlife in steamy jungles. Along the way, make friends with local villagers, try delicious cuisine and enjoy plenty of time to kick back and relax. Round up the family and jump on board this excellent adventure into the heart of Borneo.
You'll be met on arrival at the airport and taken to your hotel. You will then have some free time to relax and freshen up after your flight, before the welcome meeting in the evening. Details of where and when this will take place will have been left with the hotel's reception.
Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, is an intriguing city that was born between the Borneo jungle and the South China Sea. Having recovered from World War II bombings, 'KK' now possesses a gateway charm that can only be found in a frontier town. If you have enough free time, why not immerse yourself in local history at the Sabah State Museum, visit the Monsopiad Cultural Village (once home to a notorious headhunter), or explore the islands off Kota Kinabalu - excellent for swimming or snorkelling (all at additional charge).
Shangri La Hotel (AAA) - 1 night
Leaving Kota Kinabalu behind, you'll head for the hills and the beautiful Kinabalu National Park. Arriving in time for lunch you have the afternoon to stretch your legs and take in the mountain views on many of the numerous walking trails - keeping an eye out for birds, snakes and the odd little leech. There is plenty to see and do here. The Mountain Botanic Garden is an excellent showcase of the diverse plant life on the mountain, as flora from all over the Park has been replanted here.
The afternoon is free for you to relax here. The next day you'll get up early to catch glimpses of this mighty monolith before the cloud rises for the day, before you take a day trip to Poring Hot Springs (approx. 1 hr), where you have time to soak in the famous thermal pools, take in the trails that abound within the reserve, or have a refreshing swim in a nearby waterfall. You can spend time exploring the butterfly farm, the orchid garden, or traverse the canopy walkway (all additional charge) where you can view the jungle as the birds and monkeys do.
Sabah Tea Gardens - Longhouse (A) - 2 nights (Bx2)
Kinabatangan Jungle Camp/Homestay
Today you'll journey by local bus (approx. 5 hrs) to Kinabatangan. Your hosts for the next 2 nights are the local ecological organisation, MESCOT, who's aim is to provide villagers with environmental education and the means of making a living from their forests, without the need for its destruction. Part of the program is to develop an ecologically sound wildlife and ecotourism centre, owned and operated by the villagers themselves.
After you arrive in the afternoon, you head by boat (approx. 30 minutes) into the jungle where you'll stay by the beautiful Oxbow Lake - the best way to experience untamed Borneo. Wild elephants are rarely seen but you will hopefully find crocodiles, macaques, wild orangutan and the freaky looking proboscis monkeys, as hornbills fly in the skies overhead. Be prepared for an adventure!
Your stay in the jungle is in simple huts where sleeping and bathing facilities are basic, with only cold bathing available. You will pack an overnight bag for the jungle camp and leave your main luggage at the MESCOT office.
On the following day you return to a local Malay village where you will be invited into the lives and homes of the local people. This is an amazing privilege and your leader will explain local cultural expectations to ensure that we get the most out of your stay.
Your accommodation tonight is a home stay experience where you'll be split into different homes throughout the village with different families. Accommodation is traditional but simple and you should expect Asian toilets and cold water bucket showers.
Please note that the order of the above days may be occasionally reversed depending on seasonal variations and if the weather is bad, we may not be able to visit the jungle stay.
Out of respect for your Muslim hosts, alcohol is not to be consumed.
Jungle huts (A) - 1nt (BD) & Homestay (A) - 1nt (BLD)
Sepilok Orangutan Reserve
We head to Sepilok, a 2 hour drive by minivan, where you will have some free time to settle in to your guesthouse to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings. This afternoon, you will visit the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary, where you will have an opportunity to see these famous monkeys – found only on the island of Borneo – feeding with their different family or bachelor groups. If you are lucky we might also see a hornbill or two...
You will visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre - a reserve set up to help re-introduce these wonderful creatures back into the wild after a life of domestication or having been orphaned. To aid the orangutans adaptation to the wild, a supplementary diet of bananas and milk is laid out on feeding platforms twice a day. From the viewing platform, visitors may watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view on ropes and vines. You are not permitted to hinder the orangutans as human contact must be kept to a minimum.
There is also a short film to watch in the reserve's interpretation centre about the orangutan rehabilitation process.
Your afternoon is free to relax or return to the reserve for the 2nd feeding of the day. There is also the opportunity to visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre, a centre for environmental education situated within the famous Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve. Its primary function is to create public awareness and appreciation of the importance of conserving forests, as well as the sustainable use of forest resources. The 147m long, 28m high steel canopy walkway enables spectacular views of beautiful rainforest giants like the Mengaris tree, there are also 250 species of bird to look out for - experience forest life high in the canopy.
For these 2 nights you will stay in family multishare accommodation with private amenities. The guesthouse is located in Taman Jilil, a local recreation area.
Please note due to limited space on transport to Pulau Tiga tomorrow, you will take overnight bags only, dropping your main luggage off at your mainland accommodation on the way. You will need to pack tonight for your beach trip.
Paganakan Dii Guesthouse (A) (family multishare with private amenities) - 2 nights (Bx2)
Pulau Tiga National Park
Your early morning transfer takes you to Sandakan Airport where you'll catch your flight to Kota Kinabalu (please refer to the 'baggage' information for details on flight luggage restrictions). From here you will drive approximately 2.5 hrs, dropping off your extra luggage on the way, to Kuala Penyu, from where you will travel by speedboat (approx. 30 mins) to your secluded, rustic hideaway on 'Survivor Island'.
Pulau Tiga played host to the first-ever series of 'Survivor' - an American television program that was filmed on the island in 2000. The island is full of mud volcanoes, great jungle walking tracks and is surrounded by beautiful beaches and amazing snorkelling opportunities. The waters surrounding the island are home to over 132 species of fish, as well as sea turtles, whilst the island wildlife consists of proboscis and macaque monkeys, flying foxes, bats and monitor lizards. Keep an eye out for the hornbills overhead on their flight for the day's food.
Arriving in the afternoon we will spend the night on the island. After settling into your accommodation, you can take a walk through the jungle to visit one of the mud pools where we can wallow in the mud like buffaloes, then walk back to the beach for a swim in the sea. Weather permitting, you will take a boat for a trip to Snake Island, home to the yellow-lipped sea krait who use the island as their breeding ground.
Tonight you will stay in very basic family multishare accommodation with private amenities. The resort offers the opportunity to sight the morning hornbills on their flight for the day's food.
Pula Tiga Resort (A) - 1 night - Swimming Pool (BD)
Today you say goodbye to your patch of paradise and head back to Kuala Penyu and on to our seaside guesthouse on the mainland where you will spend the next two nights. You travel via speedboat (approx. 30 mins) to the mainland where you transfer to a minivan (approx. 2 hrs) to take you to your final destination by the beach.
For the next two nights you have the opportunity to relax in this peaceful beachfront resort. Clean, comfortable twin share bedding with private facilities including air-conditioning, TV, restaurant and pool.
Langkah Syabas Hotel (AAA) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (Bx2,L)
The tour ends for land only passengers. (B)
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Trip gradesBeach / coastal
Anyone in good health should be able to go on this trip as there is no real physical difficulty involved, although you will be doing a fair amount of walking in some places and heat and humidity can be tiring. There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air conditioning. On some long travel days we depart early in the morning to ensure we optimise our time at our next destination. Triple share accommodation is rare in Borneo, so in these instances fold our beds are commonly used. Some of the accommodation along the way is very basic, staying in local guesthouses and homestays with limited facilities. Some facilities are shared and some accommodation has cold water only. Minimum age: 7 years.
This trip is operated by our sister company Intrepid. You may find there are international travellers on the holiday and a varied age range.
Transport - Domestic flight, private charter vehicle, boat, local bus
Accommodation - Hotel/guesthouse (8nts), Jungle eco-camp (1nts), Homestay (1nt)
Meals - 10 breakfasts, 2 lunches & 3 dinners
Single room supplementA single supplement is available for this trip priced from 0 GBP. This does not guarantee a single room for all accommodation. please contact us to discuss this.
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase).
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
Overnight bag for stays such as the jungle camp and Homestay. In this you will need to carry a change of clothes, torch/flashlight, toiletries, warm clothes and any other essentials.
Please note: the maximum luggage allowance for the flight from Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu is 15kg maximum. The Adventure Company will not cover the cost of luggage weights that exceed this amount.
Make sure you take a sunhat for the journey to the longhouse – and trousers you don’t mind getting wet. It’s a great journey, but if river levels are low it could take a little longer than expected and you may need to get into the river to push the boat!
Into the Heart of Borneo – Redmond O’Hanlon
Kalimantaan – C.S. Godshalk
Reflections of Eden: My Years with the Orangutans of Borneo – Birute M. F. Galdikas
The Follow – Linda Spalding
Your Child’s Health Abroad - Matthew Ellis and Jane Wilson-Howarth, (Bradt publications).
Travel with Children – Maureen Wheeler (Lonely Planet
For Younger Readers:
Explorers Wanted! In Deepest Borneo – Simon Chapman
Among the Orangutans: The Birute Galdikas Story – Evelyn Gallardo
Thank you (very much).
Do you have vegetarian food available here?
Adakah makanan sayuran/vegetarian disediakan di sini?
The dinner was very nice, thank you.
Teima Kasih, untuk makan malam itu, sedap betul.
I would only like one glass of rice wine, thank you, because it is very strong.
Saya Cuma mahu satu gelas tuak sahaja. Terima Kasih. Sebab ia sangat kuat.
How much does that piece of fruit cost?
Berapa kah harga sebiji buah itu?
Local Costs - Malaysia
Approximate costs are given for guidance only, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment.
Soft drink £0.30
Medium beer £1.60
Local snack lunch £3.00
3-course dinner* £7.00
*reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant.
Visas & Permits - Malaysia
Holders of UK & IRL passports do not require a visa. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the end date of the trip. Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Information can also be found at www.travcour.com.
This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.
Vaccinations - Malaysia
The following are recommended:
† Hepatitis A † Tetanus † Diphtheria † Malaria † Typhoid †Polio
† NB: Yellow Fever vaccination is compulsory if arriving from an infected area.
For detailed information and advice concerning vaccinations go to:www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk
Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.
The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and The Imaginative Traveller.
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at email@example.comThe Imaginative Traveller & The Adventure Company. This trip is operated by our partner company, The Adventure Company. They have more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a codeshared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Adventure Company travellers on your trip.