Simply Sabah

Our extraordinary Simply Sabah holiday showcases this biodiverse state’s finest highlights by introducing you to orang-utans, sending you into a rainforest reserve, and giving you time to relax on a picture-perfect coastline.

At a glance
  • See Sepilok’s rescued orang-utans enjoy breakfast
  • Spot for wild orang-utans & other jungle species
  • Meet the Abai tribe of Borneo’s riverbanks
  • Cruise the biodiverse Kinabatangan River at dusk
  • Observe rare creatures at Tabin’s mud volcanoes
  • Explore the rainforest at night with an expert guide
  • Kick back at a beachside resort
Itinerary
Price & Hotels

Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary - 2 nights

Sepilok is an area of protected primary rainforest and mangrove on mainland Borneo, and its orang-utan rehabilitation centre is known across the world for exceptional conservation work. The reserve protects 19 square miles of dense rainforest, and exists for the rehabilitation of orphaned and injured orang-utans. Apart from feeding times, when you are almost guaranteed a sighting, you can enjoy looking out for flashes of orange fur amongst the multitude of flora and fauna in the surrounding forests. Spend the night at leisure here before getting up to witness orang-utan breakfast time the following morning, followed by a visit to the nearby Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, built both to improve the welfare and rehabilitation of the Malayan Sun Bear, and raise awareness of the plight of this now protected species.

Day 1 - Arrive Sandakan, transfer to Sepilok

Includes:

On arrival in Borneo, you'll be met by your private guide, who will accompany you to your hotel.

Welcome to Selective Asia! This level of personal service (such as private transfers, private tours etc) is what you can expect throughout your trip. A few services (eg some boat cruises & wildlife experiences) will be shared, but we'll always make sure you're aware of these.

Day 2 - Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary & Sun Bear Conservation Centre

Includes:

Rise in time to see the orang-utans of Sepilok Sanctuary enjoy their breakfast feeding time. Sepilok is an area of protected primary rainforest and mangrove on mainland Borneo, and its orang-utan rehabilitation centre is known across the world for exceptional conservation work. The reserve protects 19 square miles of dense rainforest, and exists for the rehabilitation of orphaned and injured orang-utans. Apart from feeding times, when you are almost guaranteed a sighting, you can enjoy looking out for flashes of orange fur amongst the multitude of flora and fauna in the surrounding forests.

Continue your wildlife encounter at the nearby Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, built both to improve the welfare and rehabilitation of the Malayan Sun Bear, and raise awareness of the plight of this now protected species.

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Kinabatangan River - 2 nights

The Kinabatangan River flows through diverse habitats including freshwater swamp forest, lowland rainforest, mangroves and oxbow lakes, with a wealth of thriving fauna and flora to be seen along its banks. The river’s far-reaching network of tributaries allows easy exploration and quiet viewing of superstar species like orang-utan, pygmy elephant, Sumatran rhino, proboscis monkey, various langar subspecies, and the Borneo river shark, along with hundreds of less famous but no less fascinating species. Along with wildlife-spotting, you will also visit a small village occupied by members of the Orang Sungai ('people of the river'), an indigenous tribe that lives along several of Sabah’s river ways. The community survives on river fish, locally grown veg, saved rainwater and solar energy, and works closely with the nearby riverside lodge and its restaurant, with local staff employed and regional produce used wherever possible.

Day 3 - Boat to Kinabatangan River, Wildlife spotting

Includes:

From Sepilok, you'll head to Sandakan Yacht Club Jetty for the cruise to your riverside lodge, passing Berhala Island with its prominent sandstone cliffs. After lunch at your lodge, set out to explore the river in an open-topped boat. Look for wildlife with the help of your guide, and with any luck witness the impressive gathering of fireflies that frequently lights up the dusk. Return to the resort for dinner before venturing out on a guided night walk on the boardwalk around the lodge, spotting for nocturnal wildlife.

Day 4 - Wildlife spotting

Includes:

Prepare to be woken early by the hooting calls of gibbons and hornbills! At least you'll be up in time for an early boat trip to spot the river’s colourful (and noisy) birds, and wildlife foraging on the riverbanks. After your own breakfast, spend some time learning about Abai village life, before heading upriver for more wildlife spotting and time relaxing on the deck of a second riverside lodge

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Tabin - 2 nights

The Tabin Reserve protects just over 460 square miles of lowland rainforest and the huge number of animals therein, some of them highly endangered. Amongst the larger species, Bornean pygmy elephant, Sunda clouded leopard and Tembadau (or Banteng - large horned cattle) are found within the reserve, along with nine species of primate - including small numbers of orang-utan and proboscis monkey - and over 220 species of birds. Tabin is characterised by its mineral-rich 'mud volcanoes' - these are small, and bubble hot mud rather than spewing lava! But their mineral content is essential to wildlife, making them excellent places for sightings. You'll stay at Tabin Wildlife Resort, which is deep inside the reserve and offers superb access to what is undoubtedly some of the best wildlife spotting in Borneo. The resort’s local team of expert staff can arrange all sorts of activities, including expert-led forest treks, nocturnal safaris, bird watching and wildlife spotting.

Day 5 - Drive to Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Includes:

Meet the Tabin Wildlife Resort team for the journey into the reserve, where you'll start with a 20 minute trek through the rainforest to the Lipad Mud Volcano. Here you'll climb an observation tower to watch birds and animals getting their mineral fix, before returning to your lodge for dinner. Take in a quick presentation about Tabin’s wildlife and habitats, before heading out to search around the lodge for nocturnal wildlife and birds.

Day 6 - Rainforest trek & wildlife spotting

Includes:

After breakfast, trek through the rainforest looking for fauna and flora, stopping off at the Lipad Waterfall, with plenty of time to relax and enjoy the water. Alternatively, stay at the resort and explore the surrounding forest, or simply relax and absorb the natural ambiance. Enjoy lunch at the lodge, followed by an afternoon at leisure to relax or trek. At dusk head out on a bird walk to observe some of Tabin’s diverse and colourful bird species. After dinner there will be another opportunity to search for nocturnal wildlife.

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Kota Kinabalu Beach Resort - 3 nights

Head to the coast and Kota Kinabalu, the regional capital, which has excellent amenities, superb beaches, and National Parks within easy reach. Enjoy a relaxed photo-finish to your holiday with a few days at leisure on the sand or by the pool. Just offshore, the Tunku Abdul Rahman National Marine Park offers some of the best diving and snorkelling in Borneo; its coral reefs are home to an array of marine life including sea turtles, giant groupers and trigger fish, and day of snorkelling and kayaking can easily be arranged from nearby Gaya Island.

Day 7 - Fly to Kota Kinabalu, transfer to your beach resort.

Includes:

Take a flight from Lahad Datu to Kota Kinabalu where, on arrival, you will be driven to your chosen beach resort.

Day 8 - Dinawan Island snorkelling

Includes:

Lying just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, the small island of Dinawan is largely covered in forest and surrounded by white sand beaches, clear water and coral reefs. Despite its relative accessibility the island sees fewer visitors and doesn’t get as crowded as other islands off the coast of KK, and the coral reefs are largely undamaged. Spend your day on Dinawan island, snorkelling and kayaking; jungle trekking and relaxing. A BBQ lunch is provided in a local restaurant.

Day 9 - Enjoy a day of R&R

Includes:

Your day will be at leisure to relax on the beach and make the most of the hotel's facilities.

Day 10 - Depart Kota Kinabalu

Includes:

Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

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We only provide privately guided holidays - meaning that you will not be expected to share guides or transport for the duration of your visit. You can also start on any day you choose.

Please click on the hotel category buttons below to view hotel details. These are recommended properties only - we have many alternative options for you to choose from if you would prefer. You can mix hotel categories throughout your holiday.

Hotel class Price per person (based on total # travelling)
2 persons 3 - 4 5 - 6
First Class £1,734US$2,273 £1,698US$2,225 £1,675US$2,196

MY Nature Resort

Set on the edge of the tropical rainforest, MY Nature Resort is ideally located just 10 minutes away from the famous Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary and close to the Rainforest Discovery Centre... See more

Abai Jungle Lodge

The Abai Jungle Lodge is, rather pleasingly, only accessible by boat. It’s an excellent, well-renowned location for wildlife-spotting - truly quiet, unless you count the rainforest sounds, and far from any other accommodation, with creatures getting remarkably close to the lodge itself... See more

Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge

Formerly known as Old Ben's Lodge, the Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge is an ideal base for making excursions along the river… See more

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Tabin Wildlife Reserve is the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia and home to an impressive array of species including Borneo pygmy elephants... See more

Beringgis Beach Resort

Located on the white sand of Kinarut Beach and facing the South China Sea, Beringgis Beach Resort offers comfortable and affordable accommodation... See more
Superior £1,944US$2,548 £1,905US$2,497 £1,885US$2,471

MY Nature Resort

Set on the edge of the tropical rainforest, MY Nature Resort is ideally located just 10 minutes away from the famous Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary and close to the Rainforest Discovery Centre... See more

Abai Jungle Lodge

The Abai Jungle Lodge is, rather pleasingly, only accessible by boat. It’s an excellent, well-renowned location for wildlife-spotting - truly quiet, unless you count the rainforest sounds, and far from any other accommodation, with creatures getting remarkably close to the lodge itself... See more

Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge

Formerly known as Old Ben's Lodge, the Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge is an ideal base for making excursions along the river… See more

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Tabin Wildlife Reserve is the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia and home to an impressive array of species including Borneo pygmy elephants... See more

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort

Not satisfied with being just a world-class beachside hotel, the Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort is also home to a private nature reserve and an eco-friendly championship golf course... See more
Deluxe £1,972US$2,584 £1,920US$2,516 £1,830US$2,398

MY Nature Resort

Set on the edge of the tropical rainforest, MY Nature Resort is ideally located just 10 minutes away from the famous Sepilok Orang-utan Sanctuary and close to the Rainforest Discovery Centre... See more

Abai Jungle Lodge

The Abai Jungle Lodge is, rather pleasingly, only accessible by boat. It’s an excellent, well-renowned location for wildlife-spotting - truly quiet, unless you count the rainforest sounds, and far from any other accommodation, with creatures getting remarkably close to the lodge itself... See more

Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge

Formerly known as Old Ben's Lodge, the Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge is an ideal base for making excursions along the river… See more

Tabin Wildlife Reserve

Tabin Wildlife Reserve is the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia and home to an impressive array of species including Borneo pygmy elephants... See more

Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort

Not satisfied with being just a world-class beachside hotel, the Shangri-La's Rasa Ria Resort is also home to a private nature reserve and an eco-friendly championship golf course... See more

Solo travellers are always welcome - please contact us for a tailored quote.

These prices are shown in GBPUSD.
Selective Asia is a UK-registered company, but our client-base spans the globe, so we bank in both GBP and USD and can therefore provide a fixed price in either currency.
We also have payment facilities in Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the EU, and can typically offer better-than-bank exchange rates on the date of payment in these currencies (against a booking priced in GBP).

Itinerary additions

  • During your stay in Kota Kinabalu visit the unique Kinabalu National Park. The park is just two hours drive from KK and is ideal for adventure lovers and nature enthusiasts alike. Overnight accommodation at the park is also available.
At Selective Asia we specialise in creating unique, tailor-made experiences. The holiday itineraries provided on this website are intended to help you visualise what is achievable in your destinations of choice, over a given period of time and at an intended budget.
Whilst many clients are happy with of our recommended itineraries in the current form (and at the price quoted), there are those that wish to personalise their holiday in some way, whether it be a change of hotel, an additional destination or even start from scratch. This is when our tailor-made specialists come into their own; with many years of experience both living and working in the region they are ideally equipped to advise on alternatives and to facilitate any necessary changes.

The important stuff

*Please note: During certain activities in Borneo you may share your local guide with other guests of the lodge(s).

Please note: During high season periods such as Easter, Christmas, July and August, hotels in Borneo levy a surcharge, and these are not included in the above prices. Your consultant will be happy to advise you of these.

Inclusive:

  • English speaking, local guide
  • All accommodation listed
  • Land transportation by private air-conditioned vehicles
  • Any domestic flights listed
  • All admission fees at attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
  • All meals listed
  • International flight reconfirmation.

Exclusive:

  • Flights to/from Asia. We are an ATOL bonded operator and can arrange flights for all our clients, regardless of whether you are departing from the UK or from almost any other worldwide destination.
  • Entry visas
  • International airport departure taxes
  • Any meals not listed in the itinerary
  • Drinks, other than water on activity days
  • Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, drinks, tip...)
  • Travel insurance
  • All other services not listed in 'inclusive'

Please note

All prices are correct at the time of publishing. They are liable to change and can only be confirmed upon submitting an enquiry.

 

Extras

Flights

We will arrange all internal flights used within our holiday itineraries. We can also arrange discounted flights from all UK airports to Asia and we are a fully bonded ATOL operator. If you would like a quote for your international flights then please complete the required section on the enquiry form.

Visa

You may require a visa to enter Borneo. Your consultant will be happy to advise you on visa requirements.

Passport

Please ensure that you have a valid passport with at least 6 months validity remaining after your return date. You will also need at least one blank page for each of the countries you are visiting.

Insurance

You will require a comprehensive travel insurance that covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. We offer our customers a specially discounted insurance policy, ideally suited to the needs that a trip such as this creates. Tick the insurance box in the enquiry form and we will send you a quote to suit your needs.

Vaccinations and Malaria Prevention

You will undoubtedly require vaccinations for your visit to Asia. Please consult your doctor or a vaccination clinic for the most up-to-date advice. They will also be able to advise you of the most suitable anti-malarial medication if required. It is important that you do this well in advance of your departure date.

Booking Procedure

Only once you are completely happy with any holiday itinerary we create for you will we ask for a payment. In order that we can secure availability for your booking we would typically require a deposit of 20%.

Travelling Responsibly

We care about the places and the communities that you will travel through. It is important to us that we travel as responsibly as possible throughout Asia and that we are giving something back to the regions and the people that make these journeys so special. Full details on our approach to responsible travel can be found on a dedicated section of this website.

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Ed – Borneo tailor-made specialist

''This wildlife focused itinerary will leave you feeling like you've stepped straight out of a David Attenborough documentary!'

EdBorneo tailor-made specialist

Speak to Ed on 01273 670 001

Make it yours!

Call us on 01273 670 001

Get in touch

Our tailor-made service costs you no extra

This itinerary is designed to work straight off the peg, but we'll happily tailor it until it's a perfect fit for you, to ensure we’re making the absolute best of your time and funds. All you need to do is ask...

Your own private guides & drivers

You'll typically have your own private guides & drivers throughout your trip. When you will be sharing a service (eg a boat cruise) with others, we'll always let you know.