Discover the rainforests, wildlife and culture of the incredible land of Borneo, Malaysia. In Sabah, trek through the tropical rainforests in search of a paradise filled with gibbons and hornbills, some of the world’s largest butterflies and the endangered orangutan. View Mt. Kinabalu, Southeast Asia’s highest mountain and at Sepilok and Danum Valley, learn about the conservation efforts being made to protect the rainforests and all the creatures, big and small, inhabiting them. In Sukau, search for pygmy elephants, wild orangutans and endemic proboscis monkeys. End at the capital on Peninsula Malay, cosmopolitan Kuala Lumpur – you’re sure to capture the beautiful spirit of Malyasia on this trip of a lifetime.
Moderately Active. May involve some moderate hikes in rainforests and nature reserves, getting in and out of vehicles and rocking boats, and walking in
uneven pavement in archaeological sites, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.
Being an equatorial country, Malaysia’s weather is generally warm and sunny all year round, with humidity high at 80-90%. The onset of the monsoon season from May to September brings with it rain to the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia. The east coast of the peninsula and Sabah and Sarawak experience their monsoon season between November and February. For our program, the best time to visit is March through September.
Fly to Kota Kinabalu, crossing the International Dateline, and check into your magnificent hotel. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner at your hotel. Next day, drive to the countryside passing a landscape of rice fields, water buffaloes and thatched roof wooden houses to the Monsopiad Cultural village, a living museum. In the afternoon, a 15-minute speed boat takes you to the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park comprising five idyllic islands, home to the bearded pig, scaly pangolin, monkeys, White-Breasted Sea Eagle and Green Heron. Enjoy snorkeling, diving, or take a short nature trail to go around the island. Tonight, experience dining in the ambience of Kota Kinabalu’s only lakeside floating seafood restaurant, the Kampung Nalayan, anchored within a Botanical Park, while being entertained by a “Malaysian cultural and variety show.” SHANGRILA TANJUNG ARU HOTEL (B,L,D)
You’re now off to explore Kinabalu National Park, where Mt. Kinabalu towers above the mysterious rainforest, a botanical paradise but also home to a thriving bird population… the rare Kinabalu Friendly Warbler, Grey Drongo and Mountain Blackeye. A canopy walkway situated 100 feet about the forest floor at Poring Hot Springs allows views of the tallest tree in the world – the tualang, which reaches to heights of 250 feet. Look for two species of the Rafflesia, one of the rarest and largest species in the world, and the oddlyshaped Low’s pitcher plant. Visit Kipungit Waterfall and take a dip in a soothing, steaming sulfuric mineral spring. Explore the largest collection of Sabah orchids at the Poring Orchid Conservation Center. Your home is situated atop a hill approximately 5,000 feet above sea level and has a commanding view of the majestic Mt. Kinabalu. CEYLIN RESORT. (B,L,D Daily)
Another chance this morning to experience this botanical paradise on a nature trek. After lunch, drive to Sandakan, for an evening of leisure. Next day, visit the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. This endangered species is only found in Borneo and northern Sumatra – and is the only representative of the great apes outside central Africa. Sepilok prides itself on returning orphaned and captive orangs to the wild, after they undergo a three-step process to learn to integrate socially and independently with the wild population of the forest. Other protected animals brought to Sepilok include Malay sun bears, baby elephants, wild cats and even crocodiles. Observe the orangutans as they playfully interact with each other and their environment during feeding and take a trek with a park naturalist through the forest where you might come face-to-face with semiwild orangs. This afternoon, visit Sim Sim Water Village, built on stilts on the coast of Sandakan, to learn about the lives of the local fishermen families. Your home is the newest hotel in Sandakan and most luxurious. FOUR POINTS BY SHERATON, SANDAKAN. (B,L; B,D)
Among the mangrove forests of Samawang and just a short drive from Sandakan is Labuk Bay, the place to see one of the most distinctive and unusual inhabitants of Borneo – the proboscis monkey. Arrive just in time for the morning feeding at 09:30 am at Platform A. This privately owned sanctuary is within the Oil Palm estate, providing a chance to observe these unique primates at a very close range. Continue to Sukau where activities include boat excursions along the Kinabatangan River, Sabah’s longest, in search of the wildlife and birds that make their home in virgin mangrove and rainforest habitats. Wake up each morning to the calls of the gibbons and hornbills and look for some of the primates species including proboscis monkeys as they settle down on treetops. Visit a nearby village for a tree planting project and the crescent-shaped Ox Bow Lake to observe wildlife and experience the early morning river ambience. Share tea at one of the village houses, interact with the host and try your hand at playing a local musical instrument. Nestled along the riverbank, your home is an eco-friendly resort, offering all comforts, without compromising the environment. BORNEO NATURE LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)
Drive to Sabah’s largest protected lowland forest, Danum Valley Conservation Area. The Dipterocarp forest found in Borneo is considered to be the world’s tallest and oldest, having existed for over 100 million years. Within this paradise is a lodge, designed by naturalists, with magnificent views of forest mountains and the Danum river just below. Danum Valley supports one of the largest remaining populations of wild orangutans which, although difficult to spot, you will have good chances of seeing under the guidance of the lodge’s expert trackers. Although elusive, an incredible diversity of flora and fauna is found here: 270 species of birds, 109 species of mammals – including Asian elephant, five species of deer and Bornean rarities such as Sumatran rhinoceros – and some of the world’s largest butterflies and moths. BORNEO RAINFOREST LODGE. (B,L,D Daily)
Fly from Lahad Datu to Kuala Lumpur, via Kota Kinabalu and transfer to your luxury hotel in the heart of the prestigious Golden Triangle, amidst the city’s major shopping and entertainment district. RENAISSANCE HOTEL. Next day, return to the airport for your flight to Los Angeles. (B; B,Meals Aloft)
Fly to Kuching and see buildings dating back to the days of the White Rajahs, ancient Chinese temples and colorful markets displaying the produce that first brought traders to Borneo. See orangutans at the nearby Semenggoh Orangutan Rehabilitation Center. Journey through rural Sarawak – passing pepper gardens, cocoa and rubber plantations and then by longboat arrive at the longhouse, home of the Iban people who are eager to share their culture. They still spin cotton, weave the pua (traditional cloth,) hunt with blowpipes, dance to the music of the traditional gongs, and drink tuak. Overnight in the longhouse and next day enjoy rare insights into the surrounding rainforest through the eyes and wisdom of your Iban guides. Return to Kuching and explore Bako National Park’s lush mangroves, soaring rainforest, and short desert-like scrubs dotted by carnivorous pitcher plants.
Does not include international or domestic flights. Prices are based on 10 or more travelers, and are subject to change.
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