Borneo wildlife vacation with Mt. Kinabalu climb

“A tailor made tour of wildlife, hot springs and relaxing river cruises, this varied trip culminates in a challenging, but rewarding trek to the summit of Mount Kinabalu.”

Highlights

Kota Kinabalu | Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre | Pitas Lake | Lunch with local Abai villagers | Sandakan | Central Market | Sepilok Nature Resort | Rainforest Discovery Centre | Sun Bear Conservation Centre | Kinabalu Park | Two-day Mount Kinabalu trek | Laban Rata | Three days leisure at a resort hotel

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Our top tip:
Try and get a bit of walking in before you go - you'll get more out of the climb.
Trip type:
Tailor made.
Activity level:
Moderate.
Accomm:
6 nights resort, 4 nights lodge, 1 night mountain guesthouse.
Solos:
Solo travelers welcome. Single rooms available for a surcharge at lodges and resorts.
Meals:
7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners.
Included:
Accommodation, transport, listed activities.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Borneo wildlife vacation with Mt. Kinabalu climb

Environment

On this tour, you will visit the famous Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah, founded in 1964, to rehabilitate orphaned orang-utans. The site is 43 square kilometres of protected land at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest Reserve. Today around 60 to 80 orang-utans are living free in the reserve.

The facility provides medical care for orphaned and confiscated orang-utans as well as dozens of other wildlife species. Some of the other animals which end up being treated at the centre include sun bears, gibbons, Sumatran rhinos and the occasional injured pygmy elephants.

As part of our commitment to this project, for each Borneo booking made we sponsor an orphaned orang-utan in your names for a year through Orangutan Appeal UK thus helping to contribute to the often lengthy rehabilitation process.

During the tour you also have the opportunity to visit The Borneo Sun Bear Centre, a conservation centre with the aim to raise awareness and encourage research on the world’s smallest bear. Found throughout mainland Asia, Sumatra in Indonesia and Borneo, the exact number of Sun bears in the wild is unknown, making it even more pressing to reduce pressure on a species that is classified as “vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List and at risk of becoming endangered unless circumstances threatening their survival improve. The BSBCC, the first and only facility of its kind in the world, is a non-governmental organisation set up in 2008 through collaboration of the Sabah Forestry Department, Sabah Wildlife Department and LEAP.

Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts is a founding member of the Asia Pacific Hotels Environmental Initiative. In accordance with the Group's environmental policy, all Shangri-La and Traders hotels have "Green Programs" to identify ways to reduce wastage, eradicate practices that damage the environment and generally promote environmental awareness.

The Nature Reserve, located beside Shangri-La Rasa Ria Resort, has a forest garden planted with different types of trees and plants to encourage the habitation of insects and small wildlife. The 64-acre Nature Reserve of coastal vegetation is home to 62 species of birds, various reptiles and mammals and the much-endangered Orangutans. A Rehabilitation Programme was initiated by the resort in support of the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre of the Sabah Wildlife Department. To date, a total of 32 Orangutans have successfully passed the first stage of the rehabilitation process and been returned to Sepilok for the second stage and final rehabilitation and subsequent release to the wild.

The Resort also operates an irrigation program for its 18-hole Golf Course using 'grey' or recycled water from the Resort.

The Tanjung Aru Resort, Kota Kinabalu has also introduced a 'Bakashi' program which is a system using fermented organic matter to create compost for gardens from kitchen organic waste. This has resulted in a reduction in the amount of fertiliser and compost used.

The Tanjung Aru Resort also collaborates with the WWF and works with villagers from Kampung Berungus in Kudat to preserve the seagrass bed habitat of the seacow or 'dugong'. The Resort obtains a weekly supply of sustainably harvested fish and shrimp to be served in the resort’s restaurants. It is anticipated that this long-term collaboration will help restore the integrity of the marine eco-system whilst providing poverty troubled villagers with a consistent source of income.

Community

Our ground agents only employ local guides to accompany our clients. All food in the lodges is sourced locally, helping the local rural communities wherever possible.

The River lodge owners employ local people as staff wherever possible. The lodge owners also operate a tree planting and lunch programme with local villagers. This programme has been introduced by the Lodge as a way to directly contribute money to the local village community, plus it helps guests learn a little about the way this traditional community lives.

The Rasa Ria Resort established a Nature Conservation Programme in 1996 between the Resort and the Sabah Wildlife Department to establish a nature education centre for the general public and local Sabah schoolchildren. The Shangri-La chain has also set up 'Embrace', a Care for People project which commits each hotel to a chosen local organisation for at least 5-10 years. Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort and Spa has partnered with Seri Mengasih, a school for over 100 intellectually and physically challenged children, since 2008. 2010 marked the third year of full school fees support alongside regular hotel skills training in areas such as housekeeping and bakery, with the goal of hiring apprentices into the hotel. One apprentice works at the registration and towel counter by the poolside and is able to interact with guests.

Reviews of Borneo wildlife vacation with Mt. Kinabalu climb

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.

I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 16 Apr 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Seeing Orangs and Gibbons in the wild

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


To get out into places like the Danum Valley as it was a wonderful experience.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Not really sure about supporting local people although we were told that locals were used as much as possible to staff lodges etc so there must be an impact for them there. On reducing environmental impact I felt that they were doing a
small amount in that vein but as usual more needs/could be done. I think just having the conservation areas must be supporting conservation.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


We all thoroughly enjoyed our experience in Borneo and felt that it exceeded our expectations. The one concern we did have were the river trips which although fabulous (and our guide, Bryant, was great) we felt that a lot of the other guides
were getting too close to the animals and harassing them by following them too closely and being very noisy when up close to the animals - something that needs to be self regulated by the lodges I feel.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your feedback and pleased to hear that Borneo exceeded your expectations!
Your feedback regards the guides will be sent to the lodge to addressed.

We are delighted to have taken care of you on this trip and look forward to looking
after you on your next adventure!

Reviewed on 12 Jul 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


The river cruises at Abai jungle lodge where we saw some amazing wildlife and climbing Mount Kinabalu which was very tough but the views were immensely rewarding.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


I would suggest that 2 nights in Sepilok is too long unless you want to make multiple visits to the oran-utan sanctuary. Otherwise I would recommend our itinerary exactly.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


I did feel that it benefited local people (especially in Abai) and supported conservation (visits to Seligan and Sepilok oran-utan sanctuary). I am not sure that overall it reduced environmental impacts (mainly due to the long flights to the destination).

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Amazing. We were very fortunate with the wildlife we saw. The itinerary captured everything that we enjoy doing and so for us it was the perfect vacation!

Reviewed on 01 Oct 2012 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


There were many great highlights. Climbing the Kinabalu mountain was a great
achievement, Surviving the white water rafting was amazing but seeing an
orangutan mother make a bed for the night was the highlight

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Take a hat an gloves for the mountain, bring a minimum of clothing , make sure
its outdoor type clothing that's easy to wash and hard wearing. Get fit before
you go with lots of hill walking and be patient with the animals; they do happen

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, the office staff, air crews, guides, drivers, hotel and restaurant staff
were all local. Reducing environmental impacts, so so; we did travel a lot.
Supported conservation, yes. Without the tourists to sustain the parks they would
be easy targets for logging etc

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Fantastic ! Although it did take me 4 days of R&R to recover from the 1st 10
days. Everybody agreed it was unique and a wonderful experience

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