Borneo tailor made vacations, wildlife & beaches

“This tailor made tour of Borneo allows access to Danum Valley, the Kinabatangan River and Sepilok's nature reserves, as well as beaches and water sports on Gaya Island.”


Kota Kinabalu | Danum Valley | Lahad Datu | search for proboscis monkeys, hornbills, leaf monkeys and orangutans in the wild | Kinabatangan River | Menanggul River | Pitas Lake | Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre | Sun Bear Centre | Gaya Island | Optional activities on Gaya Island, include: snorkelling, learning to dive and visiting the Marine Research Centre |

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year and can be adapted to suit your interests, budget and requirements as necessary
Our top tip:
Do your research prior to setting out an itinerary and try to see as many different habitats as possible with Lankayan, Danum Valley and Pitas Lake 'must experience' locations. Also, mozzi repellent, thin layers and leech socks should all be on your kit list.
Trip type:
Tailor made. All year round.
Activity level:
Leisurely. Wildlife trails, river cruises and optional watersports.
1 night hotel, 2 nights rainforest lodge, 3 nights riverside lodge, 2 nights lakeside bungalows, 3 nights tropical island resort villas (all with private facilities).
Accommodation, transfers, transport and tour guides.
10 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 5 dinners.
Vacation type
We offer a complete tailor made service allowing you to decide when you go, where to stay and what to do, to create a unique vacation for your individual requirements by our travel experts. We would be happy to telephone you to discuss your requirements and options. Our staff have intimate knowledge of this destination, so do please include your telephone number when you complete the inquiry form.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

We work with the Orangutan Appeal UK, the only not-for-profit charity that works directly with the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary in Sandakan. Clients have the option to sponsor an orphaned Orangutan named Canyon who was being kept illegally as a pet and was taken in by the sanctuary when she was 2 years old. She is now 5 years old and progressing well. The money goes directly to the Sanctuary in Sepilok to continue their excellent work. Clients receive an ‘adoption certificate’ and regular email updates on the progress of Canyon and of course if you’re lucky you may see her when you visit the Centre.

On this Borneo vacation, you will visit the famous Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre in Sabah, founded in 1964, to rehabilitate orphan Orangutans. 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 Orangutans as well as dozens of other wildlife species. Some of the other animals which end up being treated at the center include endangered Sun Bears, gibbons, Sumatran Rhinos and the occasional injured elephants. A visit to the Sepilok Rehabilitation center benefits the Orangutans in a number of ways - as the entrance fees go directly to paying the staff, providing food and the training of specialist guides to rehabilitate the Orangutans back into the wild. As part of our programme, we will 'adopt' an Orangutan for our clients for 1 year (1 per booking).

During the tour you also have the opportunity to visit the neighbouring Sun Bear Centre, a conservation center 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. Donations are welcomed by the center although not a condition of entry and we would invite all of our clients to donate a small amount for their visit.

The Danum Valley Conservation Area is one of the largest and best-protected expanses of pristine lowland forest remaining in South East Asia. When visiting the region guests are only allowed to walk on well established trails and with experienced, registered guides to minimise impact on the vegetation. Education is an important part of the package at Danum Valley so guests are also able to visit the Danum Valley Field Centre which was set up in 1986 for the purposes of research, education, training and wilderness recreation to learn more about the importance of the region. Guests can even enjoy talks by the resident scientists on what is being done to preserve Sabah’s natural heritage.

The Tanjung Aru Resort 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. The Resort 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 Impacts of this Trip

Our local ground operator owns and operates a number of eco-lodges which are included in this itinerary. Accommodation has all been locally built and is run and operated by local people. The main purpose of these trips is to interact and contribute to local communities and projects and understand the need to minimize any negative impact on the local environment. 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 Abai Jungle Lodge hosts a tree planting and optional lunch programme with the local Abai villagers as part of your time there. 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.

Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort 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.


28 Reviews of Borneo tailor made vacations, wildlife & beaches

4.5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 17 Nov 2019 by

Tabin Wildlife Reserve is a place to visit for everyone, the guides were really inspiration in their love of nature, the place where you can really get close to the animals... seeing the monkeys cross the river above my lodge or spotting an otter from my balcony is hardly an experience you can get anywhere else. Read full review

Reviewed on 15 Sep 2019 by

The most exciting part of the trip was experiencing wildlife in their natural environment and of course seeing a wild orangutan. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Aug 2019 by

The most memorable part of the trip was the amazing trip down the Kinabatangan river and seeing the wildlife and conservation projects. Read full review

Reviewed on 08 May 2019 by

We were able to be with so many magnificent orangutans!! Being IN nature like we were was amazing! A once in a lifetime experience for sure! Read full review

Reviewed on 08 Apr 2019 by

The most exciting part of our vacation was seeing orangutans in the wild, one of which was making its nest for the night. Read full review

Reviewed on 13 May 2019 by

George Town was fabulous and we loved the street art, the street food and in particular the people who were so welcoming and friendly. Read full review

Reviewed on 04 May 2018 by

The most memorable was the people, land and wildlife! Our vacation was a truly beautiful journey and I would highly recommend it. We spent two nights at Tabin and I think it would be better to do three nights and spread out all the activities a bit more. Gaya Island Resort was a piece of heaven. Read full review

Reviewed on 15 Jul 2017 by

Difficult-there were many. Seeing a wild Orangutan, just outside the cave at Gomantong, close up and "posing" for us, or rounding a bend on the Kinabatangan river to see 30-40 pigmy elephants of all ages on the bank. A set of experiences rather than just a vacation. Read full review

Reviewed on 12 Jun 2017 by

Every spotting of the orangutans, gibbons, birds, lizards, or even pigs was delightful. My husband and I adopted an orphaned Orangutan At the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. All along the way of our safari, the guides told us how we would recognize the child Orangutan. I spotted her immediately when she came out for the 4 pm feeding. Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Mar 2017 by

Wildlife encounters was the most memorable. Read full review

Reviewed on 01 Jan 2014 by

10 out of 10...the most memorable moment was seeing the Pygmy elephants on the banks of the Kinabatangan river playing, tugging up plants and placing them on their head. Read full review

Reviewed on 25 Apr 2014 by

We really enjoyed it and it lived up to expectations. Read full review

Reviewed on 18 Mar 2014 by

The most memorable part of the vacation was 100 pygmy elephants on the bank of the Kinabatangan River...Brilliant. Would do it again, and spend more time in each place. Read full review

Reviewed on 14 Feb 2013 by

It was a fantastic vacation... Seeing the orangutans, proboscis monkeys and all other wildlife in their own environment, being on the boat going up river in the evening. .... tere were so many exciting memories of the vacation. Read full review

Reviewed on 15 Apr 2013 by

Excellent..the orangutans in the wild and spending time with the Iban people were the most memorable parts. Read full review

Reviewed on 22 Nov 2012 by

Most memorable and exciting has to be seeing the incredible and varied wildlife, Danum Valley really stands out, the rainforest is stunningly beautiful, pristine primary rainforest which is teaming with vacation ever, trip of a lifetime kinda vacation! Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Oct 2012 by

Seeing the orangutans, going to lankayan island and living in pure paradise as well as seeing turtles and seeing elephants in Tabin were the most memorable parts of the vacation Read full review

Reviewed on 07 Aug 2012 by

Great it was a fabulous experience. We're lucky to have seen such beautiful animals and landscapes. Read full review

Reviewed on 25 Apr 2012 by

Diving in Lankayan; the river cruise in Kinabatangan seeing the pigmy elephants; and the wild orang-utans and gibbons in the Danum Valley were the mosy memorable parts of the vacation. Read full review

Reviewed on 17 Sep 2012 by

The most memorable part of the vacation was seeing A Buffy Fish Owl next to our chalet door and spectacular Fire flies at Abai Jungle lodge...Excellent organisation - everything ran like clockwork... Read full review

Reviewed on 21 Jun 2011 by

Fantastic!! Words can't describe how much my husband and I enjoyed ourselves. The last 6 days on Mabul was lovely and the diving was excellent... The staff were courteous and so helpful, our guide Theo went above and beyond to make our vacation fantastic and, of course, thank you to all the wildlife...just one word... amazing! Read full review

Reviewed on 21 Mar 2011 by

Most memorable? Diving with a dozen turtles off the coast of Sipadan and visiting the local villagers of Mabul. And then of course to see wild Orangutans in their natural environment. Read full review

Reviewed on 06 Nov 2011 by

I can’t pick one particular moment out the whole trip was an adventure from start to finish...It was a real mental detox, something that I will remember for the rest of my life. Read full review

Reviewed on 28 Sep 2011 by

We felt privileged to be so close to orang utans, turtles (while laying their eggs), crocodiles, various monkeys and birds etc. The treks through the jungle in daylight and at night were astonishing. Read full review

Reviewed on 23 Aug 2011 by

We thoroughly enjoyed Borneo Rainforest Lodge. The welcome we received was incredibly warm and we were so well looked after throughout our stay. The guides were also great at sharing their knowledge and experiences with visitors. Read full review

Reviewed on 14 Apr 2011 by

Seeing our first wild orangutan - absolutely amazing. Could have sat and watched all day... The balance between wildlife and relaxation was perfect. Read full review

Reviewed on 05 Apr 2011 by

Our entire trip to Borneo, Malaysia was wonderful. The many sightings of wildlife such as Pygmy elephants, and the variety of birds were very special... We learned a lot of new information from our guides about the local wildlife. I would encourage others to travel to the areas our family visited. Read full review

Reviewed on 03 Mar 2011 by

The rainforest was the most exciting part, trekking through the jungle in search of orang utans and then actually finding some was amazing. The rainforest lodge was beautiful and the staff were lovely, food was fantastic. Read full review

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