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Exotic Borneo with Dave Pepler

  • Orangutans… the “Men of the Jungle”
  • Rainforests that are 140 million years old
  • Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre
  • Kinabalu Park… Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site
  • Inter-active cooking session and Tea tasting

Overview

Dave Pepler: “From all the tours I have done, Borneo was the undisputed highlight”.

Borneo is the world’s third largest island and located in the south China Sea. Just the name conjures images of exotic experiences in the mind of the intrepid traveller. Rainforests, orangutans - the Men of the Jungle, adventure, off-the-beaten-track treks and so much more. The rainforests on the island are a 140-million years old. For the discerning traveller who has a passion for adventure and is looking for something out of the ordinary, this expectation will be fulfilled. You will be overwhelmed by the beauty of the jungle, different cultural influences and tropical adventures. The island is home to half of all the known plant and animal species in the world.  

Discover Borneo from 03 to 14 September 2018, with Live the Journey and Dave Pepler. 

Live the Journey would like to thank Dr. Willem Kock for the images featured here. All images were taken during our 2017 Borneo Tour.   

Itinerary

Day 0: Depart

Depart from O R Tambo in Johannesburg to Borneo.
The flight route will be determined at time of group booking, looking for the most cost effective and direct route.

Day 1: Arrive Kota Kinabalu

Upon arrival at Kota Kinabalu International Airport you will be met by a local guide for transfer to the Le Meridien for check in. (Standard check in is at 2pm, alternatively if the hotel has available rooms, guests can check in earlier.)

The rest of the afternoon is at leisure. You can enjoy some shopping at the waterfront markets or at the shopping complex which is about a 5-minute walk from the Le Meridien.

Buffet Dinner at Hotel Restaurant

Overnight at Le Meridien Hotel (Classic Room) 5* (or similar) (dinner)

Day 2: City Excursion / Traditional Cooking Experience/ Mari – Mari Cultural Village

Meet at 08h00 for city excursion.

The first stop will be the State Museum. On the museum grounds, the ethnic heritage village presents a collection of authentically designed houses and longhouses of various tribes with descriptions of their lifestyle. Later pass by the historic Atkinson Clock Tower.

Excellent photographic opportunity stops will be made at Tun Mustapha Building formerly known as Sabah Foundation Building, the Phu Thou Se Chinese Buddhist Temple, and the new magnificent Moorish Likas Bandaraya Mosque.

Stop for a visit to Malaysia’s first Upside-Down House. Also, visit the all-new 3D Wonders Museum for a unique glimpse into a side of Sabah you’ve never seen. Get ready to experience Sabah’s beloved customs, traditions, and landscapes in reality-bending ways due to special art techniques which transforms two-dimensional images into immersive 3D environments. You will be rubbing shoulders with indigenous tribal headhunters, scaling Mount Kinabalu, and observing countless wildlife species in their natural habitats … all this in the safety and comfort of the museum.

Continue your journey to a small village in Kiulu to learn more about traditional cooking. You will be introduced to local cuisine such as Hinava (pickled fish salad) and given the opportunity to learn form the locals how to cook two traditional dishes. Later enjoy your lunch and taste your own cooking.

After lunch continue your culture adventure by visiting Tamparuli a small town and a sub-district of Tuaran on the west coast of Sabah, Malaysia. It is populated mainly by native Dusuns, while a sizeable Chinese community (of whom most are Hakkas) runs most of the shops in the town. As with many other small towns in Sabah, the town itself consists of both newer concrete shoplots as well as old wooden ones, which are particularly prone to destruction by fire as evidenced show in the destruction of one of the wooden shoplots in recent years.

The most famous landmark in Tamparuli is a long hanging bridge - unlike the traditional hanging bridge in Sabah the new bridge is supported by concrete pillars and steel ropes. Another concrete bridge, built for motorized vehicles are far below the hanging bridge and is frequently flooded during heavy rain leading to no one daring to cross the concrete bridge because of the strong water current.

Your last stop is to visit Mari–Mari Cultural Village. Upon arrival and after a briefing with your village guides, cross over the hanging bridge to arrive at the entrance of the village. Here, you will be ushered to the warmth of different homes of the various ethnic groups of Sabah. Each home was built by descendants of the tribes they represent – namely the Bajau, Kadazan, Rungus, Muruts and others. It offers you a truly genuine experience, seeing everything in and around the village lends to its magical prowess of taking you back in time. Acquaint yourself with each tribe as they allow you into their house and their simple yet intricate lives.

As you traverse the village, you will find “demonstration huts” next to the main house where daily activities of yester-years come to life. For example, the making of blowpipes, starting a fire (from bamboo tree) without the help of a lighter, tattoo-making (and its symbolisms) and more. Later proceed to see the cultural show performed by the village guides. You will be welcomed to join the performance. Enjoy delectable traditional and fusion cuisines for dinner before the end of the tour. Return to Hotel.

Overnight at Le Meridien Hotel (Classic Room) 5* (or similar) (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 3: Marine Ecology Research Center/ Nabalu Town/ Kinabalu Park

Breakfast at hotel and check-out.

Depart for Jesselton Point from where you will travel for about 15 minutes by boat to Gayana Eco Resort. Take a short walk to the Marine Ecology Research Center where a briefing, followed by a guided tour of the centre, will be conducted. The Marine Ecology Research Center (MERC) is fully committed to the propagation of Giant Clams. The Centre, besides having other various sea creatures, contains seven out of the eight giant Clams species known to man and prides itself in the protection and rehabilitation of these species.

The Centre’s core efforts are focused upon the conservation, protection and regeneration of marine life, coral reef and the surrounding mangroves.

It is a sanctuary where injured marine life is rehabilitated and eventually released back into the ocean. See the amazing sea creatures up close. Visitors will have the opportunity to participate in marine ecological research through coral planting. Have a Chinese set luncheon at Alu Alu Restaurant, perched on stilts overlooking the scenic Malohom Bay. Later, return to the jetty to take the boat shuttle back to Jesselton Point.

Continue your journey to Kinabalu Park. It takes roughly 1 hour 30 minutes to drive through the scenic countryside while enjoying the beautiful backdrop of the mountain range. En route you will stop at Nabalu village to savour local fruits and to bargain prices for the locals’ handicrafts. Proceed to Kinabalu Park, Malaysia’s first World Heritage Site for its role as one of the world’s most important biological sites

Dinner at Liwagu Restaurant.

Overnight at The Hill Lodge (or similar) (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 4: Kinabalu Park Nature Experience

Be entertained by the sounds of the early morning “music” of the montane species of birds found on Mt Kinabalu as you prepare to go for breakfast. At leisure to explore the natural surrounding of the park or accompanied by your guide, trek on one of the trails of the park with a scenic views of the mountain flora. A number of walking trails have been developed around the Park HQ ranging in length from 20 minutes to 2-3 hours. These trails are marked on the trail maps available at Park HQ. Remember that times given are approximate and vary greatly depending on how fit you are and how often you stop. Back to your accommodation and refresh.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner at Liwagu Restaurant

Overnight at The Hill Lodge (or similar) (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 5: Kundasang/ Tea Adventure/ Sepilok Nature Resort

Enjoy breakfast before your check-out.

Start your journey overland to Sepilok. En route stop at the Sabah Tea Resort and learn about the processes of making tea. Later enjoy your Lunch at Sabah Tea Restaurant. Stop at Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary located in the centre of the mangrove forest along the coastal land near Samawang Village. These unique primates are not found elsewhere in the world and offer you one of the most exhilarating and memorable experiences as you observe them both as young and adults leaping from tree to tree and eventually down to feed on young leaves and plants. The leaping act is superb, fast, steady and stylish.

After the completion of this visit we continue with our journey to Sepilok. This journey takes approximately 4 hours. Upon arrival, check in at accommodation, enjoy your dinner and some leisure time.

Overnight at Forest Edge Resort (or similar) (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 6: Sepilok Orangutan/ Sun Bear Conservation/ RDC

You will have breakfast at the resort before experiencing a close encounter with the “Wild Man of Borneo”, tamed orangutans that are being rehabilitated into the wild at Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre.

Take a short walk in this forest reserve to the observation platform to witness the orangutan being fed by the rangers. Proceed to the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre (BSBCC). This centre was founded in Sabah, Malaysia, in 2008 as a two-stage effort to provide for the care, rehabilitation and release of orphaned and captive sun bears, as well as to address the lack of knowledge and awareness of this bear both in Malaysia and internationally. The Malayan sun bears (Helarctos malayanus), found only in south-east Asia, is the world’s smallest bear species. While Borneo is a remaining stronghold for this species, it is seriously threatened if not extinct in many areas of mainland Asia, including India, Bangladesh, China, Burma and Vietnam. Have lunch at the nearby Sepilok Nature Resort Restaurant.

After lunch, walk to the Rainforest Discovery Centre (RDC). The Rainforest Discovery Centre is an education facility run by the Sabah Forest Department, primarily to create public awareness and appreciation of the importance of conserving forests. Learn about rainforest ecology and experience its amazing biodiversity while walking along a network of self-guided trails in the forest. Be sure not to miss the 150 m-long canopy walkway which provides a spectacular view of the lush rainforest of Sepilok from 25 m above the ground. After your walk, return back to the resort where you will have time at leisure.

Overnight at Forest Edge Resort (or similar) (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 7: Sandakan City Excursion/ Kinabatangan Wetland Resort

Breakfast at the resort before check out.

Enjoy an early lunch at a local restaurant before transferring to Sandakan Yacht Club Jetty. Travel to Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort by boat which will take approximately 2 hours. You should arrive around 14h30 at the Kinabatangan Wetland Resort where you will check in at your chalet and enjoy coffee and local banana fritters while you are briefed about the lodging and the activities. You can enjoy leisure time after the briefing.

At 16h30 you will board a smaller boat for a cruise along Kinabatangan River in search of wildlife and admire the stunning river landscape as the sun sets. If the weather permits, you will continue to observe the fireflies shimmering as the evening falls before cruising back to resort.

Dinner will be served at the common hall. After dinner, geared with your headlamp or flashlight, you will take a stroll along the boardwalk to look for interesting insects and other wildlife that may turn up after dark.

Overnight at Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort – Chalet (or similar) (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 8: Kinabatangan Wetland Resort

The Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort is surrounded by a secondary forest reserve. It is located within nipah and mangrove vegetation and is safe from flood throughout the year. Access into the resort is by wooden walkways made from local hardwood called belian.

Apart from the river cruises, guests can spend more time and are free to enjoy the natural surroundings. Various bird species and different monkey species (e.g. the Silvered Langur, Maroon Langur, Hose Langur, and the Wild orangutan) are regularly spotted within the area.

Jungle trails via a raised boardwalk are made available for night as well as morning walks.

Enjoy an early morning cruise to observe more wild- and birdlife. You will cruise to the nearby ox-bow lake, Danau Pitas, to explore the area. Enjoy your packed breakfast while admiring the natural surroundings. Continue onwards to visit the local fishing village, Kampung Abai. Interact with the local Orang Sungai (River People) and observe the daily activities in this tiny fishing village. Return
to the lodge to rest and for lunch. Explore the resort grounds for interesting plants and insects. This is also a great opportunity for birding within the resort area.

In the late afternoon set off for another river adventure, cruising in search of more wildlife along small tributaries. Return to the resort to freshen up. Enjoy your dinner after which you set off again for a night cruise along small tributary rivers in search of nocturnal wildlife.

Return to the lodge and retire for the night.

Overnight at Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort – Chalet (or similar)(breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 9: Kinabatangan Wetland Resort / Kota Kinabalu

Enjoy breakfast at the resort restaurant after which you depart at 09h00 by boat back to Sandakan. Upon arrival at Sandakan Yacht Club Jetty, visit the restored colonial home, now a Museum, of the famous American writer, Agnes Keith. During the years between 1934 and 1952, Agnes Keith penned a trilogy of her moving experiences during her stay in Sandakan. The first book is called “Land Below the Wind” published in 1939. This book tells us more about the halcyon pre-war days. The second book is called “Three Came Home”, published in 1947 which is focused on hardships suffered during the Second World War. The third book is called “White Man Returns”, published in 1951 which tells of her life in Sandakan after the war. Later proceed to the English Tea House for your lunch. This establishment is a former Colonial Residence, and serves western cuisine. It is conveniently located adjacent to the Agnes Keith Museum. The restaurant has a panoramic view of the city of Sandakan.

Transfer to Sandakan International Airport.

Evening fight from Sandakan for Kota Kinabalu
Arrive in Kota Kinabalu

Upon arrival, transfer to the Le Meridien Hotel and check in.
Dinner will be served at the hotel.

Overnight at Le Meridien Hotel (or similar) (breakfast, lunch, dinner)

Day 10: Departure

At leisure until transfer to the airport to check-in for your departing overnight flight.

END OF SERVICE

Dates

03 to 14 September 2018

Rates

Land Package
Per person sharing: US$ 3,840.00
Single Supplement: US$ 890.00

Included

  • Tour programme with English Speaking Guide throughout the programme.
  • Live the Journey tour leader to accompany the group
  • 3 Night stay in Kota Kinabalu
  • 2 Night stay at Kinabalu Park 
  • 2 Night stay at Sepilok Nature Resort 
  • 2 Nights twin-share room at Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort 
  • 4 river cruises in Abai, Kinabatangan
  • Excursion to Kinabalu Park 
  • Kota Kinabalu City Excursion with countryside tour
  • Traditional cooking experience and visit to Mari–Mari Cultural Village
  • Marine Ecology Research Centre
  • Tea factory experience
  • Sandakan city excursion
  • Excursion to Sepilok Orangutan & Rainforest Discovery Centre & Sun Bear Conservation Centre
  • A visit to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
  • Meals as stated on the itinerary – 9 Breakfasts, 8 lunches and 9 Dinners
  • All entrance fees to the Parks

Excluded

  • Domestic and international flights.
  • All beverages including alcoholic beverages not mentioned. 
  • Tips and personal incidental expenses.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Items not stated in the itinerary.