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Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Best of Borneo & Gaya Island

13-day tailor-made holiday from £2,805 pp incl. flights


Short description

Pair a Borneo's spectacular natural world with some idyllic island relaxation

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Book with condidence. Find out more about our Flexibility Promise, available on holidays booked by 31st October 2021.


  • Experience the best of Borneo's unique wildiife
  • Spot monkeys, pygmy elephants and lizards on jungle treks
  • Enjoy private touring throughout, from river cruises to orangutan-centre visits
  • End in luxury with a spa beach resort
  • Relax with jungle lodge stays, local meals and private transfers

In Brief

  • 1 Night Kota Kinabalu
  • 1 Night Kinabalu National Park
  • 1 Night Sepilok
  • 1 Night Abai Jungle Lodge
  • 2 Nights Kinabatangan
  • 4 Nights Gaya Island


Recommended for:
Activity adventure | Beach | History & culture | Honeymoon | Natural world | River cruise | Wildlife

Between island paradises and some of the world’s finest wildlife-viewing experiences, this comprehensive itinerary showcases Borneo at its very best. You’ll spot the likes of orangutans, pygmy elephants and monitor lizards on everything from canopy walks and jungle treks to longtail boat cruises and visits to rehabilitation stations. Throughout, you’ll enjoy private transfers, local dining and expert-led private touring before ending with a beach resort stay, keeping adventurous with snorkelling trips and guided rainforest treks.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
Depart UK

Begin your trip in style with complimentary airport lounge access before your overnight flight.

Day 2
Kota Kinabalu

On touching down, you’ll be met by a private transfer and brought to your contemporary waterfront accommodation. Between a spa, poolside bar and a lounge that offers afternoon tea, it’s the perfect relaxed introduction. Otherwise, head out and explore, with seaside walks bringing you among market stalls selling everything from tourist trinkets to delicious street food. As a bustling port and historic trading post, expect plenty of freshly caught seafood alongside the likes of Japanese and Cantonese delicacies.

Stay: Le Meridien, Kota Kinabalu (Superior)

Day 3
Kinabalu Park

You’ll be met today by a private driver for the trip through paddy fields, rural villages and mountain ranges to Kinabalu National Park. Home to Malaysia’s highest peak, its exotic verdure features everything from carnivorous pitcher plants to 24 species of flowering rhododendrons and literally thousands of different kinds of orchids. It’s the pretty scenery that will backdrop your guided jungle walk, offering the chance to spot the likes of Bornean gibbons, mouse deer and bearded pigs. At day’s end, you’ll return to your quaint, fire-heated lodge to enjoy some full-board local delicacies.

Stay: Hill Lodge, Kinabalu Park or similar (Basic)    

Meals: B L D

Day 4

Depart for Sepilok, a small settlement to the west of Sandakan on Borneo’s east coast. It’s a scenic drive, broken with a dip in the Poring Hot Springs and the chance to take in the jungle canopy from a canopy walkway string 40 metres above the forest floor. After an included lunch, you’ll head for your accommodation, a collection of traditional wood cabins hidden between shading palms. It’s a delightful setting for a leisurely afternoon, followed by dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. The real highlight of this property, however, is its proximity to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, which you’ll visit the next morning.

Stay: Sepilok Nature Resort (Basic)

Meals: B L D

Day 5
Abai Jungle Lodge

Enjoy an absolute trip highlight this morning, as you make the short stroll to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, a facility leading the fight to protect Borneo’s population of wild orangutans. Take time to watch the fascinating introductory video showcasing the centre’s vital work, before heading to the feeding platform to see the orphaned orangutans tucking into their breakfast. Seeing them emerge from the jungle is a truly magical experience. You’ll also have the chance to visit the Sun Bear Conservation Centre, set up to rehabilitate rescued sun bears in two-and-a-half hectares of protected forest. It’s then time to head to the jetty in Sandakan for a scheduled boat transfer to the Lower Kinabatangan River Santuary and the rustic charms of Abai Jungle Lodge. It’s also the launchpad for two included activities, the first a late-afternoon cruise in search of local wildlife, including orangutans and troops of proboscis monkeys. It’s a superb introduction to the region, which will continue after your included dinner with a night-time stroll on the resort’s boardwalk, for the chance to catch glimpse of some of Kinabatangan’s nocturnal residents.

Stay: Abai Jungle Lodge

Meals: B L

Days 6-7

Wake to the calls of gibbons and hornbills before a cruise on Ox-bow Lake to hopefully observe more wildlife and enjoy the unique ambience of early morning on this section of what is Sabah’s longest river. Then, after lunch, you’ll cruise further upstream to Sukau, keeping an eye out for orangutans and pygmy elephants, before arriving at Kinabatangan Lodge where you’ll spend two nights, enjoying yet more full-board specialties. The next day begins with another early-morning tour on the river, followed by a visit to Gomantong, a formation of caves famed for their edible birds’ nests – a local delicacy. You’ll then be treated to lunch at either at the lodge or a local villager’s house, before an afternoon at leisure and the chance to chill out on the sun deck before your final included cruise.

Stay: Borneo Nature Lodge (Basic)

Meals: B L D

Days 8-11
Gaya Island

This morning, your private driver will bring you to an orangutan rehabilitation centre, cloaked in primary lowland forest. Here, you’ll learn of these gentle apes’ plight before watching a platform feeding session and enjoying an included lunch of your own. Then, a ferry hop and private transfer will see you to your exclusive villa on Gaya Island for four days of beaches, spa treatments and gourmet dining. But, with your verandah overlooking a jungle canopy, there’s plenty of chance to explore with a suite of complimentary excursions, including cultural workshops, rainforest monkey treks and visits to a marine-life centre. There is also the option for everything from culinary classes to fishing, snorkelling and diving trips.

Stay: Gaya Island Resort, Malaysian Borneo (Superior)

Meals: B

Days 12-13
Depart for UK

After breakfast, a boat hop – sandwiched by a pair of private transfers – will see you to your overnight flight home.



Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Standard Deluxe

13-day tailor-made holiday from £2,805 pp incl. flights

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At Wexas, we specialise in bespoke travel experiences. Our itineraries are just samples of what we can arrange, and can be changed depending on your precise needs, finances and ideas by our experienced destination specialists.

Contact one of our consultants on 020 7590 0613 to discuss how we can tailor your holiday.

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