Best of Sabah 12 Day Tour

Best of Sabah 12 Day Tour

Best of Sabah 12 Day Tour


Tour Code: BTS 12

Day 1

Take your flight to South-East Asia and on to Kota Kinabalu in Borneo. Kota Kinabalu, the capital of the East Malaysian state of Sabah, can be accessed by flights from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Manilla, Brunei, Hong Kong and other ports in China, and other towns and cities in Borneo. Flights to Kota Kinabalu from Kuala Lumpur arrive throughout the day.

You will be met at the airport and transferred to Shangri-la’s Tanjung Aru Resort – depending on arrival time, have the remainder of the day at leisure or get some rest.

Day 2

Enjoy a morning tour taking in the sights of Kota Kinabalu City, which is the capital of Sabah. The tour highlights include a trip to the Signal Hill lookout for a picturesque view of the city, off-shore islands and surrounding areas, Kampung Likas, Likas Bay and the Tun Mustapha Tower (former Sabah Foundation Building), Po Toh Tze Buddhist Temple, the Sabah Museum, the State Mosque, and Tanjung Aru Beach and hawker stalls. Return to your hotel in time for lunch. Spend the afternoon at your leisure around the pool or doing a little exploring on your own.

Spend the night at Tanjung Aru Resort. [Breakfast included]

Puh Poh Tze Temple in Koto Kinabalu, seen on the Kota Kinabalu City tour

View Puh Poh Tze Temple – a stop on KK City Tour

Day 3

A full day trip to Kinabalu National Park and Poring Hot Springs. Enjoy the vista of the jungle covered mountains and valleys as you proceed up to the base of South-East Asia’s highest mountain and on to the Springs where you will be able to take a “canopy walk” through the rainforest canopy, (the canopy walk is generally closed for a few weeks in April for maintenance – check at time of booking) before returning to the hot pools which were originally built by the Japanese. If time permits, you may be able to enjoy a soak in one of the hot baths.

Rainforest Canopy Walkway at Poring Hot Springs seen on Mount Kinabalu and Poring tour

Rainforest Canopy Walkway at Poring Hot Springs

At Kinabalu National Park World Heritage Site, visit the Education Centre and Mountain Garden, home to various species of the flowering rhododendrons, carnivorous pitcher plants and orchids. You will be taken on a guided walk through the botanical gardens at the park.

Return to Kota Kinabalu, arriving at Tanjung Aru Resort in the late afternoon. [Breakfast and Lunch included]

 Day 4

You will be picked up from your hotel around 09.00 hrs and transferred to the Tanjung Aru Railway Station, to step back in time for a steam locomotive trip to Papar and back. The North Borneo Railway is the oldest running steam train in Sabah and Borneo. The nostalgic romance of an old steam train relives memories of the bygone colonial era.

The North Borneo Railway offers passengers an opportunity to experience the bygone era of British North Borneo while transporting passengers along the lifeline of Sabah. Refurbished to create the nostalgic romance of people travelling by steam train in the days of the Chartered Company and the British Colonial Office, both the exterior and interior provide an environment which would have been typical of stepping onto a train in the early 1900s.

The trip follows the line through villages close to the coast line. A stop of about 20 minutes will be made at Kinarut Town around 10.40 hrs, allowing you to visit Tien Shi Temple, one of the oldest Chinese temples in the region.

North Borneo Railway from Kota Kinabalu and Papar

A train stop along the way from Tenom to Beaufort

You will arrive in Papar around 11.45 hrs. The local produce market is located only a short walk from the station. You will have about 35 – 40 minutes to explore the town before re-boarding the train to return to Kota Kinabalu. A tiffin lunch will be served shortly after departing Papar.

You will be met at the station on your return to Kota Kinabalu and transferred to your Tanjung Aru Resort. Remainder of day at leisure.

[includes a late breakfast – Danish pastries, croissant, fruit preserves and coffee or tea – and tiffin lunch]

 Note that this tour currently only operates on Wednesday and Saturday. Depending on the starting date of your tour, the North Borneo Railway trip may take place on Day 3 or Day 4 of the trip.

North Borneo Railway from Kota Kinabalu to Papar - Vulcan Steam Locomotive

A train stop along the way from Tenom to Beaufort

Day 5

You will be picked up from your hotel early and drive overland across the ridges of the Crocker Range. It is a steep and twisty road, passing through plantantions and jungle. If the mist clears, you will have excellent views of Mt Kinabalu, as well as Kota Kinabalu. Make a brief refreshment stop at the top of the mountain pass, before descending into the Dusun enclave of Tambunan. Continue on to the timber town of Keningau for lunch. Continue on for the short journey to the Murut town of Tenom and proceed to the Lagud Seberang Agricultural Centre. Visit the Tenom Orchid Centre, which contains one of the largest collections of wild orchids in Borneo, many of which are under threat. Then see the Living Crop Museum, which exhibits numerous crops, plants and fruit trees from all over the world. Return to Kota Kinabalu in the late afternoon.

 [Breakfast and Lunch included]


Day 6

Transfer to the airport for your morning flight to Sandakan.After checking into your chalet at Sepilok Nature Resort and having a quick bite to eat, you will be taken on a tour of the City which was the capital of North Borneo until the Second World War. Sandakan was also the starting point for the Australian Death March to Ranau towards the end of the War in which only 6 men out of a total of 2400 survived. (Refer to Australians in Borneo During WW II for further information). In the evening, you will be taken on a tour along the trails in the adjoining Sepilok Forest, in search of nocturnal animals and listen to the Jungle Orchestra. [Breakfast and Dinner included]

Australian War Memorial at Sandakan Prisoner of War Camp in Sandakan

Sandakan Prisoner of War Camp Memorial

Male Proboscis Monkey

Male Proboscis Monkey

Day 7

Firstly, visit the renown Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre for for an audio visual presentation in the theatrette. Then walk ten minutes through the rainforest on timber boardwalks to witness the feeding of the orang-utans at 10.00hrs. You will have plenty of time to watch the orang-utans until they disappear back into the jungle. Once the orang-utans have gone,  head to the Sun Bear Conservation Centre next door to Sepilok, to learn more about the smallest bears in the world.

Depart Sepilok Nature Resort and proceed to Sandakan for lunch, then continue on Sandakan jetty for a 2 hour boat trip to Sukau Rainforest Lodge, along Sabah’s longest river, the Kinabatangan River, with opportunity to view birds and wildlife in virgin mangrove, wetland and rainforest habitats. Check into the lodge on arrival. In the late afternoon, you will be taken on a jungle river tour along a tributary of the Kinabatangan River to see the Proboscis Monkeys readying themselves for the night. If you are lucky, you may even see a herd of elephant, together with a whole range of other animals – including wild orang-utans, and birds.

Return to the Lodge for a solar hot water shower, candle light dinner and a slide show presented by a naturalist. [Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included]

Sukau Rainforest Lodge has undergone extensive renovations and rebuilding to upgrade all its facilities since 2010. There are no longer any “old” rooms left.

The new Sukau Rainforest Lodge offers guests added facilities which will enhance their jungle experience

Day 8

Wake up to the calls of gibbons and hornbills. A 06 00hrs morning river cruise up the Kinabatangan River to view more birds and wildlife. Proceed to the Kelenanap ox-bow lake for a short jungle walk (if weather permits). The area is known for its herd of Asian elephants. Experience the wilderness of Borneo. In the afternoon, proceed on another river cruise in search of more wildlife. Wild Orang-utan are often encountered on this cruise. After dinner an optional (at a surcharge) night safari cruise spotting nocturnal animals, crocodiles and birds.

Return to Sukau Rainforest Lodge for dinner and the night. [Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included]

Dawn on the Kinabatangan

Dawn on the Kinabatangan

Day 9

Leave Sukau Rainforest Lodge and drive to Lahad Datu.

You will be able to enjoy lunch in a local restaurant in Lahad Datu, before transferring to Borneo Rainforest Lodge in the Danum Conservation Area. The Sultan of Brunei and the King and Queen of Sweden have been recent visitors to Borneo Rainforest Lodge. [Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner included]

Borneo Rainforest Lodge Deluxe Villa

Deluxe Villa at Borneo Rainforest Lodge

Day 10

Spend a full day in and around Borneo Rainforest Lodge with local guides who will be able to show you, and explain to you, everything of interest.

Activities of interest include:

  • visit an ancient Dusun burial site complete with belian coffins and ceramic spirit jars – visit the jacuzzi pool on the way down – quite safe for swimming and also leech free. Burial caves have a special place in the myths and legends of the Orang Sungai in Borneo. They believe in the combining powerful spirits of hills and water. In Danum Valley, three burial sites have been discovered, two near the Field Centre and one below the cliff overlooking Borneo Rainforest Lodge.
  • undertake nature walks with experienced naturalists through undisturbed riverine and lowland dipterocarp forest;
  • use the 170 metre long canopy walkway to experience the abundance of bird life in the canopy of the forest;
  • take a night drive in an open jeep in search of wildlife;
  • visit beautiful waterfalls and rivers including Sungai Purut 7-tiered pools which is one of the spectacular waterfalls and pools found in Danum Valley Conservation Area. It is situated on the way to Gunung Danum. This waterfall is about 20 m in height with 7-tiered pools. It takes about 4 hours of jungle trekking from the Field Centre to reach the pool. Visitors can either choose to camp overnight or do a day trip
  • enjoy evening wildlife video and slide presentations by naturalists;
  • take in a jungle wildlife trek along the escarpment with panoramic views over a wild orang-utan habitat;
  • take advantage of the opportunity for extensive wildlife photography.

Overnight at the lodge. [Breakfast, Dinner and Lunch included]

Madai Falls in Danum Valley - visit while staying at Borneo Rainforest Lodge

Madai Falls in the Danum Valley

Day 11

Enjoy a morning trek in search of mammals and birds. Return to the Lodge for lunch. Shortly after lunch, you will be driven to Lahad Datu where you will take the late afternoon flight back to Kota Kinabalu. You will be met on arrival at the airport and transferred to Tanjung Aru Resort. [Breakfast, and Lunch included]

Day 12

Spend your last morning in Borneo at your leisure. Depending on your departure time, we can recommend a trip to one of the nearby Islands of Tunku Abdul Rahman Park – perhaps Manukan or Sapi – to take in some snorkelling on the nearby reefs, or just soaking up the sun. We can organise the trips for you, or you can take one of the many shuttle boats to the islands.

Alternatively, you may like to make a trip into the city to find that last minute souvenir.

In the afternoon, board a flight to Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Brunei etc. to take you on to your next destination (home?). [Breakfast included]


Tour Code Itinerary Duration Inclusions Joining Point 1 person 2 people 3 people
BTS12 The Best of Sabah 12 days/11 nights Transfers, Accommodation, internal flights, meals indicated Kota Kinabalu $8,630 $4,510 $4,340


Prices per person in Australian Dollars and valid 01 April 2019 to 31 March 2020 (E.O.E.) Refer to General Booking Conditions
Accommodation is based on hotels, resorts and lodges indicated in itinerary.

Tour prices based on twin share or triple share (in the case of three people). Single supplement will apply if separate rooms are required.

High Season Rates apply to some accommodation during Easter, July/August/September, December/January and Chinese New Year – please contact us for details. 

Photographs on this page are copyright to Phil Youdale, Albert Teo, and Borneo Rainforest Lodge

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