Active Borneo (2 weeks)

This sample Borneo itinerary takes you to the main highlights with plenty of wildlife as well as time on the beach. You explore the country with a driver/guide and the programme can be tailored for children of all ages. A wide range of different accommodation types are available.


  Caves and canopy walk at Mulu
  Join in village life on a homestay
  Search for wild pygmy elephants
  See rehabilitated orangutans
  Relax at an idyllic beach resort

15 days from £3,000 pp

Plus international flights from £1,000

A two-week holiday in Borneo for a family of four usually costs from £12,000 plus flights, depending on type of accommodation.

View pricing guide

Borneo Highlights (2 weeks) day-to-day itinerary

Day 1 Kota Kinabalu
Arrive in Kota Kinabalu where you will be met by a Stubborn Mule Travel representative and transferred to your hotel.

This evening perhaps take an evening stroll along the waterfront and stop for freshly barbequed seafood at the Filipino market.

Day 2 Kota Kinabalu
Fling off the jetlag on a snorkelling trip off the coast to Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park. The waters here are crystal clear and teeming with brightly coloured fish. The park itself is dotted with palm fringed islands and you will be able to swim, snorkel and enjoy the beautiful white sandy beaches. The area does get busy and there are many activities available (including underwater walking, banana boats, paragliding and jet skis), so this is not a deserted experience, but it’s a great start to the holiday.

This evening perhaps head to the night market.

Day 3 Kota Kinabalu – Mulu
This morning you will be transferred to the airport for a short flight to Mulu. This is a vast national park that is a World Heritage Area and undoubtedly one of the highlights of Borneo. The park is home to ancient tropical rainforest, huge limestone cave systems, strange rocky pinnacles, cascading crystal-clear rivers and deep gorges. The views throughout are absolutely spectacular.

Later head to the Deer Cave, the longest cave passage in the world, and follow a trail through the cave. Overhead you will catch a glimpse of more than 3 million wrinkle lipped bats that make the cave their home. As the dusk settles, the bats all fly out of the cave in search of water and food, an impressive spectacle to watch.

You will also see Lang’s Cave, a smaller but beautiful cave where the bats are closer and you will be able to see them clearly.

Day 4 Mulu
After breakfast, take a longtail boat to the source of the Clearwater River and visit the Cave of Winds with its slender stalagmites and stalactites. You will have a picnic lunch and there is also the chance to swim in the river as it exits the cave.

This evening, immerse yourself in the night sounds of the rainforest with a nocturnal guided walk. Quietly move through the forest looking for animals that hide during the day but emerge in the darkness that protects them from being seen by predators. Watch the blinking fireflies float before you or search for luminescent fungi. Be amazed by the thousands of insects of amazing shapes and colours that are attracted to the lights.

Day 5 Mulu
A full day to further enjoy the activities in Mulu National Park. Perhaps take a beautiful walk to Paku Waterfall, go kayaking through the jungle or follow one of the many self-guided boardwalk trails.

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Day 6 Mulu – Kota Kinabalu – Kinabalu Homestay
This morning follow the 480m long ‘Canopy Skywalk’, the world’s longest tree based canopy walk. This takes you high into the jungle canopy where you can see a wealth of butterflies, huge insects and lush ferns.

Later take a flight back to Kota Kinabalu. From here you will head into the foothills of Mount Kinabalu to a small village homestay. Accessed via a bumpy track, the village is not visited by many tourists and will give the children a unique insight into the way of life in rural Borneo.

The accommodation is simple (although very clean) but the village is in the most stunning location with incredible views towards the mountains. There is a river running through the valley just below the village. Here you can swim, have a picnic and clamber over the boulders. There are also a number of wonderful walks including a two hour hike (each way) to a waterfall where you can take an ‘open air shower’ in the pool at the base of the falls.

You can join your host family to help with the cooking, perhaps making spring rolls. You can also learn how to make animal traps or head into the fields to see how to tap rubber or plant rice depending on the season.

NOTE: If you are interested, we can arrange for you to climb Mt Kinabalu instead of staying in the village homestay. See our blog on climbing Mt Kinabalu with kids for more details.

Day 7 Kinabalu National Park – Kinabatangan River
Drive to Kinabalu National Park where you follow the botanical trail through the lowland rainforest of the park. There is an abundance of wildlife around so keep your eyes peeled for deer, snakes and birds as well as the insectivorous pitcher plants. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and there are stunning views towards Mount Kinabalu.

From here continue on a relatively long drive (approx 6 hours) to the east coast of Borneo. You spend two nights in a wonderful rainforest lodge on the edge of the Kinabatangan River. This is in the heart of one of the richest eco-systems on the planet. In the afternoon, start to explore the jungle on foot and by boat.

Day 8 Kinabatangan River
Rise early for a dawn boat ride to the ox-bow lake (a crescent shaped lake that lies alongside the river). It is wonderfully atmospheric to see the sun rise over the river as the morning mists gently clear. Keep your eyes peeled for the animals that come to the banks to drink. Both pygmy elephants and wild orangutans are frequently seen in this area.

During the middle of the day you can either relax or visit a nearby village.

Later in the afternoon you will take a second river cruise. With luck you will be able to see proboscis monkeys playing in the trees on each side of the river as well as kingfishers, hornbills and a wide variety of other birds.

Day 9 Kinabatangan River – Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary
After breakfast drive to Sepilok where you have an afternoon visit to the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. This is a world-renowned centre for rehabilitating orangutans that have been rescued from captivity or displaced by logging activities. The animals are kept here for up to seven years until they are fit for release back into their natural habitat. The children will be entranced watching the baby orangutans as they swing on the climbing frame and munch their way through a bunch of bananas.

Day 10 Sepilok
A free morning to relax. If you are interested you could return to the orangutan sanctuary for a second visit.

In the afternoon visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre. Here you follow nature trails through the reserve, walk along a 147m walkway through the forest canopy and zip-line across a lake. There are stunning views of the huge trees that make up much of the rainforest and a wide variety of bird species so keep your eyes peeled. You will also visit a sun bear sanctuary.

Day 11 Sandakan – Selingan
Rise early to travel to Sandakan and take the boat to Selingan Island. The afternoon is free to enjoy the pristine white sandy beach or perhaps go snorkelling.

Later you have ‘turtle time’ during which you watch a mother turtle laying eggs and then see some of the newly hatched baby turtles being released into the sea. The exact programme depends on what the turtles are doing and when they come ashore – this could be any time during the night.

The British FCO are currently advising against travel to some of the islands off the east coast of Borneo. Please discuss this with us at the time of booking.

Day 12 Selingan – Beach
Today you will return to the mainland and time permitting can explore Sandakan, to visit the WW2 war memorial. Later take a short flight to Kota Kinabalu and continue to your beach hotel. There are many beach resorts you could choose from for your three nights on the beach. If budget permits, the island resort of Bunga Raya is sensational, as are the huge white sandy beaches at the Shangri La’s Rasa Ria. We will be able to advise what will suit your family.

Days 13-14 Beach
Two full days to relax and enjoy the beach. Find a quiet spot and laze in a hammock, sip a cocktail, have a swim and drink in the views. 

Day 15 Kota Kinabalu
Transfer back to Kota Kinabalu for your flight home.


Call us and we will be happy to provide you with a free-of-charge no obligation itinerary and quotation designed for you.

01728 752751

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