Borneo & Mainland Malaysia

This exciting two-week sample itinerary combines the famous Sepilok orangutan sanctuary with the rainforest and wildlife of both Borneo’s Kinabatangan River and peninsula Malaysia’s Taman Negara National Park. With time amongst the turtles on Selingan Island and days on the beach in the idyllic Perhentian Islands, this has to be the perfect Borneo and mainland Malaysia combination family trip.


  Watch rehabilitated orangutans
  Spot wildlife at Taman Negara NP
  Cruise the Kinabatangan River
  See turtles lay eggs at Selingan
  Cycle around Kuala Lumpur
  Snorkel in the Perhentian Islands
  Sample street food in Kota Bharu

15 days from £1,875 pp

Plus internal and international flights
International flights from £800

A two-week holiday to Borneo and mainland Malaysia for a family of four (with children under 12) usually costs from £7,500 plus internal and international flights

View pricing guide

Borneo & Mainland Malaysia day-by-day itinerary

Day 1 Sandakan
Arrive into Sandakan on Borneo’s east coast, and transfer to Sepilok, home of the world famous Orangutan Sanctuary. If there is time you could wander the canopy trail of the Rainforest Discovery Centre, the perfect introduction to Borneo’s flora and fauna.  Shhhh, you might even spot an escapee from the orangutan sanctuary.

Day 2 Sepilok
Arrive at the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary in time for the morning feeding session. 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 swing on the climbing frame and munch their way through a bunch of bananas. Afterwards you can visit the neighbouring Sunbear Sanctuary – memories of Paddington for all ages.

After lunch you will transfer to the Kinabatangan River (2hrs). Here you spend two nights in a wonderful rainforest lodge on the edge of the river, in the heart of one of the richest eco-systems on the planet. In the late afternoon you will start to explore the area by boat.

Day 3 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 in a hammock 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 4 Selingan Island
An early transfer to Sandakan to take the boat to Selingan Island (1hr). The afternoon is free to enjoy the pristine white sandy beach or perhaps go snorkelling. You may be lucky and spot a meandering turtle or can track the giant monitor lizards the roam the island.

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 is currently advising against travel to islands off the east coast of Borneo. Please discuss this with us at the time of booking.

Days 5-6 Kuala Lumpur
Return to the mainland and fly from Sandakan to Kuala Lumpur. Welcome to Peninsula Malaysia! Take to two wheels to explore this busy city with its soaring Petronas Towers and lively markets. Enjoy an evening foodie tour amongst the famous hawker stalls – assam laksa, rojak, or chee cheong fun anyone?

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Days 7-8 Taman Negara National Park
Off to the jungle! Transfer inland to Kuala Tembeling Jetty then continue your journey by longboat taking you through the lush green jungle before arriving at your lodge in the heart of Taman Negara National Park. After dinner, there will be a torchlight jungle-walking safari. The jungle comes alive at night so you will be able to familiarise yourself with the huge variety of nocturnal plants and insects and savour a chance to spot animals up close at the observation hide. The cacophony is louder than a school playground!

The following day you will hike up Terasek Hill for a panoramic view of Gunung Tahan. Afterwards head for the heights along the world’s longest suspension bridge and enjoy stunning views over the magnificent forest canopies from 40m above the ground. You will also visit a native ‘Orang Asli’ village where you will learn how to use a blow pipe (correctly!) before returning to your lodge by longboat.

Day 9 Kota Bharu
Travel to Kota Bharu on the northeast coast. Visit the city’s most famous sights and try the local food from the hawker stalls. The colours and smells from the central market have to be seen… and smelt… and tasted, to be believed.

Days 10 Perhentian Islands
Transfer by boat to the idyllic Perhentian Islands. Time to chill out on the beach and enjoy the turquoise waters of the South China Sea.

Please note that in the Christmas and Easter holidays we will need to adapt the itinerary to travel to the stunning island of Langkawi on the west coast to avoid the east coast monsoon.

Days 11-14 Beach
Days at the beach to enjoy superb snorkelling and diving, rainforest walks, swimming in aquamarine seas and relaxing on gorgeous sandy beaches.

Day 15 Kota Bharu
Transfer to the airport for your flight home (via Kuala Lumpur).


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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