ENAJA SAFARIS AND TOURS, INC.
March/April 2022: Specific Dates TBD
Enaja Safari and Tour’s trip to Borneo takes in the rainforest wildlife from riverside views and up close and personal. We’re also heading to the coast to SCUBA dive among the rich underwater diversity which is unique to Malaysia and this part of the world.
Days 1-4: Depart the US; Kota Kinabalu
Days 1-2: Depart the US
- There are several different flights from IAD that run around $1300 for the lowest restricted
fares. With the international date lines, we arrive 2 days later.
- Days 3-4: Arrive in Kota Kinabalu Airport, transfer to Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort.
- We are met at the airport for a private transfer to the Resort. Depending on the arrival time, it’s either relax and adjust to the time change or get out and introduce ourselves to Malaysia.
- A completely free day to explore
- No meals arrival day
- Kinabalu Seaview room
- We can leave “traveling clothes” etc. here and not carry them for the 2 weeks.
Shangri-la Tanjung Aru Resort
Located just 10 minutes away from the city is a luxurious retreat. There are six restaurants and bars. Soak up the famous Borneo sunset at the Sunset Bar or lounge in one of the beach side cabanas. Depart from STAR Marina, owned by the resort, to the coral islands that are part of the Marine Park. The clear blue waters surrounding the islands offer an amazing snorkeling experience with tropical fish and coral. Here, you can get your heart pumping with adrenaline by participating in water sports on the South China Sea.
Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Malaysia’s Sabah state in the northern part of the island of Borneo, is referred to as KK. This coastal city is surrounded by rainforest and known for its bustling markets, modern boardwalk, beaches, waterfront, and a gateway to Kinabalu National Park, the home of Mount Kinabalu. There is a huge amount to do in the city itself. Some of the highlights here include the craft markets and delicious seafood restaurants, as well as pretty lookout spots and museums. Some things to do in Kota Kinabalu:
Atkinson Clock Tower
The Atkinson Clock Tower, dating from 1902, is one of the main landmarks of Kota Kinabalu. The tower was built in honor of Francis George Atkinson who was the former District Officer in Jesselton, the name given to Kota Kinabalu during the colonial period. Atkinson died in 1902 at 28 following a bout of malaria and a heart attack.
KK Wetland Center
From the 1.4 km of wooden walkways passing through a mangrove swamp, you can expect to see fiddler and mangrove crabs, mud lobsters, mudskippers, skinks, turtles, water monitors and mangrove slugs. The big attraction is the stunning variety of migratory birds.
Wetland River Cruise
The Klias River lies around an hour and a half outside Kota Kinabalu and bisects the larger Klias Wetland Mangrove Forest Reserve. From the vantage point of the water you can see a range of animals that come to the river to bathe and drink. Watch for elegant proboscis monkeys and darting fireflies that hover in the afternoon light.
Green Connection Aquarium
The Green Connection Aquarium is a must-visit for any nature lovers who want to see a collection of some of the most colorful aquatic life in Sabah. There are a variety of interactive exhibits where you can get up close with all manner of creatures like snakes or sharks. If you won’t have time to get out on the water proper in Sabah or do any diving or snorkeling then this is a good chance to see at least some of the marine life for which this region is famous.
Kota Kinabalu Handicraft Market
The Market sits along the waterfront and used to be called Pasar Filipino, or the Filipino Market, and you may still hear it referred to by this name. This is a great place to pick up some local souvenirs such as: pearls, local arts and crafts, wood carvings, and textiles. There are also typical souvenir items like t-shirts and accessories and bargaining is standard practice.
An authentic immersion into local culture not to be missed. There are stalls selling everything from belacan (fermented shrimp paste) to snake beans, to the fish stalls with row after row of every fish imaginable, to the hawker center where you can eat your way through every Malay dish in the book.
Kota Kinabalu City Mosque
Kota Kinabalu City Mosque is the largest mosque in the city and is also said to be the most beautiful. The building is located on stilts above a shimmering lagoon which makes it look as if it is floating on the water. It can accommodate some 12,000 worshippers at one time.
If possible, try to get a look at the mosque at night when it is illuminated and reflected in the inky waters that surround it. In the daytime, enjoy the ornate blue and gold dome as well as the classic minarets.
Go for a walk around Chinatown
Chinatown is also popularly known as Gaya Street in the center of Kota Kinabalu and is one of the main arteries of the city. Many of the hostels and backpacker venues are located here, and you will find a wide selection of Chinese coffee shops and restaurants. There is a market held every Sunday selling a range of good like clothes and souvenirs.
Take A Ride On The Borneo Railway
The Borneo Railway reopened in 2011 after an extensive upgrade. It is one of the top attractions in Kota. The original lines were laid in 1896 when the railway was used to move tobacco all over Sabah. You can take it from Tanjung Aru to Tenom through leafy jungles and along the beautiful coastline of Sabah. You can also take the train to neighboring Beaufort, a pretty market town that is well worth exploring in its own right.
Sabah State Museum
Learn a little about the history of Kota Kinabalu and Sabah on the three floors of memorabilia. The museum is comprised of three buildings: the Science and Technology Museum, the Sabah Art Gallery, and a small heritage village with models of local houses. This is a good place to come on a rainy day.
Monsopiad Cultural Village
Monsopiad Cultural Village, 30 minutes outside of Kota Kinabalu, offers a glimpse of life in a traditional Kadazan village, one of the indigenous groups in Sabah. The village is dedicated to Monsopiad, a famous Kadazan warrior living 300 years ago. Legend has it that he killed some 42 attackers who were trying to invade the village. To that end, you can view 42 skulls located in a rather gruesomely named Hall of Skulls.
Have A Drink On The Waterfront
One of the great highlights of Kota Kinabalu is strip of waterfront which is often just called the KK Waterfront. If you are looking for something of a nightlife scene in the city, the waterfront is dotted with bars and restaurants, many of which feature live music in the evenings. One of the highlights is the sunset views over the water as you sip on a cocktail or a cold beer. The Waterfront is also the best place to try some seafood. In seafood restaurants you can choose from large tanks that are filled with the latest catch and then decide how you would like it to be cooked.
Take A Tour Of The Stilt Villages
Kota Kinabalu is famous for its original stilt villages, the homes of ethnic groups such as Ubian, Suluk, Iranun, and Bajau. If you want to see these amazing structures, then it is best to go as part of an organized boat tour.
A quirky street market that is part arts and crafts and part eclectic gathering with artists, music, and tarot readers. It’s on the third Sunday of each month.
This is an excellent introduction to Sabah’s indigenous cultures with displays focusing on traditional attire, festivals, customs and crafts. You can try your hand at playing traditional musical instruments and learn about past headhunting practices. The adjoining Heritage Village has traditional tribal dwelling including bamboo houses and a Chinese farmhouse – all set on a lily-pad lake.
Soak In The Waters At Poring Hot Springs
For a day trip outside of Kota Kinabalu, consider a trip to Poring Hot Springs. The springs are actually a selection of pools which date from the time of the Japanese occupation during the Second World War. The waters here contain a high sulfur content which is said to have medicinal properties. If you are suffering from aching muscles from your time trekking around, this is a must-visit stop to relax and have a soak.
Day 5: Sandakan Sepilok Nature Resort
- After breakfast, by private driver/guide we transfer to Kota Kinabalu Airport for flight
AK6496 at 1255 flying to Sandakan, arriving at 1340. We have a private transfer to Sepilok
Nature Resort. About 6pm we have a guided night walk to the Sepilok Forest Trails to spot
animals and/or insects. The night walk only available on sharing basis with other resort
guests. After the 1.5- hour walk, we return to the resort for dinner.
- Breakfast, dinner
- Standard Chalet (All chalets are the same – all standard)
Sepilok Nature Resort
Hidden amongst a veritable treasure trove of tropical plants, grasses, huge trees and spectacular orchids in bloom, the quaint bungalows of the Sepilok Nature Resort are within walking distance of the world-famous Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, precious home of the last wild Orangutans of Northern Borneo. Sepilok Nature Resort has 23 basic chalets, all of which have en-suite bathrooms, overhead fans and air-conditioning, as well as private verandas. The main building and restaurant have lovely views towards the rainforest
Looking out across the teal-blue Bay of Sandakan, it’s easy to visualize the past of the former capital of British Borneo. Sadly, it was razed to the ground during WWII by the British in an attempt to shake off the grip of the invading Japanese. Today the little city is buzzing again due to the pam-oil industry, but little of its former colonial romance remains.
Sandakan Memorial Park
A beautiful rainforest garden marks the site of a Japanese POW camp and the starting point for the infamous WWII death marches to Ranau. Of the 1793 Australian and 642 British originally imprisoned here, by July 1945, the only survivors were six Australian escapees.
Famous worldwide as the place to see orangutans in their natural habitat and orangutan youngsters in the outdoor nursery. Within walking distance is the Sun Bear Conservation Center and the Rainforest Discovery Center. The Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary is a short drive away.
Day 6: Selingan Turtle Island Sabah Park
Day 6: Selingan Turtle Island Sabah Park
- After breakfast, we depart by boat at 930 for Turtle Island, the main nesting area for the green
turtles. It takes about an hour to reach Selingen Island lying 40km north of Sandakan in the
Sulu Sea off Sabah’s east coast.
- A day of relaxation to swim, snorkel and explore the island.
- After dinner, the Park Ranger informs us of the sighting of turtle laying eggs or babies
scrambling to the open sea.
- Basic accommodations – room with attached bath.
- All meals, Standard Chalet (only sharing basis allowed on Turtle Island)
Pulau Selingan – Turtle Island Sabah Park
This is the only island in the Tuttle Islands National Park that allows visitors. There are strict regulations of the number of visitors and how close you can get to the Green or Hawksbill mothers as they shuffle up the beach to lay their eggs. Flash photography is not allowed – even if the hatchlings are scurrying to the water. The Park allows only non-flash photography and video is not allowed. It is also forbidden to go around the island on our own between 6p and 6a.
Accommodations are very simple and consist of three wooden bungalows each divided into six air-conditioned rooms.
There is no porter at the island. The chalet is about 500 m from the beach. You have to carry your own luggage from the boat to your chalet, and it is strongly advised to repack your clothing for the stay. There is a luggage room at the jetty.
Important note: Before going to dinner, make sure all important things are with you and don’t go back to your room at any time while waiting for the rangers call to observe turtle laying eggs.
Days 7-9: Sandakan Sukau Rainforest Lodge
Days 7-9: Sandakan Sukau Rainforest Lodge
- An early start at 630 am to check out, have breakfast and take the boat back to the mainland Sandakan. After a 30-minute drive to the Orangutan Rehabilitation Center, we watch a video show and then walk about 10 minutes through the rainforest on wood boardwalks for the feeding of the orangutans at 10a. Then it’s on to the nursery area to see the baby orangutans.
- As if that isn’t enough, we then visit the Sun Bear Conservation Center. After lunch, we transfer to the jetty for a 2 1⁄2 hour boat trip to the Sukau Rainforest Lodge, viewing birds and wildlife along the way. This afternoon, we have a river cruise using electric motor boats to search for wildlife and birds. Then it’s a candle light dinner overlooking the river bank.
- Today starts with a 6am river cruise with a private guide to Kelenanap Oxbos Lake searching for more birds and wildlife. After breakfast, there is an educational tour along the lodge’s Hornbill Boardwalk with the naturalist. After lunch, we head back out on the river. There may be time for a night walk looking for the nocturnal slow loris, western tarsirs, civets, and more.
- An early cruise on the Menanggol River with private guide in search of wildlife. After lunch, we travel overland to Gomantong Caves. On the way, we follow a trail in the forest looking for orangutans. At the cave, we’ll witness the exodus of over two million bats and raptors hoping for dinner.
- All meals, deluxe villa
- All activities on partial private basis except boat from Sandakan to Sukau which on only available on shared basis. Land transfer private driver/guide
Sukau Rainforest Lodge
A founding member of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World, the award winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge nestles on the banks of one of Borneo’s most important waterways, the Kinabatangan River, home to many of Borneo’s magnificent wildlife.
Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the rainforest and the cacophony of its inhabitants, its majestic birds, all 7 species of Borneo Primates including Borneo’s iconic Proboscis Monkey, Orangutans in their natural habitat as well as herds of Borneo Pygmy Elephants. Sukau Rainforest Lodge offers the rare comfort and luxury in the midst of the Borneo Rainforest whilst retaining an Eco-Lodge ethos, the delicate balance of true sustainability. We promise to give you and your family an experience you’ll always remember and one you’ll never regret. The 20 new units of villas exudes exotic Borneo vibes and lush comfort to further heighten guests’ experience while being in the great wilderness and are perfect for those who want to experience the finer side of Sukau. The villas include: ensuite bathrooms with solar-heated hot shower, Sarongs, twin or queen beds, air-conditioning, safety box, tea and coffee making facilities, ceiling fan, hair dryer, private balcony, and mini-bar.
Rainforest Discovery Center
The Center offers an engaging education in the flora and fauna. There is a gentle 1km lakeside walking trail and a series of eight canopy towers connected by walkways to give a birds-eye view of the top of the trees. If possible, during the highly- recommended night walks (RM30) you may see tarsiers, slow loris, civets, flying squirrels, and other night critters.
Orangutan Rehabilitation Center
The term orangutan literally means “man of the wild,” or “Jungle Man.” Traditionally they were never hunted. In fact, the indigenous people used to worship their skulls in the same fashion as they did the heads taken from their enemies. Orangutans are the only great ape found outside Africa. A mature male has an arm span of over 7 feet and can weigh up to 320 pounds. This inspiring center welcomes orphaned and injured orangutans for
rehabilitation before returning to forest life. In 2018, there were around 200 living in the reserve, though only a few are regular visitors to the feeding platform. At the outdoor nursery, watch orphaned 6 to 9-year-old youngsters at play and learning to swing. Watch your belongings! It’s better to leave valuable in the car or provided locker. Certain members of the orangutan
population are renowned for their collecting habits. They’re not fussy – cameras, sunglasses, etc. One fellow likes to single out a female human and makes a beeline across the divide to the viewing area. He may get attached to you literally and has been known to occasionally bite. The facility provides medical care for orphaned and confiscated orangutans as well as dozens of other wildlife species. Some of the other animals which have been treated sun bears, gibbons, Sumatran rhinos and elephants.
Sun Bear Conservation Center
The sun bear, only about 48 inches tall and weighing approximately 120 pounds, is the smallest of the eight bear species. Named for the golden bracelet of fur around their necks, the sun bears’ Rorschach-like pattern is never duplicated, varying as they do in color from cream to orange. Sun bears are found throughout Southeast Asia, in eastern India, southern China, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Borneo, usually at an altitude of around 8900 feet. They’re excellent climbers, equipped with long claws to scale high trees in search of beehives. As they’ll rip a cavity in the trunk to get to their honey, they create a safe place for hornbills and other birds to nest at a later date. They also control the forest’s destructive population of termites, which are a critical part of the bears’ diet.
The center opened in 2014 and aims to increase public awareness and release back into the forest individuals which can be rehabilitated or are still “wild”. The Center provides care to rescued sun bears (44 bears at the time of writing in 2019), the world’s second-most endangered bear. It’s possible to see the bears foraging, climbing and sunning themselves in the forest from two elevated walkways and viewing platforms. There are also telescopes set up for a closer look.
Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary
Proboscis monkeys are found only on Borneo. Named for their long, bulbous noses, they are potbellied and red-faced, and the males are constantly, unmistakable aroused. A local palm plantation owner has created this Sanctuary by attracting the local monkeys with sugar-free pancakes. There are an estimated 300 wild monkeys in this 4 sq mile reserve.
The Kinabatangan River and Cruise
At 350 miles of chocolatey-brown water, the Kinabatangan River is the longest river in Sabah and provides a unique, rich ecosystem. The concentration of wildlife is remarkable and is acknowledged by experts to be the most varied and easily accessible wildlife in all of Southeast Asia. From the headwaters to its vast river mouth, the Kinabatangan passes through a diverse range of habitats, including dipterocarp forest, seasonally flooded riparian forest, oxbow lakes, and mangroves. This vast floodplain forest contains a rich mix of vegetation that supports a remarkable diversity of wildlife and has gained a justified reputation as one of the top wildlife watching destinations in Southeast.
This is the only place in Sabah where you can find a concentration of 10 primates, including orangutan, Bornean gibbon, long- tailed and short-tailed macaque, three kinds of leaf monkey, western tarsier, slow loris and proboscis monkey. Add to this, eight different kinds of hornbill, herds of pygmy elephants, crocs, wild boas, and, if super lucky, a clouded leopard. Hopefully we can
do a night cruise as well!
Wildlife of Kinabatangan River
It is known for its array of wildlife and many habitats which include dipterocarp forest, riverine forest, freshwater swamp forest, mangrove swamps, oxbow lakes and the limestone cliffs at Gomantong caves. It is one of only two areas in the world inhabited by ten species of primate, four of which are endemic to Borneo. It is also one of two places in the world where four medium-sized Colobines inhabit the same place: namely proboscis monkey, silvered langur, maroon langur, and Hose’s or grey langur. Other fauna found here include: orangutan, long-tailed macaque, pig-tailed macaque, Bornean gibbon, western tarsier and slow loris, Asian elephant, flat-headed cat. Among the numerous other small mammals are otters, rats and civets. Reptiles include reticulated python, tortoise, freshwater terrapin, monitor lizard and crocodile. Over 200 species of birds are found here including eight species of hornbill, oriental darter, several species of egret, Storm’s stork, Sunda ground cuckoo, stork-billed kingfisher, Brahminy kite, crested serpent eagle, plus herons, hawks, ospreys, buffy fish owl, frogmouths, bulbuls, flowerpeckers, spiderhunters, drongos, and more!
Like many caves around the world, Gomantong Cave on the island of Borneo is home to millions of bats, but it’s the horrific numbers of cockroaches and parasites that live in the cave’s guano deposits that make it seem like
something out of Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom. There are so many roaches in the caves that they can be seen climbing the walls in droves, making the cave a truly creepy place. The cave can be accessed by a wooden walkway that leads visitors down into the bat-and-roach-infested wonderland. The question is, do you have the stomach for it?
A number of other species live within the large, 300-foot-tall caverns including swiftlets, whose highly-valued nests are collected by locals via precarious bamboo ladders and poles. There are also hundreds of thousands of Wrinkle Lipped Free-tailed bats living in the upper reaches of the cave. You will want covered shoes, a raincoat, and a hat; but the cave is magnificent. A typical visit involves a walk along a raised boardwalk.
You may also spot mud crabs, giant centipedes, scorpions, lots of swiftlets and bats. At around 6pm, outside the cave entrance there is an impressive vortex or bats streaming out to look for food. Their nightly exodus from the cave mouth is a popular site for visitors and for the Crested Serpent Eagle, Brahmini Kite, and Bat Hawks waiting for dinner.
The Gomantong Caves are Sabah’s most famous source of swiftlet nest, used by one of the most revered dishes on the traditional Chinese. The soup is made from dried swiftlet spit, which when added to the broth dissolves and becomes gelatinous. There are two types of soup-worthy nests: black and white. The white nests are more valuable and Gomantong has a lot of them. A kilo of white swiftlet spit can bring over $US4000, making nest hunting a popular profession despite the dangers of shimming up bamboo poles.
Days 10-12: Lahad Datu, Danum Valley
Days 10-12: Lahad Datu, Danum Valley
- Early departure for the 2 1⁄2 hour drive to Lahad Datu for registration and briefing. At 930 we
depart for 2 1⁄2 hour overland drive to Danum Valley Borneo Rainforest Lodge. After lunch, we’ll do some nature trails and tree-top canopy walks. After dinner, we head out in open vehicles in search of nocturnal animals.
- After breakfast, we’ll trek to the Kadazandusun burial site – “Coffin Cliff” and on the View Point. After lunch at the Lodge, we have another jungle trek or can go tubing down the Danum River. After dinner, with our private guide, we’ll search for nocturnal creatures by foot.
- Today we visit some amazing waterfalls trekking to Fairy Falls and Serpent Falls before returning to the Lodge for lunch. After lunch is free to do a guided trek along the Segama River or just relax.
- All meals included: Premium Deluxe Chalet
We have private driver/guide for these transfers, afternoon trek, and waterfall trek, but night drive is on sharing basis with other resort guests
Borneo Rainforest Lodge
Borneo Rainforest Lodge is nestled in a magnificent setting alongside the Danum River flowing through Sabah’s largest protected Lowland Rainforest – Danum Valley Conservation Area – 43,800 Hectares of pristine and undisturbed tropical flora and fauna in the eastern part of Sabah! This pristine Rainforest is also home to more than 340 species Birds, 124 species of Mammals, 72 species of Reptiles, 56 species of Amphibians and a staggering 200 species of plants per hectare. Each of the 30 chalets at Borneo Rainforest Lodge have a private balcony, overhead fan and an en-suite bathroom with hot water. The Deluxe Chalets are larger and some have outdoor bathtubs and daybeds. The heart of the property is a large central lodge with a spacious veranda overlooking the rainforest, a well-stocked bar and a dining area.
Borneo Rainforest Lodge offers additional activities for guests and is the only place to find official nature guides. If you feel more adventurous, you may like to extend your activities to include Animal Spotting Drive, Extended Night Drive, Extended Night Walk among many others. Guides will also be delighted to assist you with suggestions for more adventurous activities. Please be
informed that these activities depend on the weather conditions and the availability of vehicles.
Travel to the valley of the Danum River, known for its 274 square miles of virtually undisturbed primary rain forest. Spend three days exploring the local nature trails on your own or with a guide. Keep an eye out for a mind-blowing
spectrum of creatures: orangutans, tarsiers, sambar deer, bearded pigs, flying squirrels, king cobras, proboscis monkeys, red-leaf monkeys, Bornean gibbons, pygmy elephants, and maroon langur. It’s also known for its medium-sized cats, with the beautifully marked clouded leopard spotted on night drives. Other cats found are the flat-headed cat, marbled cat, leopard cat, and cartoon-like bay cat. Recognized as one of the world’s most complex ecosystem, a new species of plant is found here every week.
Bird life is especially diverse, with some 275-recorded species. Take a guided night hike when the forest is vibrant with wildlife. Watch a dazzling sunrise over the valley from atop an observation tower—and enjoy a light breakfast with a stunning view. Stretch your legs on a moderately challenging hike to a nearby waterfall, go on a canopy walk in the treetops surrounding our lodge, and
venture out on night safaris to experience the forest when it is vibrant with wildlife. In Danum Valley, you can see or hear flock of big hornbills flying over your head almost every hour. This is one of the few places in Malaysia where we can find 8 species of hornbills Some birdwatchers pay thousands to come to see only one bird in Danum Valley, the Bornean Bristlehead (only found in
Borneo). Other rare birds include Great Argus, Bulwar’s Pheasant, Giant Pitta, Bornean flycatcher, Bornean Ground-cuckoo and many more.
There are leeches in Danum Valley as tropical rainforest is their natural habitat. There are two common species of leeches found in Danum Valley: the tiger leech and the brown leech. The brown leech lives on the ground and the tiger leech on leaves, usually about one or two feet from the floor. Leeches are usually more active when it is wet or after rain. Leeches are not dangerous at all. Leech-socks which will keep the leeches out of your shoes/pants are sold in the Lodge’s gift shop. Although leeches cannot
penetrate through the leech socks, there is still a slight chance that they may bite you on other spots. If bitten don’t panic: it’s only a leech! They can be easily removed by flicking them a few times. They will feel uncomfortable and release themselves from their bite. You do not really need to use a cigarette, lighter or salt to remove them. A leech bite is not considered to be dangerous or harmful as they do not carry bacteria as we have no record of infection or diseases resulting from leech bite. These creatures will leave you with a clean wound. A leech uses an anesthetic to reduce pain from the bite, except for tiger leech. Also, leeches usually inject a protein called hirudin, which works effective as an anticoagulant to enable blood flow freely. After removing the leech, you may experience bleeding from the wound for a while. If bitten, you can get a ‘blood donor certificate’ at the reception desk for a small fee.
Getting out of bed while it’s still dark and the clock reads 4:45 am is no fun; the jungle is as quiet as a cemetery, the air shivery cold. But driving through the forest to a high wooden watchtower, climbing to its top and waiting for the sun to appear over the mist- and forest-shrouded hills below make it all worthwhile. As the first cicadas wake, and with the melodic call of the gibbon, you feel like a privileged voyeur witnessing a sacred, primal moment. Then slowly the fireworks begin as a sliver of sun appears
over the distant ridge, the sky seguing through ruby to salmon, orange to vermilion. Priceless. This is not included in the tour package and costs RM160 for 4 or in our case 3.
Trekking in the Valley
The main activities at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge are walks on more than 31 miles of marked trails. You are not allowed to hike the trails without a guide. The average group is about 6-8 people, and the fitness levels vary considerably. Remember you’re in the jungle and clambering over roots and fallen trees is hard work, so don’t push yourself unnecessarily.
Coffin Cliff Trail: good way to start and get your bearings. It climbs for about 2 miles to a cliff where the remains of some Kadazan-Dusun coffins can be seen. There is an eye-popping viewpoint about 100 yards further. On the way back, take the detour around the back of the cliffs and descend via scenic Fairy Falls and Serpent Falls, a pair of 16 foot waterfalls that are good for a quick dip.
The Danum, Elephant, and Segama Trails are mostly flat offering good chances for wildlife spotting. These take about an hour or two.
Hornbill and East Trails have a few hills, but are still relatively easy with good changes of wildlife.
The Nature Trail: If you just need a quick breath of fresh air after a meal, this is a short plank-walk near the Lodge that allows you to walk in the forest unmolested by leeches.
Night walks offered at the Field Center. These tend to be an hour-long and you have the chance to see mostly creepy crawlies – a remarkable assortment of spiders, grasshoppers, and stick insects. You might even spot chameleons, bug-eyed tarsiers, various serpents (vine snakes, pit vipers), and curious sambar deer.
People come from all over the world to see a variety of rainforest species, including the great argus pheasant, crested fireback pheasant, blue-headed pitta, Bornean bristlehead and serval species of hornbill. The Borneo Rainforest Lodge’s canopy walkway is ideal for bird-watching, and some of the guides are particularly knowledgeable about birds. Of course, your porch is also a
good spot for birding!
Night Drives from our Lodge
This is one of the surest ways to see the valley’s “night shift.” Expect to see one or two species of giant flying squirrels, sambar deer, civets, porcupines, and maybe the leopard cat, elephants, and slow loris. Night drives (rm160 for up to 8 people), leave the Borneo Rainforest Lodge. The best trips are the extended night drives that depart about 830pm and return at 1-2am. Be sure to
bring a light waterproof jacket, binoculars, and a powerful flashlight. It can be cold so layer or bring a jacket.
Danum Kit List
- Leech socks strongly recommended
- A stash of energy sweets, insect repellent, plasters for blisters, strong flashlight, powerful zoom lens.
- Sneakers are fine in dry weather; hiking boots provide better support in slippery conditions
For bird-watching, the 1000-foot-long and 90-foot-high canopy walkway built by Borneo Rainforest Lodge is the best. In year 2008, a bird guide Richard Webster discovered a new bird species (Spectacled flower pecker) on this canopy. If you look carefully, you will see many bee hives on Menggaris tree, the favorite nesting tree of
wild honey bees due to its height.
Ancient Kadazandusun Burial Site.
After 40 minutes of walking, you are asked to be keep quiet and be respectful. The guide shows a 200-year ancient coffin made of strong Belian wood (Diamond Wood) belonging to a chief. Proceed to a platform high above the ground to see a small coffin of a child and a pile of old human bones and skeletons. Next on the trek is the Fairy and Serpent Waterfalls and then the last stop at a Jacuzzi Pool where you can swim and enjoy “fish massage”. The small fishes will nibble your feet and remove the death skin. It is a bit painful but doesn’t hurt. Lastly, we were back to the lodge about 11:30am.
Days 13-16: Kota Kinabalu/Gaya Island
Days 13-16: Kota Kinabalu/Gaya Island
- This morning is at leisure before we drive with private driver for 2 1⁄2 hours to the Lahad Datu
Airport for flight MH3013 departing at 1115 arriving Kota Kinabalu at 1210, transfer to the Jesselton Jetty in time for the boat to Gaya Island Resort. The rest of the day is at leisure to enjoy the beach, snorkel, dive, or participate in other water sports. The Boat to Gaya is on shared basis.
- Free day to enjoy resort activities…. maybe dive
- Free day to enjoy resort activities
- Breakfast included
- Ocean Villa
Gaya Marine Resort
Beautifully situated, Gaya Island Resort is set amidst lush rainforest with breathtaking views of the wonders created by nature over thousands of years. Ancient rainforest and protected mangroves surround the idyllic villas set in the hills. Villa interiors are designed with a contemporary elegance and offer a variety of views including mangrove, canopy, tropical rainforest and the South China Sea.
Villa amenities include comfortable bedding, a writing desk, a powered safe, a flat screen television with satellite channels, a large open en-suite bathroom with an
oversized bathtub and two vanity units, and an outdoor verandah with day beds, and complimentary WiFi. A conservation fee of MYR30 on the first night of stay and
an additional MYR20 for each day thereof is applied to each guest for every night of stay by Sabah Parks.
Activities available at the Resort include:
- Fishing Excursions led by the resort’s guides set sail in the wake of the seafaring Bajau Laut, Sabah’s marine nomads. Whether a novice or an experienced angler, expert guides allow you to explore the ocean’s depths aboard a charter boat. These seasonal activities include refreshments and can comfortably accommodate up to 6 anglers.
- Deep Sea Fishing: Take a chartered trip to Mengalum Island, where history lends itself back in time to the 16th century and the voyage of Ferdinand Magellan, for a unique fishing excursion. Located about 20 nautical miles away, species that can be encountered include wahoo, dorado, tuna, giant trevally, barracuda, and even rainbow runner. Billfish like marlin and sailfish are rare but can be spotted occasionally. Inclusions: Return boat transfer, trolling tackles, skirted lures and tackles for bottom fishing, packed lunch and mineral water.
- Leisure Fishing: A wide variety of marine and inland fishing spots offer a plethora of fish species and present the casual angler with an opportunity to discover one of the world’s top fishing destinations. Anglers can test their skills at nearby island waters with depths of more than 500 feet and attempt to catch amberjacks, ruby, kerisibali or black grouper species. Inclusions: Return boat transfer, standard fishing equipment, bait, refreshments and mineral water for a 3 or 5-hour trip. One meal and a complimentary 30-minute snorkelling session is included for a 5-hour trip.
- Guided Nature Walks offer an environmental education voyage with our Resident Naturalist with limited guests allowed daily to minimize human impact to the wildlife and their habitat. Inclusions: A full safety briefing and mineral water. Private Sessions are also available where you embark on a vigorous trek that leads through the primary rainforest where nature goes wild in a dense tangle of vines, looping rattanare, palms, shrubs and massive hardwood trees. Spot camouflaged wildlife around you before the trail ends at Tavajun Bay, a private sandy beach backed by forested hills and a mangrove area with its own unique ecosystem. Settle down for lunch and laze on the beach or discover the marine initiatives at Gaya Island Resort Marine Center before returning to the resort.
- Gaya Island Resort Marine Center: The marine center advocates 3 key conservation themes – Turtle Rescue, Coral Reef Restoration and Conservation Through Education. The Resident Marine Biologist and dedicated team work with equally passionate partners, championing initiatives to protect marine life, raise awareness for sustainable seafood choices and aim for pollution-free waters. Drop by and find out more about our efforts.
- Borneo Craftworks: With over 32 ethnic entities in Sabah, handicrafts lend an insight into the cultural identity and history of each group. Each craft is unique to their ethnicity like brightly hued beadwork for the Rungus while the Kadazandusun are notable weavers using plant fibers to make products. Try creating your own handicraft memento with the complimentary classes.
Gaya Island is the largest of 5 islands, each with fringing coral reefs, forming the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park in Sabah. It has been a forest reserve since 1923 and was declared Sabah’s second National Park in 1974. Measuring almost 4000 acres, the island Gaya Island Resort Wildlife Center advocates three conservation pillars – Proboscis Monkey Preservation, Nature and Wildlife Conservation, and educational Nature Trails.
Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park lies within The Coral Triangle, known as the world’s marine epicenter. Home to diverse marine life exceeding 75% of species known to science with coral gardens found 70 feet from the shore; this underwater realm has over 25 dive spots for all year exploration conducted around 5 islands within the marine park. The PADI Dive shop offers dive and snorkel activities and equipment.
This program sees to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of sea turtles that the resort receives from the
Sabah Wildlife Department and other conservation agencies. The marine center is notified whenever there are injured or sick sea turtles in need and provide them with a safe environment in which to recover and be treated.
Coral Reef Restoration
The marine center’s coral nursery provides an on-land opportunity for guests to become engaged with coral reef conservation. It also provides a controlled environment for freshly planted corals to recover. Activities include the collection of broken or non-viable coral fragments, their attachment to coral blocks or artificial reef structures, placement in the nursery for observation, and their return to the Marine Park to rehabilitate damaged areas.
Proboscis Monkey Preservation
Assessed as endangered, the proboscis monkey is protected by law in all regions of Borneo. Gaya Island is blessed with a few harems of proboscis monkeys (about 100 individuals) residing in the rainforest.
Nature and Wildlife Conservation
The wildlife center introduces the diverse species of wildlife found on the island, fossil and specimen displays, on-going nature and wildlife preservation initiatives, and biological station featuring research, study and rescue or caring of wildlife species, with special focus on the proboscis monkeys.
Discover an exceptional botanic reserve, diverse wildlife and a rare, undisturbed mixed dipterocarp forest, found only on Gaya Island. Two trails have been crafted by the resort with varying difficulty levels leading through a dense tangle of vines, looping rattans, palms, shrubs and massive hardwood trees with camouflaged wildlife around. The nature walks offer an environmental education voyage with our Resident Naturalist where limited guests are allowed daily to minimize human impact to the wildlife and their habitat.
Days 17-18: Kota Kinabalu and Flights Home
Days 17-18: Kota Kinabalu and Flights Home
- After breakfast, we take the scheduled boat transfer to Sahngri-La Tanjung Aru and have a private transfer to the resort.
- After breakfast, we take the boat back to the airport for our flights home. We recover the “lost days” going home.
- Breakfast included
Cost and Inclusions
Total trip cost per person:
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the cost and pricing of this trip.
- All service in Sukau and Danum Valley (transfer, boat, guide, etc.) based on Sharing or Partial Private Basis
- Airport transfer in Kota Kinabalu based on Private, with standard vehicle and English Speaking Driver/Guide
- Activities as stated in the above itinerary
- Domestic flights as indicated
- Meals as indicated in the above itinerary
- Transfer as indicated in the above itinerary
- Tours as indicated in the above itinerary
- Camera & video fee
- International airfare and taxes
- Optional Tours
- Visa expenses – US does not require Visa
- Meals other than specified
- Expenses of a personal nature (mini-bar, phone call, laundry, etc.)
- Tips or gratuities to guides/drivers/porters/hotel, restaurant or boat staff, etc.
- Drinks or personal expenses or entrance fees for any extra sightseeing or optional activities
- Please note the new Tourism Tax will be implemented in Malaysia effective 01st Sep 2017. The tax will be levied to all foreign tourists based on a flat rate of MYR 10.00 per room/night for all hotels classifications, and is paid locally by clients to the hotels.
- For Gaya Marine Resort: A compulsory conservation fee of RM32.00 ($8) on the first night and RM22.00 ($6) for every additional night, on per person/night basis including children. This fee is imposed by Sabah Park, an organization set up as the caretaker of Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park conservation triangle. The fee shall be levied in guest’s final bill during their stay.
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