A fantastic 14 day expedition offering a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the magic of this jungle-clad land. Trek through the Kinabalu foothills, visit orang-utans at Sepilok Sanctuary, cruise down the Kinabatangan River looking for proboscis monkeys or elephants and work within the ‘Corridor of Life’ helping to preserve the ancient jungle and its unique wildlife.
Days 1-2 London / Kota Kinabalu
We fly to Kota Kinabalu in the State of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo. As the plane comes in to land beside the beach, we know our adventure is beginning as we see the many islands and coral reefs of the marine park right next to the city. If we are lucky we may even see whales or whale sharks basking in the blue waters. The city is perched on the shores of the South China Sea beside the Crocker Mountain Range and in the shadow of the mighty Mount Kinabalu.
Day 3 Sepilok
Early this morning we take the long drive to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. This area of protected land at the edge of Kabili Sepilok Forest is used to rehabilitate orphan orang-utans and there are around sixty orangutans living free in the reserve. Covered by rich jungle foliage it is the perfect habitat for orang-utans. There are regular feeding times, when chances of spotting these fascinating creatures are almost assured. In the early evening we will have the opportunity to experience the Canopy Walkway inside the Rainforest Discovery Centre where we can walk among the tall trees and see jungle life high up in the canopy. If we are lucky we may even see the elusive flying squirrel.
Day 4 Sepilok / Orang-utan Sanctuary
After breakfast we head to the Orang-utan Sanctuary for the morning feeding of these amazing creatures. The Sanctuary at Sepilok is renowned worldwide for its excellent work. Covering 40 sq. km, it is a haven for orphaned or injured orang-utans.
After lunch we travel to the ‘Corridor of Life’ near the Kinabatangan River. This is an area where communities have chosen to protect and maintain the jungle rather than develop the land for palm oil.
If we are lucky we may see proboscis monkeys, wild orang-utan, red leaf monkeys and elephants. We will be staying in a local village for the next few days while undertaking our Community Project. Once we are settled into our accommodation, we will take an early evening river cruise for some wildlife spotting.
Days 5-6 Community Project / Kinabatangan River / Local Village
Local communities here within the ‘Corridor of Life’ are allowing wildlife to thrive in their preserved natural habitat by protecting the jungle. However, by choosing this way of life the villagers sacrifice money from the palm oil companies, and therefore they really benefit from any assistance we can give. We can help to support villages through our worthwhile and sustainable community projects and in doing so know that we are also helping to protect the whole valuable eco-system. In the past we have provided water tanks and facilities for the poorer households. However the project we undertake will depend on the needs of the community as identified by our team, nearer to our time of travel.
During this time we will experience life with the families of the village. We may try on traditional dress or have a go at some dancing and singing. There may be an opportunity to play sports with the children and learn how to cook local meals. One evening we’ll trek into the jungle to experience an evening wildlife walk and we will also enjoy an early morning cruise on the Kinabatangan River where we can watch the jungle coming to life. Getting up close to the amazing wildlife in this way is an experience not to be missed!
Days 7-11 Kiau Trekking
Early this morning we leave the project behind and drive to a village close to Mount Kinabalu National Park to prepare for our trek. The forest here is still largely untouched, with some of the last remaining areas of ancient rain forest in Sabah. The area is ideal for treks as it is teeming with wildlife and the dense jungle is interspersed with trickling streams and rushing rivers. Our trek takes us off the beaten track and it is unlikely that we will see any other tourists.
Our village will welcome us with their traditional ceremony performed by the children. We’ll also go over our route and get a feel for the terrain we’ll be covering over the next few days.
The following day we will start to trek through the stunning jungle surrounded by wildlife. The route takes us through the tall grassed areas before heading past rice fields and into the rainforest. This area is maintained by the people of Kiau and you may see examples of their traps or jungle shelters along the way. The Kiau trekking region holds vast areas of primary rainforest and wonderful riverine terrain. There are many animals to be seen and a great deal of local culture to savour as well.
During the trek we can learn jungle survival skills from our local guides, collect banana shoots, discover which wild plants are edible and have a go at cooking them. We will try our hand at making shelters from bamboo and pandanas grass, or even carve our own cups and spoons! Pineapple and banana plantations and paddy fields dot the landscape and the locals work the land traditionally using hand tools or buffalos. This area is still virtually unvisited by tourists but offers the best of Asian rainforest.
The steep climbs and deep forest make this trek both challenging and immensely satisfying; huge dipterocarp trees and strangler figs line the trail dripping with lianas and orchids, pitcher plants and wild jungle fruits.
At night the forest comes to life with sounds of civet cats foraging, owls hunting and the calls of the barking deer. At sunrise the cacophony of birdcalls prevents late sleepers; hornbills and gibbons offer up their haunting cries as the mists start to lift from the valleys through the forest canopies. The early morning noise gradually becomes quieter in the steamy heat of the day. The cool shade of the forest cover protects trekkers from the sun for much of the day, but expect a hot and humid jungle environment!
Day 12 Kota Kinabalu
This morning we travel to Kota Kinabalu for a well-earned rest. There will be the opportunity to enjoy the hustle and bustle of the city while we do some souvenir shopping. Tonight we can enjoy a celebratory dinner in Kota Kinabalu—possibly at one of the many seafood restaurants.
Days 13-14 Return to London
We transfer to the airport for our flight back to the UK with memories to last a lifetime!
A jungle-clad gem nestled in the South China Sea, the island of Borneo is a must-visit for any adventurer or keen biologist. Borneo’s staggering natural beauty and diversity, as well as its huge array of flora, fauna, and unique ecosystems mean it’s paradise for biologists, conservationists, and jungle trekking enthusiasts alike. The rainforests here are some of the oldest in the world, and this ancient habitat remains fundamental for the thousands of species who make the island their home, including some of the last remaining population of orangutan. As the third largest island in the world, Borneo has an abundance of activities for its visitors: anything from river cruises, canopy walks and caves, to Mount Kinabalu: Asia’s highest mountain.
Our expeditions offer students a unique opportunity to explore the diverse landscapes of the island, getting to know the local people through worthwhile community projects, exploring the jungle and national parks via exciting and challenging treks, and take learning outside the classroom with research projects in world-renowned field centres alongside the experts. Far Frontiers also gives travellers the chance to visit, learn about, and aid the conservation projects which maintain the population of some of the world’s rarest and most remarkable wildlife. With so much to offer any explorer, Borneo is a truly inspiring and fantastically wild experience, and is not be missed!
London to Kota Kinabalu
Sepilok Orang-Utan Sanctuary
Kinabatangan River Cruise
‘Corridor of Life’ Community Project
Back to Kota Kinabalu
Return to London
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Explore the fascinating landscapes and ecosystems of this biologically diverse wonderland. We'll enjoy safaris, game drives and primate research, as well as explore the Buddhist culture and rainforest flora and fauna.
"We are different from other expedition companies - we are a family business with family values. We will always exceed expectations thanks to outstanding leadership, energy and dedication. This is the Far Frontiers way."
Christopher Short, Managing Director of Far Frontiers Expeditions
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Written on Friday, 15 September 2017
Far Frontiers Expeditions Ltd Mandel House, Guggle Lane, Northleach GL54 3HB Registered in England 5776931