Tribes, Trekking & Mount Kinabalu Climb

Adventure Holiday in Borneo

Borneo, Kinabatangan Basin & Selingan Island, Kota Kinabalu & Surrounds

Duration: 14 nights

Price: From $3,400 per person in low season based on two adults travelling together and including internal flights in economy class, accommodation on a bed and breakfast basis, private transfers, transportation, experiences as stated and taxes

With South East Asia's tallest mountain, and much myth and legend surrounding its ancient tribes, Borneo is irresistible for intrepid explorers. On this luxury Borneo adventure holiday, you’ll climb Mount Kinabalu just in time for sunrise, and have the privilege of staying with one of the country’s last remaining long-house tribes.
Perfect forActive types and nature lovers who want a real adventure.
In the knowFor tree-huggers and romantics, opt for the Tree House villa at Bunga Raya.

Best for

  • Adventure
  • Beach
  • Eco-tourism
  • Honeymoon

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All itineraries on our website are designed as a starting point. Tell us your budget/wishlist/preferred length of stay and we'll help you select the best hotels and experiences, so your holiday is totally personalised.

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Itinerary details



Fly to Kota Kinabalu, and then it’s just a short drive from the city to Shangri La Tanjung Aru, an exclusive beach resort. Just outside of the city, and with a pristine white sand beach, this is the perfect place to relax before your Borneo adventure. Spend your time indulging in the resort’s gorgeous spa, or hop in one of their complimentary shuttles to check out the city.
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You will take an early morning flight to Sandakan, before being taken to the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilation Centre. The orangutans are free to come and go here, so it’s a really privileged experience to see them feeding in their natural environment. If you’re lucky you may also see the orphan babies being taught how to climb by older orangutans.

This isn’t the last time you’ll see the ‘old men of the forest’ though: spending two nights at the rustic Abai Jungle Lodge (which sits on the banks of the Kinabatangan River) you may well spot the “resident” orangutan, Rose, who is often seen in the trees around the lodge. You’ll also be taken on a magical river safari through the mangroves, in the hope of spotting rare pygmy elephants, and then as night falls you can head out again and see the banks lit up with fireflies.
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1 nightKUDAT

Transfer to Sandakan – stopping off at the Gomantong Caves along the way, which are famously harvested for their saliva birds’ nests – before flying back to Kota Kinabalu. It’s then a bumpy but incredibly scenic drive past rice fields, water buffalo, and coconut groves to the tiny village of Kudat. Sitting at the very tip of Borneo, Kudat is home to the Rungas: one of the last remaining long-house tribes in Borneo, and interestingly the only one of the tribes not descended from the legendary ‘head hunters.’ Greeted by the village chief, this friendly and fascinating community will invite you to stay in their communal long-house for a totally unique and privileged cultural experience.

It won’t be long before you slip into the sleepy pace of life, and join the women on the veranda as they weave fabric, craft their colourful beads from clay and seeds, and husk the rice for the evening meal. The men will then return from the beach with their daily catch, and you’ll be treated to a traditional dinner and their potent maize-based brew.
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From Kudat you’ll drive North along the Crocker Range, before spending a night at the foot of the mountain in Kota Kinabalu National Park. Standing at 4,095m, Mount Kinabalu is the tallest mountain in South East Asia, and forms a stunning mist-veiled totem amidst the national park. After a full briefing with your expert mountain guide, and a talk on some of the incredible flora and fauna you’ll see whilst making the climb, you’ll start your trek at Timpohon Gate and make your way to Laban Rata. This will take around 4 – 5 hours, depending on how fit you are, and will take in an amazing diversity of vegetation, including the rare ‘Day of the Triffids’-style pitcher plant.

Spend the night at the Laban Rata guest house (in simple, dormitory style rooms) and soak up the breathtaking scenery that’s spread beneath you. Then, at around 2 am, you’ll make the final push to the summit of Mount Kinabalu: reaching it just in time to see the sunrise burning through the mist. Climb down to Laban Rata for breakfast, and back down to Timpohon Gate or Mesilau, where you’ll be transferred back to park HQ for lunch.
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After all the hard work of climbing Mount Kinabalu, you’ll have four nights of total relaxation at Gaya Island’s stunning Bunga Raya villas. Reached only by boat, this island resort couldn’t be more exclusive, and when you pull up at the jetty you’ll have perfect white sand in front of you, and thick rainforest concealing your luxury villa. Wake up in your exotic little nest – some of the most romantic and luxurious on Gaya Island – and after joining geckoes on the balcony for breakfast, you can head out for a day of snorkelling amongst the teeming coral reefs and kayaking through the mangroves - or enjoy beautiful spa treatments beneath the rainforest canopy. Spend the evenings enjoying some of the best food you’ve had on your trip, before transferring back to Kota Kinabalu and catching your return flight home.
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Best time to go

Best time to travel

Good time to travel (but some limitations)

Travel is possible (but it’s not the best time)

Travel is not recommended

  • Jan
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  • Nov
  • Dec
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