Days 1 - 3
Known as KK to locals, Kota Kinabalu serves as the capital of Malaysia’s Sabah state and has long been the gateway to the island of Malaysian Borneo. Situated on the coast, this small resort town is a lovely place to refuel, get your permits, book your onward journey and indulge in some well-deserved R&R. If you’re interested in sampling local fare, head to the night market for some fresh fish off the barbecue. Visitors can also look forward to exploring bustling markets, strolling along pristine beaches, and view the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque set along the waterfront. Day trips from Kota Kinabalu include a scenic ride on the North Borneo Railway, an excursion to the neighbouring islands of Gaya and Manukan and an adventure to the Kinabalu National Park, home of the soaring peak of Mount Kinabalu.
Days 3 - 5
Set along the sides of the Kundasang Valley, roughly six kilometres from the Kinabalu National Park, Kundasang boasts magnificent nature, wonderful heritage attractions, and fantastic markets. Bucolic scenes of thick green grass set bright against the dark jagged peaks capped by shining white snow exhibit scenes which, alone, could draw visitors. Some of the best places to visit include the photogenic Sabah Tea Plantation and Garden, where guests can try ginger, cinnamon, lemongrass, and many other flavours of tea; the Desa Dairy Farm, offering a variety of tasty cheeses, milk and ice cream; and the vibrant market where travellers can explore some of the regional delicacies and get hold of deliciously fresh produce. History enthusiasts may be interested in the Kundasang War Memorial, which honors those who lost their lives during World War Two.
Days 5 - 7
Sepilok, amidst densely forested terrain and lush landscapes, is situated within the Malaysian Sabah District of North Borneo. This alluring town is home to wonderful attractions and exciting activities, which draw in travellers from far and wide. Nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy the many hiking and paddling opportunities; while those interested in animal care can visit various sanctuaries which include: Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre, a wonderful establishment which provides care to rescued sun bears; and the acclaimed Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, a mixed dipterocarp forest which offers a natural home to orphaned orangutans. A must-see attraction is the Bristlehead Tower, a wondrous viewing platform providing panoramic views over the surrounding scenic landscapes.
Days 7 - 10
An impressive landmark on the map of Malaysian Borneo, Kinabatanagan River meanders for 560 kilometres from its source in southwestern Sabah in the soaring Crocker Range to its vast river mouth at the Sulu Sea. It is the longest river in the incredibly scenic state of Sabah and provides a rich ecosystem for a host of wildlife. A boat cruise down the river is the best way to explore the region’s lush rainforests, sparkling lakes, and abundant wildlife, with both day trips and overnight water-based safaris offered to visitors. Regularly sighted wildlife includes proboscis monkeys, orangutans, crocodiles, macaques hornbills, Irrawaddy dolphins owls, civets and if you’re lucky – the endangered Borneo pygmy elephant.
Danum Valley Conservation Area
Days 10 - 14
This low-lying wilderness of virgin rainforest is recognised as one of the planet’s hubs of biodiversity - its vast canopies shelter some 300 bird species, over 100 mammals - including the clouded leopard, Malayan sun bear, Bornean orangutan and the rare Bornean pygmy elephant - and a profusion of vividly coloured butterflies. This exceptional ecosystem is a popular research destination among natural scientists and it is possible to attend talks by resident environmental experts at the Danum Valley Field Centre. A network of trails wind through the surrounding jungle, taking in viewing platforms tucked amidst the treetops, a suspension bridge over the Segama River, cascading waterfalls and even several ancient burial sites.