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Kinabalu Park & Kinabatangan River Cruise | 4 Day | Sabah, Borneo

(2 customer reviews)

From: $253

This 4D3N package is a ‘must have’ if you are planning to visit Kinabalu Park and see wildlife during your holiday in Sabah. The unique trip, created by Borneo Dream, includes many wonderful activities like a trek in Kinabalu Park, a river cruise along the Kinabatangan River and seeing Orangutans at Sepilok Sanctuary. Your 4D3N adventure starts in Kota Kinabalu and ends in Sandakan – so you cross from the West coast to the East coast of Sabah with many wonderful experiences in between. An ideal trip for families, friends and groups – Minimum 4 persons per booking/trip.

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Kinabalu Park & Kinabatangan River Cruise – Mountains & Wildlife Adventure in Sabah, Malaysia

This 4D3N package offers some amazing opportunities for experiencing the mountains and wildlife of Sabah, Borneo. It is a tailored, unique itinerary created by Borneo Dream which combines two popular destinations in Sabah – Kinabalu National Park and the Kinabatangan River – along with visits to wildlife and rainforest attractions such as Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary. Is a great alternative to a standalone Kinabatangan River Cruise trip, and an ideal choice for families, friends and groups.

During your four day trip you will visit Kinabalu Park, Poring Hot Springs, Kundasang War Memorial, Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, Sun Bear Conservation Centre, the Kinabatangan River, Gomantong Cave and Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. Wow!! You’ll also stay in some lovely locations – a Resort near Kinabalu Park, Nature Lodge Sepilok near Sepilok Sanctuary and a Lodge along the Kinabatangan River.

Search for wildlife during your Kinabatangan River cruise, Sabah

During this mountain and wildlife adventure, you’ll travel from the West coast of Sabah to the East coast and take in the sights along the way. You’ll start your four-day adventure being collected from your hotel in Kota Kinabalu and at the end of the trip, you’ll be dropped off at your chosen location in Sandakan (a hotel or the airport).

If you would like to see more wildlife during your holiday why not add on a 2D1N Turtle Island Trip and visit Turtle Island after your 4D3N Kinabalu Park & Kinabatangan River Trip – a perfect combination!

Trip Itinerary – 4D3N Adventure to Kinabalu Park and the Kinabatangan River

Day 1 (Meals: L, D)

0700hrs: You will be collected from your hotel in central Kota Kinabalu and start your journey (by minibus) to Kinabalu National Park, a ~ 2-hour journey. There will be a brief stop on the way at Nabalu Market – a chance to view handicrafts and local fruits on the stalls and take photos of Mount Kinabalu.

~9:30hrs: Arrive at Kinabalu Park Headquarters. Go for a guided trek on a marked trail in Kinabalu National Park (typically Silau Silau trail) followed by a visit to the Mountain Garden.

12:00hrs: Go for lunch at a local cafe in Kundasang and enjoy some tasty local dishes.

~1:00hrs: After lunch, you will visit Kundasang War Memorial followed by a visit to Poring Hot Springs. At Poring Hot Springs you’ll be able to walk along the 37 meters high treetop Canopy Walkway followed by a dip in one of the ‘hot springs’ tubs. Late afternoon you will then be transferred to your hotel.

~17:00hrs: Check in to hotel and time to freshen up and relax before dinner. For dinner, you will enjoy a traditional Steamboat meal.

Overnight at Kinabalu Pine Resort, or equivalent (twin / double share Standard Room).

Day 2 (Meals: B, L, D)

08:00hrs: Breakfast at your Resort. Check out of your room.

0845hrs: Start your transfer to Nature Lodge Sepilok, a ~ 4 hours journey by road. Along the way, you will finish crossing the Crocker Mountain Range before heading on towards Sepilok, near Sandakan.

1300hrs: Arrive at Nature Lodge Sepilok and enjoy a tasty lunch at the Lodge’s restaurant.

1430hrs: Visit nearby Rainforest Discovery Centre. The Centre is located in the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve and is home to some stunning flora. During your afternoon visit, you will join a guided trek through the forest and learn more about the rainforest ecosystem, walk along the raised canopy walk and visit the Plant Discovery Garden to learn more about plants endemic to Borneo.

17:00hrs: Back to your Lodge with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

19:00hrs: Dinner at the restaurant at Nature Lodge Sepilok.

Overnight at Nature Lodge Sepilok (twin / double share private room).

Day 3 (Meals: B, L, D)

08:00hrs: Breakfast at your Resort. Check out of your room.

0915hrs: You will be collected from your Resort and transferred to Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary to watch the morning feeding session. You will then visit the Sun Bear Conservation Centre.

1230hrs: Enjoy lunch at a cafe near Sepilok. After lunch, you’ll start your joinery to the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge, a ~ 2-hour journey by road.

1500hrs: Arrive at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge, join a welcome briefing and check into your Chalet.

1600hrs – 1800hrs: Join a late afternoon river cruise along the Kinabatangan River in search of wildlife. Expect to see Proboscis Monkeys, Macaques and more along the banks of the Kinabatangan River.

1900hrs: Time for dinner at the Lodge restaurant before going a night trek behind the Lodge in search of nocturnal wildlife.

Overnight at Kinabatangan Nature Lodge in an Agamid Chalet (twin beds, aircon, ensuite shower room).

Day 4 (Meals: B, L)

~6:00hrs: Join an early morning river cruise along the Kinabatangan River. During the morning river cruise, you see a wide range of birdlife, like Hornbills and Kingfishers, as well as wildlife.

0830hrs: Check out of the Lodge and start your transfer back towards Sandakan. On the way, you will visit Gomantong Cave, the largest limestone cave in Sabah. If you are lucky you might see a wild Orangutan as you walk to/from Gomantong Cave.

1230hrs: Lunch at a cafe near Sepilok.

1330hrs: Visit an afternoon feeding session at Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary (1430hrs feeding time). Here you’ll get to watch from a raised viewing platform wild family groups of Proboscis Monkeys as they come in to feed. You might also see Silver Leaf Monkeys too.

1530hrs: You will be transferred to either Sandakan Airport or a hotel in Sandakan or Sepilok area. If you are catching a flight from Sandakan Airport please book a flight departing from 6 pm onwards. It’s the end of your 4D3N adventure!

Trip Pre-requisites – 4D3N Kinabalu Park & Kinabatangan River Trip

This 4D3N trip is open to all. Minimum 4 persons per booking, or per trip.

Trip Inclusions

  • Road transfers during the trip
  • English speaking qualified Nature Guide looking after you during your trip.
  • Visits to (and entrance fees) – Kinabalu Park, Kundasang War Memorial, Poring Hot Spring, Sepilok Orangutan Center, Sun Bear Conservation Center, Gomantong Cave, Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary.
  • At the Kinabatangan River, you will join 1 x afternoon river cruise, 1 x morning river cruise and 1 x night walk. The Kinabatangan River cruises included with this trip will travel as far upstream as ~7km to Pontian Point and downstream maximum ~ 10 km to Tenegang Besar Point.
  • 1 night at Kinabalu Pine Resort (or equivalent) in a standard twin / double sharing room.
  • 1 night at Nature Lodge Sepilok in a private room with air-con twin / double bed, ensuite external shower area.
  • 1 night at Nature Lodge Kinabatangan in an Agamid Chalet (twin/double/triple beds, aircon, ensuite shower room)
  • Meals: 3 x breakfast, 4 x lunch, 3 x dinner.
  • 0% Sales & Service Tax on the tour price as applicable from 6th May 2019.

Trip Exclusions

Camera/video camera fees at Kinabalu Park, Poring Hot Springs, Gomantong Cave, Sepilok Sanctuary, Sun Bear Conservation Centre and Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary. Soft drinks or alcoholic drinks during meals, or drinks at other times (not part of meals). The conservation entrance fee if you choose to visit either the Butterfly Farm or the orchid conservation area at Poring Hot Springs. The new Tourism Tax – the Tourism Tax is currently set with a flat rate of RM 10 per room per night and will be charged to Non-Malaysian or Foreign tourists from 1st September 2017. Flights, travel insurance and personal spend.

Recommended Packing List For The Trip

To get the most from this trip please bring with you a raincoat, cap/hat, insect repellent, comfortable walking shoes, comfortable cotton T-shirt, long sleeve top, long or short trousers, binocular for observing wildlife, head torch for night trek, camera and personal medications (if needed), camera, sun hat and sun protection cream, swimwear and towel (for the ‘hot springs’), water bottle, personal spend, change of clothes, toiletries for overnight stay. Please take your passport with you on this trip – your passports will be checked at the Kinabatangan Lodge.

Notes – Kinabalu Park & Kinabatangan River Cruise & Wildlife Adventure

Minimum 4 persons per booking/trip. The trip price is based upon twin / double sharing a room and is valid for trips up to 31st December 2022. Please note the timings in the above itinerary are typical timings. The exact timings during your trip can vary due to weather, traffic etc.

All tours are subject to weather conditions and your safety. There is no refund in case any activity is cancelled due to bad weather or natural disaster.

2 reviews for Kinabalu Park & Kinabatangan River Cruise | 4 Day | Sabah, Borneo

  1. English

    andrewcruden Northampton, United Kingdom (TripAdvisor)

    4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip with Borneo Dream – Amazing trip staff was all brilliant and seen loads of wildlife, accommodation is basic but very clean and aircon was fantastic A must if you love the outdoors.

  2. English

    Charlotte Pearce

    We had an incredible time on our tour with you. Our guide was absolutely fantastic and always made sure we had everything we needed and was so informed about all the local wildlife and history throughout our trip! The highlights were the orangutang and proboscis money sanctuaries, and we wouldn’t really change anything!

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Kinabatangan River

  • Is Kinabatangan River safe to visit?

    As far as we know looking at local papers and government announcements There has never been any history of a security or criminal acts in the Kinabatangan area. This also includes Danum Valley, Tabin, Selingan island and Lankayan Island. However, there was a very small isolated incident on the outskirts of Sandakan.

  • How far is it from Kinabatangan River to Danum Valley Feild Centre Office in Lahad Datu?

    The route to the Danum Valley Feild Centre Office in Lahad Datu is 124 kilometres and takes approximately 1 hour 54 minutes. Here is the normal route:

    Take Jalan Sukau to AH150 for 32 min (36.8 km)

    Follow AH150 to Lorong Fajar 1 in Lahad Datu for 1 hr 19 min (87.0 km)

    Take Lorong Fajar 2 and Lorong Fajar 6 to Lorong Fajar 9 for 2 min (190 m)

  • How far is Kinabatangan River from Sandakan Airport?

    The journey from Sandakan Airport (SDK) to Kinabatangan River (Bilit) is 156 kilometres and takes 1 hour 57 minutes approximately. The route it takes is:

    Follow Jalan Airport and Jalan Lintas Labuk to Jalan Ranau – Sandakan/Jalan Sapi Nangoh/Route 22 for 8 min (5.1 km)

    Follow Jalan Ranau – Sandakan/Jalan Sapi Nangoh/Route 22 and Jln Sandakan-Lahad Datu/AH150 to Kinabatangan for 1 hr 13 min (73.9 km)

    Take Jalan Sukau to Jalan Kampung Bilit for 32 min (36.8 km)

  • Where can I see orangutans in Borneo?

    Seeing an orangutan in its natural habitat is one of the top reasons for coming to Borneo. In Borneo, there are around 11,000 orangutans in Sabah and 1,600 in Sarawak. In Sabah, the top three places to see orangutans in the wild, along with other wildlife encounters on offer, are the Kinabatangan River, Danum Valley and Tabin Wildlife Reserve. 

    Kinabatangan River, Sabah

    the Kinabatangan River is one of the best wildlife-watching destinations in Southeast Asia. If you spend a few days here joining river cruises you will have a very good chance of seeing an orangutan in the wild. Wildlife watching on the Kinabatangan is done from boats making this location suitable for a range of ages and fitness levels. The Kinabatangan River is the easiest and most ‘comfortable’ option in Borneo for seeing Orangutans in the wild.

    Danum Valley, Sabah

    Danum Valley is the best place to see wild orangutans in pristine, undisturbed forest. Sightings are not ‘guaranteed’ but there is a pretty good chance of seeing an orangutan if you spend a few days at Danum. You will join guided treks into the forest in search of wildlife (including orangutans). The trekking is relatively easy so you don’t need to be super fit. 

    Tabin Wildlife Reserve, Sabah

    Tabin Wildlife Reserve is a large protected forest area covering 122,500 hectares. At Tabin, there are reasonable chances of seeing an orangutan by joining guided treks into the forest but they are not as high as Danum or the Kinabatangan. 

    Alongside these ‘seeing orang-utans in the wild’ options, you also have the chance to see orangutans at the world-famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. At Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre illegally captured, orphaned and injured orangutans are taught to survive in the wild again. The Centre has two feeding sessions a day which is open to the public during which you can go to a raised platform to watch the orangutans come in from the surrounding forest to be fed.

    Which one of these options is best for you for seeing orangutans in Borneo depends upon your budget, how to fit you are, how much time you have and the way you want to go in search of orangutan (by foot, boat or 4WD safari). Choose one, or more, of the above options to have the best chance of seeing an orangutan in Borneo.

  • Where can I see pygmy elephants in Borneo?

    The pygmy elephant (or Bornean pygmy elephant) are the smallest elephants in Asia and are endemic to Borneo. With only about 1,500 Bornean pygmy elephants left on Borneo, they are classified as critically endangered. For those visiting Borneo to see wildlife, the Bornean Pygmy elephant is likely to be in your top 5 of things to see. Encountering a herd of these elephants is unforgettable, and often once in a lifetime, experience. Whilst Borneo is big (it’s the third-largest island in the world) the pygmy elephant can only be found in a limited area in the forests of northeastern Borneo (with most found in Sabah, Borneo). The pygmy elephants migrate throughout the year, following a traditional corridor, and the top three places to see pygmy elephants in Sabah, Borneo are as follows:-

    Kinabatangan River

    The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is a narrow corridor of Protected lowland rainforest along the banks of the Kinabatangan River. Herds of the Bornean Pygmy elephant migrate through this sanctuary and when they are passing through they can be seen for a few days along the banks of the river as they forage for food. If you are lucky to be visiting the Kinabatangan River whilst they are in the area you will have the privilege of being able to watch the elephants during morning and afternoon river cruises. As with all wildlife encounters, sightings cannot be guaranteed but the more days you spend at a Lodge on the Kinabatangan River (and therefore more river cruises you join) the increased chance of seeing the rarer wildlife finds like the pygmy elephant. 

    Danum Valley

    Danum Valley, or Danum Valley Conservation Area, is one of the largest protected areas of primary rainforest in Sabah and offers a ‘safe-haven’ for the pygmy elephant and other wildlife found here. Elephants can often be seen along the access roads into Danum Valley, as well as roaming through the forest. There are two locations tourists can stay at in Danum Valley to see wildlife – Borneo Rainforest Lodge and Danum Valley Field Centre. At both locations, you are able to join guided treks into the forest, and guided night drives, in search of wildlife including the Bornean pygmy elephant.

    Tabin Wildlife Reserve

    Tabin Reserve is considered to be the largest wildlife reserve in Malaysia and covers an area of lowland forest of approximately 300,000 acres. It is home to the Bornean pygmy elephant as well as many other endangered wildlife species. Similar to Danum Valley, the access roads and guided treks into the forest provide the best opportunities to see pygmy elephants. There is one location tourists can stay at in Tabin Reserve – Tabin Wildlife Resort.

  • How do you get to the Kinabatangan River?

    At 560 kilometres long, the Kinabatangan River is Sabah’s longest river with the lower reaches of the River being home to a rich concentration, and diversity, of wildlife. This makes the Kinabatangan River one of the most popular places for tourists to visit during their holiday to Borneo. The simplest way to get to the Kinabatangan River is too join an organised tour. As the Kinabatangan River is located towards the east coast of Sabah the starting point for most tours to the River is from Sandakan (Sandakan Airport or from a hotel in Sandakan). 

    How do you get to Sandakan?

    Sandakan is a middle-sized city located on the east coast of Sabah and well connected to Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur. The main ways to travel to Sandakan from within Sabah are by plane, by public bus or by private transport.

    By plane

    Internal flights operate daily from Kota Kinabalu (BKI) and Tawau to Sandakan Airport. Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines operate daily flights from these airports to Sandakan. You can also fly direct from Kuala Lumpur Airport (KUL) to Sandakan Airport on a daily basis. Flying to Sandakan is an easy, quick option and if flights are booked well in advance you can typically pick up low price tickets with the airlines.

    By public bus

    A slightly cheaper option than flying is to catch a public bus to Sandakan Bus Station. You can catch a public bus from bus stations in Kota Kinabalu, Semporna or Tawau to Sandakan. The most popular bus route is from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan. In Kota Kinabalu, you will need to go to the northern bus terminal (located in Inanam). There are several buses here going to Sandakan on a daily basis. We’d suggest you try and catch the first buses to depart in the morning as it’s a long journey to Sandakan bus station (a ~ 6 – 7 hour journey). 

    By private transport 

    This includes hiring a car to drive to Sandakan, using a local taxi or via an organised private coach transfer. 

    How do I get to the Kinabatangan River Independently?

    For independent travellers wanting to arrange their own way to the Kinabatangan River, there aren’t any direct public transport services to the two main villages on the river which provide access to Lodges on the Kinabatangan River – Bilit & Sukau. You would need to use local bus service and ask to be dropped off at Sukau Junction, followed by catching a transfer with a local van from Sukau Junction to either Bilit or Sukau (a ~ 45km journey). For this option, you still need to have booked a stay at a Lodge near the Kinabatangan River and arranged a transfer with the Lodge from your drop off point. This option may be a cheaper alternative to an organised tour but is a lot more hard work and involves more time for the amount you may save.   

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