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Kinabatangan River & Danum Valley | 5 Day | Sabah, Borneo

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An amazing 5-day tour that brings together two of Sabah’s most popular wildlife spotting locations – the Kinabatangan River and Danum Valley. This 5-Day Tour really packs its punches and includes many activities to maximise your wildlife encounters, from river cruises along the Kinabatangan River, trekking into the pristine rainforest in Danum Valley Conservation Area, visiting Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, the Sun Bear Conservation Centre and visiting the longest canopy walkway in Sabah found at the Rainforest Discovery Cente. A must-have tour if seeing wildlife in Borneo is top of your wish list for your holiday of a lifetime in Borneo.

Note – The price shown above is for one person in a twin-sharing room – Jungle Chalet (Off Peak). The minimum booking is two persons. If you are a single person traveller, then contact us for a quotation. This booking is for one chalet. If you need more chalets, just add this product to the cart again. Peak season charges will be calculated based on the dates selected.

Prices are valid until 31st March 2025.

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Kinabatangan River Cruise & Danum Valley – The Best Wildlife and Rainforest Adventure in Sabah, Malaysia

This tour takes you to two of the most famous locations in Sabah, Borneo, for wildlife sightings – the Kinabatangan River and the Danum Valley Conservation Area. The Kinabatangan River is renowned for the diversity of wildlife found in the lower reaches of the River and is home to endangered species such as the Orangutan and Bornean Pygmy Elephant. The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is home to 200 species of birds, including hornbills, stork-billed kingfishers and oriental darters. The Kinabatangan River is one of only two areas in the world inhabited by ten species of primate, four of which are endemic to Borneo, including the famous proboscis monkey. The Kinabatangan River truly is a special place for a wildlife adventure in Sabah.

You will spend two nights in a lodge located on the banks of the Kinabatangan River in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary (Kinabatangan Nature Lodge is located near Kampung Bilit). The Lodge offers comfortable, clean accommodation where you will stay in an Agamid Chalet.

Bornean Elephant, Danum Valley, Sabah

Search for wildlife in the most famous wildlife spotting locations in Sabah – Kinabatangan River and Danum Valley

Following your visit to the Kinabatangan River, you will stay two nights at the stunning Borneo Rainforest Lodge located alongside the Danum River, flowing through Sabah’s largest area of protected Lowland Rainforest – Danum Valley Conservation Area. Danum Valley’s sheer beauty and rugged nature will blow you away with its charm, character and teeming wildlife. This pristine rainforest is home to more than 340 species of birds, 124 species of mammals, 72 species of reptiles and 56 species of Amphibians – amazing! With the incredible Kinabatangan River, Danum Valley is where you are more likely than ever to experience the true beauty of our country in the wild.

Borneo Rainforest Lodge offers high-quality accommodation. The Lodge has 30 individual chalets with en-suite bathrooms, accommodating up to only 60 guests on any one day and on a full-board basis. Choose from a range of Chalet types that offer a very comfortable stay in this remote rainforest.

This 5-day Kinabatangan River and Danum Valley Tour really packs a punch and includes many activities to maximise your wildlife encounters, including 4 x river cruises, night treks, trekking in Danum Valley Conservation Area, a visit to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sun Bear Conservation Centre and the Rainforest Discovery Centre.

If you have more days available, why not visit Turtle Island at the start of this tour or extend your stay at Danum Valley? We can help you make the most of your holiday in Borneo.

Danum Valley tree walk, Sabah

Trip Itinerary – 5-day Kinabatangan River & Danum Valley Tour

Day 1 (Meals: L, D)

~08:00 – Pick up from a hotel in Sandakan or Sandakan Airport (your flight must arrive at SDK by 8 am at the latest). You’ll then be transferred to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.
~09:00 – Arrive at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. You’ll be here for ~ 1.5 hours and have a chance to view the outdoor nursery before watching the morning feeding session, which starts at 10:00 am. Sepilok is situated in a protected virgin lowland equatorial rainforest reserve. Around 60 to 80 orangutans live independently in the reserve, and approximately 25 orphaned orangutans are housed in the nurseries.
10:30 – Visit the Sun Bear Conservation Centre. You’ll be able to watch the rescued sun bears in the forest enclosures from a raised platform.
11:00 – Transferred to the nearby Rainforest Discovery Centre and visit the Rainforest Skywalk, Sabah’s longest canopy walkway. The Rainforest Discovery Centre is an educational and conservation facility located in the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve. The centre offers visitors an opportunity to explore Sabah’s diverse flora and fauna. Often, Orangutans from Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre can be seen in the rainforest canopy here – cool!
13:00 – Go for lunch at a cafe near Sepilok. After lunch, you will start your transfer to the Kinabatangan Lodge (a ~ 2-hour transfer by road).
15:30 – Arrive at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge, located on the banks of the Kinabatangan River.
16:00 – Join a late afternoon river cruise (~ 2 hours) in search of wildlife along the riverbanks of the Kinabatangan River.
18:00 – Arrive back at the lodge after your river cruise and check in to your Agamid chalet. You’ll have time to freshen up before dinner.
~20:00hrs – After dinner, join a guided night walk behind the Kinabatangan Lodge in search of nocturnal life.
Overnight at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge in an Agamid Chalet (with twin/triple/double bed, aircon and ensuite Shower Room). Click here to see photos of the accommodation at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge located in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

Day 2 (Meals: B, L, D)
06:00 – Join an early morning river cruise (~1.5 hours). Various species of wildlife and birdlife may be seen during your river cruise along the Kinabatangan River, such as Proboscis Monkeys, Macaques, Hornbills, Kingfishers and even Orangutans.
07:30 – Return to the Lodge for breakfast at 0800.
09:00 – After breakfast, you will start your trek through the secondary lowland rainforest to Bilit Ox-Bow Lake. During the trek, you will learn more about the plant life and insect life found in the rainforest in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.
11:30 – Return to the Lodge for lunch at 1200 hrs.
13:00 – You can rest and chill out at the Lodge before your late afternoon river cruise.
16:00 – Join another late afternoon river cruise along the Kinabatangan River for more wildlife sightseeing.
18:00 – Return to the Lodge. Time to freshen up before enjoying dinner at the Lodge restaurant.
~20:00 – Join another guided night trek following a different trekking route behind the Lodge.

Day 3 (Meals: packed B, L, D)
06:00 – Join an early morning river cruise (~ 1 hour) – your last chance to see more birds and wildlife along the Kinabatangan River.
07:30 – Check out of the Lodge and collect your packed breakfast. Join a private minibus transfer to the Borneo Rainforest Lodge office in Lahad Datu, a ~ 2.5-hour transfer.
10:00 – Arrive at Borneo Rainforest’s Lodge’s office in Lahad Datu. After registration, depart on an unscheduled transfer for your two-and-a-half-hour overland journey on a gravel road to Danum Valley Borneo Rainforest Lodge. Danum Valley is located 80km from Lahad Datu. The journey starts with the first 15km of the main Lahad Datu-Tawau road. The rest of the ride is on an unsealed private logging road.
~12:30 – Arrive at Borneo Rainforest Lodge. Check in & have lunch.
14:30 – Slide presentation in the Conference Room.
15:00 – Afternoon Trek: Introduction to the forest through “Nature Trails” and the treetop “Canopy Walkway”. The Canopy Walkway is 300m long and 26m at the highest point for a close-up rainforest observation.
19:00 – Dinner at the Lodge.
20:30 – Night Drive in an open-top vehicle searching for a nocturnal animal.
Overnight at Borneo Rainforest Lodge in a standard chalet.

Day 4 (Meals: B, L, D)
07:00 – Breakfast at the Lodge.
09:00 – Morning Jungle Trek: Trek to the Kadazandusun burial site – “Coffin Cliff” – before proceeding to “View Point” for a bird’s eye view of the area. Descend to the “Jacuzzi Pool” for a refreshing dip.
12:30 – Lunch at the Lodge.
15:00 – Afternoon Jungle Trek or go for a relaxing session of ‘tubing’ down the Danum River.
19:00 – Dinner at the Lodge.
20:30 – Night Walk in search of nocturnal animals.
Overnight at Borneo Rainforest Lodge in a standard chalet.

Day 5 (Meals: B, L)

07:00 – Breakfast at the Lodge.
Guests can relax at their own leisure – free and easy to do at the Lodge.
12:00 – Lunch at the Lodge.
12:30 or 13:30 – Check out from the lodge and depart on the scheduled transfer to Lahad Datu, a 2-and-a-half-hour drive. The scheduled transfers depart from Borneo Rainforest Lodge, Danum Valley, at the following times, depending upon your drop-off location: –
At 1230hrs, depart the lodge for Lahad Datu Airport for MH3019 (16:30 flight departure).
At 1330hrs, depart the lodge for Lahad Datu Town.

Orangutan, Kinabatangan River, Sabah

Trip Pre-requisites – Kinabatangan River & Danum Valley
There are no specific prerequisites for joining this trip. However, for the trekking at Danum Valley, we recommend you have average fitness or above and are comfortable trekking for a couple of hours in tropical conditions. Minimum two persons per booking.

Trip Inclusions – 5-Day Kinabatangan River & Danum Valley Tour

  • Road transfers during the trip are shown in the itinerary.
  • English-speaking qualified Nature Guide is looking after you during your trip (joining shared activities).
  • Visits to (and entrance fees) – Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sun Bear Conservation Centre and the Rainforest Discovery Centre.
  • At the Kinabatangan River, you will join 2-afternoon river cruises, 2-morning river cruises, 2-night walks, and 1 Oxbow Lake trek. The Kinabatangan River cruises included with this trip will travel as far upstream as ~7km to Pontian Point and downstream a maximum of ~ 10 km to Tenegang Besar Point.
  • At Borneo Rainforest Lodge, you will join 1-morning jungle trek, 2-afternoon jungle treks (one can be swapped for a tubing activity along the Danum River), 1-night drive, and 1-night walk.
  • Two nights at Nature Lodge Kinabatangan in an Agamid Chalet (twin/double/triple beds, aircon, ensuite shower room).
  • Two nights at Borneo Rainforest Lodge (Chalet types include Standard, Deluxe, Premium Deluxe and Premium Villa – chalet type based on availability and price varies by chalet type).
  • Meals as stated in the outline itinerary above.
  • 0% Sales and service Tax on the tour price as applicable from 6th May 2019.

Trip Exclusions – 5-Day Kinabatangan River & Danum Valley Tour

  • Camera/video camera fees are at the Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, and the Sun Bear Centre.
  • Meals not mentioned.
  • Soft drinks or alcoholic drinks during meals, or drinks at other times (not part of meals).
  • Tourism Tax – The tax is currently set at a flat rate of RM 10 per room per night.
  • Flights, travel insurance, tipping (optional) and personal spending.

Recommended Packing List For The Trip – Kinabatangan River & Danum Valley
To get the most from this trip, please bring with you a raincoat, cap/hat, insect repellent, sun cream, sun hat, good walking shoes, comfortable cotton T-shirt, long sleeve top, long trousers (long trousers are required for treks), comfortable trekking shoes, long shorts, swimwear, binoculars for observing wildlife, head torch for night trek, water bottle, camera and personal medications (if needed) and leech socks (for the treks). Please take your passport with you on this trip – your passports will be checked at the Kinabatangan Lodge.

Notes – 5-Day Kinabatangan River & Danum Valley Tour
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 activities are subject to weather conditions and your safety. There is no refund if any activity is cancelled due to bad weather or natural disaster.

1 review for Kinabatangan River & Danum Valley | 5 Day | Sabah, Borneo

  1. English

    Colin Seward

    We’ve had an AMAZING holiday. All the arrangements have gone incredibly smoothly. The arrival of the king and queen in Lahad Datu yesterday caused a rush for the plane, but the pilot held up the flight as he was missing half his passengers in the traffic :-). The animals, views and sounds in the rain forest and along the Kinabatagan river were incredible.

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Danum Valley

  • What will I see in Danum Valley?

    You will be with amazing wildlife as depicted on many great TV and film documentaries. This area really hit the screens when Sir David Attenborough started visiting here and broadcasting his shows and documentaries worldwide and was watched and enjoyed by millions of people.

    Things to see on your amazing visit to Danum Valley are tropical flora and fauna, including such species as the rare Bornean orangutans, gibbons, mousedeer, clouded leopards and over 270 bird species. You can even go on night treks to see the nocturnal life of the rainforest. Experience the beauty of the jungle on our 5-day Rainforest Lodge stay.

  • What to expect from a visit to Danum Valley

    Pure and simple you should come back amazed by this ancient rainforest and its flora, fauna, and wildlife. You will be in true Sir David Attenborough country. The diversity of this place is vast and exhibits tropical flora and fauna, including the rare Bornean orangutans, gibbons, mousedeer, clouded leopards and over 270 bird species. Take it all in on our 4-day Danum Valley tour.

  • Can I visit the Valley Field Center?

    Yes, you can visit the Danum Valley Field Center, but it is better to arrange a such trip through a licensed tour operator such as Borneo Dream. Contacting them directly can be tricky, and bookings/reservations can be lost, so leave it to the professionals. Read more about our Danum Valley Field Center 3 or 4 day trip.

  • Things To Do in Danum Valley

    When people journey to Danum Valley, their primary reason for visiting is to see and witness the amazing flora, fauna and wildlife. There then is the host of activities offered to make the most of your visit, including jungle treks, river swimming, bird watching, night jungle tours and excursions to nearby logging sites and timber mills. Take a look at the top 5 things we think you’ll enjoy most in Danum Valley.

  • Danum Valley Conservation Area

    The Danum Valley Conservation Area is significant at 438 square kilometres. It is a relatively undisturbed lowland dipterocarp forest in Sabah, Malaysia. The diversity of this area is extensive and exhibits tropical flora and fauna, including the rare Bornean orangutans, gibbons, mousedeer, clouded leopards and over 270 bird species.

    The area holds unique status in that before it became a conservation area, there were no human settlements within the region, meaning that hunting, logging, and other human interference were non-existent, making the area almost unique. It is managed by Yayasan Sabah for conservation, research, education, and habitat restoration training purposes. There have been proposals to nominate the site as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

    Find out more about Danum Valley Conservation Area in our blog post where we explore the magical area of Sabah.

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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