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

RM5947

An amazing 5-day tour that brings together two of Sabah’s most popular wildlife spotting locations – the Kinabatangan River and Danum Valley. This 5D4N 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 Gomantong Cave. A must-have tour if seeing wildlife in Borneo is top of your wish list for your holiday of a lifetime in Borneo.

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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 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 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. The sheer beauty and rugged nature of Danum Valley 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! Together with the incredible Kinabatangan River, Danum Valley is the place 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 all offering a very comfortable stay in this remote rainforest location.

This 5D4N 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 Sanctuary, Sun Bear Conservation Centre and to Gomantong Cave.

If you have more days available then why not add on a visit to 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 – 5D4N Kinabatangan River & Danum Valley Tour

Day 1 (Meals: L, D)
08:00/09:00 – Pick up from Hotel in Sandakan / Sandakan Airport – Flight must arrive at SDK by 8 am latest.
10:00 – Visit Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and watch the morning feeding session, followed by a visit to the Sun Bear Conservation Centre. At Sepilok, you will come up close and personal with human’s closest relative, the Orangutans.
It’s then time for lunch at a Lodge near Sepilok.
13:00 – After lunch, you will start your transfer to the Kinabatangan Lodge (a ~ 2-hour transfer by road), with a stop on the way to visit Gomantong Cave.
Arrive at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge and check in to your chalet.
16:00 – Join a late afternoon river cruise (~ 2 hours) in search of wildlife along the riverbanks of the Kinabatangan River.
After dinner, at ~20:00hrs 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 back to the Lodge for breakfast at 0800 hrs.
09:00 – After breakfast, you will start your trek through the nearby secondary lowland rainforest to the nearby 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 now have a chance to 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. After dinner, as an optional extra during your time at the Kinabatangan River, you can choose to join a local dance session. The Lodge team will teach a traditional dance from one of the tribes found in Sabah.
~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 2 and a half hours overland journey on a gravel road to Danum Valley Borneo Rainforest Lodge. Danum Valley has located 80km from Lahad Datu. The journey starts with the first 15km being 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 in length and 26m at the highest point, for a close-up observation of the rainforest.
19:00 – Dinner at the Lodge.
20:30 – Night Drive in an open-top vehicle in search of 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 at their own leisure – free and easy to relax at the Lodge.
12:00 – Lunch at the Lodge.
13:30 – Check out & depart for Lahad Datu airport (2 and a half hours drive). The recommended departure flight, to best fit in with the scheduled transfer, is LHD – BKI MH3023 / 1725hrs.

Orangutan, Kinabatangan River, Sabah

Trip Pre-requisites – Kinabatangan River & Danum Valley
There are no specific pre-requisites for joining this trip, however, for the trekking at Danum Valley, we recommend you are average fitness or above and comfortable at trekking for a couple of hours in tropical conditions. Minimum 2 persons per booking.

Trip Inclusions – 5 Day Kinabatangan River & Danum Valley Tour

  • Road transfers during the trip as shown in the itinerary.
  • English speaking qualified Nature Guide looking after you during your trip (joining shared activities).
  • Visits to (and entrance fees) – Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sun Bear Conservation Centre and Gomantong Cave
  • At the Kinabatangan River, you will join a 2 x afternoon river cruise, 2 x morning river cruise, 2 x night walk and 1 x Oxbow Lake trek. The Kinabatangan River cruises included with this trip will travel as far upstream as ~7km to Pontian Point and a downstream a maximum of ~ 10 km to Tenegang Besar Point.
  • At Borneo Rainforest Lodge you will join 1 x morning jungle trek, 2 x afternoon jungle trek (one can be swapped for a tubing activity along the Danum River), 1 x night drive, 1 x night walk.
  • 2 nights at Nature Lodge Kinabatangan in an Agamid Chalet (twin/double/triple beds, aircon, ensuite shower room).
  • 2 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 & 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 at Gomantong Cave, Sepilok Sanctuary 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 Tourism Tax is currently set with 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 in case any activity is cancelled due to bad weather or natural disaster.

Please contact us for a quote for our Kinabatangan River & Danum Valley 5 Day Tour.

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Kinabatangan River

  • 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.   

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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)

  • 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)

  • 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.

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