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Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary | 3 Day | Sabah, Borneo

(7 customer reviews)

RM1145

Join a wildlife adventure in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary as you spend two nights at a Lodge located along the Kinabatangan River. Join wildlife encounter activities including 4 river cruises along the Kinabatangan River during which you’ll have the chance to see elephants (if they are in the area), orangutans, proboscis monkeys, macaques, gibbons and lots more. This trip also includes three treks in the rainforest located in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, a visit Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and a visit to Gomantong Cave.

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Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary – Join a Wildlife Adventure (Kinabatangan Nature Lodge), Sabah, Borneo

The Kinabatangan River is the longest river in Sabah, flowing 560km to the Sulu Sea on the east coast. The lower 70 – 100km of the river form the Kinabatangan Floodplain. In 2005, 26,000 hectares of the Lower Kinabatangan were designated as a Wildlife Sanctuary – known today as the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary protects the area immediately alongside the river – a ‘protected corridor’. This makes it highly likely during river cruises and short treks in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary that you will see a wide range of wildlife including elephants (if they are in the area), orangutans, proboscis monkeys, macaques, gibbons and lots more. The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is also home to 200 species of birds including hornbills, kites, crested serpent eagles, egrets, blue-banded and stork-billed kingfishers and oriental darters. The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is one of only two areas in the world inhabited by ten species of primate, four of which are endemic to Borneo. The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary is also one of two places in the world where four medium-sized colonies inhabit the same place: namely proboscis monkey, silvered langur, maroon langur, and Hose’s or grey langur. The Sanctuary truly is a special place for a wildlife adventure in Sabah.

Join a Range of Wildlife Encounter Activities during the 3D2N Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary Trip

During your 3D2N Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary Trip, you will join a range of wildlife viewing activities. The first stop on day 1 will be a visit to world-famous Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre to watch the morning feeding session. “Natives” to Malaysia and Indonesia, Orangutans are only found in the rainforests of Borneo and Sumatra. After lunch, on day 1 you will then be transferred to your Lodge located in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary where you will join 4 river cruises, 2 guided night walk and a guided walk to the Bilit Ox-Bow Lake.

During this 3D2N Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary Trip, you spend two nights at a Lodge along the banks of the Kinabatangan River located in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary (Kinabatangan Nature Lodge located near Kampung Bilit). The Lodge offers basic, clean accommodation in private chalets. You will stay in an Agamid Chalet (twin or double bed, aircon and ensuite shower room). If you’re looking for high-quality accommodation for your visit to the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary then check out our 3D2N package at the Kinabatangan Wetlands Resort.

On the last day of the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary trip, come and discover the valuable and edible birds nest in the largest limestone cave in Sabah where millions of swiftlets make the cave their home. These caves are located directly in the heart of 3,297-Hectares Gomantong Forest Reserve of Kinabatangan district. You will then be transferred to your drop off location in Sandakan or Sepilok area.

If you want even more from your Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary trip then why not add on an overnight stay at Turtle Island to have the chance to watch a Turtle nesting and turn this trip into a 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Cruise Trip – a great combination for seeing Turtles and wildlife in Sabah, Borneo.

Trip Itinerary – 3D2N Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary Trip (Kinabatangan Nature Lodge), Sabah, Malaysia

Day 1 (Meals: L & D)

Today follows the same outline itinerary as Day 1 of the 2D1N Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge Trip – find a more detailed daily itinerary on the 2D1N Trip page.

If you are flying into Sandakan Airport this morning to join the 3D2N Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary trip you need to book a flight that arrives at Sandakan Airport before 8:00hrs.

This morning you will 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. For most visitors to Sabah seeing Orangutans is at the top of their list. You get to tick this off before lunchtime on day 1 – cool! It’s then time for lunch at a Lodge near Sepilok.

Early afternoon you will be transferred to the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge located in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary, a ~ 2-hour transfer by minibus. You will then start your river cruise adventures with a late afternoon river cruise to search for wildlife and bird-life along the Kinabatangan River banks. Later, after dinner, you will join a guided night trek into the secondary rainforest behind the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge in search of nocturnal birds, insects and wildlife found in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

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)

06:00hrs: Join an early morning river cruise and see the wildlife as they awake from a nights sleep. Various species of wildlife may be seen during your river cruise in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary such as Proboscis Monkeys, Leaf Monkeys, Macaques, Gibbons and even the Orang Utans.

07:45hrs: Return back to the Lodge for breakfast at 0800 hrs.

09:00hrs: After breakfast, you will start your trek through the nearby secondary lowland rainforest to the nearby Bilit Ox-Bow Lake. You will be led on the trek by your Nature Guide who will explain more about the plant life and insect life found in the rainforest in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

11:30hrs: Return to the Lodge for lunch at 1200 hrs.

13:00hrs: You now have a chance to rest and chill out at the Lodge before your late afternoon river cruise.

16:00hrs: Join another late afternoon river cruise along the Kinabatangan River for more wildlife sight-seeing in ‘corridor of life’ located alongside the banks of the river, the protected area forming the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

18:00hrs: Return to the Lodge. Dinner will be served at the Lodge. After dinner, as an optional extra during your Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary tour, 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 such as Sumazau (a KadazanDusun dance) or daling daling (a Bajau dance). An opportunity for learning more about Borneo’s rich culture and having a bit of fun!

~20:00hrs: Join a guided night trek following a different trekking route behind the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge.

Overnight at the Lodge – stay a second night in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary.

Day 3 (Meals: B)

Today follows the same outline itinerary as Day 2 of the 2D1N Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge Trip – find a more detailed daily itinerary on the 2D1N Trip page.

It’s an early start today with the last early morning river cruise of your 3D2N Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary trip. After breakfast at the Lodge you will be transferred to visit Gomantong Caves before continuing your journey back to Sandakan (if you are catching a flight from Sandakan Airport at the end of the trip it is recommended you book a flight departing from 14:00hrs onwards).

Trip Inclusions – Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary Trip

  • Return road transfer from Sandakan or Sepilok area and return boat transfers to the Lodge from Kampung Bilit.
  • Meals (2 Breakfast, 2 Lunch & 2 Dinner).
  • Visit (and entrance fees) to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sun Bear Conservation Centre and Gomantong Cave.
  • At the Kinabatangan River, located in the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary: 4 x river cruises (2 mornings & 2 late afternoons), 1 x guided trek to an Ox-Bow lake, 2 x Guided night nature 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.
  • Two nights accommodation in an Agamid chalet (twin/double/triple beds, ensuite shower room and toilet, aircon) within the Agamid Wing of Kinabatangan Nature Lodge.
  • Guiding throughout your trip by an experienced, friendly and English speaking licensed Nature Guide.
  • Access to free flow coffee/tea and fresh water at the restaurant at the Kinabatangan Lodge.
  • 0% Sales & Service Tax on the tour price as applicable from 6th May 2019.

Trip Exclusions

Camera/video conservation fee at Sepilok Sanctuary (RM10 per item), Sun Bear Conservation Centre (RM10 per item) and Gomantong Cave (RM30 per item), soft drinks or alcoholic drinks, flights from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan. There is a single supplement of RM200.00 on top of the trip price if you book this trip on your own (for single sharing a Chalet). 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.

The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary Tour price is based on joining a shared trip – surcharges are applicable if you add on a private boat for river cruises, private Guide or private minibus transfers.

Recommended Packing List – Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary Trip

To get the most from this trip please bring with you raincoat, cap/hat, insect repellent, sun cream, good walking shoes, comfortable cotton T-shirt, long sleeve top, long trousers (long trousers are required for the Oxbow Lake trek), long shorts, binocular for observing wildlife, head torch for night trek, camera and personal medications (if needed). Please take your passport with you on this trip – your passports will be checked at the Kinabatangan Lodge.

Notes – 3D2N Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary Trip (Kinabatangan Nature Lodge), Sabah, Malaysia

If weather, or other factors (e.g. landslide), makes an activity unsafe the Lodge will adapt the trip itinerary for safety reasons. There will be no refund if a trip itinerary needs to be adapted on the day due to safety reasons.

The Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary headline trip price shown is a price per adult based upon minimum 2 Adults staying in 1 Chalet and is valid for trips taken up to 31st December 2020. When you are adding the Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary trip to your basket the trip price is based on a per chalet basis (choose the number of persons staying in a chalet you want to book) and for the add on activities, it is based upon the group size you want to book the activity for.

7 reviews for Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary | 3 Day | Sabah, Borneo

  1. Pamela Fruin

    My family 15 of us, spanning three generations, aged 75 to 10 years old had the most extraordinary experience at the Nature Lodge on the Lower Kinabatangan.

    Our guides were exceptional Amirul who met us and escorted us to Sepilok and then onto the Lodge was very friendly and very informative. Visiting Sepilok to see the orangutang nursery was a delight. Much to our joy, four played on the ropes, ate fruit and coconuts and tumbled on the grass. Unfortunately the orangutans didn’t appear at the feeding platform. Sunbears could be seen in the trees, stretching on the ground and one came really close and showed us how skills of climbing a tree.

    At the Lodge we were welcomed by Beatrice and her team and ably accommodated when one of the rooms was unsatisfactory The meals prepared by Helen and her team were fabulous and the children, much to their surprise were treated to milo flakes at breakfast and fish and chips at dinner. As one said, “ I didn’t even have to ask.”

    AJ and Ramzin our wildlife guides were absolutely amazing. While Ross and I visited the Lower Kinabatangan 10 years ago, this first ‘jungle’ experience for everyone else and the thrill of just being in the jungle was fantastic. The wildlife was certainly on show, with a sighting of Pygmy elephants, a mother and her calf appearing out of the mist as we approached on our first morning cruise. What a joyful moment this was for everyone as most hadn’t seen elephants in the wild before. They cruised the river shoreline feeding and then proceeded to swim across the river, bobbing up and down filling their lungs with air and spouting water. We understood that this was a very rare sight. Ramzin said that in 12 months he’d only seen elephants on 9 occasions and AJ hadn’t seen elephants since November. This gave us all appreciation of how fortunate we were seeing elephants and this phenomenal sight. Troupes of monkeys, proboscis, long and pig tail macaques and red and black and white langurs played in the trees close to the river banks performing wonderful, aerial acrobatics showing their leaping prowess. Mothers rescued babies getting dangerously close to the end of branches and cuddled them and old alpha males watched out for a lonely monkey who unfortunately missed his branch and landed in the river. Swimming against a strong current, he made it to the other side and was waiting for an opportunity to return to the protection of its troupe. Our guides also told us how fortunate we were to see this unusual sight. Orangutangs could be seen were high in the durian trees on each river cruise and a large mother and her baby were very close to the carpark at the Gomantong Caves. Proboscis monkeys performing high wire walking crossing the river was a joyful and funny for us all to see. Watching the alpha males reaching up, pulling the highest wire down so the smaller monkeys could reach it to walk upright as an alternative to balancing on a single wire, losing balance and flopping on the wire to rest before getting up and walking again. We saw a rhinoceros horn bills and about 10 oriental pied hornbills, kingfisher, egrets and snake necked cormorants, white belied sea eagle and bulbul were the main birdlife seen. AJ and Ramzin were excellent and safe boatmen and especially when other boats were around, skilled in positioning us at the best vantage point to the observe the wildlife and take memorable photographs. The guided jungle walk at night and to the lake were unique experiences too. AJ managed to have a leech encounter which was interesting for us all to see.

    In comparison to Ross’ and my first visit, the wildlife was more prolific, closer to observe and we were delighted by the unusual sightings of elephants and monkeys swimming.

    The new bathrooms in the chalets were lovely. Hooks behind the bathroom door and hooks on the walls would be helpful to hang clothes. The size range of wellington boots was excellent.

  2. Ify & Ed

    We had a great time. We loved most that we got to see orangutans and pygmy elephants in the wild. Truly special! Mohammed was a great guide, very knowledgeable and friendly.

  3. Jacqueline Quero Heredia

    We absolutely loved our trip on the river. It has been the highlight of out holiday so far. We are in Bali at the moment and we are diving tomorrow.

    We enjoyed everything about it and it’s hard to say what we liked the most.
    Our guide was amazing and we saw nearly everything apart from the elephants but we didn’t really expect to see them.

    There is nothing you could change to make it better, it was truly amazing.

  4. Heather Livingston

    We absolutely loved our trip. Thank you so much for the great experience: lodging, food, guide, and staff. An incredible operation.

  5. johnbD8832IX London, United Kingdom (TripAdvisor)

    3D2N in Borneo jungle at Nature Lodge – Enjoyed being up close to nature on the river and in the jungle at Nature Lodge. As others have said the accommodation was basic but as expected. Staff were all very friendly and seemed to know everyone’s name very quickly. Food was acceptable, though not very varied, considering they were catering for numbers. Unfortunately, the trip was let down by the poor guide called Joe (same guide for trips along the river and into the jungle). He only provided basic information on the animals we saw. For example, when he spotted a large bird in a tree he told us it was a ‘large hornbill’, that was it. He did not know what type of hornbill (there seem to be at least 8 species in Borneo and a quick Google search later suggested it was either a wrinkled or wreathed hornbill), He did not tell us what they feed on, how common they are etc…). During the jungle trip, he told us almost nothing about the plant life (which is basically most of the jungle and seemed to spend all his time looking for mammals). On the return trip through the jungle, he let us go on alone, and we got (slightly) lost, which was very unprofessional With a better guide this would have been a great trip, though you have to appreciate that you might or might not see certain animals – there are no guarantees with wildlife. Finally, 2 days and 3 nights are probably too much, a shorter trip would probably do.

  6. Tammy (Melbourne, Aust)

    Stayed as a group of 3 families consisting of 6 adults and 5 kids aged 8-12. Our stay was amazing – well above all expectations. We witnessed a huge array of animals in their natural habitat, ate delicious and plentiful food (even for fussy kids), enjoyed spacious, comfortable rooms (loved the outdoor shower), appreciated the wealth of knowledge of our guides and loved experiencing the natural beauty of the rain forest. We were even treated to an amazing thunderstorm which we woke to. The friendly service and attention to detail from staff was impeccable. It truly was a wonderful life experience for all within our group. I’d definitely recommend and would readily rate it 5 out of 5. Thank you for a magical stay!

  7. Jude Dawson

    Thank you for assisting my daughter and I to book online a wonderful experience along the Kinabatangan River in Sabah. The staff at BorneoDream were always very quick to return my emails, answering all queries clearly and in detail. We booked the 3D2N tour and were more than satisfied with our adventure. We travelled between each venue in a clean and comfortable vehicle. Our tour guide/wildlife spotter James was professional and reliable. All the cruises left on time and he was amazing at locating and identifying many species of wildlife on each occasion. We always felt safe on the small boat which James manoeuvred with great skill to provide the best viewing for all passengers. Our air conditioned accommodation at the lodge was better than I’d expected for a simple cabin in the jungle! I would have no hesitation recommending this trip to friends and family in both Australia and the UK. I hope one day to revisit Borneo and do it all again.

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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.

  • General frequently asked questions

  • What is Borneo known for?

    Borneo is the third-largest island in the World and is known for a range of things that help make it a special place to visit, and on the bucket list for many travellers. From it’s an amazing range of wildlife including the Bornean Orangutan, it’s ancient rainforests (some of the oldest in the World), world-class diving at Sipadan through to the highest peak in South East Asia – Mount Kinabalu. Borneo is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet, being home to an estimated 15,000 different plant species including the World’s largest flower – the Rafflesia. Borneo is also famous for its rich culture and is home to > 200 tribes each with their own traditions, dialect, dishes, type of home they live in etc. The most famous tribe from Borneo are the headhunters (Murut tribe). 

  • Is Sabah a country?

    Sabah is a state of Malaysia located in northern Borneo. Borneo is home to four political regions: Kalimantan belongs to Indonesia, Sabah and Sarawak are part of Malaysia (often referred to as Malaysian Borneo), and the sultanate of Brunei.

  • Can you fly direct to Borneo?

    To fly to Sabah, Borneo you need to fly to one of three airports – Kota Kinabalu airport (BKI) the main gateway to Sabah, Sandakan airport (SDK) on the east coast and Tawau airport (TWU) on the south coast. Which airport you fly in to/out of depends upon your itinerary and your flight route to Sabah. There are currently direct flights to an airport in Sabah from a range of airports in South East Asia with most direct routes being via Kuala Lumpur, Singapore or Hong Kong. More recently you can fly direct to Kota Kinabalu (BKI) from South Korea, certain cities in China, Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines. For other parts of Borneo, you can fly to Sarawak’s Kuching airport and Brunei’s Bandar Seri Begawan airport.

  • What language is spoken in Sabah, Borneo?

    Bahasa Malaysia (Malay) is the official language spoken in Sabah. Other widely spoken languages include a range of Chinese dialects (such as Mandarin), Tamil and English. All the indigenous tribes also speak their own language – in Sabah the indigenous people speak Dusun and Kadazan, Bajau, Murut, Lun, Bruneian, Rungus, Bisaya, Iranun, Bawang, Sungai, Suluk, and Sama. For travellers visiting Sabah, you will find English is fairly widely spoken and understood in most areas you would visit, although if you tried to speak a few words in Malay it would go down a treat.

  • Which currency is used in Sabah?

    The Malaysian Ringgit is the currency of Malaysia. The currency code for Ringgit is MYR and the currency symbol is RM. We will quote all our prices using RM.

  • Is Malaysian Borneo expensive?

    Borneo may not be as cheap as some other countries in South East Asia, however, you can still have an affordable holiday here and experience some of the best Sabah has to offer. There are activities and accommodation for those on a budget, as well as more luxurious options for those wanting the 5* experience. The same goes for eating out you can eat very cheaply at a local cafe or food court, or you can choose to eat in a more expensive restaurant catering for the tourists coming here. Sabah, Borneo can be as cheap or as expensive as you want to make it means it is still a travel destination most can consider visiting.

  • Is it safe to go to Sabah?

    Sabah in general is a safe place to visit. There were over 4 million visitors to Sabah in 2019 and the vast majority of these visitors enjoyed trips to Sabah without incident.

    In recent years Sabah has put in place enforced security practices, via ESSCOM, to ensure Sabah remains a safe location to visit – these are focused on the south of Sabah (Semporna area) and the islands off the south and east coast of Sabah including those located near Sipadan. You can read the latest Travel Advice from Sabah Tourism.

    At Borneo Dream, we put our customer’s safety first. We ensure a safe environment is offered to our customers during their holiday in Sabah – whether it be suggesting restaurants to our customers, visiting the Kinabatangan River, white water rafting along Padas Gorge through to trekking in the jungle. We still suggest our customers take extra care if they go off exploring independently – this is the same for most other safe countries you could visit in the world.

    We do recommend you also read your country’s FCO Travel Advice for Sabah (Malaysia). You can also email the Borneo Dream Team with any questions or concerns you may have about visiting a specific location in Sabah and we’ll provide honestly informed feedback.

  • Will we still go diving or snorkelling if it is raining?

    The quick answer is “yes”. The longer answer for why rain does not ‘stop play’ when scuba diving or snorkeling in the tropical waters of Sabah:-

    • It is still safe to snorkel and dive when it’s raining.
    • You get wet in the sea when snorkelling or diving, you are not going to get any wetter if it rains.
    • You won’t get cold if it rains as the sea temperature, for most of the year, is a toasty 28C – 30C and even the rain is warm. Nice! We also provide all our divers and snorkelling customers with 3mm tropical wet suits for thermal protection.
    • The marine life doesn’t care if it rains and will still be there to see as you enjoy your scuba diving or snorkelling activity.

  • What will the weather be like when we are on holiday in Sabah / on my trip?

    Sabah has two seasons – The ‘Dry Season’ and the ‘Wet Season’. However, during the whole year we have a fairly constant temperature and humidity level – Sabah has a tropical hot and very humid climate. Most days normally start off with blue sky, sunshine and a calm breeze. Most days throughout the year we have a chance of rain typically later in the day, evening or night time – this is due to clouds building up during the day on the Crocker mountain range which rolls down into Kota Kinabalu normally during afternoon or evening.

    Online weather reports for Sabah will always say there is a chance of rain or thunderstorms every day in Sabah. This is true I that later each day we could get some tropical rain. But no-one can predict accurately what exactly the weather will the next day, the next week or the next month. All we’d say is don’t let weather reports rule what activities you choose to join. As long as you come on holiday prepared for a hot, humid and sometimes wet tropical climate you will have a great time!

    Find to more about Sabah, and Sabah’s climate, on Sabah Bah web site

  • Is it safe to visit Sabah, Malaysian Borneo?

    At Borneo Dream, we put our customer’s safety first. We have been operating in Sabah, Borneo since 2007 and all of our customers have experienced safe, enjoyable holidays. We ensure a safe environment is offered to our customers – whether it be suggesting restaurants to our customers to eat at in Kota Kinabalu, staying at a lodge along the Kinabatangan River, white water rafting along Padas Gorge or staying at an Island Resort. There are a small number of areas we suggest our customers take extra care if they go off exploring independently – this is the same as most other safe countries to visit in the world.

    Sabah itself has put in place enforced security practices over recent years to ensure Sabah remains a safe location to visit – these are focused on the south of Sabah (Semporna area) and the islands off the south and east coast of Sabah including those located near Sipadan. You can read the latest Travel Advice from Sabah Tourism

    We do recommend you also read your country’s FCO Travel Advice for Sabah (Malaysia). You can also email the Borneo Dream Team with any questions or concerns you may have about visiting a specific location in Sabah and we’ll provide honestly informed feedback.

  • Should I take malaria tablets for my Borneo holiday?

    Borneo typically as a whole is classified as a ‘high risk’ area for malaria. In reality, there will be areas in Borneo that are higher risk – like inner rainforests and rural areas – and areas in Borneo that are a lower risk which typically includes most of the places tourists visit in Sabah e.g. Kota Kinabalu, Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary etc. We would always recommend you seek your Doctors advice on what medical precautions you should take when coming on holiday to Sabah, Borneo. It then comes down to the level of risk you want to take when coming on holiday regarding your health.

  • Can I book when we arrive in Kota Kinabalu?

    You can choose to wait until you arrive in Kota Kinabalu to book your trips. However, we’d always recommend you book your tours in advance if you are travelling to Sabah during a peak period, joining a specific tour really matters to you or you have limited time in Sabah (so little flexibility to join a tour on other dates).

    All the trips/packages we arrange for our customers in Sabah will be subject to availability. Some tours do tend to get fully booked in advance throughout the year as there is limited capacity and they are very popular e.g. Turtle Island, Resorts near Sipadan and climbing Mount Kinabalu. During peak periods in Sabah other tours/activities can also get fully booked e.g. Kinabatangan River packages and our own diving and snorkeling trips.

  • Which currency is used in Sabah, Borneo? What is the difference between MYR and RM?

    The Malaysian Ringgit is the currency of Malaysia. The currency code for Ringgit is MYR and the currency symbol is RM. We will quote all our prices using RM.

  • Can you look after my child/children while I join an activity?

    We help many families come on holiday to Borneo and organise tours that the full family can enjoy together. During activities, our guides and PADI Professionals are there to provide advice, tuition and supervise the activities they are running. We do not employ qualified childminders. As a parent, you are responsible for the child or children in your care and are required to supervise and be with them during all activities. This is for your child’s safety and protection, as well as helping you enjoy your time together as a family.

  • Best time to go to Borneo to see Orangutans?

    During the period of March to October is the best time to visit Borneo and see the Orangutans. This is when the weather is at its hottest but more importantly driest. The daily air temperatures range from 27°C to 32°C with humidity hitting 80% often. Orangutans can be sited at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre or on one of our many Kinabatangan River cruises.

  • What is the weather like in Borneo?

    Borneo is a tropical destination located approximately 6 degrees north of the equator. Let’s look at three destinations located in Sabah. Sabah is the northern Malaysian State of Borneo. On the west coast of Sabah is it’s capital Kota Kinabalu and on the east coast, we have Sandakan they are approximately 180Km apart. 125Km South of Sandakan is Danum Valley.

    Kota Kinabalu – The rainfall of 85 to 317mm per month with the wetest months being September till January. Temperatures are prerty steady at 31°C to 32°C.

    Sandakan – The rainfall of 120 to 450mm per month with the wetest months being August till February. Temperatures are prerty steady at 29°C to 33°C.

    Danum Valley – The rainfall of 165 to 220mm per month with the wetest months being October till January. Temperatures are prerty steady at 27°C to 29°C.

  • Terms & Conditions

  • Making a booking

    Please provide all information requested to help us manage your reservation and booking as quickly as possible. Please book as early as possible to avoid disappointment. Late bookings, less than thirty (30) days from your arrival date, will be accepted subject to availability. All late booking requests must be accompanied by full payment.

  • Our Prices

    All of our prices are quoted in RM (Ringgit Malaysia). Our quotes are valid for 30 days from date of issue. Our prices include current taxes as follows – 0% Sales & Service Tax as applicable from 6th May 2019.

  • Paying for your holiday

    • A 30% non-refundable deposit of the total booking cost is required to confirm your reservation.
    • Full payment is required 30 days before arrival. Failing to do this could result in the cancellation of your reservation.
    • There are a few ways to send us a payment – send a SWIFT Payment (Electronic International Bank Transfer), pay via MOLpay/NBePay (credit card), pay via PayPal or we can process your credit card locally (VISA, Mastercard, AMEX):
      • Our PayPal (paypal@borneodream.com) Account will only accept payments in GBP or USD.
      • SWIFT Payments can only be sent in MYR, GBP or USD.
      • All bank charges, credit card charges & PayPal charges for payments to Borneo Dream are to be borne by the customer.
    • Please note that some of the trips we arrange with Suppliers work to different payment terms (for example, for Mount Kinabalu trips full payment is required within 5 working days of making a reservation). Were this is the case we will advise you at the reservation and booking stage.

  • If you need to cancel your booking at the last minute

    For courses, trips and packages provided by Borneo Dream (Borneo Dream scuba diving and snorkeling trips and courses only) the following cancellation policy will apply:

    • If you cancel > 30 days from date of your trip/course/experience, we will charge the 30% non-refundable deposit (for the total package cost).
    • If you cancel between 15 – 30 days from date of your trip/course/experience, we will charge 50% the total package cost.
    • If you cancel within 14 – 7 days or less from the date of your trip/course/experience, we will charge 75% of the total package cost.
    • If you cancel within 6 days or less from the date of your trip/course/experience, we will charge 100% of the total package cost
    • If you fail to turn up for a trip (“no show”) you will still be charged the full package cost.
    • We will not refund in respect of any unused services (or part) included in a package.

    Our chosen Suppliers for land trips, Sabah diving packages, transport and room bookings will charge late cancellation fees in line with their own cancellation policy, and depending on the circumstances. The cancellation fees charged by them will be charged to you by Borneo Dream.

    For Mount Kinabalu trip bookings (climbing Mount Kinabalu) 30% of the upfront full payment is a ‘non-refundable deposit’. The remaining 70% is fully refundable should you cancel the booking more than 60 days before the trip date.

    Please note for Turtle Island bookings that Turtle Island Resort charges an extra fixed cancellation fee for cancellations. This fee is over and above what has been paid for the trip. This means if you cancel a booking at Turtle Island they will charge an extra amount which you will need to pay. We recommend you only book Turtle Island Resort if you are 100% certain you will go on the trip (including after checking your country’s FCO Travel Advice for Islands off the east coast of Sabah).

    For the 4D3N Mount Trusmadi trip and the Danum Valley Field Center Tour the cancellation policy is as follows:-

    • 90 – 46 days prior to arrival a 25% cancellation fee will apply
    • 45 – 22 days prior to arrival a 50% cancellation fee will apply
    • 21 – 0 days prior to arrival a 100% cancellation fee will apply

    No partial or full refunds will be given for an uncompleted PADI course, diving or snorkelling trip with Borneo Dream. If you decide during your course/trip you do not want to continue we will offer you our ‘Unguided Snorkeling Trip’ as an alternative for the remaining part of your course/trip.

    What happens if we need to change your booking:

    • Although every effort will be made to operate the trips as advertised, Borneo Dream reserves the right (at our sole discretion and without penalty) to make alternative arrangements as it sees fit if caused by poor weather conditions, technical problems to vehicles, flight delay or other circumstances beyond their control necessitate.
    • Where it is in the interest of tour/trip/course members that an itinerary be altered, such alterations may be made without penalty to the company.
    • If a Borneo Dream Tour (snorkelling and/or scuba diving tour run by Borneo Dream) is cancelled prior to the date of departure, due to circumstances beyond our control we will refund all money paid by our booked customers.
    • In the event of one of our suppliers cancelling a tour, we will make every endeavour to ensure full reimbursement but where a supplier has a policy of retaining any fees or charges we will have to defer to their policy.

  • Move/Re-schedule your Turtle Island and/or Kinabatangan River Cruise

    If  you wish to re-schedule/move your adventure we will need your new dates ASAP. The dates must be in the same calendar year as the original trip. Subject to availability you will be charged RM 250.00 as a ‘Change of Booking Fee’ plus any other costs due to price increases, supplier cancellation charges or seasonal variations. This can only be done once.

  • Our liability

    We act as an agent for airline, hotel, ‘Explore Tours’ and in some cases, transport companies assume no liability in connection with their services. Borneo Dream will not be responsible for any act, omission, error or any injury, delay, irregularity, government regulations, theft or strikes over which it has no control.

  • Diving and Conservation Permit

    Like with all great Natural Marine Parks around the globe such as the Ras Mohammed Marine Park in Egypt, The Cayman Islands, Maldives etc., the Local Governments and Authorities impose local Permit charges to all guest and visitors alike. Here in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo we have several marine parks of this type, such as Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (TARP) just outside Kota Kinabalu (KK), one near Pulau Tiga, Turtle Islands Park and Pulau Sipadan to name but a few.

    The following charges will apply to all our guests and will either be collected in advance or on the day of the activity:-

    • Go Ashore (Known as the Marine Park Conservation Fee) – On any of the islands in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (TARP), Pulau Tiga and Turtle Islands Park it is RM 1 for Malaysians below 18 years and RM 3 for those older. For Non-Malaysians RM 6 for below 18 years and RM 10 for those older. This is per person per day.
    • Scuba Diving (Known as the Diving Permit) – Within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (TARP), Pulau Tiga and Turtle Islands Park is RM 20.00 for Malaysians and RM 50.00 for Non-Malaysians. This is per diver per day.
    • Scuba Diving Courses – Within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine Park (TARP), Pulau Tiga and Turtle Islands Park is MYR 20.00 for Malaysians and MYR 50.00 for Non-Malaysians. This is per diver for the duration of the course.

    If another operator says that he has included the Marine Park fees, I would ask you to request a valid “Sabah Parks” receipt on office Sabah Parks paper.

  • Sending a Payment

  • Overview

    We offer a range of payment methods for sending payment to Borneo Dream – various credit card payment options plus bank transfer. We hope that our customers will find at least one of these payment methods to be a convenient and fair value option for them.

    We offer a range of payment options from buying your tour/package on-line via our web site, paying by credit card or by sending a bank transfer. If you are already in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah then you can visit our Shop at Wisma Sabah to pay by cash or credit card or pay by cash deposit machine into our bank account at any Maybank Branch. Find out more about each payment option below.

    The credit card procedures we follow for RAZER Merchant Services and processing your credit card locally (Card Holder Not Present) are set by our Malaysian Banks as part of having a Business Account with them. These procedures may not be as efficient as Banks in some other countries however we will do our best to make it as easy as possible for you to pay using these methods.

    For currency conversions, you may use the exchange rates on XE.com Universal Currency Converter as an indication. Please note the exchange rates used by each Bank can differ to those on xe.com – this is primarily due to the commission banks build into their exchange rates. If, after foreign currency conversions, you overpay or underpay then we can arrange any payment difference to be sorted once you are in Sabah.

    If you get into any difficulty sending us a payment – please send us an email and we will look into it from our end.

  • Buying via our online store - Stripe.com or Bank Transfer

    Buying tours, trips, dive equipment or clothing via our online store has never been easier. Once you have decided on your purchase and added it to your cart you can proceed to view your cart or head straight to checkout. Our checkout allows you to register to receive future special offers or you can use the guest checkout function. Once you have filled out all the necessary information and checked any dates or availability with our sales office it is time to pay. We offer two methods of payment on the website.

    You can pay by credit or debit cards plus ApplePay and GooglePay using our Stripe.com Payment Gateway. Unfortunately, there is a charge for this that is levied by Stripe.com on to us which we need to pass on as our prices are very low with not much margin. The charge is 3% on the transaction + RM 1.00. As we are in Malaysia 6% SST is applied to this charge as well. Thus if your cart value was RM 100.00 the final bill to your card would be RM 104.24

    The second payment method we offer is direct bank transfer to our Malaysian account or if you are in Malaysia you can use the MayBank Cash Deposit Machines (CDM). Are bank details are as follows:

    • Account name: Borneo Dream Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd (please use our company name in full for the “Beneficiary account name” when sending payment)
    • Company registration number (if requested by your Bank): 788821K
    • Bank Name: Malayan Banking Berhad (or commonly known as ‘Maybank’)
    • Branch Address: Menara Maybank, Floor 8, 100 Jalan Tun Perak, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 50050
    • Account number: 510 143 111 363
    • SWIFT BIC: MBBEMYKL
    • Email for a payment notification: joanne@borneodream.com

  • Processing your Credit Card Locally (Cardholder Not Present) - 2.5% Fee

    To process your credit card locally we will need you to send copies of the following to Borneo Dream:

    • Signed authority form
    • The front of your credit card
    • A copy of your passport

    These copies can be sent to Borneo Dream by email (scanned copies or digital photos) or faxed to us. There will be a 2.5% credit card charge for processing your payment this way (for payments using a Visa or MasterCard credit card). Please note if you pay using an American Express credit card there is a 5% credit card charge.

  • Sending a Payment by SWIFT - International Electronic Bank Transfer

    You can send a SWIFT payment / transfer to our business account based in Sabah, Malaysia.

    Please note all bank charges for payments to Borneo Dream must be borne by the customer. You will need to send an equivalent amount that, when it is credited to our account, is the same as the invoiced amount (in RM, Malaysian Ringgits).

    Our bank account details are as follows:-

    • Account name: Borneo Dream Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd (please use our company name in full for the “Beneficiary account name” when sending payment)
    • Company registration number (if requested by your Bank): 788821K
    • Bank Name: Malayan Banking Berhad (or commonly known as ‘Maybank’)
    • Branch Address: Menara Maybank, Floor 8, 100 Jalan Tun Perak, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 50050
    • Account number: 510 143 111 363
    • SWIFT BIC: MBBEMYKL
    • Email for a payment notification: joanne@borneodream.com

    When you send a bank transfer to us we need you to do the following:-

    • Put your surname and invoice number in the reference field in order for us to process the payment.
    • Please confirm by email when you have sent a payment (deposit or full payment) to us. Email the Dream Team with your surname, invoice number and total amount paid. If you get a payment completion reference number then please include it.

  • Sending Bank Transfer from a Malaysian Bank Account

    For those with a Malaysian Bank Account you can choose to send on-line bank transfer to our Maybank Account (see Bank account details above). Please email a transfer confirmation slip to joanne@borneodream.com once payment has been sent.

  • Already in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah?

    If you are already in Kota Kinabalu, alongside buying on-line via our web site, you can choose between the following payment options too:

    Come and visit our Sales Office located in central Kota Kinabalu at G27 Wisma Sabah, Jalan Tun Fuad Stephen (09:00 – 18:00, Mon-Sat). You can pay by cash or by VISA / Mastercard credit card (2% credit card fee).

    Visit a Maybank outlet to pay cash in via the cash deposit machine. We then need you to take a photo of the deposit receipt with your phone and email it to us at info@borneodream.com. Our account number is as follows:

    • Account name: Borneo Dream Travel & Tours Sdn Bhd
    • Maybank Account number: 510 143 111 363

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