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Sepilok Trek & Kinabatangan River | 3 or 4 Day | Sabah, Borneo

(2 customer reviews)

RM1745

This unique 3D2N Trip brought to you by Borneo Dream combines two popular activities in Borneo, jungle trekking and wildlife spotting, in two amazing locations – the protected Sepilok Forest Reserve (also known as Kabili-Sepilok Virgin Jungle Reserve) and the mighty Kinabatangan River. Both are recognised for their amazing diversity of flora and fauna. This trip is packed with many delights for the nature lover – trekking through pristine rainforest (graded easy), river cruises along the Kinabatangan River, visiting Sepilok Sanctuary, Gomantong Cave, Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary and more! You can also add on extra night at the Kinabatangan River to include more river cruises and wildlife encounters. A trip suitable for many – whether you’re a couple, family, or group of friends.

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Sepilok Trek & Kinabatangan River Cruise – 3 or 4 Day Rainforest & Wildlife Adventure, Sabah, Borneo

The trip is ideal for nature lovers wanting to experience trekking through the primary rainforest (where you’ll probably be the only trekkers) combined with relaxing river cruises in search of wildlife. This 3D2N trip ticks both boxes with a trek through the beautiful Sepilok Forest Reserve (also known as Kabili-Sepilok Virgin Jungle Reserve – a Class IV Virgin Jungle Reserve) and an overnight stay at a Lodge along the banks of the Kinabatangan River.

On the first day of the trip, you will complete the Sepilok Forest Reserve Trek and visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre. The trek is ~ 9km and starts at Sepilok Laut Base Camp and ends at the Rainforest Discovery Centre. The trek will take 3 – 4 hours depending on pace. Sepilok Forest Reserve is home to tropical highland forest, lowland forest and lowland mangrove swamps. The Forest Reserve is famous for its amazing diversity of flora and fauna with 100’s of tree species, bird species and many different types of mammals. During your trek, your Nature Guide will help you learn more about the rainforest and the fascinating plant life found here. As your trek is during the day the wildlife found in the Forest will be resting – lucky for you, you’ll have the following two days filled with wildlife view activities.

Wildlife and Rainforests – Sepilok Primary Rainforest and the Kinabatangan River

Over the next two days of your Sepilok Trek & Kinabatangan River Trip, you’ll get to see some of the amazing wildlife found in Sabah. You’ll visit Sepilok Sanctuary, home to Orangutans undergoing rehabilitation, and Gomantong Cave which is the largest sandstone cave in Sabah. Alongside this, you’ll stay overnight along the banks of the Kinabatangan River at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge. During your stay at the Lodge, you’ll join two river cruises and a night trek in search of wildlife. The Kinabatangan River is one of the most popular locations in Sabah for seeing wildlife. During your 3D2N trip, you will be escorted by an experienced, passionate and knowledgable Licensed Nature Guide (English speaking) who will help you get as much from your trip as possible.

If you would like to add on more wildlife spotting opportunities why not add on an extra night at the Kinabatangan River on to this 3D2N Trip – creation a 4D3N Sepilok Trek & Kinabatangan River Trip. This would include one more night at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge and two extra river cruises (1 x late afternoon, 1 x early morning), one extra night trek and a trek to the Oxbow Lake.

This Sepilok Trek & Kinabatangan River Cruise trip can also work well with the 2D1N Turtle Island Trip helping you also experience the magic of watching a Turtle nest.

Itinerary – Sepilok Forest Trek, Kinabatangan River & Wildlife Adventure, Sabah

Day 1 (Meals: Packed Lunch, D)

08:00hrs: You will be collected from Sandakan Airport or your hotel in Sandakan and transferred to Sabah Forestry Jetty.

08:30hrs: You will join a boat transfer to Sepilok Laut Base Camp.

09:30hrs: Arrive at Sepilok Laut Base Camp. You will complete your registration for the trek and collect your packed lunch and drinking water. You will start your trek from Sepilok Laut Base Camp to Rainforest Discovery Centre. The trek is ~ 9km and is undulating – your Guide will make stops along the way to brief you about interesting plant life and if they spot some of the many bird species found in the Forest Reserve. There are three resting ‘huts’ along the trek for you to take a breather, have a drink and take in the natural beauty around you.

~ 12 noon – 1:00 pm: Arrive at Rainforest Discovery Centre, the endpoint for your trek. You will be transferred to Nature Lodge Sepilok, a ~ 10-minute transfer, where you’ll check-in and have a chance to freshen up and relax after your trek.

2:30 pm: You’ll have the option to visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre. During your guided tour you’ll visit the Plant Discovery Garden and learn more about the plant life endemic to Borneo (with hopefully several species of orchids in bloom) followed by a walk along the raised canopy walk. After your visit, you’ll be transferred back to Nature Lodge Sepilok.

7:00 pm: Dinner at the Lodge. The rest of the evening is free to relax.

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

Day 2 (Meals: B, L, D)

Today you will visit the morning feeding session at Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary where you will have the chance to get up close with the critically endangered Bornean Orangutan and learn about conservation efforts to protect them. After lunch at a nearby cafe to Sepilok, you’ll be transferred by minibus to the Kinabatangan Lodge, a ~ 2-hour transfer. After a welcome briefing at the Lodge, and time to check in to your Chalet, you’ll join a late afternoon river cruise along the Kinabatangan River (from ~ 4 pm – 6 pm). After dinner at the lodge, you’ll join a night trek in the secondary rainforest behind the Lodge in search of nocturnal wildlife (the night trek will last 1 – 1.5 hours).

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

For a more detailed itinerary check out day 1 of the 2D1N Kinabatangan River Cruise Trip.

Day 3 (Meals: B)

At 6:00 am you’ll join an early morning river cruise along the Kinabatangan River. Upon returning to the Lodge after your river cruise you’ll have breakfast, check out of your chalet and depart the Lodge at ~ 09:15hrs. On your transfer back to Sepilok you will visit Gomantong Cave, home to millions of swiftlets and bats. As well as a guided walk inside the cave (on a raised boardwalk around the cave wall) you could be lucky and spot a wild Orangutan near the cave entrance – a fairly regular occurrence! After your visit to Gomantong Cave, you’ll travel on by road to Sandakan. You will be transferred to your drop off location in Sandakan by around 12 noon – 12:30 pm. If you are catching a flight from Sandakan Airport it is recommended you book a flight departing from 2 pm onwards.

If you choose to add an extra night on turning it into a 4D3N Sepilok Trek & Kinabatangan River Trip then the outline itinerary for day 3 and day 4 of the trip would be as below (day 1 and day 2 would remain the same). By adding on an extra night to the trip you get one more night at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge, two extra river cruises (1 x late afternoon, 1 x early morning), one extra night trek and a trek to the Oxbow Lake.

Day 3 (Meals: B, L & D)

06:00hrs: Join an early morning river cruise (~ 1.5 hours), a chance for more wildlife encounters along the Kinabatangan River. 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 (~ 2 hours) along the Kinabatangan River for more wildlife sight-seeing.

18:00hrs: Return to the Lodge and time to freshen top before dinner.

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

Overnight at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge.

Day 4 (Meals: B)

Same as the last day, Day 3, of the 3D2N Sepilok Trek & Kinabatangan River Trip as outlined above.

Trip Pre-Requisites

You should be in good health and physically able to trek at a gentle pace for a few hours in tropical heat (with rests along the way). Whilst there is no minimum age for children joining this trip, children will need to be comfortable trekking in a humid, hot climate.

Trip Inclusions

  • Road transfers during the trip
  • 1-way boat transfer from Sabah Forestry Jetty (in Sandakan) to Sepilok Laut Base Camp.
  • 1 x English speaking qualified Nature Guide looking after you during your trip.
  • 1 x Sandakan Forestry Ranger to escort you during the Sepilok Forest Reserve Trek
  • Visits to (and entrance fees) – Sepilok Laut, Rainforest Discovery Centre, Sepilok Sanctuary, Gomantong Cave
  • At the Kinabatangan River, you will join 1 x afternoon river cruise, 1 x morning river cruise and 1 x night walk. The Kinabatangan River cruises included with this trip will travel as far upstream as ~7km to Pontian Point and downstream maximum ~ 10 km to Tenegang Besar Point.
  • 1 night at Nature Lodge Sepilok in a private room with air-con twin/double bed, ensuite external shower area.
  • 1 night at Nature Lodge Kinabatangan in an Agamid Chalet (twin/double/triple beds, aircon, ensuite shower room)
  • Meals: 2 x breakfast, 2 x lunch (one is a packed lunch), 2 x dinner.
  • 6th May 1st March 2019.

Trip Exclusions

Camera/video camera fees at Gomantong Cave and Sepilok Sanctuary. Soft drinks or alcoholic drinks during meals, or drinks at other times (not part of meals). Porter service for the Sepilok First Reserve Trek (additional RM120.00/maximum weight: 15kg). Extra boat transfer from Sepilok Laut to Sandakan Sabah Forestry jetty will be an additional charge (unless it is for ‘emergency medical evacuation’). The new Tourism Tax – the Tourism Tax is currently set with a flat rate of RM 10 per room per night and will be charged to Non-Malaysian or Foreign tourists from 1st September 2017. Flights travel insurance and personal spend.

Recommended Packing List For The Trip

For the Sepilok Trek: small rucksack with plastic bag liner (Max. 15kg when packed), comfortable trekking shoes, water bottle (min. 1.5 litres, recommended 2 litres), comfortable trekking clothes suitable for a tropical, humid climate (lightweight trousers, long sleeve cotton top, leech socks), insect/mosquito repellent, sun protection cream, sunglasses with a cord attached, trekking hat, rain jacket, camera.

For the rest of the trip: raincoat, cap/hat, insect repellent, comfortable walking shoes, comfortable cotton T-shirt, long sleeve top, long or short trousers, binocular for observing wildlife, head torch for night trek, camera and personal medications (if needed), camera, sun hat and sun protection cream, personal spend, change of clothes, toiletries for overnight stay. Please take your passport with you on this trip – your passports will be checked at the Kinabatangan Lodge.

Notes – Sepilok Trek & Kinabatangan River Cruise Adventure

Minimum 2 persons per booking. The trip price is based upon twin / double sharing a room and valid for trips up to 31st December 2020. Please note the timings in the above itinerary are typical timings. The exact timings during your trip can vary due to weather, traffic etc.

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

2 reviews for Sepilok Trek & Kinabatangan River | 3 or 4 Day | Sabah, Borneo

  1. Mikael K (TripAdvisor)

    Above all expectations – excellent service, good value for money – We were gathered from our hotel in Sandakan just in right time, we were well informed by the company and got several updates like the transfer might be ten minutes delayed etc.
    we were friendly met and were transported to the Andakan harbour where the company arranged everything, also storage of package without fuss.
    We were boated to Selingan Island where we were informed, shown around and accommodated. All meals are included and the food on Selingan was fantastic. We had all day for snorkelling and enjoying this serene island.
    After supper we all awaited our guide to collect us to see turtles landing, and it was with great amazement we followed the laying of eggs, collecting and catalogization of eggs, release of baby turtles etc. fireflies lit the dark of the forest line after a magnificent sunset.
    Breakfast and trip to Sandakan by boat, a two hour transfer with air conditioned minibus to Sukau, from where we were transported by boat to Rainforest Lodge. On our way we made stop at Sepilok orangutan sanctuary and got acquainted with these intelligent and boisterous red “ tree-men”. Great fun and extremely exciting to follow these human like creatures living their daily life in the tree tops. After a cosy and delicious three course lunch at Borneo Dream Travels Sepilok office restaurant we were transported to Sukau, where Our fantastic guide Mouhammad presented himself with a clear and confident voice. We were gathered, informed and shown to our chalets. So the adventure went on with a late afternoon boat trip. We saw the majestic Kinabatangan River, Hornbills, Proboscis monkeys, red Langurs, shadow langurs and the rare and secretive Pygmy elephants, first one and then a vast number appearing from the deep lush vegetation by the river banks. Totally 20 elephants having a late afternoon sun dinner, loudly trumpeting in the waning sun. Our guide Mouhammad was respectful and stopped the engines and he was very considerate and really put effort so everyone got to see and photograph these rare animals.
    Dinner was excellent and tasty, we had a short rest and were gathered tonight walk during which we saw a number of birds and frogs: kingfishers, Pittha and others.
    Next morning misty morning trip and a joyous and touchy rejoice with the elephants, now very close by. The mist vanished and we saw numerous species and enjoyed our trip greatly.
    After breakfast, there was trekking tour to Oxbow Lake, and a trip back to lodge. We saw nests of orangutans, several species of birds and animals. Our guide MouhMmad explained a lot of different species and talked about what is was like to grow up as a member of River People, we learned a lot of medicinal plants and others, migration routes of the elephants, and were having a good glimpse of rain forest and how it is like habitat for human beings and animals.
    Luncheon, rest and afternoon trip to Kinabatangan by boat, again we saw the elephants, apes and birds and I promise there were great cheering and smiles, tears eyes in the presence of great nature experiences and concentrated silence admiring the miracles of nature.
    Tasty dinner, recap and many discussions with other quests, everyone happy and contented. Great satisfaction all around.
    Last boat trip, elephants again!!! And a vast multitude of birds, thanks to MouhMmads trained eye and respect for animals.
    Checkout, a trip to Gomantong Caves- awesome experience. Mouhammad explained and answered questions, leaving a place for silence and amazement.
    After a stop by Sepilok office, we were transported to Sandakan airport just as committed and I can just say one thing. DO IT!
    Good value for money, efficient, secure, entertaining, we were well treated, informed, well fed and get to see it all. I would not hesitate to redo our trip straight ahead!
    Thank you Borneo Dream Travel& Tours, you made our trip a greater one!
    Two satisfied travelling companions from Scandinavia,
    Søren and Mikael.
    Ps: all our hopes and wishes were fulfilled, this was a childhood dream come true for both of us!

  2. Kerry Senior

    Josh and I loved the 3 day excursion! We saw some amazing wildlife and were really impressed with the accommodation at both Sepilok and at the Kinbantangan River. Our guide Herman was lovely and we would highly recommend this trip to our friends. Thanks for a wonderful experience.

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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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