Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River – Join a Four Day Wildlife Adventure in Sabah, Borneo
The 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Cruise Trip is one of our most popular trips. It’s easy to see why when in one trip you get to join the following amazing wildlife viewing activities:- Turtle Island, Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, join four river cruises along the famous Kinabatangan River, visit Gomantong Cave and go trekking in the rainforest (twice at night and once during the day). All this at a great value 4D3N Trip price! For those wanting to include more wildlife viewing activities, you can also choose to add on visits to Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary and the Sun Bear Conservation Centre (at a small extra charge).
Wildlife Dreams Coming True In Borneo – Turtles Nesting, See Orangutans And See Wildlife At The Kinabatangan River
During the 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Cruise Trip you spend one night staying at the Resort on Selingan Island, otherwise known as Turtle Island. You will then spend two nights in a Superior Agamid Detached Chalet at Kinabatangan Nature Lodge located along the banks of the Kinabatangan River near Kampung Bilit.
After four days of wildlife viewing adventures at Turtle Island and the Kinabatangan River why not add on a snorkeling or scuba diving adventure from Kota Kinabalu with Borneo Dream in search of marine life. Our Guided Snorkeling Trip, or PADI Discover Scuba Diving Experience, are both perfect choices for exploring the tropical waters and coral reefs near Kota Kinabalu.
Trip Itinerary – 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip, Sabah, Malaysia
Day 1 (Meals: L & D) – Travel to Turtle Island
Today follows the same outline itinerary as Day 1 of the 3D2N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Cruise Trip – find a more detailed daily itinerary on this 3D2N Trip page. If you are flying into Sandakan Airport this morning to join the 3D2N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Cruise Trip please check recommended flight arrival times on the 3D2N Trip Page.
Afternoon: Upon arrival at Turtle Island you will have the afternoon free to explore the island, chill out on the beach or go snorkeling in the sea (snorkel gear is available to rent at Turtle Island).
Early evening: You will have dinner at the cafeteria. After dinner, Rangers will call you to observe turtles laying eggs. Watch the Ranger transfer the eggs to the hatchery and enjoy the opportunity to observe the release of baby turtles to the open sea. You will also be called by the Ranger when there is an opportunity to watch a Turtle nesting (laying eggs).
Overnight on Turtle Island in a twin share room (with ensuite shower room and aircon). Click here to see photos of Turtle Island Resort and the accommodation.
Day 2 (Meals: B, L & D)
Today follows the same outline itinerary as Day 2 of the 3D2N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Cruise Trip – find a more detailed daily itinerary on this 3D2N Trip page.
Today you will visit a morning feeding session a Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, join a late afternoon river cruise along the Kinabatangan River in search of wildlife and join a guided night trek in the secondary rainforest located behind Kinabatangan Nature Lodge. As an optional extra during your Turtle Island and Kinabatangan River experience, you can choose to join an introductory local dance session this evening after dinner and before your night trek. 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!
Overnight at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge along the banks of the Kinabatangan River. Stay in an Agamid Chalet (with twin or double bed, aircon and ensuite Shower Room). Click here to see photos of the accommodation at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge.
Explore and Relax – 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip, Sabah, Malaysia
Day 3 (Meals: B, L & D)
06:00hrs: Join an early morning river cruise and see the wildlife as they awake from a night’s sleep. Various species of wildlife may be seen such as Proboscis Monkeys, Leaf Monkeys, Macaques, Gibbons and even the Orangutans.
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.
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 sightseeing.
18:00hrs: Return to the Lodge. Dinner will be served at the Lodge.
~20:00hrs: Join a guided night trek following a different trekking route behind the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge.
Overnight at Kinabatangan Nature Lodge.
Day 4 (Meals: B)
06:00hrs: Join an early morning river cruise to see more birds and wildlife.
07:45hrs: Return to the lodge for breakfast then check out of your Chalet.
09:15hrs: You will be transferred to Gomantong Caves, located on the largest limestone hill in Sabah.
~10:30hrs: Continue your journey back to Sandakan and transfer to either your hotel or Sandakan Airport (it is recommended you book a flight departing from 14:00hrs onwards).
Trip Pre-requisites – 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip, Sabah, Malaysia
This 4D3N trip is open to all.
- Return road transfer as mentioned and return boat transfer to Turtle Island.
- Meals: 3 Breakfast, 3 Lunch & 3 Dinner.
- Visits (and entrance fees): Turtle island, Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and Gomantong Cave.
- At the Kinabatangan River: 4 x river cruises (2 mornings & 2 late afternoons), 2 x guided night nature walk, 1 x trek to an Oxbow Lake. 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.
- One night accommodation at Turtle island in twin sharing room with attached bathroom.
- Two nights’ accommodation in an Agamid detached chalet (twin/double/triple beds, ensuite shower room and toilet, aircon) within the Agamid Wing of Nature Lodge Kinabatangan.
- Guiding throughout your trip by a knowledgable, passionate English speaking licensed Nature Guide.
- Access to free flow coffee/tea and fresh water at the restaurant at the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge.
- Limited free drinking water is provided at Turtle Island Resort (1 small bottle per person at lunch and dinner).
- 0% Sales & Service Tax on the tour price as applicable from 6th May 2019.
Camera/video conservation fee at Turtle Island (RM10 per item) and Sepilok Sanctuary (RM10 per item) and Gomantong Cave (RM30 per item). Extra bottled water at Turtle Island, soft drinks or alcoholic drinks. We recommend you take a large bottle of drinking water per person as limited free drinking water is provided by Turtle Island Resort. There is a single supplement of RM212.00 on top of the trip price if you book this trip on your own (for single sharing a room / Chalet).
The new Tourism Tax – the Tourism Tax is currently set at a flat rate of RM 10 per room per night and will be charged to Non-Malaysian or Foreign tourists from 1st September 2017.
Recommended Packing List For The Trip
To get the most from this trip please bring with you a raincoat, cap/hat, insect repellent, sun cream, swimwear for Turtle island, towel, comfortable walking shoes, comfortable cotton T-shirt, long sleeve top, long trousers (long trousers are required for the Oxbow Lake trek), long shorts, binocular, torch, camera and personal medications (if needed). Please take your passport with you on this trip – your passports will be checked at Turtle Island and the Kinabatangan Lodge.
Notes – 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip, Sabah, Malaysia
Turtle Island Park is located some 40km from Sandakan city. The boat ride from the jetty to the island takes 45 mins – 1 hour. If you suffer from seasickness it is recommended you take sea sickness tablets. For boat transfers to/from Turtle Island Resort the Sandakan Marine Department on a daily basis, based on weather/tide updates, will make a safety decision if boat transfers are allowed. In the case of choppy sea, state parents may find the boat crossing to Turtle Island not suitable for infants. Persons with back problems or pregnant may find the boat transfer to Turtle Island unsuitable when there are rough seas.
Sabah Parks (who manage Turtle Island conservation activities) endorse the following conservation, and safety, practices at Turtle Island. This is to minimise any negative impact on the Turtles who come to lay eggs on the island.:-
- Sabah Parks allow the only camera of unaided flash to take photographs of the turtle (Video/Digital Video Camera are not allowed).
- Visitors are not allowed to go around the island on their own from 6:00 pm – 6:00 am.
- Only one (1) turtle sighting per night is allowed for visitors to Turtle Island.
Triple sharing is only allowed for children below the age of 12 years old with parents. 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 Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River trip price is valid for trips up to the 30th June 2023.
Gaynor Toft –
We had a fab time in the Turtle Island, Kinabatangan River and Danum Valley tours. All guides were friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. Accommodation and food were great. We managed to see a whole variety of wildlife so well worth combining the trips. Our highlights were seeing over 20 elephants watering and feeding along the River as well as wild orangutans. Turtle Island also was a great experience and the work they do there to safeguard the future of our the turtle population. Overall a fantastic experience and everything ran smoothly. Thank you 🦧🐘🐊🐒🐢
Yvonne Millington –
We had an amazing time. Our guide in Kinabatangan- Omar – was brilliant at spotting wildlife so thank you so much! We loved the trip and already returning to do another trip one day. Thanks for organising everything so well.
Sarah Wood, UK –
Your guides on both trips were absolutely amazing, everything ran on time, the food was amazing. We all really really enjoyed the trip. The tour guide we had on the turtle island trip, she was brilliant, so much so that other people on the trip thought we’d paid for our own guide. She was full of knowledge and her English was perfect. We had Mohammed as our guide in the jungle, he was very very good. Again, full of knowledge and he looked after us very well. I can’t forget to mention all of the other staff, the chefs, waiting staff etc, everyone was very polite and professional. I have many friends that live in Asia and they have seen my photos and are all asking about my itinerary. I will be sure to recommend your company to them and in fact to anyone else that asks.
Andrew Booker, UK –
Our trip was amazing thanks in no small part to your team, everyone we had contact with was professional, friendly and a credit to your organisation, special mention to Sam for Selingan and especially Mohammed at Kinabantangan who’s ability to spot wildlife is uncanny, we saw wild Orang Utan and pygmy elephant as well as a supporting cast of other primates reptiles and birds. Mohammed also went the extra mile to arrange extra activities on our last day plus we got to meet his beautiful family.
The timings, transport and accommodation were all excellent.
Thanks for a great trip, we would certainly recommend Borneo Dream to anyone visiting Borneo.
Ann Mulloy –
We had a truly amazing time in Borneo and thoroughly enjoyed our Turtle island and Kinabatangan River trip. The whole trip was fantastic and we were looked after tremendously from start to finish.
Watching a nesting turtle was a breath-taking experience. The accommodation on the island although a little basic was indeed more than adequate and the staff were so friendly and knowledgeable, they really seemed to take pride in their work.
Ichy, our guide who met us at Sandakan airport and travelled to turtle island with us was again fantastic, courteous and informative at all times.
The Kinabatangan River trip was another fantastic adventure and again we were looked after from start to finish. Our guide at the lodge, Mohammed deserves a special mention as he really did seem to go that extra mile in ensuring that we saw as much wild life as possible whilst out on our boat each day. He was so informative and genuinely seemed to enjoy his job and spotting the wildlife as much as we did. We saw orangutans, crocodiles, proboscis monkeys and many species of birds.
Karen McCarthy –
Our experience in Borneo was amazing. The guides were great and really knowledgable. Particular mention to Ichi who was fantastic and really good with our children. And Ramzan (in photo) seemed the best guide on the water always first to spot the wildlife.
We were fortunate to see Orangutans and an elephant swim across the river. The welcome was lovely from the ladies at the lodge and the buffet food was excellent and plentiful.
I would definitely recommend your tour company to our friends in the UK.
Leia was very helpful via email before we travelled and always returned our questions promptly.
Overall 5 star experience thank you
Chrystal O (TripAdvisor) –
Amazing trip – The trip was fantastic. One of the best I have been on. Booking through Borneo Dream was easy and the whole process was smooth. It was good to book through Borneo Dream as we did not have any problems along the way with the company who actually took us on tour.
We did the 4D3N tour with Nasarlis Lavartus tours having booked through Borneo Dream. The tour itself was quite simply incredible and all the guides and drivers were superb. They were knowledgeable, kind and made sure we were satisfied at all times. I connected particularly well with Edmundo Jr, who is one of the most passionate people I have ever met and is more than willing to talk your ear off about all things Borneo. Khairul was our guide for our river cruises and he too was great, he had a really good eye for the wildlife which enabled us to spot a wild Orangutan, crocodile, hornbill, macaques, proboscis monkeys and several more, the list goes on. He was entertaining (even at 6am) and made sure that we were satisfied.
Kinabatangan Nature Lodge – All of the staff at Kinabatangan Nature Lodge was so friendly and welcoming; we thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. The setting was perfect along the banks of the river and staying in the jungle hearing monkeys and other animals around you was an experience in itself. On the river cruise we saw an Orangutan, crocodile, hornbill, macaques, proboscis monkeys and several more, the list goes on.
Thank you so much. I will recommend the company to my friends and family.
Lollybelle85 London, United Kingdom (TripAdvisor) –
Great service – Borneo Dream, in my experience, is a fantastic tour company to use.
From the moment I sent my first email enquiringly about the 4D3N turtle and river tour, they were unbelievably helpful and patient as I dithered about what I wanted to do.
Winnie (the person on the other end of the email) was fabulous. A real asset to your company. Whatever I asked Winnie came back to me quickly and with all the information I needed.
All tour guides/drivers we encountered during our stay were amazing. Clearly love their job and are passionate about what they do.
Turtle Island was a wonderful experience and again everyone who works there was great!
Kinabatangan Nature Lodge is brilliant – totally recommend it – and stay for 2 nights you’ll get so much more out of it.
Our guide at Kinabatangan was called Mohammad and he is brilliant! Great English, sense of humour and very knowledgeable.
I highly recommend this tour company if visiting Borneo.
Thanks for organising such a great trip
robert t Oudenbosch, The Netherlands (TripAdvisor) –
The best you can get! – We have done several excursions with Borneo Dream and Travel Tours.
And everything was perfectly arranged, from the beginning till the end!
They have a great team, which respond to your questions very quickly.
They also think with you, to offer the best experience in Borneo.
We have done Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River | 4 Day | Sabah, Borneo.
This excursion i can recommend to everybody. It is such a amazing experience to witness the turtles on the Island. From laying their eggs on the beaches till releasing the new bornes into the Sea ! I guess a once-in-a-lifetime-experience.
And after this, you will have a great wildlife experience at the Kinabatangan River.
I can keep talking for hours abt. the tour, but just book it and you will have no regrets for sure. Take the extra packages, but esp. LABUK BAY PROBOSCIS MONKEY SANCTUARY. This was such a wonderfull experience as well.
At Kota Kinabalu we took the snorkling excursion at TARP incl. the zipline 🙂
We saw a lot of fish and nice corals, even some sharks ;). Again great to do.
Also we did the Hot springs tour, which we liked, but overall it was such a long day with traveling. Keep in mind you will be traveling a lot of hours on the road. It is a personal choice if this interesting or not for yourself (you spend easily 4-5 hrs in a buss)
We had a great time and if we will travel again to the beautiful Borneo, we will ask them for sure for advice and good excursions !!
Tommy Smith –
It was possibly the best trip I have been on in my travels and I have down quite a few. Everything ran so smooth and your help with flight advice and timings was a big help. The turtle island was something very special and there were only 8 tourists on the island which was perfect. The river cruise and lodge I think we got very lucky as we seen everything, we seen a herd of around 40 Pygmy elephants which was extremely lucky. The guides were friendly and so good at there jobs, our guide at the lodge was called apok and he was awesome. All in all a perfect few days.
We enjoyed the most amazing experience to Turtle Island and to the Kinabatangan River with Borneo Dream and their tour partner Nasalis Larvatus.
Turtle Island is a gem which really needs to be seen to be believed. We saw a turtle lay eggs and also released the baby turtles which had hatched that day to the sea which was a beautiful experience.
We visited the Orangutan and Sun Bear sanctuary on our way to the Kinabatangan River.
During our stay on the River we saw a vast array of wildlife in their natural habitat including many species of monkeys and horn-bills, crocodiles and lots and lots of other creatures. We did not encounter any pigmy elephants which was unfortunate.
The accommodation on Turtle Island was basic but you’re there for the turtles. Don’t be expecting must from it.
The accommodation in the detached chalets in the Kinabatangan Nature Lodge was good, a clean room with en-suite and air conditioning.
The food in both was good and there was lots to go around and enough for seconds!!!
Our tour guides were very knowledgeable and we would recommend this tour.
Yanika and Craig –
We were really impressed by Borneo Dreams. We booked a 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip with them. We also asked to add in some extra things, like Gomantong caves, and different departure times and drop off points and they were very accommodating. They replied to emails promptly. The lodge at the river was nice and the guide very knowledgable- we were incredibly lucky to see elephants on all 3 river trips, as well as a saltwater croc, lots of hornbills, proboscis monkeys and a wild Orang-utan. Turtle island was an incredible experience- such a beautiful place and the work they do, conserving the turtles is inspiring.
I would highly recommend this company- we had a guide with us the whole time and everything felt safe and organised
Karin (Switzerland) –
We enjoyed every moment of our 4D3N Turtle Island & Kinabatangan River Trip. The organisation was excellent and the service of Borneo Dream very efficient and helpful.
Both of the guides, Arthur (Seligan) and Mohamad (Kinbatangan) did a great job and we felt in good hands.
Thank you for this great adventure!
We had an absolutely fantastic experience with Borneo Dream and Nasalis Larvatus. Borneo Dream were faultless in their customer experience in the run up to our booking the trip. They were always incredibly quick, efficient and patient in answering all of our questions – and we certainly had a fair few before actually clicking that ‘book’ button.
The star of the whole trip was our guide James. He was so knowledgeable, friendly, reliable, approachable and generally really good fun & relaxing to be around. It wouldn’t have been the same without him! I can only hope others will be lucky enough to also have him as their guide, I can’t imagine anyone better?!
During our 4D/3N trip we saw so much wildlife we were really quite spoilt. Turtle Island was a particular highlight, where we were lucky enough to spot 3 natural hatchings on the beach during the day time (This is not a common occurrence!), as well as the turtle laying eggs at night. The Kinabatangan River trip was also magical, the lodges were fabulous and eco-friendly and was a real treat to hear the sounds of the jungle at night. During the river trips an Orangutan in the wild, along with the humorous proboscus monkeys, the crazy macacques, cute silver langures, and so many beautiful birds I wouldn’t even know how to begin naming them (kingfishers & hornbills I do remember!).
I recognise there are other groups offering a similar package but Borneo Dreams really stood out in their highly organised, professional yet incredibly friendly service. And overall it was a trip we will treasure forever 🙂
Ptitsyna Liudmila –
Everything was organized on the best level. Food, premises, excursions, guide, price-quality rate – everything was fine. It was so wonderful to observe the wild animals – proboscis’s monkey, orangutans, birds, turtles and ets. Thank you very much for this opportunity.
My husband and I loved this part of our honeymoon. We saw more wildlife than we dared to dream of; it was a real privilege to see turtles, orangutans and Pygmy elephants in particular! We had a wonderful guide who was entertaining and knowledgeable and the whole experience was wonderful. Would highly recommend.
Nikki Cheetham –
My husband and I had a really brilliant trip organised by Borneo Dream to Turtle Island and the Lower Kinabatangan River. Our guide, Rudy, was professional and fantastically enthusiastic, going the extra mile to ensure we were seeing all the wildlife and helping us to understand what we were seeing. He is a great asset to the company. The entire trip was very well organised.
Ania Jakubowska –
I would like to thank Borneo Dream Travel & Tours and Nasalis Narvatus for perfect organization and effort put to make my tour so interesting and comfortable. I want separately thank to tour guides, Terance on the Turtle Island, and specially Dino at the Kinabatangan river for commitment and great atmosphere. I learnt a lot about Borneo’s wild nature and will take home wonderful memories.
Lady Of Misrule, UK (TripAdvisor) –
Open Water Certification & 4D 3N Jungle Adventure
We took our Open Water Certification with Borneo Dream after doing some research of dive schools in the local area. We settled on them as they had good reviews and good prices. We were not disappointed! Our instructors were really knowledgeable with decades of diving experience between them and doing the course was so much fun! Our confined water dives we did just off Sapi Island in the Tunku Abdul Rahman Park, which I was really pleased with, we had tropical fish swimming all around us as we learned the basics, & it felt like a more comfortable transition from learning to actual diving than maybe doing the confined dives in the pool would have been. The dives themselves were really fun, we did 2 on the House Reef and the other 2 in the Coral Garden, different sections each time. Saw a bunch of pufferfish, lionfish, barracuda, stingrays, mantis shrimp, a moray eel and loads of other fish.
We also chose to book with Borneo Dream for a 4D3N tour, which took in a Turtle Sanctuary, where we got to see a Turtle give birth and then some baby turtles released into the wild, which was magical. We initially thought this might be a if you’re lucky kind of situation but it happens every night. And it’s great. Second day we visited the Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary and the Sun Bear Sanctuary in the morning, both of which were awesome, and then went to the Kinabatangan Lodge in the jungle, where we stayed a further 2 nights. During this time we took two sunrise river cruises, two sunset river cruises, 2 night hikes through the jungle and one trek to an Oxbow Lake. This entire experience has been incredible. In the wild we saw Orangutans, Proboscis Monkeys, Silver Langurs, Saltwater Crocodiles, all kinds of birds and spiders and scorpions and generally just had an amazing time. Falling asleep in our bamboo hut listening to the sounds of the rainforest was truly magical. On the last day we visited the Gomantong Caves and we saw a mother and baby Orangutan and some red leaf monkeys as an added bonus to the cave itself, which was immense and really cool.
Big shout out to our Jungle Guide James, who was with us for the whole four days and was an all around great guy. He was really knowledgeable and really friendly and approachable – an amaing guide, we couldn’t have hoped for better.
Really enjoyed both of our experiences – thanks Borneo Dream! 🙂
Visited February 2016
Rosalind & Roanna –
Very well organised. Happy with the lodge service.
Guide Dino is a good organiser. Overall we have enjoyed this trip.
Erica Hu –
Borneo Dream provide a professional guide , we get lots of useful information from him. It’s really helpful for foreign tourist, so we get a perfect trip from Borneo Dream.