Essential Borneo
from $2250
Duration: 11 Days
You and Borneo meet in Kota Kinabalu – we think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Get hot and sweaty climbing up Mt Kinabalu, then hot and wet-ty soaking in the Poring Hot Springs on the way down. Plus, orangutans in Sepilok! And (potentially) elephants along the Kinabatangan River! Try not to indulge in too much ikan panggang (stingray – a local delicacy), but we won’t blame you if you do. This 11-day adventure of what Borneo has to offer is certainly a challenge, but is well worth the rewards along the way.
  • This is one of only two places in the world you can see wild orangutans – meet these friendly fellas swinging around, climbing up trees and just generally living their jungle life in the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre.
  • Monkeys, primates and simians everywhere! Well, here’s hoping as you cruise past the wildlife-filled banks of the Kinabatangan River.
  • Good mountains are hard to climb, but you’ll be a conqueror of epic Mt Kinabalu, with a spectacular sunrise experience at the summit.
  • Relax and recharge your weary limbs in the steamy Poring Hot Springs after you tackle Mt Kinabalu.
  • Bar hop through Kota Kinabalu on a leader-led celebratory adventure of the waterfront. Spend some time with your travel mates and grab yourself some dinner and drinks – you’ll deserve it after your active days!
  • Kinabatangan - Cultural Show
  • Sandakan - War Memorial
  • Kinabatangan River - Afternoon wildlife cruise
  • Kinabatangan River - Morning River Cruise
  • Kinabatangan River - Cooking lesson
  • Sepilok - Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre
  • Mt Kinabalu - 2 day climb
  • Day 1 Location: Kota Kinabalu
    Kick things off in KK: Kota Kinabalu. The locals finally settled on a name meaning ‘City of the Revered Place of the Dead’. Earlier choices were Deasoka (below the coconut tree), Singgah Mata (pleasing to the eye) and Api-Api (fire!). You’ve got the whole day free to explore this capital of Sabah state (depending on when you get here of course) before you join up with your crew at a 6 pm welcome meeting tonight. Take some time to explore this balmy city between the jungle and the South China Sea and perhaps visit the Sabah Museum and the State Mosque. Why not escape the hustle and bustle of Kota Kinabalu and take a walk up Signal Hill, which offers great views over the city.
    Day 2 Location: Kinabatangan River
    This morning you’ll head over to the airport for a flight to Sandakan (approximately 40 minutes flight time). When you touch down, you’ll hop on a private minibus and head to Sandakan War Memorial, built on the site of a Japanese POW camp. This site also marks the starting point of the tragic Sandakan Death Marches, on which 2400 POWs were forced to walk through the jungles of Borneo. You then continue on for a drive through the steamy rainforest to your homestay for the night (approximately 2 hours). This afternoon you’ll have the option to visit Batu Tulug burial caves, where more than 100 wooden coffins (estimated at 250 years old) were discovered in the limestone hill. Speculate about who they belonged to and just how they got them up there while you admire their beautiful carvings. If you’re still feeling active, then challenge the locals to a game of volleyball or a football match. You’ll spend the night in a family homestay and enjoy a local meal cooked by your hosts, followed by an evening cultural performance.
    Day 3 Location: Kinabatangan River
    After breakfast, you will say goodbye to your hosts and make the short journey by minivan and boat to an eco-lodge on the banks of the Kinabatangan River (approximately 40 minutes). The lodge is right in the heart of a nature lover's wilderness paradise. This morning there’s loads of stuff planned to keep you busy. Kick things off with a walk through the jungle to work on your wildlife spotting skills, then head over to a community-based reforestation project. One of the very few uncool things about Borneo is that about half of the world’s timber comes from here. In 1975, 73.7 per cent of the country was covered in rainforest, now it’s only 50.5 per cent. You can do your part to put the trees back where they belong by getting your hands dirty and planting some yourself. Later, get to know the local cuisine with an included cooking lesson. In the early evening as the sun sets, climb aboard a boat to get down with the local wildlife on a dusk cruise up the river. Keep an eye out for wild orangutans, proboscis monkeys and maybe even pygmy elephants if you’re the lucky one. Tonight, you’ll snuggle down for a sleepover in an authentic community-run eco camp bush hut.
    Day 4 Location: Sepilok
    Wake up early if you want to check out more of the jungle creatures with the option to do another river cruise this morning – just tell your leader if you're all about your wildlife. Later in the morning, you will leave your jungle eco-lodge and drive in a private minivan to Sepilok (approximately 2 hours). From there you’ll swing by the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre and meet the world’s cutest red heads. These distant relatives will tug on your heartstrings – watch them eating bananas while hanging upside down like no one’s watching. If you thought things couldn’t get any cuter then you'd be wrong – you’ll also check out the nursery where young orangutans learn how to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym. You’ll spend the night in dorm rooms at a jungle lodge in Sepilok. If you want, there’s the option to take a night wildlife walk this evening.
    Day 5 Location: Sepilok
    Today, what to do is up to you! You're pretty close to the Rainforest Discovery Centre. Here you can feel like your red-headed mates from yesterday by getting high up into the trees. The RDC has a 147-metre long, 28-metre high canopy walkway with downright spectacular views of the giant rainforest trees. Look out for all the birds overhead, and maybe even a few flying squirrels. There’s also the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary (them funny fellas with the big noses) where you can watch up close the amazing bachelor proboscis lazing and feeding – an experience that can only be found right here in Borneo. If you can’t get enough wildlife there’s also the chance to see more of Borneo’s creatures at the newly opened Sun Bear Conservation Center. Here they’ve rescued mistreated Sun Bears and hope to rehabilitate and reintroduce them into the wild. You'll spend another night in the jungle lodge in Sepilok.
    Day 6 Location: Kinabalu National Park
    This morning travel via Kudasang by minibus into the unspoilt wilderness of the World Heritage-listed Kinabalu National Park (approximately 5 hours total). Take some time to hang out, enjoy the surroundings and do your stretches for the climb. There are some beautiful nature trails you can follow through the lowland tropical forest and a Botanic Garden to explore – this 5-acre garden is an excellent showcase of the diverse plant life on the mountain, as flora from all over the park has been replanted here. It’s home to 4500 species of plants, 289 species of birds and 290 of butterfly. Numbers can be boring, but that’s pretty cool. Otherwise, just relax in the afternoon and take in the cooler climate. Before you depart your leader will give a safety briefing about the climb and answer any questions you might just have thought of. Stay overnight at the park's headquarters in dormitory accommodation with shared facilities. Nestled amongst the lowland forests, this is the perfect place to chill-out before the climb.
    Day 7 Location: Mt Kinabalu
    Rise early the next day to begin the climb up Mt Kinabalu, South East Asia’s highest point at 4095 metres or 13,435 feet (compared to Everest’s 8848 metres) and you’ll remember – sometimes for the effort, mostly for the scenery – every single step. For real, this is not an easy walk – it’s uphill all the way, and you’ll need to be prepared to tackle a trail made up of steep steps that vary considerably in size. Altitude can affect anyone, regardless of fitness level, and it will certainly slow you down a fair bit (it's important that you educate yourself about the dangers of altitude sickness and its symptoms). Ensure you have warm layers, waterproof gloves, a hat, a head torch (for the final part of the climb), waterproof jacket, good walking shoes or boots and extra socks! The top of the mountain can be deceptively cold. Pack a light overnight bag for the climb as you’ll stay overnight on the mountain. There’s absolutely no rush so take your time and enjoy the pristine environment – this is an area which boasts a remarkable variety of plant life, including some 1000 species of orchid and the extraordinary carnivorous pitcher plant. You’ll cover 6 kilometres on the first day (approximately 4-6 hours) and stop at a resthouse near Laban Rata (3,272m/10734ft) for the night. The resthouses have very basic, mixed gender, multishare bunk rooms, and additional blankets can be hired from the park office. Make sure to get some shut eye early as you’ll be getting up at 2 am to hit the trails again, making for the peak.
    Day 8 Location: Poring Hot Springs
    Rise around 2 am in order to catch the sunrise at the summit of Mt Kinabalu (4,095m/13435 ft). It's difficult walking, but you'll feel a huge sense of achievement. And yes, the view from the summit is incredible – the jungles of Borneo in one direction, the South China Sea in the other, making every inch of the climb worthwhile. The climb from Laban Rata to the summit takes 2-4 hours and, due to the altitude, can be hard going even for the fit. The section up to the summit consists of man-made wooden steps, sections where climbers need to hold onto a rope with both hands and a path through a boulder field. The new trail is about 400 metres longer than the old route. Waterproof gloves are recommended to protect your hands from rope burn (as well as to keep them warm). After witnessing the epic morning sunrise, return to Laban Rata for a well-earned breakfast, and then descend the mountain (approximately 3-6 hours) to enjoy a rewarding lunch at the bottom. Once everyone is down from the mountain you will continue on to Poring Hot Springs by bus (approximately 1 hour). Tonight you will stay at a hostel located right inside the springs complex itself, with a light and airy lounge room for you to relax in. The hostel has a few different room types, some have bunk beds, some with multiple beds and the bathroom is shared.
    Day 9 Location: Poring Hot Springs
    Poring Hot Springs is an ideal place to kick back for a day to recuperate after the mountain climb. Maybe soothe your peak-weary limbs in warm sulphur water pools, believed to have healing properties for the skin. Otherwise there are graded paths leading through rich lowland forest to mountain rivers, waterfalls and bat caves, with birds and other wildlife often seen along the trail. A walkway in the tree canopy provides magnificent views or there's a tropical garden to visit. Depending on the time of year it might be possible to see the Raffelsia flower nearby. Rafflesias are the world’s largest flower and can grow up to 1 metre in size! Spend another night here in the hot springs complex.
    Day 10 Location: Kota Kinabalu
    Drag yourself away from the Hot Springs and drive around 2.5 hours back to Kota Kinabalu. The afternoon's free for you to check out some optional activities – if you’re feeling all cultural then maybe take an interactive and educational visit to Mari Mari Cultural Village to see how indigenous ethnic groups of Borneo used to live. If you are after something even more active, like a scuba diving trip to nearby islands or a day of mountain biking, then you could stay on a couple of days longer in KK. This evening it'll be time to go out with your new mates – maybe do it over a delicious optional dinner. Your group leader also has some great recommendations for bars on the waterfront, so spend the night hopping with them and enjoying the city’s nightlife.
    Day 11 Location: Kota Kinabalu
    With no activities planned for today, your Sabah adventure comes to an end today and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. If you would like to spend more time in Borneo, good for you! We’ll be happy to book additional accommodation (subject to availability).
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    11OCT2020
    Return Date:
    21OCT2020
    2765NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    07MAR2021
    Return Date:
    17MAR2021
    2575NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    04APR2021
    Return Date:
    14APR2021
    2575NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    23MAY2021
    Return Date:
    02JUN2021
    2575NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    04JUL2021
    Return Date:
    14JUL2021
    2575NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    05SEP2021
    Return Date:
    15SEP2021
    2575NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    10OCT2021
    Return Date:
    20OCT2021
    2575NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    26DEC2021
    Return Date:
    05JAN2022
    2575NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    30JAN2022
    Return Date:
    09FEB2022
    2500NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    06MAR2022
    Return Date:
    16MAR2022
    2500NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    02 Aug 2020

    Trip title

    Essential Borneo

    Trip code

    TMYS

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2021

    Introduction

    You and Borneo meet in Kota Kinabalu – we think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Get hot and sweaty climbing up Mt Kinabalu, then hot and wet-ty soaking in the Poring Hot Springs on the way down. Plus, orangutans in Sepilok! And (potentially) elephants along the Kinabatangan River! Try not to indulge in too much ikan panggang (stingray – a local delicacy), but we won’t blame you if you do. This 11-day adventure of what Borneo has to offer is certainly a challenge, but is well worth the rewards along the way.

    Style

    Basix

    Themes

    18 to 29s

    Transport

    Boat,Private vehicle,Plane

    Physical Rating

    4

    Physical preparation

    The Mt Kinabalu climb is quite challenging so the fitter you are the more enjoyable the experience will be. We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trek to its fullest. Please note for those that do not wish to climb Mt Kinabalu you are not obliged to, it is an option to have accommodation arranged and stay at the base of Kinabalu at Park Headquarters. Please advise your agent at the time of booking if you do not wish to climb Mt Kinabalu so that the appropriate arrangements can be made. Please note due to limited availability there may be an additional charge to book this alternative accommodation. The additional charge will be confirmed to you upon your booking request being confirmed and will be collected locally by your leader on day one.

    Joining point

    Cititel Express

    No. 1, Jalan Singgah Mata 1, Asia City

    Kota Kinabalu

    88000

    MALAYSIA

    Phone: 6088 521 188

    Joining point description

    Cititel Express Kota Kinabalu is located in the heart of Kota Kinabalu City Centre, it's within walking distance to the commercial district, banks, local eateries, bars and various tourist sites such as the Handicraft Market and the waterfront. Each room includes complimentary wifi, air conditioning, private bathrooms, and an electronic safe. Cititel Express is a smoke free hotel which includes the guest rooms, common areas and associate work areas to create an environmental friendly hotel. A designated smoking area outside the hotel building is provided to accommodate the needs of guests who smoke.

    Joining point instructions

    An arrival transfer can be purchased for this trip. Please advise your flight arrival details to your agent at least 14 days prior to your trip departure if you wish to have this provided. Once you exit customs, our representative will be holding a sign with your name on it. At Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA)if you have any problems and cannot locate our transfer representative on arrival please go to the Airport Information counter (located on the same floor at arrivals) and ask them to call our transfer operator Vision Transport on +60 16 818 6890 or +60 138819883. If you flight is delayed or you have been put on a different flight number please call our local operator in advance to let them know. If you want to take a taxi on arrival please go to the taxi service counter – here the rate is a set rate of 35 MYR and they will issue a voucher to use with the taxi’s parked outside. If you arrive between 10pm – 6am expect to pay a 50% surcharge Check in from 2pm

    Finish point

    Cititel Express

    No. 1, Jalan Singgah Mata 1, Asia City

    Kota Kinabalu

    88000

    MALAYSIA

    Phone: 6088 521 188

    Finish point description

    Cititel Express Kota Kinabalu is located in the heart of Kota Kinabalu City Centre, it's within walking distance to the commercial district, banks, local eateries, bars and various tourist sites such as the Handicraft Market and the waterfront. Each room includes complimentary wifi, air conditioning, private bathrooms, and an electronic safe. Cititel Express is a smoke free hotel which includes the guest rooms, common areas and associate work areas to create an environmental friendly hotel. A designated smoking area outside the hotel building is provided to accommodate the needs of guests who smoke.

    Finish point instructions

    If you wish to pre book a departure transfer, please contact your sales agent and book this service at least 2 weeks prior to your trip departure. If you have a transfer to the Kota Kinabalu Airport your transfer driver will collect you from your hotel 3 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the hotel / guesthouse reception to call our transfer operator Vision Transport on their 24 hour number on +62 16 818 6890 or +62 13 8819 883. Your group leader will reconfirm this with you before departing Check out at 12pm

    Important information

    1. A Single Supplement to have your own room is bookable on this trip, subject to availability, and includes hotel accommodation in Kota Kinabalu on Day 1 & Day 10 only. 2. The maximum luggage allowance on the internal flight flight is 15kg. Any additional baggage will be at your own expense, payable to the airline directly. 3. Please provide passport details at time of booking at at least 35 days prior to your trip in order for us to book your internal flight and Mt Kinabalu climbing permits. 4. Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. GOVERNMENT TRAVEL WARNINGS FOR EASTERN SABAH Please note for various nationalities in particular Australian, UK, Irish, New Zealand and United States, different increased Government travel warnings are currently in place for Eastern Sabah. We ask all of our travellers to familiarise themselves with their own Government Travel Advisories and to check that these Government warnings do not affect the level of coverage that is offered to them by their Travel Insurance provider. Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and your insurance must cover you for all activities and areas visited as part of this tour. Please contact your Travel Insurance provider to ensure you have adequate cover for travel to Eastern Sabah.

    Group leader

    All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

    Safety

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    Please note for various nationalities in particular Australian, UK, Irish, New Zealand and United States, different increased Government travel warnings are currently in place for Eastern Sabah. We ask all of our travellers to familiarise themselves with their own Government Travel Advisories and to check that these Government warnings do not affect the level of coverage that is offered to them by their Travel Insurance provider. Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and your insurance must cover you for all activities and areas visited as part of this tour. Please contact your Travel Insurance provider to ensure you have adequate cover for travel to Eastern Sabah. We ask all of our travellers to monitor their own Government travel advisories, some of these are listed below, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/ UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office https://www.gov.uk/browse/abroad Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade http://travel.gc.ca/travelling/advisories US Department of State http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country.html New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade https://www.safetravel.govt.nz/ Ireland Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade https://www.dfa.ie/travel/travel-advice/ The safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is our major priority. With this in mind we monitor world events very closely. We makes operational decisions based on informed advice from a number of sources including The level of the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) travel advisory. For any trip if this advisory is at Level 4 'Do Not Travel' then we will either cancel a trip or reroute the itinerary to avoid the areas concerned. We however also acknowledge that many of our travellers come from many different countries whose own Government travel warnings may differ to the Australian Government. We ask you to familiarise yourself with your relevant Government travel advisories at time of booking and continue to monitor these advisories prior to your trip.

    MT KINABALU: Please take time to read the following important notes concerning Mt Kinabalu: It will mainly be hot and humid, whilst the heights of Mt Kinabalu can be freezing. Please be prepared for such conditions and pack accordingly. If you commonly feel discomfort or suffer health issues when experiencing either freezing or extremely hot temperatures, consider if this trip is right for you. On rare occasions weather conditions may prevent us from reaching the summit of the mountain. In this situation, please respect the decision made by your guides and leader. Mt. Kinabalu is a rewarding but difficult climb, please see below the advice given by the Sabah Parks regarding the climbing of Mt. Kinabalu: Travel together in your own group and stay with the mountain guide(s). You should not climb Mount Kinabalu if you have a history of suffering from the following conditions: Heart Disease, Hypertension, Chronic Asthma, Peptic Ulcer, Severe Anaemia, Diabetes, Epileptic fits, Arthritis, Palpitations, Hepatitis, Muscular Cramps, Obesity or any other sickness that may be triggered by severe cold, exertion and high altitude. If you suffer from knee problems and intend to do the climb, please ensure you bring adequate support, i.e. a sports bandage. Please note that porter fees are not included for the climb. Acclimatisation and altitude sickness: Altitude sickness has the potential to affect all trekkers from 2500m and higher. We ascend slowly and give our bodies plenty of time to adjust to the smaller quantities of oxygen in the air. However it is important to be aware of the normal altitude symptoms that you may encounter BUT NOT worry about: - Periods of sleeplessness - Occasional loss of appetite - Vivid, wild dreams at around 2500-3800m in altitude - Unexpected momentary shortness of breath, day and night - Periodic breathing that wakes you occasionally - Blocked Nose - Dry cough develops - Mild headache If you are feeling nauseous and dizzy be sure to let your group leader or local mountain guide know so that we can monitor your condition.

    FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. MOTORBIKE BAG SNATCHING: Be particularly aware of motorbike bag snatching, especially in the bigger cities.

    Visas

    As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required. Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends. PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for most up to date information. MALAYSIA: Most nationalities do not need visas to visit Malaysia as a tourist for up to three months. Please check with your relevant Malaysian embassy or consulate.

    Why we love it

    This is one of only two places in the world you can see wild orangutans – meet these friendly fellas swinging around, climbing up trees and just generally living their jungle life in the Sepilok Rehabilitation Centre.

    Monkeys, primates and simians everywhere! Well, here’s hoping as you cruise past the wildlife-filled banks of the Kinabatangan River.

    Good mountains are hard to climb, but you’ll be a conqueror of epic Mt Kinabalu, with a spectacular sunrise experience at the summit.

    Relax and recharge your weary limbs in the steamy Poring Hot Springs after you tackle Mt Kinabalu.

    Bar hop through Kota Kinabalu on a leader-led celebratory adventure of the waterfront. Spend some time with your travel mates and grab yourself some dinner and drinks – you’ll deserve it after your active days!

    Is this trip right for you

    Check out our guide to trekking Mt Kinabalu here: Read our guide to trekking Mt Kinabalu here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/guide-to-climbing-mt-kinabalu-borneo/ You’ll get the chance to stay in variety of accommodation on this trip, a mixture of guesthouses, homestays, hostels, hotel and eco camp. It can be basic, but it’s always comfortable. A single supplement is only available on the hotel nights in Kota Kinabalu on this trip. All other nights will be based on twin or dormitory accommodation. The Mt Kinabalu trek is definitely challenging, including an altitude of more than 2800 metres and an early morning summit in the dark. We recommend a good level of fitness to be able to enjoy this unforgettable climb.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. Below you can find some further information about health issues relevant to the destinations visited on this trip. COVID-19 As we start planning our return to running trips, the safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers will remain our priority and our return to operations will be done in a safe and responsible way. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels We will not require a negative COVID-19 test before joining a trip unless it is a requirement of entry for the country. If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will assist you to seek medical advice and you will not be permitted to join the trip. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. ALTITUDE SICKNESS: Parts of your trip go above 2800 metres / 9200 feet where it is common for travellers to experience some adverse health effects due to the altitude - regardless of your age, gender and fitness. It even happened to Sir Edmund Hillary! Before your trip: Some pre-existing medical conditions are known to severely worsen at high altitude and be difficult to adequately treat on the ground, leading to more serious consequences. It is imperative that you discuss your pre-existing medical condition/s with your doctor. We understand certain medications are reported to aid acclimatizing to high altitude. Please discuss these options with your doctor. During your trip. While our leaders have basic first aid training and are aware of the closest medical facilities, it is very important that you are aware of the cause and effects of travelling at altitude, monitor your health and seek assistance accordingly. Please read the following document carefully and, during your trip, utilise the table on the back daily to record your own perspective of your general health and any symptoms you may experience: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/altitude-sickness DENGUE FEVER: Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn. AIR POLLUTION From June to October, Malaysia can experience air pollution from forest fires in Indonesia. The persistent hot and dry weather conditions also causes dust to remain suspended in the air and accumulate, causing haze. Please be aware of this if you suffer from any medical conditions exasperated by air pollution. ZIKA VIRUS: There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip.

    Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company.

    Money matters

    SPENDING MONEY When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. We recommend USD200 for meals not included. MALAYSIA The official currency of Malaysia is the Ringgit (MYR).The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency is by ATM. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, clean bills in small denominations are most useful. DEPARTURE TAX All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs. TIPPING If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Optional Tipping Kitty: On Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips for drivers, local guides, and hotel staff (excludes restaurant tips). The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent which can be checked at any time, and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty at your own discretion, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader. Optional tipping kitty for this trip: MYR 80 per person Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service. Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult MALAYSIA DEPARTURE TAX: From 1st September 2019, all travellers departing Malaysia by air will be required to pay a departure levy. The amount depends on the destination as well as the flight class and ranges from MYR 8 - MYR 150.

    What to take

    What you need to bring will vary according to when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances. As well as your underwear, toothbrush and other items you always need to pack for travel, below are some items that you specifically need for this trip.

    The maximum luggage allowance for the internal flight is 15kg maximum. Any excess baggage will be at your own expense and payable locally direct to the airline.

    LAUNDRY- there will be limited laundry facilities on this trip. We recommend you take a few set of clothes to wear for times when you don’t have access to a laundry. LOCAL DRESS Malaysia is a liberal Muslim country, and many Malaysian women do not wear headscarves. However, Malaysia is very conservative when compared with standards you may be accustomed to at home, and you should dress accordingly. As a general guideline, shoulders, cleavage and knees should be covered when travelling in Borneo except when on the beach. Wearing skimpy clothing is considered disrespectful to local culture at many of the small local communities we visit. ESSENTIALS - T-Shirts/cotton shirts - Long-sleeved top (for evenings when mosquitoes are out) - Long trousers/long skirt/shorts (Denim not recommended due to humidity – cotton or quick drying clothes are better) - Walking shoes or hiking boots with a good grip - Sandals/flip flops - Sun protection – hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, lip balm - Insect repellent - Small to medium size day backpack (for overnight trips at Mt KInabalu and Turtle Island) - Head torch (a head torch is best for when you are climbing the summit of Mt Kinabalu) - Waterproof jacket - Warm hat and waterproof gloves - Warm layers (While climbing Mt Kinabalu it’s important to note that temperatures can drop to below freezing, so make sure you pack several layers that can be added/removed as you ascend/descend) - Waterproof bag cover or plastic bags - Swimming costume You need to bring your main piece of luggage as well as a small to medium backpack for overnight trips (30-35 litres/8-9 gallons) that include Mt Kinabalu and Turtle Island. In this you will need to carry a change of clothes, head torch for trekking, toiletries, warm clothes and any other essentials. While trekking, you leave your main piece of luggage at a central point and return following the trek. RECOMMENDED - Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as, mild pain killers, adhesive bandages and electrolytes. - Camera with spare batteries/charger - Electrical travel adaptor plug - Hand sanitizer - Water bottle – some hotels may have filtered drinking water to refill your bottle. - Money belt or pouch - Water purification tablets - Backpack or bag with shoulder strap – rather than wheelie bags OPTIONAL - A good book, a journal and music player - Playing cards - Travel washing line and Bio-degradable washing detergent We do not allow the use of video cameras when staying in the villages as it can be perceived by the local people as highly obtrusive. MORE! If you need some further tips for packing, you can always check out our ultimate packing list.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

    WATER BOTTLE Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1-litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation or simply refill with tap water (your leader will advise whether tap water is safe to drink in your destination). When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.

    Climate and seasonal

    Please note occasionally the summit trail will be closed due to strong winds or heavy rainfall. When this happens no trekkers will be able to summit. This is a safety measure and is enforced by Sabah Parks staff and is beyond Intrepid's control. This can happen at any time of the year including outside of the wet season. RAMADAN: The month-long Ramadan Festival will start on 12th April 2021 and end on the 11th of May 2021. This is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at all popular tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you definitely need to expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month of Ramadan is a fantastic month to travel in Muslim countries as it offers a chance to witness this fascinating Islamic event and the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken. CHINESE NEW YEAR: An important 15 day festival for the Malaysian Chinese, based on the lunar calendar in January or February. In 2021, the Year of the Ox begins from the 12th of February. This can be a busy time and some transport delays, shop closures and reduced opening hours at some sites may be expected, but there are also many fabulous festivals and rituals to observe during this time, so it's a great time to travel. Although we make all reasonable efforts to avoid disruption, a flexible approach from travellers is appreciated if choosing to travel during this time in Malaysia.

    A couple of rules

    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader or local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes. Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.

    Feedback

    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager. You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time. For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below. Intrepid’s Local Operator: +60 13 881 5813

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in predominantly hot Asian climates. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets and tank tops for daily wear are not unusual attire. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong. BIRDS NEST SOUP Birds nest collection is an ancient tradition dating back to 500AD which is used to make bird nest soup. Today birds nest collection is a regulated practice with locals requiring a government harvesting licence to climb to the roofs of caves to collect the birds nest. The first collection takes place early in the breeding season before the swiftlets lay their eggs. The birds then make another nest in which they lay their eggs. After the young have left the nest a second collection is made. Care must be taken to assure that the nests are collected only after the young swiftlets have abandoned these nests. Edible birds nests are protected under the Birds Nest Ordinance and the Forest Enactment of 1968. There are heavy fines and penalties imposed on unlicensed collectors and Intrepid Travel asks our passengers to refrain from consuming birds nest soup or products to discourage unlicensed collection. PALM OIL While travelling through Eastern Sabah you will likely notice that much of the land is covered in palm oil plantations. Check out our Borneo Destination page for more information about this hot topic: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/borneo

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on a different Intrepid trip than your own. CHECK-IN TIME Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination. PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights. Please note some of the multishare/dormitory accommodation can be mixed gender.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. As a solo traveller, you will be paired up with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport information. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. If you’re not comfortable sharing a room with someone of the same gender, you also have the choice to pay for a single supplement (available on the majority of our trips). If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. MT KINABALU ALTERNATIVE If you do not wish to climb Mt Kinabalu you can opt to stay the night at the base of the mountain in dormitory accommodation and meet the group the following day when they descend. Please ensure you advise your sales agent at time of booking if you wish to opt out of the climb. Please note due to limited availability there may be an additional charge to book this alternative accommodation. The additional charge will be confirmed to you upon your booking request being confirmed and will be collected locally by your leader on day one. Please note any additional activities you choose to do during this time will be at your own expense and can be organised locally, Some include: 1. Guide hire - approx 100MYR - You can hire a guide and walk some of the many trails located at the base of the mountain. 2. Sabah Tea Plantation - approx 80MYR - Visit a tea plantation (approx 20 mins drive), cost only included transfers to and from the plantation www.sabahtea.net 3. Mt Kinabalu Garden - approx 15MYR entry fee - Free guided tour of the gardens 4. War Memorials - approx 40MYR - visit the surrounding war memorials, cost only includes transport. PASSPORT DETAILS Please provide passport details at the time of booking. If we have not received these details at least a 45 days before the departure date of your tour, there is a risk the internal flight (if included on your tour) cannot be booked, and we will not be able to request permits to climb Mt Kinabalu.

    Accommodation

    Jungle resort (2 nights),Homestay (1 night),Hostel (4 nights),Hotel (2 night),Eco Camp (1 night)

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