Day 1 Kota Kinabalu
Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia. Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, is an intriguing city located between the Borneo jungle and the South China Sea. Having survived WWII bombings, 'KK' (as it's commonly known) has a charm unique to the frontier town. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 5pm at your hotel. Here you will meet your leader and fellow family travellers. Make sure you have insurance and next of kin details for your family ready to pass on to your leader during the meeting. Following the meeting, perhaps head out with your fellow families to the waterfront market. Here you’ll find smoky stalls serving up grilled meat and fish and heaps of local delicacies. If you arrive with significant time befoe the welcome meeting, you can immerse yourself in history at the Sabah State Museum or explore the islands off Kota Kinabalu which are excellent for swimming or snorkelling.
Day 2 Kinabalu National Park
Head for the beautiful Kinabalu National Park. Stretch your legs and take in the mountain views on any of the numerous walking trails. As you walk along, keep a close eye on the sky and on the trees, as there are many exotic birds to spot – mountain serpent-eagle, Dulit frogmouth and bare-headed laughing thrushes among them. It's also important to keep an eye on the ground for snakes, and you might encounter a leech or two. There's plenty to see and do in this World Heritage-listed park. The Botanical Garden is an excellent showcase of the diverse plant life on the mountain, and flora from all over the park has been replanted here. The walk in the park takes about one hour. The afternoon is free for you to relax. Spend the night in a reconstructed longhouse on the tea plantation. Rooms are twin/triple-share and have fans and shared bathrooms.
Day 3 Kinabalu National Park
Rise and shine to catch glimpses of the mighty Mt Kinabalu before the cloud rises for the day. A little later in the morning, embark on a day trip to Poring Hot Springs. Located about an hour away, these famous thermal springs are mineral-rich and believed to have medicinal properties. Take a rejuvenating soak in the warm waters and let your muscles relax. For those who simply can’t keep still or are eager to explore the surrounding park, there will also be time to embark on an included canopy walk or go for a refreshing swim at a nearby waterfall.
Day 4 Kinabatangan River
Travel by private bus to Batu Puteh, a small village on the banks of the Kinabatangan River (approximately 5 hours). Your hosts for the night are the local community run conservation organization KOPEL whose aim is to provide villagers with the means of making a sustainable living from the forest. KOPEL are responsible for a reforestation project in which the community are actively involved in growing seedlings and replanting back degraded forested areas. Learn a little bit more about KOPEL’s work over lunch, then head into the jungle on a 2hour boat ride, keeping an eye out for crocodiles, macaques and the big-nosed proboscis monkeys. Return to your jungle camp by an oxbow lake and enjoy a traditional cooking lesson at the jungle camp with your hosts.
Day 5 Sandakan
Embrace a very early start and set out on a dawn wildlife cruise, scouring the water and the jungle for any sight of elusive beasties that call them home. Following this final cruise, drive back to Sandakan. This city is full of Cantonese influence evident in the lively harbourside market, the many Chinese temples and the local cuisine. There will be time upon arrival to catch up on laundry and banking, as well as to explore the city or relax by the pool.
Day 6 Turtle Island
Leave your large bags at the hotel and transfer to a nearby jetty, then board a speedboat bound for Turtle Island. Travel past small fishing villages and bamboo fish traps, arriving at Turtle Island Marine Park after about an hour. The rest of the day is free for you to soak up the island life. Relax on the beach and take a swim or perhaps hire some snorkelling gear and investigate the underwater world. Under the cover of darkness, watch as giant green turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs under the moonlight. Witness the island researchers release protected hatchlings and guide them in their frantic dash to the ocean. It's a moving experience that is bound to be rewarding for you and your family, but please be aware that this is a very delicate environment and you must follow instructions from your leader and the local rangers to ensure minimal impact on the turtles. Spend the night on this beautiful island in basic accommodation.
Day 7 Sepilok
Wake up on the beautiful island and enjoy breakfast before returning to the mainland. Collect your bags and make the 45-minute drive by minibus to a guesthouse located near the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. The centre was set up to help re-introduce these wonderful creatures back into the wild after a life of domestication or having been orphaned. From the viewing platform, you can see these charming creatures as they swing into view and eat the supplementary diet of bananas and milk that is laid out for them twice a day. Human contact must be kept to a minimum and it's essential that you follow the instructions of the park, as directed by your leader, but you are free to snap plenty of photographs. You will also have the privilege of viewing a recently added nursery where you can view young orangutans as they learn how to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym. The viewing area is behind one-way glass so as not to disturb the animals. If you simply can’t get enough of Borneo’s incredible wildlife, you can choose to visit glossy-coated sun bears today at a recently opened conservation centre, where sun bears that have been rescued from mistreatment are cared for. Those who have fallen in love with the bulbous noses of the proboscis monkeys can visit a sanctuary dedicated to helping these endangered creatures. Alternatively, spend some time relaxing and cooling off by the pool.
Day 8 Beringgis Beach Resort
Today you will transfer to Sandakan airport and fly to Kota Kinabalu (approximately 1 hour). Keep in mind that the luggage allowance for this flight is only 15 kg, and any excess baggage may incur a further charge. Then drive to the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu to our seaside resort on Beringgis Beach. Take the opportunity to relax, have a swim, enjoy a drink and enjoy the sunset.
Day 9 Beringgis Beach Resort
After breakfast we head out to Dinawan Island. The island is surrounded by reefs, pristine beaches, crystal clear water and unexplored forests. There is a restaurant on the island and opportunities to go snorkelling and kayaking. Lunch and snorkelling equipment are included in day trip to the island
Day 10 Kota Kinabalu
Bid farewell to your patch of paradise and head back to Kota Kinabalu. We visit the Mari Mari Cultural Village in the morning and learn about the cultural history and tradition of Borneo’s various indigenous ethnic groups. In the evening, take the opportunity to relax, enjoy a drink and look back on the week's adventures with your family and fellow travellers for your final night.
Day 11 Kota Kinabalu
Your trip comes to an end after breakfast. You are free to depart the accommodation at any time following check-out.