The Comfortable Naturalist
Luxury Holidays to Malaysia 2017 / 2018
Sabah is a dream destination for any nature lover. The Borneo state possesses wildlife in abundance, including proboscis monkeys, orang-utans and many more. What makes it even better is how accessible its wilderness areas are. Just a short flight from the state capital, Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan offers easy passage to eco-tourism attractions including Sepilok Orangu-utan Reserve, an award-winning rehabilitation centre for the lovable carrot-topped swingers. Book your Luxury Holidays to Malaysia today!
Depart the UK for your flight to Sandakan, arriving the following day.
Upon arrival to Sandakan Airport, a private guide and driver will transfer guests to the hotel. There are plenty of optional activities available, depending on the arrival time, which can be requested if guests wish to add one of these to their itinerary. (D)
Take an early breakfast at the hotel before visiting the Central Market, where guests can see the local produce and fresh seafood being sold. Continue to the Sepilok Orangutan Reserve for an informative video presentation on the aims and achievements of this award-winning rehabilitation centre. At 10.00 the first feeding of the day occurs – the boardwalks will be crowded so arrive early to gain a vantage point. After the first feed, walk to the adjacent Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre. Guests can wander the center at their leisure. There is a series of informative signs which provide a better understanding of the rehabilitation project. (B)
Enjoy the comfortable accommodation with a morning at leisure before returning towards Sandakan via the Sandakan Memorial Park. Adjacent to the site of the original Sandakan Prisoner of War (POW) Camp, the park commemorates the sacrifice and suffering endured by both Australian and British soldiers who were held as prisoners by the Japanese between 1942 and 1945. (B,D)
Rise early this morning along with the birds and other animals of the river for a cruise to Kelenanap oxbow lake, a crescent-shaped lake that was created by the meandering path of the main river. The stillness of the lake and its relative protection provides a haven for animals and plants that is different to the river ecosystem. Return to the resort for breakfast before taking an informative tour along the Hornbill Boardwalk, with the resort’s naturalist offering an insight into the medicinal and traditional uses of the jungle flora. The day is at leisure before heading out in the late afternoon to watch the river activities of the many species of primate. Return to the resort for dinner with an evening at leisure. (B,L,D)
After breakfast, depart the resort for a 50-minute journey to the intricate limestone system of the Gomantong Caves. The area surrounding the caves is thick rainforest, where, on occasions, guests might see wild orangutans. This area is also home to around two million bats and the lurking, opportunistic bat hawk. On arrival at the Borneo Rainforest Lodge, check in and enjoy a late afternoon walk along the trails and the 130-meter-high, 300-meter-long canopy walk, high up in the 130 million year-old rainforest which is literally humming with jungle sounds. After dinner, board one of the open-top 4WD vehicles for an exhilarating night spotlighting tour. Accompanied by a local guide who shines a light into the jungle looking for nocturnal animals, guests will be able to spot a range of nocturnal animals that inhabit reserve, from samba deer to civet cats, leopards, and a stunning array of insects and frogs. (B,L,D)
The morning chorus of the jungle is a cacophony of sounds ranging from birds to primates, such as the gibbon. Taking a packed breakfast, travel to a 200 year-old Kadazandusun Burial Site, known as “Coffin Cliff”, along the 2.6km View Point Trail. The end of this trail results in spectacular views over an ocean of million-year-old jungle – a truly spectacular sight. This evening, venture into the jungle on foot with a local guide. Quietly entering the jungle reveals a stunning array of wildlife, not to mention the variety and size of the many insects that flourish in the evening hours. (B,L,D)
This morning take an optional trek (additional charges apply) along the jungle trails before returning to the lodge for lunch. After lunch, transfer to Lahad Datu Airport for the flight to Kota Kinabalu. If guests choose not to take the optional trek, they will depart the lodge after an early breakfast for an earlier flight to Kota Kinabalu and lunch will be in Lahad Datu. Upon arrival in Kota Kinabalu, or KK as it is affectionately referred to, guests will meet their local guide and driver and be transferred to the hotel. This afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the comfort of the luxury seaside resort. (B,L)
A late check-out has been arranged for guests to spend the morning on a range of optional activities, from a walking tour of Kota Kinabalu’s history, food and markets, a local cooking class, lazing in the hotel spa or enjoying one of the hotel’s many complimentary activities. This afternoon, transfer to Jesselton Pier for a speed boat transfer to Gaya Island. (B)
Day at leisure (B)
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for the onward journey back to the UK. (B)
Arrival back into the UK