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Borneo - Orangutan 10 Day Ecotour

Orangutan Tour Borneo


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Borneo Orangutan


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Our Borneo Red Ape Encounter escorted tour takes us on a journey covering local cultures, a World Heritage Site, the base of the highest mountain in Southeast Asia, and a trip upon the Kinabatangan River - the river and its surrounding rainforest wetlands make up one of the richest ecosystems on the planet. Vieiwnig of wild OrangUtans are guaranteed. We end with a few days on Lankayan Island, where Sea Turtles share the beach with us and the waters are teeming with tropical life.

Day 1: Arrival Kota Kinabalu

Plan to arrive into Kota Kinabalu today. Upon arrival into Kota Kinabalu we are met by our guide from Red Ape Encounters, a community-based Orang-utan ecotourism project. We drive just ten minutes to our luxury lodgings at the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort Hotel located directly on the South China Sea for an overnight stay. Guest rooms are decorated in traditional Borneo textures and colors and offer balconies with views of the gardens, sea and outlying islands. Resort amenities include seven restaurants and bars, health club, spa, nine-hole pitch and putt golf course, tennis and two swimming pools. The afternoon and evening is at leisure to recover from jet lag.

Overnight at Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort Hotel (B,L,D)

Day 2: Kota Kinabalu / Sepilok

After breakfast we will begin our drive across the northern portion of the island to Sepilok in Sandakan district, located on the east coast of Sabah. We will stop for lunch along the way at the base of Mount Kinabalu and take some time to stretch our legs on a guided trail. Mount Kinabalu is the highest mountain in Southeast Asia and is famous for its diversity of pitcher plants and orchids. After our walk we will continue our trip to Sandakan, gateway to Sabah's amazing wildlife. We will be staying within walking distance of the Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Center at the Sepilok Nature Resort. After dinner, if time permits, we will go on a guided night walk in the Sepilok forest.

Overnight at Sepilok Nature Resort (B,L,D)

Day 3: Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Center

After breakfast, we proceed for Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Center. The center is an initiative of the Sabah Wildlife Department to rehabilitate and train young Orang-utans to survive again in the wild. Visitors view these red apes during their feeding time from an observation platform followed by audio visual presentation of the rehabilitation initiatives. Observe the difference of rehabilitated Orang-utans and wild ones in the lower Kinabatangan forest. We plan to attend the morning feeding here at the Center.

Immediately after lunch we will depart for the Gomantong Cave, which is famous for it's large colonies of insectivorous bats and swiftlets. For centuries, the caves have been renowned for their valuable edible swiftlet nests which are harvested for bird's nest soup. The bird's nest collection is an ancient tradition and the trading of these nests has been done since at least 500AD. Twice a year, from February to April and July to September, locals with licenses climb to the roof of the caves, using only rattan ladders, ropes and bamboo poles, and collect the nests. 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. If we are lucky our visit should coincide with the daily exodus of bats from within the cave out to feed over the forest and river system - a truly incredible spectacle. At dusk we continue to the Kinabatangan River, a further 30 minute drive, and then transfer by boat to our lodge on the banks of the Kinabatangan River

Overnight at Kinabatangan River Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 4: Sukau, Kinabatangan River

Sukau is a village situated along the lower reaches of Sabah's longest river, the Kinabatangan River. The lower Kinabatangan is the last remaining large tract of wetlands in Malaysia which has enormous wildlife diversity including a number of species endemic to the island of Borneo such as the Orang-utan, Proboscis monkey and Bornean "Pygmy" elephant. During our stay in Sukau, we will be visiting the recently protected 26,000 hectare Lower Kinabatangan Conservation Area, a region where both the Houston Zoo and Cleveland Zoo are working closely with local conservation organizations to protect orang-utans and elephants. Our program in Sukau will be learning about conservation initiatives on orang-utans and becoming part of the conservation effort.

We plan to go on twice daily boat cruises up and down the Kinabatangan River looking for wildlife including Orang-utans, Proboscis Monkeys and much more. In the evening we will present a slideshow on the orang-utan research, conservation, community involvement and overview of Kinabatangan ecology.

Overnight at Kinabatangan River Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 5: Full day at Orang-utan study site with Red Ape Encounters

Today we depart early on a boat to the Orang-utan study site. Off-limits to regular tourists, our support of Red Ape Encounters assures us of a behind-the-scenes visit, it provides unprecedented access to forest where only researchers are normally allowed. Orang-utans are endemic to Borneo and Sumatra and this is one of the few remaining study sites of wild Orang-utans. The site is situated in the Lower Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary. Meet with Research Officers in the field, join their research activities to understand and observe the behavior of these wild red apes. You will also learn more conservation initiatives underway to protect and conserve the species and their habitat. We will return to lodge for lunch.

We have another afternoon game viewing cruise and after dinner, we go on a night cruise to look for nocturnal animals, along the banks of the Kinbatangan River.

Overnight at Kinabatangan River Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 6: Sukau - Kinabatangan River

We will cruise in the morning to an oxbow lake. An oxbow lake is like a crescent shaped lake lying alongside the Kinabatangan River. This lake was created over time and separated from the main river as erosion and deposits of soil changed the river's course. This lake is one of the best places to go bird watching and sometimes, wild orang utans are spotted in this quiet and serene lake. The lake is also important as a breeding ground for fresh water fish.

Later in the morning, we tour the village of Sukau - this is an opportunity to learn about the culture of the "Orang Sungai" (River People) of Kinabatangan. In the late afternoon, we will go on a river cruise until sunset. This is the time when wildlife is at its most active behavior. Aboard your river boat, you will cruise with your nature guide to search for the proboscis monkeys, snakes, birds and many others. This is an awesome encounter, we simply dock at the rivers edge to watch their peculiar behavior. On a fine weather, the day is usually complimented with a beautiful sunset.

Tonight there will be a BBQ dinner (if weather permits) and cultural performance.

Overnight at Kinabatangan River Lodge (B,L,D)

Day 7: Kinabatangan River to Lankayan Island

At 7am after breakfast we leave for Sandakan to catch a boat to Lankayan Island. Lankayan Island is a much acclaimed tropical island offering everything from great beaches to fantastic snorkel and dive sites - indeed the island boasts more than 30 dive sites including two wrecks! Lankayan Island has been declared part of an immense Marine Protected Area, and is situated within the "Sea Turtle Corridor" - indeed Lankayan is a nesting and foraging ground for several species of Sea Turtles including most commonly the Green Sea Turtle and the Hawksbill Sea Turtle. We spend a couple of days here to explore the island, swim, dive or snorkel.

Overnight at Lankayan Island Resort(B,L,D)

Day 8: Lankayan Island

We have a whole day to explore the island, look for Sea Turtles, swim, dive snorkel or just relax!

Overnight at Lankayan Island (B,L,D)

Day 9: Lankayan Island to Kota Kinabalu

This morning we must leave our tropical paradise, and take a boat back to Sandakan. We have time for a short city tour of Sandakan, with a visit to the Central Market and a stop at the Agnes Keith museum before our flight back to Kota Kinabalu. At Kota Kinabalu we transfer back to the Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort where we began our trip and which sits on 25 acres of lushly landscaped gardens, 10 minutes away from the airport and city center. We enjoy our Farewell Dinner this evening in a restaurant overlooking the harbor and hopefully a dramatic sunset.

Overnight at Shangri-La's Tanjung Aru Resort (B,L,D)

Day 10: Kota Kinabalu to Home

This morning we board our flights back home and cross the International Dateline en route home.


For more information about this escorted tour including the latest prices please visit: www.ecotours.com/dest_borneo.html

EcoTourism Policies

Terra Incognita Ecotours make a difference to you, and to the areas we visit. Indeed, we pledge to engage in “responsible travel to natural areas that conserves the environment and improves the well-being of local people.” Hence we adhere to the following principles:

- Minimize impact - Build environmental and cultural awareness and respect
- Provide positive experiences for both visitors and hosts
- Provide direct financial benefits for conservation
- Provide financial benefits and empowerment for local people
- Raise sensitivity to host countries political, environmental, and social climate
- Support international human rights and labor agreements

We take these principles to heart, and for every person who joins one of our ecotours we make a donation to one of the leading conservation organizations working in the area. Indeed we partner with these organizations to help increase their effectiveness. Our conservation partners will send a representative to join us, to explain their work, to provide added insight, to make your experience more relevant, rewarding and unique.

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