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Sandakan Safari Adventure

Tour code: FD050

Activities Duration
River safaris in search of Proboscis monkeys and other wildlife, Sepilok, Turtle Islands 4d/3n full board
Rates - 4 or more participants Rates - 2 participants
RM 1588 per person RM 1688 per person

In search of wildlife in Sabah! This trip gives you one of the best possible insights into Sabah's astoundingly varied flora & fauna within a very short time span. It is an adventure ideal for all; there is not much walking or hiking, but lots of boat trips, and lots of wildlife such as proboscis monkeys and orang utans, giant sea turtles, hornbills, maybe crocodiles and with some luck even Borneo pigmy elephants. 


Day 1 0900 hrs Meet at the lobby of your hotel in Sandakan (or at the airport - suggested flight MH2042, arriving in Sandakan 0740 h). You are taken to the jetty for a boat ride to Selingaan Island – the famous “Turtle Islands”. During calm seas the journey takes approximately one hour. On arrival register at the Turtle Island Parks HQ and check into your chalet. Lunch is served at the Cafeteria, at 12.30 noon. The afternoon is at your free leisure. Profit of the snorkelling grounds, go swimming, or laze away in the sun. Dinner is served at 7.30 pm, but before that you are taken to the small but interesting exhibition hall, and you are shown a video on Turtle Island explaining the philosophy and conservation work. After dinner wait for the rangers’ call to observe a turtle laying eggs. You will gain first hand experience of the work of the rangers, and witness how they transfer the freshly laid eggs to the hatchery. If there are any young turtle hatchlings - virtually every night - you have the opportunity to observe the release of the turtles into the sea. By that time it is often already midnight…

Overnight in Chalets with common or attached bathroom; meals: lunch, dinner

Day 2 0700 hrs depart for Sandakan. After breakfast proceed overland to the world famous Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre, ca 30 minutes outside Sandakan. Experience a close encounter with the “Wild Man of Borneo”. In Sepilok orphaned and captive or pet Orang Utans are being rehabilitated to live an independent life in the jungle. Before you enter the forest reserve a video is shown explaining the philosophy and work of the rangers at Sepilok. At 10 am you witness the feeding of the free roaming orang utans.  At 1100 hrs return back to the Sandakan jetty for a river journey up the mighty Kinabatangan River, Sabah’s longest river. The cruise through the estuary and lower Kinabatangan River Sanctuary to Kampung Abai, where lunch will be served, takes about one hour. After lunch the river cruise continues. Watch as the environment changes from Nipah to Mangrove forests, and then to lower Dipterocarp forests – and have your binoculars ready for you might spot some of Borneo’s elusive wildlife. After about two hours you arrive in Kampung Sukau where you check into your chalet on the river. After some refreshments continue exploring Borneo’s wildlife: join a boat ride up the Menanggul River, a small tributary of the Kinabatangan in search of wildlife, notably the curious Proboscis monkeys. This unique creature is endemic to Borneo and exists no where else in the world. By nightfall return to the lodge for a lavish dinner of Malaysian and local “Sungai” specialities.

Overnight in chalets at the Old Ben’s Kinabatangan Riverside Lodge; meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 3 wake up to the calls of gibbons and hornbills. Join an early morning river cruise (6 am) to an Ox Bow Lake to observe wildlife and experience the particular ambiance on the longest river in Sabah. You can go for some light jungle walks along the lake in search of more wildlife. Return to the lodge for breakfast, after which you are free at your own leisure (optional Gomantong Caves can be organised upon pre-arrangement – see below). You might want to go for light jungle trekking in the forest and hills right behind the lodge. After lunch in the late afternoon join another boat trip in search of more wildlife.

Overnight at the lodge; meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 4 0700 hrs depart to Sandakan by boat. The trip takes two to three hours and takes you again past the villages in the unique Kinabatangan Floodplain, and through the vast Nipah palm groves at the estuary of the mighty river. With some luck you will be able to see some more wildlife. Back visit the Puh Jih Syi Buddhist Temple, which offers a panoramic view of Sandakan and Sandakan Bay. Lunch will be served at a local hotel. The tour ends with transfer back to your hotel in Sandakan, or directly to the airport (recommended flight: MH2709, dept Sdk 1415, arr KK 1500).

Overnight: none; meals: breakfast and lunch

Inclusive of:

• All transfers in air conditioned vehicles
• All excursions as stated
• All meals as stated
• All entrance fees
• All accommodation
• English speaking tour guide throughout

Not included:

• Flight to and from Sandakan (around RM550 per person return), or hotel in Sandakan, other meals than stated, camera and video fees where applicable (Selingaan, Sepilok, Gomantong), tips and other personal expenses

• Visit of Gomantong Caves (surcharge):

The visit of the Gomantong Caves can be arranged on day 3: the caves are about 30 minutes’ drive (depending on road conditions) from Sukau, and they are famous for their edible bird’s nests. A 15-minute walk on a plank way takes you to explore the awe inspiring caves where millions of bats and swiftlets roost. Twice a year the nests of the swiftlets are collected for the famous Chinese Birdnest soup, which is tonic and supposedly rejuvenating. The visit is recommended during the harvesting of the birds nests. The seasons for harvesting are somewhat fluctuating (April and October) but we will be pleased to make an inquiry of your tour dates coincide with the harvesting. The tour will be conducted for a minimum of two participants at a supplement of RM100 per person (subject to change in 2009, according to Kinabatangan Wildlife Sanctuary permits), inclusive of entrance fees and guide.

Recommended Personal Gear

Travel as light as possible (luggage storage on the boats is restricted): casual, tropical attire is acceptable throughout; walking shoes, sandals, sun screen lotion, raingear, sun hat, torch light, binoculars, personal toiletries, insect repellent. Please note that for the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehabilitation Centre it is advised not to wear brightly coloured garments.


Please take note that Sabah Parks do not allow to take photos of the turtles with a flash; video recording of the turtles is prohibited at all times and you are not allowed to go around the island from nightfall to sunrise. These rules are strictly enforced as not to interrupt the breeding process of the turtles.
Related features on this site:
Proboscis Monkeys  
Orang Utan  
Kaibili Forest Reserve (Sepilok)  

Morning on the Kinabatangan River - Sukau Lodge

Varied bird life

No swimming in the Kinabatangan! (close to Sukau Lodge)

Long tail macaques are common

Gomantong Caves during harvesting of birds nests

Sandakan bay from Puh Jih Syi

Chalet on Selingaan Island


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