Journey to the Jungle Heart of Malaysia
Venture into the depths of Borneo for a nature experience where remote is simply where you catch your river cruise to untouched ecosystems.
"Andrea did a wonderful job designing an itinerary to suit three generations of diverse interests, and was flexible and responsive to last minute changes and requests. He showed us many hidden treasures of this beautiful region that would have missed we're it not for him."
- Heather on her journey in Italy
A possible, beautiful itinerary for you
Arrival in the Land of Sabah
Your flight from Hong Kong is landing on Kota Kinabalu. This is a momentous moment in your travel history. It may not look like in on the surface, but this cosmopolitan and fast-growing city on the shores of the South China Sea is the gateway to remote and untrodden areas, where mystery abounds. This first leg of the adventure can take many shapes. You can stay at the heart of the city or plunge into relaxation mode on a beach resort not far from KK.
A Tropical City with a Lot of Cool
Kota Kinabalu is not only the gateway to Borneo, but also a cultural hub in its own right. There is much to enjoy, from museums to art galleries, to some of the best food in Malaysia. With your guide, you discover the quirks of the city before heading to Gaya Island, off the coast of Borneo, where a hidden beach harbours your villa for the next couple of days, surrounded by pristine rainforest. Read more
Wake up to the breaking of the waves, the song of the birds, the tranquil white-sand beach welcoming the day. Whether you wish to while the day away from your private jacuzzi or relax at the beach with some gentle paddle-boarding in the afternoon, it is up to you. Either way, you will enjoy the traditional architecture that blends with the landscape, the food with ingredients just picked up from the chef’s garden. If you are travelling alone, this is the perfect setting to relax and gather your thoughts. Couples need only yield to the romance of this special corner in one of nature’s most special corners.
Adventure at Your Doorstep
As another blissful day dawns, you can start to switch into your more adventurous demeanour. There are many one-day adventures that you can do from the resort: from trekking in the pristine island rainforest, with a bit of snorkelling added, to canopy walks, ziplining, kayaking and diving. You can even get your PADI certification if you extend your stay.
Today you head towards the imposing Mount Kinabalu. Rising over 4,000 metres above sea level, this colossus rises over the rainforest, creating many transitional ecosystems and micro-ecosystems that harbour an astounding diversity. The Botanical Garden is impressive and there you can see many endemic species. You spend the day hiking in this marvellous environment. By sunset, you gaze from your mountain lodge to all the vastness you have yet to discover.
You descend to Sandakan. The day is devoted to learning about the rainforest, one of Earth’s most complex and poorly understood ecosystems. From tree-top walks, to botanical excursions, our naturalists will provide the insights necessary to truly appreciate the uniqueness and fragility of these forests. Spend the night surrounded by nature in a rustic and charming lodge.
First Meeting with the Orangutan
Before heading into the more remote areas of Borneo, you pay a visit to the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Despite these orangutans not being in the wild, and not our usual style of wildlife activity, it is important to acknowledge the threat that these amazing primates are under, mainly due to habitat loss. You will have access to naturalists and conservationist who devote their lives to the cause of Borneo’s animals and nature. After your visit, you will board your cruise to the wetlands, along the Kinabatangan River.
Your cruise took you to remote areas where the rainforest remains pristine. Due to the experiences of the previous days, your appreciation for this fragile ecosystem has increased, and you enjoy every sight, every sound, and every encounter. The river lodge is charming and completely surrounded by nature. As you travel deeper into the wetlands, you are rewarded by a spectacle of birds that fill the air with many colours.
Gateway to Sanctuary
The morning river takes you Sandakan where you catch a short flight to Lahad Datu, on the eaves of Borneo’s most remote area, the legendary Danum Valley. You can jump right away into the adventure and enjoy some of Borneo’s best hiking in the Tabin Wildlife Reserve.
Valley of Mysteries
Entering the Danum Valley is a dream for naturalists and nature lovers. This area harbours many endemic species and is one of the most complex ecosystems on the planet. From the Giant Flying Squirrel to the Pygmy Elephant, from the Silvered Langur to the Proboscis Monkey, this untouched area of Borneo is a place of wonder. This is area is very remote and thankfully undeveloped. The accommodation is rustic but well worth the adventure.
To enjoy the rainforest, you need to become accustomed to its rhythms, and to the sights it has to offer. At first, in can be overwhelming… so much so that it all blends into an impenetrable green wall. But, if you listen closely, if you let the experiences sink in, a richness unlike any other starts to unfold before your eyes. The jungle is full of quiet moments that lead to profound discovery. After all, this is the very heart of nature you’re in, and it speaks quietly yet clearly to the deepest part of our being.
Returning to the World
As you leave behind the morning mists of Danum Valley, board a plane and then head back home, you are confronted with one of the most curious phenomena of travel: that a journey is not really measured in distance units. As you look back on your trip, you realise these last days now form a part of your identity, with memories as rich as the rainforest, all from the bountiful heart of Nature.