Orangutanland Trip Notes

At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. 

  • Trip code : GTBB
  • Trip length : 18 days
  • Trip starts in : Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
  • Trip ends in : Kuching
  • Maximum group size : maximum 16
  • Ages: 18-39
  • Meals: 15 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 6 Dinners
  • Accommodation: 1 Night Longhouse, 1 Night Jungle Shelter, 3 Nights Guesthouse, 1 Night Mountain Huts, 7 Nights Hotel, 4 Nights Jungle/Rainforest Lodge
  • Transport: Boat, Bus, Ferry, Longboat, Plane


  • Culturally diverse Kuching
  • The monkeys of Bako National Park
  • UNESCO World Heritage-listed Mount Kinabalu National Park
  • Stay with the descendents of Borneo’s legendary headhunters
  • Hike to the top of Mt Kinabalu, Borneo
  • The bats and caves of Gunung Mulu National Park
  • Kinabatangan River wildlife cruise
  • Mesilau Nature Resort
  • Mount Kinabalu climb
  • Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre
  • Headhunters Trail trek - follow in the footsteps of Kayan warriors
  • Sabah's capital Kota Kinabalu


Kick off in KK, hang with the rangas in Sepilok (orangutans… red heads too if you’re lucky), spy monkey, elephants and squirrels on a boat trip down Kinabatangan River, stay in nature with billions of butterflies, sleep in a traditional longhouse, trek the headhunters trail, play in Mulu and Bako National Park, and visit pretty Kuchung. NATURE LOVERS PARADISE.  

Know your Fanta Pants*:

  • Orangutans live in trees and build fancy sleeping nests every night, complete with mattress and pillows.
  • They’ve got opposable thumbs, opposable toes and a 360-degree rotating hip joint. Jealous?
  • Female orangutans like to flirt while pregnant, making  the males confused about which one is their baby mama. 

*Written by a Ranga. 



Kota Kinabalu

The locals call it ‘KK’ so don’t make a fool of yourself by calling Sabah’s capital ‘Kota Kinabalu’. Arrive in KK and get to know the area - there will be a meeting later in the evening, generally around 6pmPerhaps visit the Sabah Museum and the State Mosque. Why not escape the hustle and bustle of Kota Kinabalu and take a walk up Signal Hill, which offers great views over the city


Sandakan - Sepilok

Rangas of the world rejoice. Today we meet their namesake at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Fly to Sandakan, a town situated at the mouth of a picturesque bay. Visit the the Sandakan Memorial Park, a grim showcase of World War II. Continue to the nearby Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre. View rare orangutans swinging freely in the trees, especially around feeding time. Spend a night at a lodge in Sepilok in dormitory-style accommodation


Kinabatangan River

Ride a boat along the river, keep an eye out for proboscis monkeys, elephants, giant squirrels, macaques and orangutans. Stay in a local house for the night.Head overland to an area known as Sukau. Visit the KOPEL Eco-Tourism initiative to learn more about the project. Spend a night in an authentic camp hut. Stay with a local family near the Kinabatangan River. Observe the variety of wildlife in the area - this is a nature lover’s paradise. Take a boat ride along the river - the perfect vantage point from which we can marvel at the peaceful wilderness



You’ll smell the Rafflesia flower before you see it. Then again, as the world’s biggest flower it’s pretty hard to miss. Also known as the ‘corpse flower’ it smells like rotting flesh and thankfully only blooms a few days each year. Drive to Kudasang and the Mesilau Nature Resort. Take the opportunity to explore the surrounding area - home to an estimated 4,500 species of plants, 289 species of birds and 290 different types of butterflies


Mount Kinabalu

It’s a tough hike but if you can handle the long walks and the odd hill you’ll be fine. The epic view from the top makes the sweat and chafing worth it. Day 6, Start the trek and walk five to six hours to a hut on the mountain. Hike through tropical rainforest into alpine terrain. Take in the diverse array of plant life long the way, such as orchids, rhododendrons and pitcher plants. Be lucky to see the Rafflesia - the largest flower in the world. Day 7, Commence the ascent to the summit very early in the morning (about 2:30am) Aim to reach the top before sunrise. Experience awe-inspiring views from the summit at Low’s Peak - with the jungles of Sabah on one side and the South China Sea on the other. Return to our mountain hut for a well-earned breakfast before continuing the descent to the base. Take an optional excursion to the Poring Hot Springs and perhaps take an interesting walk along a canopy walkway, located high in the treetops, or visit to a tropical garden


Kota Kinabalu

Head to the waterfront for a celebratory seafood feast or take a day trip to one of the nearby islands for a beer and a swim. Your trek-weary legs will soon be a distant memory. Days 8-9, Stay on the edge of Kinarut seashore for a few nights. Enjoy time at your leisure to laze by the pool or perhaps hire a canoe for a paddle on the pristine waters off the South China Sea. Check out the sea life with an optional scuba diving trip to the near by islands. Day 10, Reluctantly leave the beach side retreat and return to the hotel in Kota Kinabalu. Prepare for the journey to Sarawak


Limbang - Iban Longhouse

Have a laugh with your local Iban hosts. Sleep in their traditional longhouse (it's as the name suggests, a long single roomed house so snorers beware). Day 11, Board a couple of boats bound for Limbang - a place of much activity during World War II. Day 12, Travel overland while we send our big bags to Miri (don't worry, you'll see them again in four days!) Overnight accommodation in a traditional longhouse. Spend the night as guests of Iban hosts and experience a first-hand taste of how the Iban people's life and customs


Headhunters Trail - Camp 5

Follow the former trail of the Kayan headhunters (breathe easy, we said ‘former’). Prepare to get dirty, it gets pretty wet and muddy here.Farewell your Iban friends and continue by boat. Trek through a section of lowland forest, known as the Headhunters Trail - a trail was originally used by Kayan warriors, Follow the route to the Melinau Gorge and Camp 5. Stay overnight on the floor in very basic jungle hut accommodation


Mulu National Park

Walk a bit more before a longboat down the Melinau River. Stop by Wind and Clearwater Cave as well as Deer Cave, home to 32 million bats. It's Bruce Wayne's worst nightmare. Catch the longboat down the Melinau River to MuluIf the water level is low, you may have to help push the boat! So wear good strong shoes that you don't mind getting wet.Explore some of the biggest and most impressive caves in the world - Wind Cave, Clearwater Cave and Deer Cave. Witness the amazing spectacle of bats emerging from the gaping mouth of Deer Cave at dusk. Stay overnight in dormitory rooms in Mulu National Park



We reckon you should head to Semenggoh Wildlife Rehab Centre for orangutan feeding time at either 9am or 3pm. Then grab a bite at Top Spot Food Court with the locals.Fly to Miri, then on to Kuching, one of the most attractive cities in South East Asia. Enjoy ample time to explore this picturesque city. Perhaps visit Fort Margherita, the Istana, the famous Sarawak Museum, or take a stroll on the waterfront. Check out the macaques, wild boar, proboscis monkeys (the ones with the big noses), giant monitor lizards and more.Take a day trip to Bako National Park, the oldest in Sarawak. Spend the day exploring and observing local flora and wildlife, and perhaps spot the rare proboscis monkey or monitor lizards. Spend the final evening in Kuching. Trip ends after breakfast on Day 18.


  • Gecko’s expert English-speaking local tour guide throughout the tour.
  • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where relevant): Sandakan Memorial Park; MESCOT Eco-Tourism initiative; Mesilau Nature Resort; Gunung Mulu National Park - Wind and Clearwater Caves and the bats of Deer Cave.
  • Orang-utan encounter at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, including an overnight stay in a lodge.
  • Homestay by Kinabatangan River, including a boat cruise in search of wildlife.
  • Ascent of Mount Kinabalu via the Mesilau Trail, with overnight accommodation in a basic hut (dormitory-style).
  • Overnight stay in a traditional longhouse as guests of the Iban people.
  • Trek on the Headhunters Trail – where few tourists venture, with an overnight stay in a jungle hut.
  • Longboat trip down the Melinau River to Mulu.
  • Day trip to Bako National Park.
  • Time at a beach-side retreat on Kinarut’s seashore.
  • Free time to explore Kota Kinabalu and Kuching.
  • Local flights from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan, Mulu to Miri and Miri to Kuching.
  • Ferry from Sabah to Sarawak.


We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

  • Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre - MYR30
  • Canopy Walk - Mulu National Park - MYR35
  • Kinabalu National Park - Poring Hot Springs - RM15
  • Kota Kinabalu - Monosopiad Cultural Village
  • Kota Kinabalu - Sabah Museum
  • Kota Kinabalu - State Mosque - FREE
  • Kuching - Cat Museum - FREE
  • Kuching - Fort Margherita - FREE
  • Kuching - Sarawak Museum - FREE
  • Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary - MYR100
  • Poring Hot Springs - Canopy Walk - MYR5
  • Poring Hot Springs - Orchid Conservation Centre - RM10
  • Scuba Diving Tunku Abdul Marine Park - MYR280
  • Sepilok - Rainforest Discovery Centre - MYR15


International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.



Our Raw tours are best suited for those with a sense of adventure, are willing to step outside their comfort zone and don’t mind being thrown in at the deep end. For independent travellers who want to travel with others. Just the ticket for those aged between 18-35 or anyone young at heart who has an open mind, an eye on the budget and a nose for adventure. Authentic experiences that expand the mind rather than hold the hand.

Style Facts

  • The freedom to explore without breaking the bank
  • Time to do your own thing – or join in optional group activities
  • YOU choose where YOU want to eat
  • Basic accommodation
  • A variety of public transportation
  • Fully trained and experienced leader.


Our Basic tours offer superb value and are ideal for those who are happy to forgo some creature comforts in favour of an authentic and fun experience. Under the leadership of a fully trained tour leader, you will enjoy all the highlights and freedom of independent travel with the convenience, security and companionship of a small group.

Style Facts

  • Plenty of free time to explore independently
  • Optional activities to suit your budget
  • Freedom to choose your own meals
  • Simple famliy run hotels
  • Mostly public transportation
  • Fully trained and experienced leader.






This tour is operated by our partners Gecko's Adventures


visa1A necessary bugbear of adventure travel, visas can appear complicated, costly and confusing to apply for. Imaginative Traveller recommend applying for visas with a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies, so we have teamed up with The Visa Machine.

The Visa Machine ‘live and breathe’ visas and have the expertise to provide current and accurate information and arrange the correct visas for your trip, quickly and at a good price.

Please click here for more information.


We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended.



Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
You will need to take cash to cover all additional expenses not included in your tour cost. These include food, drinks, optional sightseeing, tips, laundry, souvenirs and possible delays. If in doubt, bring more than you think you will need. It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the time; providing your claim falls within the scope of your policy, your insurance company will make reimbursement later.


You must have extensive travel insurance as a condition of booking with us, and without evidence of a valid policy you won’t be allowed to start your trip. Please click here for more information


Responsible tourism is at the heart of Imaginative Traveller. For 20 years we have taken customers to places around the world in social and environmentally responsible manner, ensuring everyone involved respects and maintains the natural and often delicate balance of the destination.

As travellers ourselves we are well aware of the impact that tourism can have and whilst economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, it should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment. It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit. We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.

We believe giving something back is essential. We therefore work with our customers and the people we visit to ensure the benefits go directly to contribute to local cultures and environmental conservation. This is not only good the communities we visit but it also gives our travellers more enriched adventures.

For further information about responsible travel please click here.


Itinerary Variation

While the information presented here details our planned itinerary, including routes taken, activities included, accommodation and meeting times, please accept that unforseen changes may occur. We are constantly on the lookout to improve our program and further enhance your experience. Naturally, we will keep you up to date with any last minute amendments to your tour.


15 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners

Single room supplement

Most of our travellers like the thought of travelling with a few like-minded souls. There are NO compulsory single supplements on most tours as we simply arrange twin shared accommodation for you and another tour member of the same sex. But don't worry if that doesn't appeal. We do understand there are times when you just want a bit of privacy and 'me' time so we are more than happy to arrange a private room upon request when you book.

Other Information

A good level of fitness is required for the climb. You will trek on hilly terrain, generally on well-defined paths, walking between 3-8 hours per day.

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