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 valid from : 01/01/2015
Trip valid until : 31/12/2015
Trip length : 18
Trip starts in : Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Trip ends in : Kuching
Maximum group size : maximum 16


  • 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 MosqueWhy 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 bayVisit the the Sandakan Memorial Park, a grim showcase of World War IIContinue to the nearby Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation CentreView rare orangutans swinging freely in the trees, especially around feeding timeSpend 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 SukauVisit the KOPEL Eco-Tourism initiative to learn more about the projectSpend a night in an authentic camp hutStay with a local family near the Kinabatangan RiverObserve the variety of wildlife in the area - this is a nature lover’s paradiseTake 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 ResortTake 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 6Start the trek and walk five to six hours to a hut on the mountainHike through tropical rainforest into alpine terrainTake in the diverse array of plant life long the way, such as orchids, rhododendrons and pitcher plantsBe lucky to see the Rafflesia - the largest flower in the worldDay 7Commence the ascent to the summit very early in the morning (about 2:30am)Aim to reach the top before sunriseExperience 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 otherReturn to our mountain hut for a well-earned breakfast before continuing the descent to the baseTake 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 8-9Stay on the edge of Kinarut seashore for a few nightsEnjoy 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 SeaCheck out the sea life with an optional scuba diving trip to the near by islandsDay 10Reluctantly leave the beach side retreat and return to the hotel in Kota KinabaluPrepare 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 11Board a couple of boats bound for Limbang - a place of much activity during World War II Day 12Travel 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 longhouseSpend 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 boatTrek 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 5Stay 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 CaveWitness the amazing spectacle of bats emerging from the gaping mouth of Deer Cave at duskStay 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 AsiaEnjoy ample time to explore this picturesque cityPerhaps visit Fort Margherita, the Istana, the famous Sarawak Museum, or take a stroll on the waterfrontCheck 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 SarawakSpend the day exploring and observing local flora and wildlife, and perhaps spot the rare proboscis monkey or monitor lizardsSpend the final evening in KuchingTrip ends after breakfast on Day 18

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.

Trip Grade

Think about the feeling you get after completing one of the world’s great treks: seeing Machu Picchu through the Sun Gate after gruelling days on the Inca Trail; looking down on Africa from its summit, Kilimanjaro; relaxing by Pokhara’s perfect lake after tackling Annapurna’s rugged tracks. The legs might ache but the feeling of pride in your achievements is overwhelming. More than that though, trekking gets you up close and personal with the world’s finest landscapes and many interesting cultures. Walk through remote jungle to visit the tribes of northern Thailand and Vietnam, or explore China’s iconic Tiger Leaping Gorge by foot, and you’ll find the country opens up in a whole new way, the slow pace all the better for appreciating the surroundings. It’s definitely better to travel than to arrive – particularly when the travel’s all on your own steam.

Whether you’re taking in man’s greatest works at places like Petra or Angkor Wat, experiencing grand set-pieces like the Trans-Mongolian Railway or trying your hand at regional specialities like tango in Buenos Aires, getting to grips with local cultures is what travel’s all about. A few tips from a guide and a sense of adventure are pretty much all you need. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get the lowdown on high Tibet among Lhasa’s magisterial temples; follow up Delhi’s eye-popping bustle with a fix of its fiery food; and mix manic markets and Incan masterpieces in Peru.


- 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.

Not Included

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.


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.

Local payment

The local payment is the final part of your overall tour cost. It MUST be paid in cash, in the currency indicated, to your tour leader at the start of your trip. Having a local payment helps us to pass cost savings on to you. Please note that the Local Payment is non-refundable.

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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