The Greatest Land You've Never Heard Of 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 : GTSC
Trip valid from : 01/01/2013
Trip valid until : 31/12/2014
Trip length : 10
Trip starts in : Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Trip ends in : Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
Maximum group size : maximum 16

  • Trip code :GTSC
  • Trip length : 10
  • Trip starts in : Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
  • Trip ends in : Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia
  • Maximum group size : 16
  • Ages : 18 - 39
  • Meals : 8 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • Accommodation : 3 Nights Guesthouse, 1 Night Mountain Huts, 2 Nights Jungle Lodge, 3 Nights Hotel
  • Transport :Boat, Bus, Plane


  • Kinabatangan River wildlife cruise
  • Wise Orangutan say: "He who grippeth the rope with three hands, grippeth the rope well."
  • Mesilau Nature Resort
  • UNESCO World Heritage-listed Mount Kinabalu National Park
  • Sabah's capital Kota Kinabalu
  • Poring Hot Springs plantlife
  • Mount Kinabalu climb
  • Hike to the top of Mt Kinabalu, Borneo
  • Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre


You and Borneo meet in Kota Kinabalu – we think this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Orangutans! In Sepilok! And elephants – maybes! – along the Kinabatangan River! Get hot and sweaty climbing up Mt. Kinabalu, then hot and wetty soaking in the Poring Hot Springs on the way down. Try not to indulge in too much ikan panggang (stingray – a local delicacy) because at the end of this trip we’re taking you on a two-day hike to the top of South East Asia.



Kota Kinabalu

The locals have finally settled on calling it KK, after previous name-changes included Deasoka (below the coconut tree), Singgah Mata (pleasing to the eye) and Api-Api (fire!). Arrive in KK and get to know the area. Perhaps 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



Meet the rellies today at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. They’ll tug on your heartstrings then spend half an hour picking their noses. They’d fit right in at home. Visit the Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre. View rare orangutans swinging freely in the trees, especially around feeding time. Visit Sandakan War Memorial. Spend a night in dorm rooms at a lodge in Sepilok


Kinabatangan River

Stay with a local family for the night. We’ll take a dusk cruise up the Kinabatangan River and if you’re lucky you might spot a wild orangutan or an elephant.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.



Time for a few stats: Mesilau has 4500 species of plants, 289 species of birds and 290 types of butterflies. Numbers are for nerds but that’s pretty darn impressive. 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.


Mt Kinabalu

No joke – this is a really hard climb. It’ll take a few days to trek up to 4095 metres, but it’s worth it to reach the highest point in South East Asia. Views stretch from the jungles of Sabah on one side to the South China Sea on the other. Soak your bones at the Poring Hot Springs when you get way down. 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 mountain hut for a well-earned breakfast before continuing the descent to the base


Kota Kinabalu

They know their stuff on the KK food front. You pick the biggest, fattest, tastiest looking bit of seafood and they’ll cook it to your liking. Days 8-9, Take an 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. 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 warm waters off the South China Sea. Check out the sea life with an optional scuba diving trip to the near by Islands. Day 10, Trip ends after breakfast.


  • Gecko’s expert English-speaking local tour guide throughout the tour.
  • Visit to Sandakan Memorial Park – the site of a former Japanese POW camp.
  • Orang-utan encounter at Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre, including an overnight stay in a dormitory lodge.
  • Homestay by Kinabatangan River, including a boat cruise in search of wildlife.
  • Visit to Mesilau Nature Resort and ascent of Mount Kinabalu via the Mesilau trail, with overnight accommodation in basic huts (dormitory-style).
  • Time at a beach-side retreat on Kinarut’s seashore.
  • Free time to explore Kota Kinabalu.
  • Local flight from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan.


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 Geckos Adventures


A 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.


8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 4 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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