Discovery tours are all about exploring & experiencing the world with like-minded people, dipping your toe beneath the usual tourist surface & discovering the real essence of a region. They are genuinely innovative, exciting & imaginative tours that offer that little bit more to travellers.
Our Plus tours allow you to immerse yourself within a destination or culture whilst travelling and sleeping in comfort. They are packed with highlights to ensure you get the most out of your valuable time away yet are also slower paced allowing you time to savour the culture, traditions and sights of your destination – the perfect balance.
Selamat datang! Welcome to Malaysia.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
You'll be met on arrival at Kota Kinabalu airport and transferred to your hotel. Please advise flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to departure if you wish to have this transfer provided. If you plan to arrive earlier, this arrival transfer can only be offered in conjunction with pre-tour accommodation booked through Intrepid.
Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah, is an intriguing city between the Borneo jungle and the South China Sea. Having survived World War II bombings, 'KK' (as it's commonly known) now has a charm that can only be found in a frontier town.
Accommodation: Horizon Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Leaving Kota Kinabalu behind, head for the beautiful Kinabalu National Park in private mini van (approx 3 hours).
Mt Kinabalu (located within Kinabalu National Park) at 4,095.2 metres, is the highest mountain on the island of Borneo. Mount Kinabalu is one of the youngest non-volcanic mountains in the world. It was formed within the last 10 to 35 million years. The mountain still grows at a rate of 5 millimetres a year. Kinabalu National Park covers an area of 754 square kilometers and was Malaysia's first UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mountain and its surroundings are among the most important biological sites in the world, with over 800 species of orchid, 600 species of ferns, 326 species of birds, and is the richest place in the world for the Nepenthes insectivorous pitcher plants (five of the thirteen are found nowhere else on earth).Here we will stretch our legs and take in the mountain views on one of the numerous walking trails - keeping an eye out for birds, snakes and the odd little leech.
Leaving the hills behind, we pay a visit Poring Hot Springs (approx 45 mins). We will traverse the tree-tops on a suspended canopy walkway where you can get a birds eye view of the jungle and mountains of this beautiful National Park area.
Tonight we stay amongst the grounds of a tea garden.
Accommodation: Sabah Tea Garden Cottage or similar (1 nt)
Rising early, we catch a glimpse of the sunrise while taking a morning walk through the tea plantation.
Then it is time for a tour of the tea factory itself, concluding in some tea sampling.
We then head to Kinabatangan River in private mini van (approx 5 hours)Our jungle lodge alongside the Kinabatangan River gives us great opportunity to relax and take in the surrounds. The Kinabatangan River is the 2nd longest river in Malaysia at 560 kms from its source at Mt Trus Madi to the Sulu Sea and is also a protected forest reserve which contains some of Borneo's highest concentrations of wildlife.In the late afternoon we will take a river cruise and hopefully spot some of the local wildlife - wild elephants are rarely seen but we will hopefully find crocodiles, macaques, wild orangutan and proboscis monkeys, as well as hornbills or kingfishers - just some of the many types of animals and birds found in this area.We will return to our jungle lodge for dinner.On the following day you may be woken up by the calling of the Borneo Gibbon or Hornbill or both, breaking the silence around the resort. We head out on an early morning cruise down the Kinabatangan River. Search for more wildlife and birds today including Proboscis Monkey, Borneo Gibbon, Long Tail Macaques and Pig Tail Macaques.In the afternoon there is an option to take a walk to Ox Bow lakes. The Oxbow lakes are an unusual and unique landscape feature of the Kinabatangan. It is a crescent-shaped lake which is lying alongside a winding river. These lakes are formed through erosion and deposits of soil changing the river’s course over time. In the evening we get our last chance to take as many photos as we can on a final river cruise. We spend one more night in our lovely accommodation right in the heart of the jungle.
Accommodation: Jungle Lodge (2 nts)
In our private minivan we stop to visit an intricate system of caves known as Gomantong Caves. The caves are renowned for their valuable edible swiftlet nests, which are harvested for bird's nest soup. Birds' nest collection is an ancient tradition, but nowadays locals must have licenses to climb to the roof of the caves, and collect the nests and penalties are imposed on unlicensed collectors. We then travel towards Sandakan approximately 2.5 hours stopping at Sandakan War memorial along the way.
Get some insight into the city's past at the emotive War Memorial, built on the site of a Japanese POW camp. This site also marks the starting point of the tragic Sandakan Death Marches, on which 2,400 POWs were forced to walk through the jungles of Borneo. By the end of the march, only 6 Australians survived, and only because they had escaped.
Sandakan was once the capital of British North Borneo and traditionally has strong trading ties with Hong Kong. The Cantonese influence is evident in the lively harbourside market, the many Chinese temples and the local cuisine.
Accommodation: Sandakan Waterfront Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Hop in our private transfer for a short journey to the Sepliok Orangutan Sanctuary. (approx 1 hour)
The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre was set up to help re-introduce these wonderful creatures back into the wild after a life of domestication or having been orphaned. To aid the orangutans adapt to the wild, a supplementary diet of bananas and milk is laid out on feeding platforms twice a day. From the viewing platform, you can watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view on ropes and vines. We're not permitted to hinder the orangutans as human contact must be kept to a minimum and it's essential that we follow the instructions of the park, as directed by your leader. There's also a short film about the orangutan rehabilitation process to watch in the reserve's interpretation centre.A new section has now opened up at the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre which is the outdoor nursery where young orangutans will be cared for from being born in captivity or when their mothers have been killed. These youngsters have not had the chance of a natural upbringing and don’t have the skills to be able to survive in the wild. The aim of the nursery is to train these your Orangutans to climb and be normal Orangutans so that they can be reintroduced to the wild. Included in our entrance ticket you will have the chance to view these young Orangutans as they learn how to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym. The viewing area is behind one-way glass so as not to disturb the Orangutans.
Visit the newly opened Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center. This is a wonderful new center taking care of rescued Sun Bears that have spent many years mistreated and locked away in cages. Borneo Sun Bear Conservation center is giving a better life to these bears by caring for them with the hope of reintroducing them back into the wild. They are doing great work at promoting Sun Bear conservation in Borneo through animal welfare, conservation, rehabilitation, research and education - to put a stop to these cruel practices. There is plenty of time for an optional visit to see these very cute bears!
Visit the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary where you can watch up close the amazing bachelor proboscis lazing and feeding - an experience that can only be found in Borneo. The sanctuary is a protected forest reserve inhabited by several groups of wild proboscis monkeys.
Accommodation: Sandakan Waterfront Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Transfer to Sandakan airport and fly to Kota Kinabalu. The maximum luggage allowance for this flight is 15kg maximum, Intrepid won't cover the cost of luggage that exceeds this weight.
Located just off the coast of Kota Kinabalu, (20mins by boat) Manukan Island is one of the larger islands located within the Tunku Abdul Rahman Marine National Park. We spend two days here, with the first day free for activities. Take the chance to walk along the 1.5km beach at low tide, go swimming, or simply kick back and relax. Today we explore the island and take a snorkelling trip - be sure to look out for tropical fish and colourful coral. We stay here for one more night before heading back to Kota Kinabalu.
Please note that we use twin share accommodation at Manukan: some chalets have 1 twin share room with ensuite bathroom whilst others have 2 bedroom chalets with a lounge room - these chalets have 1 bedroom with an ensuite bathroom and the other bedroom’s bathroom is located off the lounge room. Due to the limited chalets on Manukan Island we acknowledge that we are unable to provide exactly the same room for each passenger however we hope you understand that we allocate rooms as fairly as possible and we choose to stay on this Island for it's unique and beautiful environment. Please see important notes section below for further information.
Accommodation: Manukan Island Resort or similar (2 nts)
Say goodbye to our island getaway as we head back to our hotel in Kota Kinabalu via boat and mini van. (approx 40 mins)
There is the chance to take an optional visit to Mari Mari Cultural Village to see how indigenous ethnic groups of Borneo used to live. It's a great chance to see what the culture and lifestyle would have been like years gone by seeing first hand how the tribes would cook their meals, starting fire with bamboo and using a blow pipe to hunt. It's a fun, interactive and educational experience.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Accommodation: Horizon Hotel or similar (1 nt)
International flights, 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.
GOVERNMENT TRAVEL WARNINGS FOR EASTERN SABAH
Please note for various nationalities in particular Australian, UK, Irish, New Zealand and United States, different increased Government travel warnings are currently in place for Eastern Sabah. We ask all of our travellers to familiarise themselves with their own Government Travel Advisories and to check that these Government warnings do not affect the level of coverage that is offered to them by their Travel Insurance provider. Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and your insurance must cover you for all activities and areas visited as part of this tour. Please contact your Travel Insurance provider to ensure you have adequate cover for travel to Eastern Sabah.
We ask all of our travellers to monitor their own Government travel advisories, some of these are listed below
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
US Department of State
New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade
Ireland Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade
The safety of our passengers, leaders and operators is a major priority of Intrepid. With this in mind we monitor world events very closely. Intrepid makes operational decisions based on informed advice from a number of sources including The level of the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade (DFAT) travel advisory. For any Intrepid Travel operated trip if this advisory is at Level 4 'Do Not Travel' then Intrepid will either cancel a trip or reroute the itinerary to avoid the areas concerned. We however also acknowledge that many of our travellers come from many different countries whose own Government travel warnings may differ to the Australian Government. We ask you to familiarise yourself with your relevant Government travel advisories at time of booking and continue to monitor these advisories prior to your trip.
There is a strict 15kg luggage maximum on this trip due to internal flight. Excess luggage is to be paid by the traveller.
Due to limited number of rooms at Manukan Island Resort, we use two different chalet types to accommodate our groups: single story villas and double storey villas. The double storey villas have one twin-bedded room with an ensuite bathroom and a lounge room (these chalets are used to accommodation either 2 single travellers or a couple). The single storey villas are a 2 bedroom chalet with a shared lounge room – one of the bedrooms has an ensuite bathroom and the second bedroom does not have an ensuite but instead can make use of a bathroom located off the shared lounge room (these chalets are used to accommodate either a couple plus 2 single travellers or 2 couples). The tour leader may also be sharing one of the villas with group members (in his/her own room).
With any shared accommodation facilities which do not have individual locks on room doors such as this, we highly recommend that clients use the safety deposit boxes provided at reception to ensure the safety of their valuables. Room types will be allocated as fairly as possible.
SPECIAL ANZAC DAY DEPARTURE 20th of April 2015
April 25, 2015 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Australian and New Zealand (ANZAC) troops landing on the shores of Gallipoli in Turkey during the First World War. To mark this event we have a special departure departing 20th of April 2015 where we will include the following activities,Day 6 (25APR2015) You depart from your hotel at 4.45am to head to the Sandakan Memorial Park for an offical ANZAC Day Dawn Service.The Sandakan Memorial Park is located on the site of the Second World War Prisoner of War Camp. The official Anzac Day Dawn Service is conducted by the Australian Government on behalf of the Australian High Commission Kuala Lumpur and is made possible with the assistance of the local communities of Sandakan.Day 2 We will replace the visit to Poring Hot Springs with a special visit to the Kundasang War Memorial.Visit the Kundasang War Memorial, commencing Australian and British POW's who died in Sandakan and during the infamous death marches to Ranau during World War II. The Memorial also remembers the people of North Borneo who risked their lives to help the POW's. The Memorial is made up of four beautiful gardens, the English Garden, the Borneo Garden and the Contemplation Garden and Pool - to represent the different nationalities. With it's towering pine trees and blooming roses, a walk in the gardens is reminiscent to that of a stroll in a quaint English garden. The Kundasang War Memorial is a place to contemplate and remember the heroes of war. Visitors can also opt to view a brief video on the history of the Sandakan Death March.
ITINERARY CHANGE 14MAR2015 departure
For this departure we are uunable to stay at the Sabah Tea Plantation. We have upgraded the accommodation to the Celcyn Resort which is in a great location with views of Mt Kinabalu. The tea sampling and factory tour will still be provided on day 3 however this will start after breakfast instead of at sunrise due to the change of location in the accommodation. Celcyn is a Peregrine standard hotel that is always enjoyed by our passengers.
The month-long Ramadan Festival will be in progress from the 17th June 2015. This is a festival of sacrifice where the devout refrain from eating or drinking during daylight hours. During Ramadan business hours are shortened, including opening hours at all popular tourist attractions. Alcohol is not permitted during daylight hours and many restaurants will be closed. While you definitely need to expect some delays and inconveniences during this period, the month of Ramadan is a fantastic month to travel in Muslim countries as it offers a chance to witness this fascinating Islamic event and the nightly celebrations when the sun sets and the fast is broken.
CHINESE NEW YEAR:
An important 15-day festival for the Malaysian Chinese, based on the lunar calendar in January or February. In 2015,the Year of the Sheep is scheduled to be held from 19 February. This can be a busy time and some transport delays, shop closures and reduced opening hours at some sites may be expected, but there are also many fabulous festivals and rituals to observe during this time, so it's a great time to travel. Although we make all reasonable efforts to avoid disruption a flexible approach from the traveller is appreciated.
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