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Borneo Cultural Tours
Responsible, Sustainable EcoTourism


Borneo is warm locals, ancient virgin forests, endangered orangutans, is culturally diverse and a melting pot of traditions that will have your heart aching when time to leave.

Come with us and experience a culturally immersive holiday like no other where you’ll have your heart and soul nourished, your spirit revitalised in one of the world’s few remaining wild spaces and your vigour for standing up and making a difference in the world renewed.

Next small group departure 17th June 2019.


  • Search for wild Orangutans on the river safaris.
  • 2 1/2 hour boat transfer up the Kinabatangan River into the Borneo jungle.
  • Stay at National Geographic ‘Unique Lodge of the World’ Sukau Rainforest Lodge.
  • Orangutan feeding on the jungle boardwalk.
  • Support the Kiulu Valley community with a homestay.
  • Local market visit and Tamparuli Suspension Bridge.
  • Lunch cooked by local family with option of quad biking.
  • Watch in wonder the sparkling Fireflies of Kota Kinabalu.
  • Snorkel or laze on the gorgeous Gaya Island.
  • Search for Pygmy Elephants along the banks of the Kinabatangan River.
  • Visit the Sun Bears and hear their plight.
  • Song and dance as Sabah’s culture come alive.
  • Sandakan Memorial Park for a visual on Australia’s war history.
Day 1


Upon arrival Kota Kinabalu Airport you’ll be met and transferred to your accommodation.

Accommodation: Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort.

Meals: As per airline.

PLEASE NOTE: Effective 1st September 2017, foreign guests will be charged a flat rate of RM10 per room per night for all Tourism Tax (TTx) registered hotel classifications in Malaysia. This is paid directly to the hotel and is not included in your package.

Mount Kinabalu
Day 2


Morning at leisure before an afternoon pick up to Weston Labuk jetty (approx. 2 1/2 hrs drive). Enjoy high tea before you embark on a river Safari to search for the Proboscis Monkeys while the sunsets.

As you return to the jetty you’ll be spellbound by the fireflies twinkling in the mangrove trees lining the river.  Back on dry land, your taste buds are in for a treat as you sit down to a sumptuous dinner before returning to your hotel at Kota Kinabalu.

Accommodation: Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort.

Meals: Breakfast, Dinner.

Proboscis Monkey and Baby
Day 3


This unique homestay offers basic and peaceful accommodation with calming views of lush green paddy fields, forests and undulating mountain ridges. Soak yourself in the ambience of natural scenery in this unforgettable journey to the valley of the mist, the Kiulu Valley.

Your guide will drive you approximately 45 mins to the countryside with a short stop at Tamparuli Suspension Bridge and the nearby local market.

Enjoy scrumptious lunch cooked by your host family, then it is time to immerse yourself with the local culture and tradition by participating in the demonstration of the local games and activities. There’s plenty of free time to explore your surrounds or have a refreshing dip in the river.

Accommodation: Kiulu Valley Homestay.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.

  • Please note that rooms during the homestay are shared – up to 4 single beds in one room with a shared bathroom. Bathroom is traditional/local and may have a squat toilet and cold washing options.
  • If you’re keen for more adventure, there are many optional activities for you to try such as quad biking, cycling, tubing on the river so be sure to ask your host family.
Kiulu Valley
Day 4


Ask your host family about an early morning jungle walk before breakfast and your guide arriving to transfer you back to Kota Kinabalu.

Accommodation: Shangri-La Tanjung Aru Resort.

Meals: Breakfast.

Day 5


Pickup from your hotel in the morning to the Sutera jetty where you’ll enjoy a 30 min boat ride to Gaya Island. 

One of the greatest attractions on Gaya Island is the array of wildlife including monitor lizards and monkeys and jungle trekking is a popular way to spot hornbills, snakes, macaques and an unusual array of insects along the way. There are two options should you want to trek, a shorter trail of 2km or a more challenging route of 4.5km. After the trek, enjoy your picnic lunch on the beach before lazing the afternoon away swimming or snorkelling (rental charge). Be sure to bring towel, hat, walking shoes, insect repellent, reusable water bottle, swimmers and sunscreen.

Accommodation: Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort.

Meals: Breakfast & Packed Lunch

Gaya Island Beach
Day 6


Today you decide how much or little you want to do.

Take a day to yourself to rest and relax by the pool or to explore Kota Kinabalu on your own, at your own pace and doing as you please.

OPTIONAL + $85 per person: If you’re up for more adventure and keen to explore further afield, your guide will pick you up and take a 2 hr drive overland to the foothills of Mt. Kinabalu.

Stretch the legs at Pekan Nabalu market to sample fruits in season before proceeding to the Kinabalu National Park. There, you visit the Education Centre and Mountain Garden. If weather permits, take a guided walk on one of the trails in the cool surroundings to explore the forest. Please bring along drinking water bottle, insect repellent & hat.

Accommodation: Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort.

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Day 7


Drive 20 minutes to Mari Mari Cultural Village where you’ll see Sabah’s culture come alive.

Visit each tribe’s traditional house to learn about the different cultures and way of life. Join in some in various activities, unique to each tribe before a cultural performance and a delicious lunch, a fusion of cuisines at the dining hall.

You may shop for handicrafts, take photos or just enjoy the natural surroundings after. Bring drinking water bottle, insect repellent & hat.

Accommodation: Shangri-La’s Tanjung Aru Resort.

Meals: Breakfast & Lunch

Mari Mari Village
Day 8


Transfer to airport for your flight to Sandakan (Flight MH2042 / AK6492. Departs 7am with arrival time 7.50am)  Included.

On arrival at Sandakan Airport, you’ll transfer to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre. Learn about the plight of the Orangutans and the rehabilitation efforts at the centre. Wander through the rainforest on wooden boardwalks to witness the feeding of the orangutans and then continue to the enclosed nursery area for young orangutans. Once you’ve had your fill here, visit the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre to learn about the conservation of the world’s smallest bear.

After lunch, transfer to Sandakan jetty for a 2.5 hours boat journey to the incredible Sukau Rainforest Lodge along Sabah’s longest river, the Kinabatangan. Take an afternoon river cruise in search of wildlife and birds and we’ll shout you a complimentary night cruise if no sightings of the proboscis monkey on the FIRST Afternoon Cruise.

Enjoy candle light dinner overlooking the riverbank followed by slide show and interpretation by a naturalist guide.

Accommodation: Sukau Rainforest Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

Note on Camera Use at Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre:

For any camera with a zoom lens from 100 to 400mm, video camera or other video recording equipment for personal use is chargeable at RM10.00 per unit. For any camera (fixed-lens – 400mm and above ) or any film-making equipment are chargeable at RM1,000.00 per unit. Mode of payment is cash only.

Note: For the comfort and convenience of all guests, it is recommended to travel light by preparing an overnight bag, per person before arriving in Sukau Rainforest Lodge. A complimentary storage is provided for any extra luggage. (For guests departing & returning to Sandakan Only)

Day 9


Begin at 6am for a morning river cruise up the Kinabatangan River to Kelenanap Oxbow Lake to view birds and wildlife. After breakfast, proceed for an educational tour along the lodge’s Hornbill Boardwalk with our in-house naturalist. In the afternoon, take a short boat ride to see the work of Borneo Land Conservation and hear about the project your travel supports before you proceed for another river cruise.

Sip on an exotic cocktail as you watch the sunset over the river before another delicious meal.

Accommodation: Sukau Rainforest Lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner.

Day 10


After breakfast, return to Sandakan by speed boat. Lunch is on us before, time permitting, exploring the Rainforest Discovery Centre. Walk above the forest canopy and over the hanging bridge to catch a birds eye view of the centre and explore the botanical garden home to various species of flora. Visit the Sandakan Memorial Park for a short visit before transferring to the airport for onward journey.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch.

Note: Any departure EARLIER THAN 1.30pm will strictly be overland basis with a surcharge. Our Borneo partners are moving towards a plastic-free environment; so, please join the movement by bringing your own refillable water bottle during your time with us.


Situated by the Kiulu River is the beautiful Kiulu Homestay, a community based ecotourism project that acts as a catalyst for community development and capacity building. Stay in this natural and rustic ecolodge and enjoy a variety of outdoor adventure activities.

The stay brings together the essence of Sabah’s countryside, ensuring you have a holiday to remember. Set 15 minutes away from the peaceful hamlet of Tamparuli Town, Kiulu is surrounded by rolling fields and lush green paddy fields with charming farms which offers and idyllic escape with plenty of activities to enjoy.

Accommodation is basic but completely adequate.  Rooms sleep up to 4 people so for this one night, there is a strong possibility you will be sharing a room.  Sheets, pillows, blankets are supplied and bedding is twin or double with a common bathroom.  A common area to hang out in is a great place to find out more about your hosts and the Kiulu area.  There is the possibility to upgrade to a private locally built chalet based on availability.

This is the ultimate cultural experience where you will learn a great deal about how the local Dusuns live – from work life and local cuisines to things they do for fun. Staying in a home stay with a local family can be a rewarding experience as every person you meet will have a story to share and many friendships have been forged this way. Both villages plan towards self-sufficiency using the rice and fruits from their plantations and a year round supply of fresh vegetables from their gardens.

Some experiences available include traditional rice sieving, musical and dance, quad biking, water rafting and many more all designed to give you the best possible day out in the country!

Revitalize yourself and get back to nature with gentle walks through the fields or along the country lanes.  Unplug from society and reconnect.  Enjoy the silence and peace or you can turn the venture into adventure because as they said “adventure is always worthwhile.”


Sakau Rainforest Lodge is perched on stilts near the river’s edge and is your gateway to this pristine and rare wilderness.

Built of hardwood the rooms are fitted out with twin bedding, crisp linen and are beautifully adorned with local wood carvings and a picture window directly to the jungle where if lucky, you may spot various animals and rare birds.  While outside, the local artisans built the entire lodge connected by wooden boardwalks allowing guests to explore while avoiding erosion and the plants and animals to thrive undisturbed.

While the palm oil barons were hell bent on cutting some of the most bio diverse forests of the area, locals Albert Teo Chin Kion and Baton Bijamin poineered the areas first eco lodge.  As of today, the eco lodge has developed into an integral part of the Kinabatangan River and Sakau community by promoting sustainability projects that preserve the forest while sustaining it’s people. A high percentage of staff have been sourced and extensively educated from neighbouring villages.

Of high priority at the lodge is minimising the impact and maintaining harmony with the rainforest. The lodge works with local community on a number of sustainable tourism projects to promote conservation.

We love this lodge and have no doubt, you will too!

  • Effective 1st September 2017, foreign guests will be charged a flat rate of RM10 per room per night for all Tourism Tax (TTx) registered hotel classifications in Malaysia. This is paid directly to the hotel and is not included in your package.
  • Tipping is not mandatory but recommended. Guide and Captain: MYR 10-20 per person per day & Specialist Guide (Birding/Trekking): MYR 20-40 per person per day.
  • A minimum level of fitness is required to be able to participate. As a minimum you will need to be able to walk 2km on uneven ground, carry your own luggage and walk up a few flights of stairs.
  • Prices correct as at 23 Nov 18 but may fluctuate if surcharges, fees, taxes or currency change. Offers and itinerary subject to availability. Prices are subject to change without prior notice.
  • Where airfare is included, prices are in return economy and may be with low-cost carriers. Flight restrictions apply.
  • Single supplement on request.
  • Weekend and peak surcharges may apply, rates vary.
  • If a tour falls below the minimum number required for a fully escorted tour, Trailblazers Travel reserves the right to offer the tour escorted by a local guide upon arrival to your destination.
  • Tour departs daily with min 2 adults. 100% surcharge is applicable for single traveler.
  • Tour is based on join-in-coach basis (non-private).
  • A surcharge of 100% will be imposed for airport/hotel transfers between 2300hrs-0600hrs.
  • Rooms, tours and special requests are subject to availability upon booking.
  • Full payment to be made at least 8 weeks prior to tour commencement. Failure to comply may result in an automatic cancellation of bookings.
  • We reserve the right to alter the program if deemed necessary in the interest of all parties.
  • Please see our full terms and conditions.
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  • About Us

    Trailblazers Travel is an independent Tour & Travel Agency offering small group travel.  In addition, any itinerary can be taken independently, at any time of the year.

    Our tours are always responsible, sustainable, ethical and where possible, also incorporate ecotourism into our itineraries.

    When choosing our partners, we like to ensure we are helping in the following ways…

    Creating jobs and opportunity for locals;

    Ensuring the money you spend stays local;

    All interactions with people, communities, and animals are a positive experience and not an exploitation of resources;

    Showing respect to people who live in the places visited and engage with them in a dignified way.

    Our travelers arrive as new friends and often leave like family.  They are from all walks of life, uniting them is where they are going.


  • 6 nights luxury accommodation
  • 1 night homestay in Kiulu Valley
  • 2 nights at National Geographics ‘Unique Lodges of the World’ Sukau Rainforest Lodge
  • 9 breakfasts, 7 lunches & 4 dinners
  • Domestic airfare from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan
  • All river safaris, activities and entry fees as stated in itinerary
  • All land and water transfers as stated
  • See small print tab for more info
Prices & Options


Why Trailblazers Travel

By choosing Borneo tour travel with Trailblazers Travel, you are aligning yourself with an organisation that gives our guests real, authentic and life changing experiences, works with responsible travel operators to leave a social impact, and gives you the opportunity to be part of something bigger than yourself.

We believe in contributing to change and making a difference, whether through the use of local staff and guides, or by donating to charities we believe in on behalf of every person who travels with us.