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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.


  • 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.
  • Jungle boardwalk to watch orangutan feeding.
  • Support the Kiulu Valley community with a homestay.
  • Local market visit and Tamparuli Suspension Bridge.
  • Lunch cooked by local family with option of cultural activities.
  • Libaran or Selingan Island overnight visit, snorkelling and beach combing.
  • Watch green turtles lay their eggs + release newborn baby turtles to the sea.
  • Search for Pygmy Elephants along the banks of the Kinabatangan River.
  • Visit the Sun Bear Rehabilitation Centre.
  • Sandakan Memorial Park for a visual on Australia’s war history.
Day 1


International flight to Kota Kinabalu via Kuala Lumpur.  Arrive late evening and be greeted at the airport and transferred to your accommodation.  Meals as per airline.

Overnight Dreamtel Hotel or similar.

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 to relax before 2pm pick up from hotel for a city tour of Kota Kinabalu.

The tour takes us on a brief visit to Tanjung Lipat, offering panoramic scenery of the Gaya Island, South China Sea, Tun Mustapha Tower and the Kampung Likas village.

Proceed to the Kota Kinabalu City Mosque, recognised as one of the most beautiful mosques in Malaysia. Visit the Puh Toh Tze Buddhist temple before we drive to Signal Hill* for a bird’s eye view of the city, Atkinson Clock Tower and Australia Place.

Then visit the market for an extensive collection of local handicraft and souvenirs. Discover Sabah Museum’s unique Heritage before we return to hotel.

Note: Due to access limitation, the visit to Signal Hill is only accessible by 8 seater van so tour sizes over this maximum will not visit Signal Hill.

Overnight at Dreamtel Hotel or similar. (B)

Sunset at Kota Kinabalu
Day 3


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

Pick up from hotel and drive approximately 45 minutes to countryside with a short stop at Tamparuli Suspension Bridge and the nearbylocal market, passing the scenic view of the Kiulu Valley, the valley of the mist. Upon arrival you will be greeted with a warm welcome by your host family and be briefed on the home stay program.

Enjoy scrumptious lunch cooked and served 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 such as rice pounding and sieving, blow pipe, handcrafts making, traditional fishing, play local games (Rampanau) and musical instruments with dance (gong and Sumazau).

Take a village walk which would offer you stunning landscapes of the scenic valley as you pass through paddy fields, plantations and fruit orchards. Meet in the communal rest area to chat with your host family about the village history and folktales before heading off to bed. (L/D)

  • 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


Wake up and enjoy the quaint cool morning before setting off on a morning walk. Walk to the highest point to (500 meters above sea level) to view the surrounding area. If weather permits the guests might be lucky to see the sacred Mount Kinabalu.

Enjoy breakfast before heading out to pick your local produce and get a taste of sunshine, some fresh country air and vibrant summer fruit and vegetables in season.

This hands-on experience of picking your own lunch will give a true farm to table food experience. Then it’s back to experience a natural kitchen adventure – a unique learning experience that offers you the opportunity to interact and be taught directly by a local resident cook while they prepare you a locally grown lunch. After lunch depart back to Kota Kinabalu (B)

Please bring along sun block lotion, personal toiletries and towel, insect repellent, hat, walking/trekking shoes, good grip sandal, drinking water bottle, swimming attire, camera and raincoat.

Your hosts may present you with a small keepsake on departure. Feel free to bring a small gift representing your home as a memento of your visit.

The accommodation has shared area and common bathroom, meals as specified.
Excludes optional activities.

Revitalise in nature on our walk with our local hosts.
Day 5


Check out from hotel. Transfer to Kota Kinabalu Airport for morning flight (Recommended MH2042 / AK6492 ETD 7.00am ETA 7.50am, own account) to Sandakan.  Transfer to Sandakan Yacht Club for departure at 10.30 am.  You will be transferred by boat ride to Selingan or Libaran Island.

Upon arrival, check in and relax in the sun or walk along the beach.

We have dinner and await the word from our ranger for the turtle sightings where they come to the beach to lay their eggs and hope to get the chance to release baby turtles while enjoying the sunset.  (B, L, D)

**Even though records show turtles come to Selingan and Libaran Island consistently, the sighting is still NOT GUARANTEED.

**Selingan Island has very limited accommodation availability and can book out many months in advance.  Libaran Island will be offered as the backup plan should Selingan Island not have availability.

**Libaran Island has extreme tides and carrying your luggage over an exposed reef may be required.  Please consider leaving your main luggage in Sandakan with our guides, and take only an overnight bag with the necessities for your overnight stay.

**Alcohol is not available at Libaran Island and should be pre-purchased in Sandakan before departure if preferred. Your guide will be happy to help you.

Overnight – basic chalet or camping style (2 people per camp tent). Please see accommodation tab for more info.

Baby turtle makes it’s way to the edge of the water.
Day 6


Libaran Island – Sepilok – Sukau

After breakfast at 7am, clean and pack up before we depart Libaran Island around 8.30am, back to Sandakan Yacht club jetty.

Upon arrival at the jetty, you will be greeted by our friendly captain and guide and visit the Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre to learn about conservation of the world’s smallest bear.

After a delicious lunch, transfer to Sandakan jetty for an exhilarating 2½ hour boat journey to the multi-award winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge along Sabah’s longest river, Kinabatangan with the opportunity to view birds and wildlife along the way.

After check in you will board the boat for your first orangutan river safari. Be on the lookout for proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants and endangered orangutan as well as the incredible array of birdlife.  Over 325 bird species that have been sighted in the area including eight species of hornbills.

Relax and enjoy a locally cooked candlelight dinner overlooking the riverbank followed by slide presentation and interpretation by the in house naturalist guide. Stay overnight at the Sukau Rainforest Lodge. (B,L,D)


Please make sure that you travel light to Sukau Rainforest Lodge.
There will be a complimentary Night Cruise if no sightings of the Proboscis Monkey on the FIRST Afternoon Cruise. Bring along sunblock, personal toiletries, swimwear, torch, insect repellent, drinking water bottle, walking shoes, binoculars, camera, hat & raincoat.

Day 7


Take a 6 am morning river cruise up the Kinabatangan River to Kelenanap Oxbow Lake to check your luck at viewing more wildlife. We are on the lookout for the elusive orangutan, pygmy elephants, macaques, proboscis monkeys and any other exotic creatures that have eluded us so far.

After breakfast, proceed for an educational short walk along the lodge’s Hornbill Boardwalk with the in-house naturalist.  After lunch, join our Orangutan Talk and learn about how orangutans are recognised and their different features that make them unique.  You will have the opportunity to ask the naturalist any burning questions you may have.

In the afternoon, we are out for another river cruise searching for wildlife. Stay overnight at the National Geographic Unique Lodge of the World – Sukau Rainforest Lodge. (B/L/D)

The stunning Sukau Rainforest Lodge experience.

Day 8


Enjoy an early breakfast, before the 2 hour return to Sandakan, experiencing the countryside on an overland transfer.

We leave early to arrive at the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre in time to watch a video show about the plight of the orangutans and walk 10 mins through the rainforest, along the boardwalk to witness the feeding of the orangutans at 10 am, and then we continue to the newly completed enclosed nursery area to view the young orangutans.

After lunch, we will proceed to the airport for our departure flight or if time permits, we will have a chance to visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre. Take a bird view of the centre from the canopy walk and hanging bridge, explore the botanical garden, home to various species of flora. Proceed to Sandakan Memorial Park for a short visit before taking the flight to Kuala Lumpur.  (B/L)

Depart Sandakan for Kuala Lumpur and further adventure (or for the onward journey to Australia, arrive day 9).

For those who are staying on: Stay overnight Anggun Boutique Hotel.


Dreamtel Kota Kinabalu is conveniently located within the centre of Kota Kinabalu city. Local tourist attractions are within walking distance such as the Atkinson Clock Tower, the famous Sunday Market at Gaya Street, handicraft market and shopping malls like Wisma Merdeka, Suria and Centre Point. Most banks and ATMs are located at Gaya Street.

Dreamtel Kota Kinabalu is a smoke-free hotel. Dining facilities include the Dreamtel Café and 24-hours in-room dining service. Other services include meeting facility, concierge service and laundry or dry cleaning.

Dreamtel is a 160 room hotel with a wide selection of room types including Twin, Double and Triple.

All the rooms at Dreamtel Kota Kinabalu are non-smoking rooms

Room Features

  • Air-conditioning
  • Electronic door locking system
  • En-suite bathroom with standing shower and bidet
  • Complimentary wireless internet
  • Flat screen 32” television
  • Cable television channels
  • In-room electronic safe


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.”


Libaran Island is ideal for those searching for some quiet time and in need of a relaxing trip. Many agree that the charm of this island lies in its simplicity: a long stretch of beach, crystal blue waters and beautiful sunsets.

Tents are simply furnished and clean. Each is fitted with a small desk, clean linen sheets and complimentary bottled water. Guests have access to the shared bathroom facilities which includes hot-water showers.

Walai Penyu Resort Libaran Island houses a charming garden and an outdoor terrace. Water-sport activities including snorkeling and canoeing can be arranged upon request.

The on-site buffet restaurant will serve authentic Malaysian-style meals.


The sole accommodation on Selingan Turtle Island are very simple chalets that afford guests the unique opportunity to observe nesting green turtles up close and assist in releasing hatchlings into the clear waters of the Sulu Sea.

Accommodations here are basic but comfortable. Each chalet has an attached bath, air conditioning and simple, tropical inspired decor. You won’t find any pools or spas, but that’s not really what a stay on Selingan is about. With luck, visitors will enjoy a highly privileged opportunity to watch both egg layings and the release of hatchlings into the sea.

Note on Camera Use at Selingan Island:

For any camera (phone, digital or still camera) for personal use are chargeable at RM10.00 PER UNIT for conservation permit purposes. Please note that FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEO TAKING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED


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 rain forest. 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!

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.

Children <11 years of age Borneo $2995 per child sharing with parents
Children <11 years of age Borneo + Kuala Lumpur $3595 per child sharing with parents
Single Supplement Borneo sector + $450
Single Supplement Kuala Lumpur sector + $180

Note: 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.


Selingan & Libaran Island are small islands with very limited accommodation.  Trailblazers Travel will strive to honor this itinerary however if accommodation at either Island is at full occupancy, we have full discrepancy to alter the advertised itinerary and offer replacement such as, but not limited to, the following and in doing so Trailblazers Travel will not be liable for any compensation.

REPLACE Overnight turtle experience with 1 extra night Kota Kinabalu.


Free at leisure in the morning. Pick up from hotel and depart on a journey with scenic view of lush paddy fields, quaint villages and a picturesque sight of Mount Kinabalu from a different perspective. Upon arrival at the jetty, proceed with safety briefing and light refreshment before we embark on a river cruise in search of one of Borneo’s icons – Proboscis Monkeys with a mesmerizing sunset viewing at the end. Return to the jetty for a buffet dinner.

After dinner, hop into the boat for another cruise, this time along Nanamun River and be enchanted by the sight of the magical lights, emanating from the resident fireflies. Thereafter, return Dreamtel hotel for overnight stay – superior. (B/D)

Please wear casual attire, thongs, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen lotion, insect repellent, raincoat, sea sick medicine, extra change of clothes (in case you get wet), binoculars, camera, plastic bag for camera, other personal items and extra cash for Optional activities.


Note: (November-February) Please be advised that the trip to both islands involves boat journey via the Sulu Sea. In the event of inclement weather conditions during or before the boat journey, the company will have the absolute discretion to cancel or postpone the trip if it is deemed that the journey will jeopardize the safety of our passengers. In the event of cancellation, a replacement tour will be offered. The company or Trailblazers Travel will not be liable for any compensation. Camera Fee is not included. Snorkelling gear available for hire at a surcharge.

Note on Camera Use at Selingan Island:

Any camera (phone, digital or still camera) for personal use are chargeable at RM10.00 PER UNIT for conservation permit purposes. Please note that FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEO TAKING IS STRICTLY PROHIBITED

Packages: *Conditions apply. Prices correct as at 28 Mar 18 but may fluctuate if surcharges, fees, taxes or currency change. Offers and itinerary subject to availability and change without 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. Please see our full terms and conditions.

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.

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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.


  • 3 orangutan boat safaris on Kinabatangan River
  • Visit sun bear rescue program
  • Search for pygmy elephants
  • Kiulu Valley Farm Stay
  • Meals with the locals
  • View orangutan feeding at Rehabilitation Centre
  • Kota Kinabalu city tour
  • Turtle hatching experience
  • All accommodation in mid range accommodation.
  • Watch turtles lay their eggs on island sanctuary
  • Stay in National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World
  • Sandakan War Memorial
  • All transfers
  • All meals as listed
  • Taxes subject to change
  • Small group travel
  • Responsible Travel making a positive social impact


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.