Borneo for Families

Malaysian Borneo is an ideal destination for parents and children interested in nature. Boasting a dazzling rainbow of spectacular animals, unusual plants and breath-taking landscapes, combined with well organised logistics, and excellent hotels and food.

Key Facts

COST: We organise this expedition on a bespoke tour basis. We can set up this itinerary for private groups up to 16 people. The cost depends upon the group size. Please email us for a quote.

DURATION: 12 days / 11 nights.

START POINT: Sandakan, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.

END POINT: Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo.

DATES: To fit your preference. We recommend January – April, as these months are usually the driest times of the year. We can set this trip up for you to suit your dates, e.g. around school holidays etc. 

To minimise the number of week days needed, we recommend starting this trip on a Monday and ending on a Friday. This enables participants to fly out over the weekend before the trip starts, and return home (and recover from flights) during the weekend after the trip (meaning just 10 week days are required).

The ideal destination for parents and children interested in nature


We have carefully designed the following itinerary with families in mind. This trip offers a range of child-friendly locations with superb opportunities to see wildlife. Ideal for families with children ages 7-14 years old.

Getting there: Many international flights from destinations around the world connect to Kuala Lumpur and Singapore (both of which are major hub cities). Several low cost airline (such as Air Asia or Malaysia Airlines) connect Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to Sandakan and Kota Kinabalu. Purchase a one-way flight to Sandakan for the start of this trip, and a one-way flight back from Kota Kinabalu at the end.


Day 1:

Morning pick up in Sandakan (we recommend arriving at least a day early and having a night to rest before this expedition starts. Many excellent hotels are available in Sandakan, see ). Transfer to Gomantong Cave to see the giant cave systems, filled with swiftlets and bats (as well as impressive guano mounds and a few cockroaches!) We have a chance to see wild orangutans and red leaf monkeys (red langurs).

After lunch, transfer to Sepilok Jungle Resort. Check in. Transfer to Rainforest Discovery Centre for evening walk along rainforest trails to see gigantic trees, and the tree-top canopy walk at sunset (good for spotting flying squirrels and bird life). Transfer back to Sepilok Jungle Resort for dinner and overnight.

Day 2 and 3:

Transfer to Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre to see orangutans, then Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre to see sun bears. Lunch, then transfer to Labuak Bay Proboscis Monkey Reserve to see proboscis monkeys, silver leaf monkeys and (often) oriental pied hornbills. Long-tailed macaques are often spotted around the Sepilok area. Transfer back to Sepilok Jungle Resort for dinner and overnight.

Day 4:

Early morning transfer by boat to a beautiful coral island called Selingan (known as Turtle Island). Selingan has nice, sandy beaches, with coral and marine life offshore. The Philippine megapode and 1 m long Asian water monitor lizards are frequent sights within the open forests on Selingan. On arrival, we have an information briefing and video presentation, followed by dinner. Late at night we (hopefully) watch green and hawksbill sea turtles laying eggs on the island’s beaches. We may also witness a release of hatchlings (by wardens) into the sea. Note: turtles cannot be guaranteed – landings happen throughout the year but can be unpredictable. Overnight in accommodation on Selingan and dinner in the island’s restaurant.

Day 5:

A relaxed day on the beaches of Selingan Island and a second opportunity to see the turtles tonight (in case not many turtles came ashore last night). Explore the island and undertake nature walk to see wildlife! . Overnight in accommodation on Selingan and dinner in the island’s restaurant.

Day 6:

Transfer back to Sandakan for connecting flight to Kota Kinabalu. Transfer to Poring (close to Mount Kinabalu). Depending upon our arrival time, we can undertake some of tomorrow’s activities today! Accommodation in a hotel at Poring. Dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 7-8:

Today, we spend the whole day exploring Poring and Kundasang. There is a lot of sights relatively close to one another. We can choose from the following:

  • visit local Rafflesia reserves for a chance to see giant Rafflesia keithii flowers in bloom (60 cm across)! Flowering cannot be guaranteed, but if no flowers are open, we can adjust plans and drive to Tambunan for R. pricei.
  • visit to the Poring butterfly farm.
  • explore cloudforest trails and the botanic gardens on the slopes of Mount Kinabalu with stunning views. Lunch at the Kinabalu head quarters. And a beautiful botanic garden home to orchids and pitcher plants.
  • visit to the spectacular 120 metre Langanan Waterfall (1.5 km trek each way) – if everyone is happy with doing the walk. Plus many jungle trails.
  • late afternoon dip in the geothermal hot spring water pools at Poring.

Accommodation in a hotel at Poring. Dinner in a local restaurant.

Day 9:

Today we drive from Poring to Kundasang to Kuala Penyu (south of Kota Kinabalu). Along the way, we stop to visit the Kundasang Fruit Market to try an amazing range of exotic, weird and wonderful fruit. We often see and can taste dragon fruit, snake fruit, rambutan, mangosteen, the world famous durian and many others!

We arrive in Kuala Penyu just before sunset to do a cruise along the Klias River to see proboscis monkeys and macaques in the trees along the river banks. We have dinner in a river-side restaurant, then return to the boat for a night time river cruise to see fire flies (the fire flies synchronise their flashes, so entire trees can light up). Accommodation in a hotel at Kuala Penyu.

Day 10:

This morning, we transfer to Survivor Island (Pulau Tiga Resort), so called because the TV series “Survivor” was filmed here. A beautiful coral island with sandy beaches and reefs. During the rest of today, and all of tomorrow, we can undertake the following activities:

  • snorkel in the island’s tropical waters and relax on the beautiful sandy beaches.
  • jump in the island’s “mud volcanoes” – pools of cold, sticky mud. Weird, gooey but great fun!
  • see giant Asian monitor lizards, megapode birds and long tail macaques.
  • undertake a nature walk at night time in search of hermit crabs and mini-beasts!

Accommodation in air conditioned rooms in beach-style cabin on Survivor Island.

Day 11:

A full day on Survivor Island to undertake activities (see above). Optional activities which can be booked at the resort include boat trips to nearby islands for diving and snorkelling. Accommodation in air conditioned room in beach-style cabin on Palau Tiga.

Day 12:

Transfer by boat to Kuala Penyu on the mainland and overland transfer to Kota Kinabalu International Airport for late afternoon / evening departing flights (please confirm your departing flight details).