View of the canopy in Danum Valley

Danum Valley

Danum Valley is one of the few places in the world that has never been settled, logged, hunted or otherwise interfered with by humans. Hidden in its untouched forests, wildlife thrives – from the world’s tallest tropical tree (over 100m) to the highest concentration of orangutans anywhere in the world.

The jewel in Borneo’s (already jewel-encrusted) crown, the Danum Valley Conservation Area is a nature lover’s dream. Here, endangered species including the Borneo pygmy elephant, and the highest concentration of orangutans anywhere in the world hide away in forests so thick and isolated that they’ve never been meddled with by humans.

For us, it’s absolutely the best wilderness experience you can have, bar none – but it’s not a place for ticking animal sightings off a list. In such dense forest, it’s far too easy for them to hide (which, incidentally, is precisely why they’re still there). Instead, you come here to feel what it’s like to be in one of the world’s last truly wild places. This is a habitat that’s changed little since dinosaurs roamed the Earth – that’s quite something. We don’t know about you, but it sends shivers down our spine.

Unsurprisingly, getting to the heart of a 130-million-year-old rainforest cut off from all human influence and habitation isn’t the easiest thing to do. Visitor numbers are restricted, and the journey is long, bumpy, and far from comfortable. When you get here, however, you’re in for a treat. This is true wilderness and true luxury: the only accommodation is a stunning five-star lodge on the banks of a river which counts Will & Kate among its illustrious guests. Here, if you’re very lucky, you can wake to see orangutans breakfasting on the waterfront while the rainforest beyond stands shrouded in atmospheric morning mist.

We won’t beat about the jungle: visiting the Danum Valley doesn’t come cheap – but we promise you it’s worth every dime. In fact, we’ll eat our hat if it isn’t one of the most unforgettable travel experiences you ever have.

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