Borneo Family Adventure
For real family adventure in a setting straight from The Jungle Book, there’s nowhere in the world to beat Borneo.
This is one of the last true wildernesses on Earth — but you don’t have to be a grizzled explorer to enjoy it. In fact, Borneo is full of safe and exciting adventure experiences that the whole family can enjoy, and this trip is packed with them.
Transport in detail
Transfers will be by car and boat, with three internal flights (from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu, Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan, and from Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu).
You’ll visit both of Malaysian Borneo’s best orangutan sanctuaries, giving you the best chance to see these flame-haired men of the jungle close-up
Long journeys have been kept to a minimum
There’s a great variety of included experiences, balancing wildlife with adventure and spectacular scenery
There’s plenty of time to relax on the beach at the end of the trip
Things to consider
Some activities may not be suitable for children under the age of eight, but we can suggest alternatives
The destinations on this itinerary are well-known and popular, so you won’t be going too far from the beaten track
Your chances of animal sightings are excellent, but nothing is guaranteed!
Even if you travel in the “dry” season, always expect rain in a rainforest
Some accommodation is pretty basic — it’s all part of the fun of the jungle!
We’ve based this trip on our favourite family-friendly experiences, but yours might look completely different. Tell us your ideas and we’ll craft an itinerary to suit you.
Borneo is one of two places in the world with orangutans, so it’s only fitting that you kick off your adventure by visiting the King of the Swingers in his natural habitat. After visiting the Conservation Centre, spend the rest of the day kayaking through the Sarawak countryside, passing rainforest, pepper farms, and Bidayuh minority villages. The next day, you’ll dive into the rainforest proper with a visit to Bako National Park, where you’ll might spot monitor lizards among the mangroves or proboscis monkeys in the towering trees. In the evenings, make the most of all the sweet treats and spicy snacks in Borneo’s cat-themed culinary capital: Kuching.
Visit the orangutans at Semenggoh Rehabilitation Centre
Kayak along a gentle river in the Sarawak countryside, passing through villages and farmland
See the mangrove forests of Bako National Park
Kota Kinabalu is the springboard for some of Borneo’s most amazing experiences. Begin with the journey to Pangi, travelling through the jungle by train on a railway built in 1896 to transport tobacco. On arrival, gear up and get out on the water for an exciting rafting ride on the rapids of the Padas River — in the safe hands of an expert rafting guide, of course. It’s an exhilarating ten-kilometre course through farmland and rainforest, but there are plenty of gentler sections where you’ll have a chance to soak up the scenery. Back in Kota Kinabalu for the evening, discover the city’s hidden charms: delicious seafood, friendly people, and beautiful sunsets.
Go on a scenic train ride through the Sabahan countryside
Raft on the exhilarating rapids of the Padas River
Sample KK’s super-fresh seafood at the city’s night food markets
The finer detail
- Breakfast every day
- Six lunches: two in Kuching; one during whitewater rafting; one in Sepilok; two at your lodge on the Kinabatangan River
- Two dinners: both at your lodge on the Kinabatangan River
- Two full-day experiences: walking & boating through Mangrove forests; whitewater rafting on the Padas River
- Four half-day experiences: kayaking through villages; two orangutan sanctuaries; the Sun Bear Conservation Centre
- Two night stay on the Kinabatangan River including wildlife spotting activities
- All accommodation
- All entrance fees to sites included in guided experiences
- All domestic transfers and transport
Logistics and journey times
Car transfer from airport to Kuching (30 minutes)
Car transfer to airport (30 minutes)
Flight from Kuching to Kota Kinabalu (1.5 hours)
Car transfer from airport to Kota Kinabalu (20 minutes)
Car transfer of 2 hours to Beaufort Railway Station then 2 hour train journey to Pangi Station, before return journey in reverse
Car transfer to airport (20 minutes)
Flight from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan (45 minutes)
Car transfer to Sepilok (20 minutes)
Car transfer to Sandakan Jetty (20 minutes)
Boat transfer along the Kinabatangan River (2 hours)
OR: Car transfer to Kinabatangan River (2 hours) and boat transfer to Lodge (5 minutes)
(This depends on accommodation)
Boat Transfer along Kinabatangan River to Jetty (2 hours)
Car transfer to airport (20 minutes)
OR: Car transfer to Airport (2 hours) (This depends on accommodation)
Flight from Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu (45 minutes)
Car transfer to beach (1 hour)
Car transfer to airport (1 hour)
What's not included
- International flights
- Any necessary visas
- Any lunches or dinners unless stated
- Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences
- Tipping and personal expenses
- Tourist taxes & any National Park fees