Unique Wildlife in Style and Comfort
Borneo. It conjures up all sorts of evocative images – of ancient rainforests and enigmatic orangutans. Of jungle treks and riverboat journeys. Of heat and humidity and wildlife large and small. It is an iconic destination.
And for those wildlife lovers who like their adventures with a splash of luxury, the jungles of Borneo’s Sabah region are the place to go, with incredible wildlife viewing opportunities from some of the most stylish safari resorts in southeast Asia.
Borneo is the third largest island in the world, and is shared between the countries of Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.
Whilst nearly three-quarters of the land mass is in Indonesia, the best combination of wildlife viewing and tourism infrastructure is in the Malaysian province of Sabah, on the northeast corner of the island.
Here, nature sanctuaries, riverside jungles and primordial rainforest provide a wealth of opportunities to encounter Bornean wildlife, from the “Borneo Big 5” – orangutans, proboscis monkeys, pygmy elephants, crocodiles and rhinoceros hornbills – to the lesser known wonders of sun bears, tarsiers, slow lorises and mouse deer, plus an abundance of colourful birds, insects and reptiles.
For the ultimate in luxurious adventuring and wildlife watching in the heart of Borneo, the team at YOLO Travel have put together this eight-day itinerary, which takes in the best experiences Borneo has to offer, in style and comfort.
Your Borneo adventure begins in the seaside town of Sandakan.
Upon arrival, head directly to Sepilok, a small village thirty minutes by road, and home to some of the best sanctuaries and reserves in Borneo.
Here, the key attractions are the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre, the Rainforest Discovery Centre and the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary.
While staying in Sepilok for two nights, the lodging of choice is the charming Sepilok Nature Resort.
Just metres from the entrance to the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Sepilok Nature Resort has 23 rustic-chic bungalows in lush gardens surrounding a scenic natural pond, in addition to the popular restaurant The Lake. The villas are linked by picturesque walkways and bridges, and in the evenings the entire resort is lit with lanterns with a magical effect.
After visiting the highly regarded sanctuaries of Sepilok, it is time to head out into the wild – via motor boat across Sandakan Bay and up the Kinabatangan River.
The Kinabatangan is the second longest river in Malaysia, and its chocolate-brown waters meander through a landscape of riverine forests, mangrove swamps, oxbow lakes and limestone caves.
The junglefilled shoreline is now designated the Kinabatangan River Wildlife Sanctuary and is home to vast populations of Bornean wildlife in their natural environment.
Sukau Rainforest Lodge, a member of National Geographic’s Unique Lodges of the World, is a stunning riverside retreat in the heart of the Kinabatangan River Wildlife Sanctuary, and is home for a three night stay to explore this amazing region.
With an idyllic location and a focus on ecotourism, Sukau Rainforest Lodge has always been well known for the quality of its tours and the skill of its guides.
But with the 2017 completion of 20 new luxury villas, Sukau Rainforest Lodge now represents the pinnacle of accommodation in the river region, and the lodging of choice for the discerning adventure traveller.
From Sukau Rainforest Lodge, the majority of activities are river based, with morning and afternoon boat safaris. Morning tours begin just before sunrise, taking to the river in the predawn mist. In small motorised boats, guests and their guide wend their way softly through the waterways, scouring the surrounding jungle for animals.
Birdlife abounds whilst the waterways teem with fish and crocodiles. But it is the mammals which will capture the hearts (and lenses) of most visitors – the comedic proboscis monkeys, the riotous langurs and macaques, the not-very-small-at-all pygmy elephants and, oh, the orangutans.
Sightings are never guaranteed, but the chances are good in the Kinabatangan River region, and are greatly magnified by the excellent naturalist guides of Sukau Rainforest Lodge.
Keep an eye out for Part 2 where we reveal the destination for days 6 to 8. We assure you we have saved the best to last!
Visit YOLO Travel at youonlyliveoncetravel.com.au for more ways to enjoy the spoils of success and to book your own exclusive adventures for the discerning traveller.