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Sandakan to Selingan Island and Sukau: 8 days

Borneo is a wildlife wonderland. With some of the world’s oldest and most diverse forests and wildlife – orang-utans, pygmy elephants, Sumatran rhinos, cloud leopards, long-nosed monkeys… this is one incredible corner of the world.

North Sabah is a conservation hot spot and is not to be missed.

See orang-utans in their natural habitat while cruising along the Kinabatangan River – the longest river in Borneo and watch families of proboscis monkeys come to the river's edge in the early evening. You might even spot a crocodile lurking at the waters edge hoping to catch a wandering monkey. Be part of a turtle breeding program on Selingan Island where you will witness the magical experience of a green turtles laying her eggs.

Although Borneo is a quite well known tourist hot spot, it is a quiet destination. It is eco-tourism at its best. You really get the chance to come and observe and be a part of life in Borneo.

* Price includes 7 nights' accommodation, transfers, guides, 15 meals and more. Price does not include return international flights to Borneo.

We would be happy to provide you with a quote for international flights. Flights from Australia to Sandakan are very approximately $750-$1000 per person return. The actual price varies depending on departure city, time of year and luck of the draw! 

Download Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in Sandakan

Arrive at Sandakan airport where you will be met by your tour guide and transferred to the Sepilok Nature Resort. Located in the Kabili-Sepilok Forest Reserve, the Sepilok Nature Resort is a great place to start your Borneo adventure. Enjoy this protected stretch of lowland tropical forest and the incredible wonder of nature on offer. 

Overnight: Sepilok Nature Resort

Day 2: Visit the orang-utans and enjoy Sepilok Nature Resort

Enjoy the day relaxing at the Sepliok Nature Resort. At your own leisure you can visit the Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre (SORC), one of the best places on Earth to see the "man of the forest" – the literal translation of orang-utan. The SORC has a dedicated team who nurse and teach orphaned and abandoned orang-utans all they need so that they can once again survive in the wild. Walk on a boardwalk through the jungle and see orang-utans in their natural environment.   

The Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Centre is just across the road from the SORC. This is the home of rescued sun bears who are lovingly cared for by another team of devoted animal lovers. It is the only sun bear conservation centre in the world and has received the attention of National Geographic.

Please note: entrance fees not included. The approximate fee for each is RM30 (AUD$10). 

Overnight: Sepilok Nature Resort

Meals included: Breakfast

Day 3: Take part in a turtle breeding program at Selingan Island

After breakfast you will be taken to the Sandakan jetty for a boat ride to Selingan Island. A 45 minute boat ride from the mainland and you will discover the Turtle Islands National Marine park. Selingan is one of 3 islands and is home to one of the world's most successful breeding programs. You can spend the day at leisure swimming and snorkelling and enjoying the small island. After dinner the turtle activities begin and you will have the opportunity to witness the magical experience of the green turtle coming ashore to lay her eggs. You can also participate in the breeding program of transferring the eggs to the hatchery and releasing newly hatched baby turtles in the sea. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

Please note: The focus of Selingan Island is conservation. The island is open to a limited number of tourists each day. Early bookings are recommended. During July and August, bookings fill up very quickly. The accommodation provided is basic but comfortable, consisting of simple chalets with ensuite bathrooms and air conditioning. 

Please bring an overnight bag with you, because you may not be able to take all of your luggage with you on the boat to Selingan Island. There would not be enough room to accommodate everyone’s luggage gracefully. Your luggage will be stored securely in the offices of the tour operator and you can collect the following morning when you return to Sandakan. 

Overnight: Selingan Island Chalet

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 4: Travel to Sukau on the Kinabatangan River

After breakfast you will return to the mainland where you will be free to explore Sandakan for the morning. Sandakan has a rich history and has a mix of Catholic churches, Buddhist temples, a colonial tea house and much more. 

After lunch you will travel overland to the Sukau Greenview Lodge on the Kinabatangan River, the second longest river in Sabah. Cruise the river and keep a watchful eye for wildlife: baby crocodiles basking on logs, big crocodiles awaiting prey on the river bank, families of monkeys and macaques swarming in the trees. The proboscis monkey escapes the heat and comes to the rivers edge in the evening, and don't forget to look up – you may see the unmistakable orang-utan.

Deluxe option: After breakfast return to the mainland and proceed to the famous Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre. You will have the opportunity to watch the orangutans up close in their natural habitat. A boardwalk through the rainforest will take you to the feeding platform where the orang-utans are fed (entrance fees included). After lunch, transfer to Sandakan jetty for 2 and a half hour boat journey to the multi award winning Sukau Rainforest Lodge. In 2011 David Attenborough and his BBC crew stayed at the lodge and in his honour room no.17 has been named after him. Following check in and an afternoon refreshment, take an afternoon cruise on the river.

Overnight: Sukau Greenview Lodge (Deluxe option: Sukau Rainforest Lodge)

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 5: Enjoy river cruising and a guided jungle trek

Wake up to the calls of gibbons and hornbills and hot Sabah tea. Take an early morning river cruise on the Kinabatangan River to Kelenanap oxbow lake to view more birds and wildlife. Oxbow lakes are horseshoe bends that were once part of the river but got cut off when the winding path changed direction. They are home to a multitude of birdlife and other wildlife.

Return to the lodge for breakfast and later in the morning take a guided jungle walk. In the afternoon you will have the opportunity for another river cruise.

Overnight: Sukau Greenview Lodge (Deluxe option: Sukau Rainforest Lodge)

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

Day 6: Visit the Gomantong caves and explore Sandakan

After breakfast return overland to Sandakan. Visit the Gomantong cave to witness the unique ecology of the swiftlet and the harvesting of their edible birds nests. Red leaf monkeys and wild orang-utans are often seen on the walk to the cave. In Sandakan we will proceed to the War Memorial. Sandakan was home to a prisoner of War Camp during World War II and the War Memorial provides an excellent account of this history. In the afternoon enjoy a canopy walk at the Rainforest Discovery Centre and learn in more detail about the flora of Borneo.

Deluxe option: After breakfast return to Sandakan by boat and visit the War Memorial and Rainforest Discovery Centre. 

Overnight: Four Points Sheraton Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast and lunch

Day 7: Visit a local village and take a fireflies tour

In the afternoon you will be collected from you hotel and taken to the jetty for a ride across Sandakan Bay for a river cruise in search of wildlife. Then take a walk in the local village where you will have a tea break in one of the villagers' house. Relax and enjoy the surroundings and at around 7pm when it is dark, take a slow cruise to watch the fireflies light up the mangrove trees. On returning to Sandakan, have dinner at a local restaurant and then you will be taken back to your hotel. 

Overnight: Four Points Sheraton Hotel

Meals included: Breakfast and dinner

Day 8: Time to go home

After breakfast you will be collected and transferred to the airport in time for your flight.

Meals included: breakfast

Optional additional nights at the resort are available. 

Travelbay Tip:

Our 9 Day tour to Borneo is a variation of this same tour with the addition of 2 nights in the Danum Valley (incredible and secluded rainforest) ending with a night at the Shangri-La resort in Kota Kinabalu. 

Travelbay Borneo - 9 Day Borneo Experience including Danum Valley

  • 8 day tour of North Sabah, Borneo where the abundant rainforest has been preserved – literally a wildlife haven.
  • 7 nights' accommodation ranging from nature resorts to island chalets, jungle lodges and a 4 star hotel
  • Enjoy the delights of Malaysian cuisine with 15 meals included in the package.
  • All airport transfers – your tour guide will be there to meet you on arrival and get you to the airport on time for your departure.
  • Air conditioned mini van for all overland transport.
  • English speaking guide.
  • Entrance and sightseeing fees as stated in the itinerary.
  • Return boat journey from Sandakan to Selingan Island in the Turtle Islands Marine Park. 
  • 3 wildlife river cruises on the Kinbatangan River. 
  • Opportunity to see orang-utans in the wild, proboscis monkeys, sun bears, if lucky the pygmy elephant and much much more!
  • A guided trip to Selingan Island to be part of one of the world’s most successful turtle breeding programs for the endangered green and hawksbill turtles. Return boat trip included. 
  • 3 Kinabatangan River cruises where you have the opportunity to spot wildlife along the river bank. The Kinabatangan River is the second longest river in Malaysia and the surrounding rainforest has been well protected in many parts – this means that there is plenty of wildlife coming to the shore to cool off in the late afternoon.
  • Take a guided jungle walk in one of the world’s most bio-diverse region.
  • Visit to the Gomantong Cave where you will see the curious system of edible bird nest harvesting. The jungle surrounding the cave is home to red leaf monkeys and wild orang-utans – all of which frequent the jungle boardwalk. (Please note: this is not included in the deluxe option. The caves are located between Sukau and Sandakan and are therefore included in the standard package as you travel overland between these locations. In the Deluxe option, you return to Sandakan by boat). 
  • Pay homage to history with a visit to the Australian War Memorial and learn about the role Australian soldiers had in Borneo during WWII.
  • Visit the Rainforest Discovery Centre on a guided tour and discover and learn about the plants of the rainforest. From medicinal plants, to vanilla plants, canopy walks and a stroll around a peaceful lake it makes for a wonderful visit. 
  • Travel by boat to a small fishing village near Sandakan. Take a walk through the village and enjoy a tea break in a local home. Travel up the river to see the illuminating fire flies and nocturnal wildlife.
  • Finish the tour off with 2 nights at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel in Sandakan.

    Travelbay Borneo Map

    How to get there:
    This tour starts and ends in Sandakan, Malaysia.

    (Borneo is the name of the island and the island is composed of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. This Travelbay tour is in the Malaysian part of Borneo).

    Flights to Sandakan go via Kuala Lumpur or Kota Kinabulu. 

    Please note: If you have a stopover in Kuala Lumpur, from here you will be taking a domestic flight to Sandakan or Kota Kinabalu. Sandakan, Kota Kinabalu and Kuala Lumpur are all part of the country Malaysia. 

    Travelbay works together with an excellent corporate flight booking company and is happy to provide you with a quote and organise your flights. We charge a $50 booking fee for this service. Alternatively, if you would like to arrange flights yourself you can find more information and suggestions here.

    If you are wanting to know more about how far it is between destinations and how long your flight will take, you can visit and use their trip calculator.

    To help you calculate the time difference we recommend World Time Buddy.

    Visa information:
    Travellers on an Australian passport do not require a visa for Malaysia for tourism purposes. For more information on visas please see here

    Currency information:
    The currency used in Malaysia is the Malaysian Ringgit.

    What currency to take over there is a personal choice. Some people prefer to take US$ cash as a backup whilst others prefer to take AUD$ cash – it depends on what you are comfortable with. There are ATM machines available and you should let your bank know that you will be using your card over there to avoid them freezing any 'suspicious' activity.

    Tipping and Tour Guides:
    A few customers have asked us about tipping. Really this is a personal matter, not obligatory and at your discretion.

    Some like to provide the tour guide with a few dollars a day and a little less for the driver. If you love your guide you can of course offer more – it really is up to you. Tour guides will not generally join you when eating. If you would like your guide to join you, you will need to invite them. 

    Vaccination Information:
    Travelbay recommends you check with your doctor as to any immunisations that you may require or that are recommended for your travels.  Alternatively, you can visit The Travel Doctor or Travelvax for more information. 


    Dry season: May to September
    Wet season: November to January. Typically the rainfall in the wet season is characterised by short sharp bursts. February is the wettest month but other than that the weather is fairly constant throughout the year.
    Temperature: Sitting only a few degrees North of the equator, the temperatures are fairly similar all year round, 25-33 degrees Celsius during the day and not going much below 22 degrees Celsius during the night.

    Peak season: July-September

    Population: 18.6 million

    Language: Malay

    Predominant religion: Islam

    Some interesting facts:
    Borneo is the third largest island in the world (Greenland takes first place and New Guinea second). The Southern part is Indonesian, the Northern part Malaysian with Brunei located on the NW coast.

    At 130 million years old the rainforest in Borneo is one of the world’s oldest (if not the oldest). It is also one of the world’s most biodiverse.

    Borneo is one of the only remaining natural habitats for the orang-utan (Orang means man and utan means forest).

    Related blogs & articles:

    Travelbay-Blog-The-Magic-of-Selingan-Island-Part-1 Travelbay-Blog-The-Magic-of-Selingan-Island-Part-2

    Travelbay-Blog-Meet-the-Jungle-People-part-1 Travelbay-Blog-Meet-the-Jungle-People-part-2

    Travelbay-Blog---Helping-the-endangered-orang-utan Travelbay-Blog-Borneo-a-quiet-type-of-eco-tourism

    Travelbay Tip:

    Extend your holiday and enjoy some time on the Malaysian Peninsula with one of these great tours or see more of Borneo with a longer tour. 

    Travelbay Malaysia - 10 Superb Luxurious Days in Langkawi & Kuala Lumpur Travelbay Malaysia - 10 Days Exploring Colonial Malaysia - 5 Star 

    Travelbay Borneo - 9 Day Borneo Experience including Danum ValleyTravelbay Borneo – 14 Day Wonders of Sabah Tour

    Terms & Conditions

    Booking Process:

    Upon purchase of your tour online you will immediately receive a receipt and order confirmation. Travelbay will contact the tour operator to confirm availability for all accommodation and transportation for your tour.

    As soon as we have confirmed the dates (usually within 48 hours sometimes a little longer at weekends) we will email you your booking confirmation.

    We will request further information from you to ensure that all your personal preferences are taken care of. This will include details such as your accommodation preferences, dietary requests, allergies, health issues, emergency contact and any special requirements.

    Very Important:

    It is important to note your dates are only confirmed once we have been in touch with you to confirm availability. Therefore, please wait on purchasing your international flights until you have received a booking confirmation from us. In the unlikely event that there is no availability on your chosen date we will offer you alternate dates. If these do not suit we will fully refund your payment. 

    Please note: Availability at Selingan Island is very limited especially during July and August. We strongly recommend early bookings.

    Booking Information:

    • Quoted prices are per person. 
    • Booking valid for selected and booked travel dates.
    • Bookings are subject to availability.
    • Child prices:
      • 23 months and under: travel free
      • Age 2-11 years: AUD$715
      • 12 and over: require their own booking
    • High season surcharge:
      • Sukau Rainforest Lodge (Deluxe option) from 1 July to 31 August 2017: $64 per person per stay.
    • Minimum group size is 2. 
    • The listed "Price per person ~ single" relates to having your own room for the tour. If you are a single traveller please note the minimum group size is 2, so you need to contact us prior to booking to ensure others have already booked on your preferred travel date.
    • Maximum group size is 20. Please contact us if your group is larger than 20. 
    • Maximum room capacity:
      • Sepilok Nature Resort, Four Points Sheraton and Sukau Greenview Lodge: 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children. 1 extra bed. 2nd child shares bed with adult.
      • Selingan Island and Sukau Rainforest Lodge: 2 adults or 2 adults and 1 child. If more, family will be split in 2 rooms.
    • If you would like to arrive before the start of tour or leave later and require extra nights’ accommodation, please contact us and we can arrange it for you at very reasonable rates (subject to availability).


    • 7 nights' accommodation in DBL/TWN share with daily breakfast.
    • 15 meals as per itinerary.
    • Free wifi available at Sepilok Nature Resort and Four Points Sheraton.
    • An English speaking guide throughout the tour.
    • Entrance and sightseeing fees as stated in the itinerary.
    • Return boat journey to Selingan Island.
    • 3 Kinabatangan River cruises. 
    • All airport transfers.
    • Air conditioned mini van for all overland transport as per itinerary. 
    • Taxes and service fees.


    • International flights.
    • Domestic flights.
    • Entrance fee to Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre and Bornean Sun Bear Conservation centre (RM 30 ~ approximately AUD $10 each).
    • Meals not outlined in the itinerary.
    • Drinks for all meals.
    • Camera fees (Sepilok Orang-utan Rehabilitation Centre and Selingan Island for night photography = approximately AUD$3.50 each).
    • Tips and gratuities.
    • Personal expenses such as telephone, laundry etc.
    • Others not indicated in the inclusions.

    Please Note:

    • Please bring an overnight bag with you, because you may not be able to take all of your luggage with you on the boat to Selingan Island. There would not be enough room to accommodate everyone’s luggage gracefully. Your luggage will be stored securely in the offices of the tour operator and you can collect the following morning when you return to Sandakan. 

    General Terms & Conditions:

    • Your contract with Travelbay commences upon us providing you with a booking confirmation (not upon payment).
    • By purchasing this tour you confirm that you have read, understood and agree to these terms and conditions.
    • All prices we list are in AUD unless otherwise stated and include GST where payable.
    • This package, including any unused portion, cannot be exchanged for other services or cash.
    • Some accommodation providers may require that you present a credit card or cash deposit upon check-in to cover any additional expenses that may be incurred during your stay, for example mini-bar. You are responsible for the payment of any such additional expenses.
    • Please check baggage allowance prior to travel. The allowance may vary according to the destination, airline, cruise or coach operator. You are responsible for any excess baggage fees.
    • Travelbay recommends travel insurance. We would be pleased to provide you with a quote and support you in your insurance needs. Please click here or contact us on 1800 020 020.
    • It is your responsibility to ensure you have a valid visa, if required. Please click here for more information on visa requirements.
    • Passport and visa regulations can change and it is your responsibility to ensure that you possess the relevant travel documents before you travel. Delays can be experienced in obtaining a passport or visa, so you are advised to apply in plenty of time. We accept no responsibility in any regard in relation to customers who are denied entry to a country because they do not possess the correct travel documents.
    • It is also your responsibility to ensure that you hold a passport that is valid for at least six months beyond your date of return. If you hold multiple passports, you may be required to present your passport of residence on departing that country. If you hold a passport for a country to which you are travelling, you may be obliged to produce that passport on entering the country. Accordingly, you could be obliged to carry more than one passport when travelling overseas. You should make your own enquiries in relation to your specific circumstances and requirements.
    • It is your responsibility to ensure that all your details are recorded correctly. Any request for a name change after documents have been issued may incur amendment fees or result in the original booking being cancelled and in the case of airlines, the loss of a seat.
    • When purchasing flights, cruises and other carriage and travel services, the name on the passport must match the name on the ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid. If, after purchasing products or services but before traveling, any member of your party changes their name you must notify the relevant carrier, or us, immediately so that the necessary changes can be made to your documentation. You may incur a fee.
    • Travelbay recommends you check with your doctor as to any immunisations that you may require or that are recommended for your travels.  Alternatively, you can visit The Travel Doctor or Travelvax for more information. For those of you who have any medical conditions please also ensure you are fit to travel and have all the medication you need with you. Recommended inoculations for travel may change and you should consult your doctor for current recommendations before you depart. It is your responsibility to ensure that you meet all health entry requirements, obtain recommended inoculations, take all recommended medication, and follow all medical advice in relation to your trip.
    • Many but not all suppliers have facilities for people who require assistance. If you have any disabilities or require special assistance, please let us know at the time of booking so we can check if suitable services are available.
    • It is your responsibility to review travel prohibitions, warnings, announcements and advisories issued by the relevant government agencies prior to booking travel or departing to international destinations. For Australian travellers, information on conditions in various countries and the level of risk associated with travel to particular international destinations can be found on the Australian Government's travel advisory and consular assistance service website currently located at For travellers from other countries we recommend you check the travel recommendations of your country.
    • By offering reservations for travel-related products or services in relation to particular international destinations, Travelbay does not represent or warrant that travel to such points is advisable or without risk, and Travelbay is not liable for damages or losses that may result from travel to such destinations.
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    • Whilst we take great care to provide clear and accurate information, there may be occasions where there are inaccuracies or errors. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Travelbay does not guarantee the accuracy of, and disclaims liability for, any errors or other inaccuracies relating to the information, descriptions and activities displayed on this website and in our promotional material.
    • All accommodation and hotels are subject to change. If the stated hotel is not available a hotel of a similar standard and location will be booked.
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    If you have any questions please email us 24/7 or call us Monday to Friday on 1800 020 020 to speak with one of our friendly team.

    For other dates please call us

    5 August 2017*

    8 August 2017*

    12 August 2017*

    15 August 2017*

    19 August 2017*

    22 August 2017*

    26 August 2017*

    30 August 2017*

    2 September 2017

    5 September 2017

    9 September 2017

    12 September 2017

    16 September 2017

    19 September 2017

    23 September 2017

    26 September 2017

    30 September 2017

    3 October 2017

    7 October 2017

    10 October 2017

    14 October 2017

    17 October 2017

    21 October 2017

    24 October 2017

    28 October 2017

    31 October 2017

    4 November 2017

    7 November 2017

    11 November 2017

    14 November 2017

    18 November 2017

    21 November 2017

    25 November 2017

    28 November 2017

    2 December 2017

    5 December 2017

    9 December 2017

    12 December 2017

    16 December 2017

    19 December 2017

    23 December 2017

    26 December 2017

    30 December 2017

    2 January 2018

    6 January 2018

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    13 January 2018

    16 January 2018

    20 January 2018

    23 January 2018

    27 January 2018

    30 January 2018

    3 February 2018

    6 February 2018

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    13 February 2018

    17 February 2018

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    13 March 2018

    17 March 2018

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    * Surcharge applies - please see Fine Print