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Malaysia's Ultimate Adventure


Explore a mystical land of natural beauty and rare wildlife on thIS 18-day adventure in Malaysia. From bustling cityscapes to the blissful countryside to the lush tropical rainforest, unique animals and tribal villages, Malaysia has something for everyone. Experience the very best of mainland Malaysia and Borneo – hike in the Ulu Muda rainforest, climb Mt Kinabalu and watch sea turtles lay their eggs with an expert local ranger by your side and sharing laughs with your local village hosts. Each moment of this incredible small group adventure will give you a fascinating insight into Malaysia

18 days, from

$4,186

per person

GROUP SIZE

16 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

4
Trip code: TMSPC
Style: Original
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  Malaysia
Accommodation: Chalet (1 night), Resort (1 nights), Homestay (2 night), Hostel (3 nights), Hotel (6 nights), Lodge (4 nights)
Transportation: Private Vehicle , River Boat , Public Bus , Metro , Ferry; Plane
Included Meals:

  • 15 breakfasts
  • 8 lunches
  • 8 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 16

  • You’ll explore the rolling green Carmeron highlands, blanketed by tea plantations and strawberry fields, and then trek through the mystical Mossy Forest to learn more about the unique plants living beneath the sea of moss 

  • Stay in a special eco lodge on the edge of the jungle that’s fighting for the preservation of Ulu Muda Forest with research and awareness, low footprint practices and ecotourism principles.  

  • Take not one but two river cruises deep in the Ulu Muda Forest to double your chances of spotting roaming wildlife like elephants as your guide tells you about the native plants and wildlife that call this lush rainforest haven home.

  • Climb Mt Kinabalu – the literal pinnacle of all treks in South East Asia – with local guides whose families have trekked the mountain for generations, witnessing a stunning sunrise after a morning hike.

  • Spend time getting to know the unique wildlife of Borneo at conservation sanctuaries for orangutans, proboscis monkeys and sun bears.

  • Join a local ranger and witness the special life cycle of sea turtles coming ashore on Turtle Island to lay their eggs on the beach, with the hatchlings making a dash down the beach to their new life.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Kuala Lumpur

Salamat Datang! Welcome to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In the bustling capital of Malaysia, you can expect streets lined with colourful food stalls, friendly locals and fast-paced energy flowing throughout the city. Your adventure officially kicks off with a Welcome Meeting at 6 pm this evening where you’ll meet your group leader and travel companions. If you arrive in town with time to spare before the meeting, why not check out the Petaling Street Market – the vibrant hub of Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown – or wander along the River of Life and its masterful murals. After your Welcome Meeting this evening, you’ll have the option to explore Kampung Baru – a Malay village where you will have the chance to tuck into some local Malay food. On the way back from the village, you’ll stop to wonder at the striking view of the Kuala Lumpur Twin Towers from Saloma Bridge.  

Day 2: Cameron Highlands

After a short and sweet stay, you’ll wave Kuala Lumpur goodbye after breakfast this morning as you make your to the Cameron Highlands. A serene spot, the rolling green highlands are blanketed by tea plantations and strawberry fields and boast a refreshingly cool climate. You’ll arrive in this emerald oasis in the afternoon and might like to spend your time wandering the local market stalls in the evening and then tucking into some typical Malay eats. 

Day 3: Butterworth

This morning you’ll enjoy breakfast just like the locals and treat your tastebuds to some traditional eats straight from a local street stall. This is breakfast on the go – Malay style! After you’ve fueled up with food, we’ll hit the road for Mossy Forest and stretch our legs on a trek through this mystical, mist-shrouded spot. Your guide will point out the unique plants living here, under the blanket of rich, green moss. You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d walked straight into a scene from Avatar. After some time in this magical place, you’ll step back to reality and explore one of the local tea plantations. You’ll learn more about tea production here and marvel at the endless rows of green shrubs that seem to hug the hillside. This afternoon, we’ll head to Butterworth where you’ll have a free evening and you’ll get a chance to explore the local area and grab a bite to eat at a local cafeteria.  

Day 4: Ulu Muda Forest

Today, you’ll be heading to Kuala Labua, your home away from home, for the next three nights. With a slower start today, you’ll arrive at the Lake Muda Jetty just in time for a bite to eat, prepared freshly for you by the locals. Then, you’ll board a boat ride to Earth Lodge in Kuala Labua, a purpose-fueled organisation that’s fighting for the preservation of Ulu Muda Forest with research and awareness, low footprint practices and ecotourism principles. You’ll be surrounded by nature, tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the cities at this special ecolodge some 14km from anywhere. It’s the perfect launching pad to explore the nearby jungle trails, winding rivers and lush tropical rainforest. In the afternoon, you’ll get acquainted with the area on a river cruise where you’ll have the chance to spot local wildlife (even elephants if you’re lucky) before an evening at your leisure to settle in and make yourself at home.

Day 5: Ulu Muda Forest

After breakfast this morning, you’ll pull on your walking shoes for a trek into Bukit Labu where you’ll be accompanied by an expert guide. Listen carefully as your guide tells you all about the native plants and wildlife that call this lush rainforest haven home. Keep your eyes peeled for exotic wildlife, including elephants, as our trek toward the Bukit Labu caves – just waiting to be explored. Enjoy a picnic lunch by the river before trekking back to your accommodation and visiting local hot springs to soak your muscles after a day on your feet. Then, in the late afternoon maximise your wildlife spotting luck with yet another river cruise.

Day 6: Teluk Bahang

You’ll kiss the ecolodge goodbye after breakfast this morning and begin an epic overland journey to Teluk Bahang, a small fishing village in Penang. You'll be greeted by your homestay hosts with a special Welcome Ceremony and be treated to a special Malay martial art performance. Tuck into lunch before enjoying some fun with a selection of traditional games. Then, take a late afternoon walk around the fishing village, learn how the locals make their nets and even discover a local orchard plantation. You can look forward to dinner this evening as it will be prepared especially for you by your homestay host. Tuck in and take some time to get to know your local hosts over dinner. 

Day 7: George Town

You’ll explore the local market this morning before breakfast and then visit a Batik factory where you’ll learn about the art of hand painting Batik patterns onto materials. Then, you’ll enjoy a photography session and souvenir giving ceremony before waving your homestay hosts a big goodbye and making your way to Georgetown, the capital of Penang. On arrival, hit the streets with your group leader for a walking tour of the city. You’ll notice a certain charm about this city as you wander by the historical building and ancient shopfronts and admire the fascinating street art at every turn. You’ll also explore Pinang Paranakan Museum with over 1,000 pieces of antiques and collectable on display. This evening, you might like to rally your group together for one final meal together in one of the many quaint restaurants of Georgetown. 

Day 8: Kota Kinabalu

Fly unescorted from George Town to Kota Kinabalu, the capital of Sabah. Transfers to and from the airport are provided, and on arrival in KK you can immerse yourself in the history of this intriguing city located between the Bornean jungle and the South China Sea. Visit the Sabah State Museum, the Mari Mari Cultural Village, or perhaps explore the islands off Kota Kinabalu, which are excellent for swimming and snorkelling. There's a group meeting at 6pm and your leader will run through this part of the trip in Borneo.

Day 9: Dusun Village

Today, travel by minivan to a Dusun village, nestled amid picturesque hills in the shadow of imposing Mt Kinabalu – the highest mountain between the Himalayas and New Guinea (approximately 2 hours). The Dusun people, the ethnic group of our guides on Mt Kinabalu, are wonderfully warm and friendly people, and while here you'll have the opportunity to learn about their way of life and spend a night in a village. Depending on the weather, you will take a hike through the surrounding fruit and rubber plantations. Your leader can point you in the direction of the river for a great way to cool off afterwards! To ensure your share the business around the community, you will split up to stay in a couple of different family homes. All the homes are in waking distance from each other and you will usually have other group members with you at each home. Enjoy a cultural performance in the village tonight after dinner.

Day 10: Mt Kinabalu National Park

This morning say goodbye to your new friends from the village and travel into the unspoiled wilderness of the World Heritage-Listed Kinabalu National Park (approximately 1 hour). Take some time to enjoy the surroundings and prepare for the climb. There are nature trails through the lowland tropical forest and a Botanic Garden to explore. Otherwise, just relax this afternoon and take in the cooler climate. Your leader will provide a safety briefing about the climb and assist with any last minute questions. Stay overnight at Kinabalu Park in a lodge with shared bathrooms. Nestled among the lowland forests, this is the perfect place to chill-out before the climb

Day 11: Mt Kinabalu National Park

Rise early and take a quick drive to Timpohon Gate to begin the climb up Mt Kinabalu. It's not an easy trek as it is uphill all the way, and you’ll need to be prepared to tackle a trail made up of steep steps that vary considerably in size. You may get quite hot but remember that the top of the mountain can be deceptively cold. There's no rush, so take your time and enjoy the pristine environment – this is an area that boasts a remarkable variety of plant life, including some 1000 species of orchid and the extraordinary carnivorous pitcher plant. You will cover 6 kilometres on the first day (approximately 4–6 hours) and stop at a resthouse near Laban Rata (3272 metres) for the night. Tonight will be an early night, so you're ready for the final ascent early in the morning.

Day 12: Mt Kinabalu – Poring Hot Springs

Rise around 2 am in order to catch the sunrise at the summit of Mt Kinabalu (4095 metres). It's difficult walking, but you'll feel a huge sense of achievement once you make it. The view from the summit is incredible – the jungles of Borneo in one direction, the South China Sea in the other, making every inch of the climb worthwhile. Be warned though, the temperature can change very quickly up on the mountain, so bring clothes for all weather conditions. The climb from Laban Rata to the summit takes 2-4 hours and, due to the altitude, can be hard going even for the very fit. The first section from Laban Rata is along man made steps passing through vegetation. Once clear of the tree line, you will be walking up a series of wooden steps all the way to the final check point at Sayat Sayat. After witnessing the morning sunrise, return to Laban Rata for a well-earned breakfast, and then descend the mountain (approximately 3-6 hours) to enjoy a rewarding lunch at the bottom. Once everyone is down from the mountain you will continue on to Poring Hot Springs by bus (approximately 1 hour). Tonight you will stay at a hostel located right inside the springs complex itself, with a light and airy lounge room for you to relax in. The hostel is multishare and mixed gender with shared facilities.Some rooms have bunk beds.

Day 13: Poring Hot Springs

Poring Hot Springs is an ideal place to kick back for a day to recuperate after the mountain climb. These pools were developed by the Japanese during World War II, where warm sulphur water – believed to have healing properties for the skin – is piped into several man made open-air hot tubs. During school and public holidays it gets very busy here with local visitors. Depending on the time of year it might be possible to see the Rafflesia flower nearby. Rafflesia’s are the world’s largest flower and can grow up to a metre in size! Today, there are also a number of optional activities to choose from. There are graded paths leading through rich lowland forest to mountain rivers, waterfalls and bat caves, with birds and other wildlife often seen along the trail. A walkway in the tree canopy provides magnificent views or there's also a visit the enchanting butterfly farm. 

Day 14: Kinabatangan River

Today, journey by private bus into the steamy rainforest to Bilit – a small village on the banks of the Kinabatangan River (approximately 5 hours). Take a short boat ride to the comfortable jungle lodge where you’ll spend the night. The lodge is located right on the riverbanks and is a good place to spot wildlife. In the early evening as the sun sets, head out by motorised boat in search of wildlife such as macaques, orangutan, proboscis monkeys and, if you’re lucky, even pygmy elephants! In the evening, take a night walk in search of nocturnal wildlife. Rubber boots and leech socks are available to hire. The lodge tonight is comfortable with private bathrooms.

Day 15: Sandakan

This morning, take another early boat safari in search of wildlife – different species come out at different times of the day, so keep your eyes peeled. After breakfast, say goodbye to your jungle lodge and hit the road in a private minivan to the coastal city of Sandakan (approximately 3 hours). Visit Sandakan War Memorial and gain an insight into the Sandakan's past at its War Memorial, built on the site of a Japanese Prisoners Of War camp. This site also marks the starting point of the tragic Sandakan Death Marches, on which 2400 POWs were forced to walk through the jungles of Borneo. By the end of the march, only six Australians survived, and only because they had escaped.

Day 16: Turtle Island

This morning, leave your large bags at the hotel and walk 15 minutes to a nearby jetty. Travel by speedboat, past small fishing villages and bamboo fish traps, to Turtle Island Marine Park (approximately 1 hour), where green turtles come ashore to lay their eggs every night of the year. In the afternoon, there's time for swimming, snorkelling or some quality time lazing about on the beach of this tropical island. Snorkelling gear is available for hire. In the evening, join a select group of visitors and an expert local ranger and be touched by the sight of giant green turtles coming ashore to lay their eggs under the moonlight. Watch the Rangers as they release protected hatchlings and guide them in their frantic dash to the ocean. It's a moving experience that could inspire you to join the turtle nest adoption program, with a certificate of adoption and updates on the development of your nest. Beware that this is a very delicate environment and you must follow instructions from your leader and the local rangers to ensure minimal impact on the turtles. You will spend the night on the island tonight.

Day 17: Sepilok

After breakfast, return to the mainland (approximately 1 hour), collect your bags, and continue by minibus to a guesthouse located near the Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre (approximately 45 minutes). The centre was set up to help reintroduce these wonderful creatures back into the wild after a life of domestication or having been orphaned. From the viewing platform, you can watch and photograph these charming creatures as they swing into view and eat the supplementary diet of fruit that is laid out for them twice a day. Human contact must be kept to a minimum and it's essential that you follow the instructions of the park, as directed by your leader. Also included is a new nursery where you can view young orangutans as they learn how to climb on a specially constructed jungle gym. The viewing area is behind one-way glass so as to not disturb the animals. To see more of Borneo’s creatures, there’s the option to visit the Bornean Sun Bear Conservation Center. Here, rescued Sun Bears that have spent many years mistreated and locked away in cages are cared for, with hopes of rehabilitation and reintroduction into the wild. There’s also the Labuk Bay Proboscis Monkey Sanctuary where you can watch up close the amazing proboscis lazing and feeding – an experience that can only be found in Borneo. A 30-minute walk from your guesthouse is the Rainforest Discovery Centre, which also has a 620-metre long, 28-metre high canopy walkway with spectacular views of rainforest giants. Your accommodation is located about 10 minutes’ walk from the Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre.

Day 18: Sepilok

Your Sabah Adventure comes to an end today. There are no activities planned and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. If you’d like to stay in Sepilok longer, just get in touch ahead of time and we’d be happy to arrange additional accommodation (subject to availability). Flights depart most days from Sandakan to Kota Kinabalu or Kuala Lumpur.